We've all been there. We log into our Facebook and Instagram accounts planning to scroll through our feeds for just a few minutes, and then all of a sudden an hour has gone by. Often, these days, it's video that grabs our attention with moving content that's compelling and catchy, making it almost impossible to look away. In fact, adults in the U.S. watch an hour and 16 minutes of digital video content everyday. We're consumed by the videos that pervade our screens, and social media has democratized creative video publishing. Now, anyone, regardless of background or professional experience, can create and share original content for social media audiences across the globe to view. Through their original voices, styles and commitments to producing content for their followers, many of these once amateur creators have become influencers.
Influencer marketing is high on brands' lists precisely because of the creative powers these individuals possess. Influencers know how to create compelling content that feels personal, relevant and wholly original. Many brands have realized that rather than trying to outpace influencers across every platform, they're better off aligning with them - after all, partnering with influencers not only leverages their creative capabilities, but it also delivers their enthusiastic audiences to brands eager to connect with social media users.
While many brands have begun to dabble in influencer marketing with sponsored blog and photo posts, the real key to long-term influencer success lies in brands' abilities to align with video content creators.
In line with these trends, the social networks themselves are putting more priority on enhancing their video products and features to cater to demand. And with so many options, producing the latest and greatest video content has now become the arms race of the social media world, and brands have more resources at their fingertips to harness these technologies through influencer campaigns.
Here are a few of the ways social networks are moving towards a future dominated by video.
YouTube videos have a longer shelf life than many other types of social posts. YouTube's effectively a video search engine, and the second largest search engine behind Google, it's parent company. On other social networks, the opportunity for engagement increasingly diminishes with each moment after a post goes live, even with the updated algorithms geared toward showing the most relevant content first.
YouTube, ever the leader in the video space, is also consistently evolving to satiate audience's increasing appetites for innovative video experiences.
In April 2016, YouTube introduced 360 degree live streaming and spatial audio to allow video creators the opportunity to immerse their audiences in live experiences.
In addition to doubling their daily video views from 4 billion to 8 billion in 2015, Facebook's also been tinkering with more active video discovery features. Rather than just watching the videos users' friends publish to their News Feeds, Facebook wants to enable people to be able to search for specific video content on the platform.
In April 2016, Facebook hedged even more of their bets on video when they introduced a series of updates to Facebook Live, including filters, reactions, video destinations and map. All of the features are designed to encourage all Facebook users to go live and broadcast their life updates with followers and friends.
Instagram's released a series of updates that highlight the platform's increasing focus on video - a focus prompted by user demand, video views on the platform have increased 40% in just six months.
To support this shift, Instagram now counts video views; previously, the only metrics available for Instagram video performance were likes and comments. In a blog post announcing the launch of video view counting, Instagram noted that views are "...the most widely expected form of feedback on video."
Additionally, Instagram's also increased the length of videos on the platform, giving users will have more freedom to tell stories, which will likely entice them to publish and consume more videos. The additional 45 seconds allows video creators to dive much deeper into narratives, thus creating more compelling opportunities for views and engagements.
In 2015 Twitter introduced native video and the integration of live-streaming app, Periscope. Recently the company updated their video suite to include pre-roll video ads and Periscope autoplay within the platform. The moves are intended to make live-streaming videos more accessible within the platform - users no longer have to exit the Twitter platform to view a Periscope livestream, thus increasing video engagement.
Across networks, video is becoming more sophisticated, audiences are spending more time watching video content and influencers have more tools to create captivating video narratives. Brands that want to ensure long-term social relevance must align with creative video influencers and utilize the enhanced technologies these platforms have to offer.