Earlier this year, Instagram abandoned chronological feeds and instituted an algorithm that sent shock waves through the marketing world.
Many brands watched as their engagement plummeted and traditional strategies failed to drive traffic to their content and subsequently their websites.
More than 300,000 people even signed a petition to keep Instagram chronological, however, the continued trajectory shows the platform following in the footsteps of its parent company, Facebook.
Amidst these changes, video content became a powerful tool for retention as it demonstrated the ability to keep users engaged longer. Over the last year, the time users have spent watching Facebook Live broadcasts quadrupled, while simultaneously time spent watching video on Instagram has increased by 80 percent.
It has been an ongoing shift with the launch of Instagram Stories in direct competition with Snapchat, the domination of Facebook Live, expansion of native video on Twitter and LinkedIn, Pinterest enabling promoted video pins, and most recently—the launch of the Facebook Watch original video tab.
According to Wordstream, one-third of online activity is spent watching video and according to Tubular Insights, 73 percent of B2B marketers say that video positively affects ROI. If that wasn’t enough to convince you—Cisco predicts that by 2020, over 75 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video.
The verdict: Video is quickly becoming the king of content marketing.
Rather than fighting changing algorithms, strategic business owners and marketers alike are leveraging video content to level-up their marketing efforts and stay ahead of the curve. Platforms are favoring native video content and opening the floodgates for content creators to expand their reach.
For marketers and small business owners, there is a large consideration to make before diving head first into video creation. Where should your content live?
Location, location, location
Each platform favors video content that is uploaded and hosted natively because it increases user retention time. As you build out a cohesive strategy, keep in mind your current audience and consider leveraging native video on each platform differently.
YouTube: Video content that lends itself to search, such as tutorials and product demos, will thrive on the second largest search engine in the world. Unlike other platforms, users on YouTube are often seeking out content rather than passively discovering it.
We attribute this behavioral difference to explain the fact that the average viewer on our YouTube channel watches six minutes and 50 seconds of the vlog compared to a short 24 seconds on our Facebook Page for the same content. This more concentrated audience intentionally seeks out the video content, while Facebook viewers are more likely to stumble across our content while browsing their newsfeed and lingers for a few seconds.
Facebook: If your video content is highly engaging or inspires your audience to share—Facebook may be the best choice. Why? Facebook leverages the power of your connections and followers who engage with your content on the platform to determine who might find the video relevant. All it takes are a few quality comments and shares from a highly engaged audience to drastically expand your organic reach. We average nearly 4,000 views per video on Facebook, however, when one video stirred a lot of engagement from our audience, it was shared with over 60,000 people and watched 28,000 times. The power of Facebook’s algorithm to spread relevant and engaging content should not be underestimated.
Similarly, the autoplay feature on Facebook is a content marketer’s dream.
Imagine a user aimlessly scrolling through their Facebook feed when the movement of a video autoplaying captures their attention. They stop, begin watching, and feel inclined to share. By enabling autoplay, the ability to capture user attention is maximized on Facebook’s platform, giving marketers with established followings a leg up.
Facebook Live is also emerging as a valuable avenue for audience engagement. If sharing in real time isn’t a possibility, lives (despite their name) can also be scheduled or linked directly to webinar platforms and broadcast on Facebook natively. Many companies kick off Facebook Live videos with a 30-second countdown to give users time to hop on and start watching—thereby creating a strategic buffer to acquire audience attention before the real content begins.
Instagram Stories and Snapchat: Both platforms share similar formats: vertical video that remains visible for 24 hours in short clips that followers can watch sequentially. Video content that tells a story, offers a peek behind the scenes, or reveals a more personal side to a brand thrives on both Instagram Stories and Snapchat.
Similarly, video content that can be created quickly, without the need for editing and production is perfectly aligned with the limited timeframe and fleeting nature of these platforms. Chronology plays a large role on both platforms so recency and frequency of fresh video content is critical to maintaining visibility. The more frequently you post—the more often your stories are bumped to the front of the feed.
Many companies strategically use the Instagram Stories swipe up feature to direct viewers off of Instagram and to their websites or content upgrades. A single content upgrade earned me 500 new email subscribers in 24 hours via the Instagram Stories swipe up feature. It is a fantastic avenue for email acquisition.
Swipe up is currently limited to certain accounts (primarily those with over 10,000 followers and high engagement).
Twitter: Videos that are 140 seconds or less, especially those that resemble a meme or that only require a few seconds to evoke a reaction, are quickly embraced on Twitter’s expanding video network. The official channel of the Twitter Video team retweets content daily that resembles many videos once shared on Vine in their nature and quality.
Each platform is approaching video content in a unique way; however, the fact remains—companies taking advantage of video are seeing extraordinary results. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies which use videos in their marketing see 27 percent higher CTR and 34 percent higher web conversion rates than those which don’t.
With social media platforms leveraging complex algorithms to curate newsfeeds in enigmatic ways—video content is the future of content marketing. In the war for attention, video is the answer.