social-media-video

Video has already vastly transformed the social media marketing landscape, massively boosting engagement levels and helping brands connect with audiences in a variety of new and often meaningful ways. As bandwidths become greater, mobile internet data gets cheaper and video continues to spearhead the destruction of old fashioned interruptive marketing models, we will see brands take ever bolder steps to innovate in a digital landscape that increasingly favours video over all other formats.

In this article for Social Media Today I’d like to take a look at some of the new and exciting video technologies out there and examine how businesses are leveraging them in their social media marketing.

Augmented Reality

2016 was arguably the year that augmented reality really kicked off, and this upward trajectory certainly doesn’t show any signs of tailing off anytime soon. The rise of Snapchat and the phenomenon that was Pokémon Go have caused many marketing experts to sit up and take notice of the huge potential in AR, both in terms of driving footfall and transforming the shopping experience.

In 2016 Mark Zuckerberg expressed his belief that consumers will use smartphones to experience AR, as opposed to glasses.

“I like everyone else am enjoying Pokemon Go. The biggest thing that I think we can take away from this as we invest in augmented reality in addition to virtual reality is that the phone is probably going to be the mainstream consumer platform [where] a lot of these AR features first become mainstream, rather than a glasses form factor that people will wear on their face.”

With the death of the short lived Google Glass and the huge success of Snapchat filters and Pokémon Go, it does seem that the market seems to be going this way. As we see people continue to use and adopt AR technologies into their daily smartphone use, from interactive maps to 3D modelling new furniture in their own home.

It’s in eCommerce that we could really see the biggest movement in AR though. Although shopping via a mobile device has now overtaken desktop shopping, mobile conversion rates have yet to catch up. Augmented reality could be set to change all this though, with the ability to bring a physical aspect to an otherwise wholly digital experience.

Virtual Reality

The rise of augmented reality doesn’t mean we’re going to see a decline in virtual reality. Although we haven’t heard much about the Oculus technology Facebook acquired in 2014, it’s still around and it is set to make a big impact.

Facebook has begun to incorporate Oculus tech into its 360 video, which will continue to roll out across news feeds to provide users with a much more immersive and interesting experience. Brands are increasingly looking to create new content for this technology and seek to connect and interact with their audiences in a totally immersive way.

There is also the potential to use VR to create a social experience, connecting people all around the world. Facebook is working on this technology, which is still in its infancy but the potential for it to explode is huge and so too is the marketing potential. It’s going to be incredibly exciting to watch this space evolve.

Live Video

With all the big video platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) investing heavily in live video, it’s not hard to see the appeal. For brands, live content opens the doors to connect with audiences on a deeper level (one example is BMW’s decision to debut its M2 model through Periscope on its own racetrack to huge streaming success).

The popularity of the ‘live event’ hasn’t waned over the years, despite the growth of on-demand content. Live sporting events and concerts are as popular and as lucrative as they have ever been and it seems that online live video is unlocking that unique ‘as it happens’ experience for brands too.

The bias towards on-demand content hasn’t been completely done away with however, with Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram Stories extending the exclusivity appeal of their live video streams by keeping the video up for 24 hours, with Facebook opting to keep videos up permanently.

Snapchat Spectacles And Circular Video

Snapchat knew exactly how to create a buzz with the release of its eye-catching Spectacles. Remember Google Glass? It didn’t quite take off in the way the media giant had hoped for, but it appears that Snapchat may have cracked the notoriously tricky nut of wearable tech, through its clever marketing and appealing directly to its core audience of savvy millennials. TechCrunch editor-at-large, Josh Constine, sums up Google’s failure and Snapchat’s success when he says, “if you want to make something cool, don’t give it to geeks first.”

Spectacles are cool precisely because they, at least initially, weren't easy to get hold of. Snapchat users themselves, not tech journalists, demonstrated what can be achieved with a pair of technology-filled glasses and, as is natural with any teenage trend that gets traction on social media; everyone then wanted in on the action.

With Spectacles came circular video, which managed to solve one of the video industry’s longest running arguments - whether recordings should be done in portrait or landscape. Circular video allows viewers, on any device, to watch full-screen content in any orientation they prefer and as the popularity of video in general increases on mobile devices, it’s likely that circular video will be adopted as the norm.

New TV Products

Video on mobile devices is on the rise, but so is video consumed via innovative on-demand TV products like Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Roku and Android. It’s clear that the Netflix age isn’t going to do away with brands having access to living rooms across the world.

With so much emphasis on creating video content for mobile, this emerging space will give rise to content more suited to larger screens (the market share of 49 inch plus TV screens has grown from 7% in 2009 to 26% in 2017). This provides an exciting opportunity for brands who should push to create engaging content for large screens.

Brands could also become media publishers in their own right. An example of this is Sotheby’s, who developed a TV app to explore in depth the world's art market. Generating increased engagement, through the provision of interesting niche information in this way, is yet another way video can help brands connect with their audience and build brand loyalty.

Other Trends To Watch In 2017

We’re constantly told we spend too much time staring at screens but could those screens be about to change? Although Curved or 3D screens aren't hugely exciting, the promise of a 4K smartphone screen is proving to be hugely popular, especially when considered alongside the rise of VR headsets. This is because higher resolution screens will provide a much better and more immersive VR experience.

Whether you find it an intimidating prospect or an exciting one, artificial intelligence will continue to get even smarter. AI hardware, such as Siri, is likely to further transform voice searches, and integration within Smart TVs and home appliances could also be on the cards. Natural language AI could help with correspondence, allowing brands to interact with larger percentages of their audience without negatively impacting the logistics of large volumes of communication.

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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com