It used to be easy, video was the reserve of TV advertisements, documentaries and films; whilst “going viral” was limited to that time your Nan got stuck in a rubber ring on holiday in Majorca and made the star clip on ‘You’ve Been Framed’. Not anymore.
On YouTube alone, there are more than 2.5M video publishers and 1,268 of them have over 1M subscribers. Their success floods our newsfeeds daily as we gleefully share, LOL and ROFL our way through another cat stuck in a flip-flop, whilst live news from VICE spreads like urban wildfire.
So how do you compete in this brave new world of ever-evolving social video? How do we overcome this fear missing out on being the latest trending video? How do we embrace the race for being the go-to video du jour?
“HOW DO I GO VIRAL?!” Screams another client looking for a one-word solution. Well, there’s not one simple answer, but there are a few key trends worth noting if you want to keep ahead of the game in 2015 and keep your social video FOMO at bay.
1. Landscape shmandscape.
Videographers recoil in horror, but portrait video is here to stay. The more people watch videos on their mobile, the more they demand to see video in that format, and that means in portrait.
It’s a challenge (but not impossible) for brands shooting professional footage or re-purposing existing footage for social, but for bloggers, it’s a huge opportunity to make video on your mobile, for your viewers’ mobile. WIN.
2. Quiet in the back!
Facebook auto play video has seen video views on the platform shoot through the roof (video publishers rejoice!), as we no longer need to entice people to click to view and experience a clunky journey onto another platform. The video just plays, by itself, as soon as it’s in view.
However, with no immediate sound from the video (unless you click to play) publishers have had to think smart about how to engage the viewer silently and encourage them to stop scrolling – welcome to the era of text overlays!
Buzzfeed Food is probably one of the best examples of this, conveying recipes in under 30 seconds with no need for sound at all, via on screen texts or in-video signposting.
3. Put out early.
Yeah you heard me. (Sorry mum). Your video may be auto playing but getting consumers to stop is another story. Gone are the days of the “big reveal”, the wider pan shots building up to a big climax. By the time that happens your viewer will be halfway down their newsfeed learning to make a “’s’mores dip” with Buzzfeed Food.
Your big shot, your product reveal, your celeb, your ‘wow moment’…they’re now upfront, as a signpost for an interesting video. Lead with your best bit and signpost it clearly to your users if you want them to hang around. Nobody likes a tease.
4. It is what it is.
I get asked all the time “How long should a social video be?”.
It’s much debated – in fact King Content’s head of video does a great job of explaining it in this article “What’s the right length for video” but the long and the short of it is, it’s as long as it needs to be.
Let me explain:
YouTube Watch Time has increased by 60% year-on-year.
The average YouTube session on mobile is now 40 minutes that’s an increase of 50% compared to 2014.
Out of the top 1000 videos on each platform, YouTube videos were 8x longer than Facebook videos. “That’s because users go to YouTube with the sole intent of watching videos and to search for them on their own, so they’re happy to watch longer videos” say video marketers, Reelseo.
On Facebook, they come at you, they try to disrupt you, they need to be short snappy and to the point to distract a user from their browsing, before they are then gone in an instant.
So when it comes to length, it’s a question of what’s right for the story you are trying to tell and the platform you are trying to communicate on. Take Expedia for example, their travel destinations in Canada playlist has 11 videos and is 43 minutes and 25 seconds long, because on YouTube, this works.
Such feature length styles are, however, unlikely to cut the mustard with the attention deficient Facebook audience; so over here you’ll find their travel guides are in high speed and all delivered in less than 30 seconds, carefully planning the right video formats for the right platform behaviours. Because when is all is said and done, the best videos are always those made with the audience in mind, not the stopwatch.