Five Online Video Content Trends in 2018

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The overarching trend in online video has been one of unprecedented growth and increasing importance to brands and businesses over the last five years or so. The power of powerful brand film to draw audiences in and actively seek out branded content has been slowly replacing the old model of push advertising for many more years than that.

More recently internet ad spend finally surpassed TV in 2017, a milestone if ever there was one for online brand video in all its forms. In this article for Business Achievers, I want to take a look at five big trends to look out for in 2018 and what they mean for brands and businesses everywhere.

  

1. Online video continues to grow

The popularity of online video is uncontested and in 2018 this popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Studies suggest that investment in video is rising as more and more businesses start to invest in it. A Hubspot study found that 48 and 46 percent of marketers intended to integrate YouTube and Facebook Video strategies respectively into their marketing mix in 2018.

With all the data suggesting that young people are much more likely to prefer and engage with video content, it’s clear to see the direction digital marketing is going in.

 

2. Live video goes from strength to strength

Live video streaming has been around for a long time but its entrance into the social media scene has created something of a small revolution in the way it’s changing the way users (especially millennials) are consuming content. This new format is being driven by its inherent ability to stand out from pre-recorded content, something intrinsic to its authenticity and ‘right here, right now’ appeal.

2018 will see live streaming become more popular and more interactive, as brands seek to exploit the ‘live experience’ by reaching out to an audience experiencing their content in real time. This will allow for powerful consumer insights through things like Q&A’s, live seminars, as well as utilising social media’s penchant for interactive buttons (think Facebook’s series of emoticons that now compliment the traditional ‘like’ button to see where the trend is going here).

 

3. Mobile video optimisation becomes expected

Mobile video is certainly not new but its growing ubiquity continues unabated and this is leading to an expectation from consumers for content that is optimised for a mobile screen. The arguments for mobile optimised video content are unambiguous, with Facebook recommending 1:1 ratio content designed for mobile in favour of traditional 16:9 ratio content. Other evidence suggests that conversion rates may increase by as much as 67% for mobile optimised Facebook video.

In 2018 then you can expect to see more and more brands and businesses taking the time to create content in a 1:1 aspect ratio aimed specifically at mobile users.

 

4. ‘Pivot to Video’ abandoned by traditional text based publishers

Video may be dominating the online space but it hasn’t completely usurped text and image based content and nor is it ever likely to do so. This is a lesson that traditional text based publishers have learnt over the last year or so, with more and more abandoning so called ‘pivot to video’ strategies.

2017 saw the likes of Buzzfeed, Vice and Mashable pull back from the approach, in which supplementary video was produced alongside text based articles as an alternative medium with which to consumer articles. The approach has proved difficult to integrate and digital advertising revenues have not justified the move. Whilst video content that complements or reinforces text based content will always be popular, 2018 is likely to see more online publications abandon the more fundamental ‘pivot to video’ approach.

 

5. Cause related brand video continues to turn heads

The idea that great storytelling sits at the heart of the most successful brand videos isn’t new but many of the themes and subjects emerging in new brand videos are becoming distinctly ethical or cause driven in nature. This trend is likely to not only continue in 2018 but grow substantively.

With the world becoming more politically polarised and right wing populism seemingly on the rise, many brands are embracing the idea of stamping their politics and their ideology onto their brand videos. What was once thought a risky move, is fast becoming de rigueur for brands wishing to create common ethical ground with their consumers. And evidence is increasingly showing that consumers are more ethical in their purchasing decisions, especially with the advent of campaigns like Stop Funding Hate in the UK, putting external pressure on brands to stay true to their stated convictions.

Brands need only look at the viral success of videos like the simultaneously hilarious and tear jerking Allegro video ad, with its subtle but devastatingly powerful subtext, to see how effective this kind of advertising can be if done well.

 

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