Picture Tom, a 27-year-old. He’s on a bus on the way to meet friends for dinner. To pass the time, he’s scrolling through Facebook and stops when he sees a video related to his favorite football team – who are playing that night. It’s a short clip, showing a dramatic goal, which Tom immediately ‘likes’ and shares to his friends. Before the video of the clip itself, he sees a flash of branded advertising – “this goal brought to you by ABC Beverages".
In a nutshell this story defines what we mean by ‘social video’, a term which has grown in usage across the content creation, marketing and advertising sectors in recent years.Let’s get to grips with what social video is, before looking at how your organisation can take advantage of the opportunity it presents.
It’s no secret that online video consumption has increased dramatically in recent years and disrupted traditional video publishing models:
In early 2017, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg told investors: “I see video as a mega trend, [in the] same order as mobile”. There has been a vast growth in video consumption online in recent years – and software firm Cisco predicts that a million minutes of video content will cross the internet every second by 2021.
Of course, there are many different types of video available online, and not all of this counts as ‘social video’. From streaming websites to product demos and videos of cute animals, there’s vast amount of video being transmitted online which isn’t strictly ‘social’. So what exactly do we mean by ‘social video’, and how’s it different to other kinds of online video content?
Definition of social video: Social video can be defined as digital videos which are designed by content publishers to be shared on social media platforms for a specific business purpose.
This definition allows us to differentiate social video from other types of content. Social video is a kind of content designed specifically and intentionally to be shared on social media platforms (rather than a company website or broadcast over a streaming service). Unlike ‘viral videos’ spread on social media that can be created by anyone, we take social video to be a kind of video with a specific business purpose – usually in terms of advertising or for boosting engagement with a broadcaster.
What this means:
Social video is clearly growing – but what does it actually mean for broadcasters? Here’s how one broadcaster began creating social video content:
As this example shows, social video presents a compelling opportunity for broadcasters, advertisers and consumers alike. And it’s not just sporting events – anything from politics to entertainment to cookery shows can be live-shared on social media in this way.
Let’s explore why social media is growing, before looking at how publishers and advertisers can capitalise on the opportunity it presents.
Social video is becoming an increasingly popular way for brands, publishers and consumers to interact. This is because:
Publishers and advertisers who can tap into these trends can expect to reap multiple benefits from creating and distributing social video. These include:
According to research company Tubular Insights, the most widely used social video platforms in 2018 are:
Any business trying to provide social video will, of course, need to ensure their videos can be played easily on these (and other) platforms.
So what about the kinds of content consumed as social video? Tubular Insights provide more enlightenment in their Q3 2018 State of Online Video report where the most viewed content types include:
Any broadcaster who can rapidly share clips around these themes on social media platforms can expect a leap in engagement with their content.
Social video clearly represents a valuable opportunity for content creators and advertisers. However, it also poses a number of technical and strategic challenges too. Let’s explore these now.
The technical challenge of rapid creation and distribution
Social videos need to be created, edited and distributed to viewers fast. This requires timely editing, as well as the know-how to distribute the content to all relevant social media platforms and ensure files display correctly.
Finding the audience and the platform
Different kinds of audiences use different social media platforms. For instance, Facebook is widely used across generations, while Snapchat is generally targeted at younger audiences. Some social media platforms are used everywhere in the world – whereas certain countries have their own equivalents – think Twitter versus China’s Weibo. Choosing the right social media platforms to distribute your content will therefore require research and testing.
Creating social video for specific verticals
There is little value in a broadcaster simply distributing all types of content from one central point. Audiences want to see content that’s truly relevant to them – so it will be essential to use different social media outlets to distribute different kinds of content. If you are a sports broadcaster, for instance, you may want to set up different content pages for different kinds of social video – one page for football, one for tennis, another for golf, and then ensure the correct social videos are distributed to each.
If your organisation is aiming to invest in social video as a means of engaging with today’s audiences, these challenges need to be addressed strategically.
We have defined social video as “digital videos which are designed by content publishers to be shared on social media platforms for a specific business purpose”.
This implies that there are three key actors involved in social video: content creators, advertisers and, to a lesser extent, content consumers.
For each of these groups, social video will have an impact on their behavior. Let’s look in more detail at how this plays out for each group in turn.
A content creation organisation may be a traditional broadcaster or an individual content production agency. In either case, if you wish to create social video, you will have to implement new strategies:
Editing and re purposing content
To implement a social video strategy, content creators are required to edit and re purpose their video content – often in real time.
This will mean:
Content creators need to know their audiences. And in the world of social media, these are ever more differentiated. If social videos are just a few seconds long, the content has to be highly relevant and interesting – otherwise it’s not worth sharing:
Changes in process
Content creation is often fast-paced. Social video only adds more time-pressures:
Social video is potentially very exciting for advertisers. It allows you to have your brand associated with timely and exciting events - think again of our example in the opening paragraph of this article, where a brand associates itself with an exciting goal in football. What’s more, if a video is shared widely, this could potentially result in huge exposure for your brand at no extra cost. All the same, the following issues need to be considered:
Control over the content itself
You want to be confident your brand is associated with positive moments and messages – whenever social video is distributed, you will need assurances the content itself represents your brand. In the fast world of social video, however, this could be a challenge. It will require:
Measurement has always been essential in advertising, and this is especially important when it comes to social video.
The final group that is affected by social video is, or course, the end consumer. To be effective, social video will need to be:
The bottom line is that consumers will be the judge of whether your social video content is any good – if it is not relevant or of high quality, they will simply ignore it.
Audiences today want to access relevant content fast. They want to consume it on their own time. And they want to watch it on any screen they like, wherever they are.
The good news? Social video responds to all of these needs - by providing relevant, interesting and useful content which is shareable and engaging.
For content publishers, it allows them to reconnect with today’s consumers who are less attached to traditional television. And for advertisers, it provides a way to associate their brands with positive or powerful moments and provide highly targeted advertising. When social video strategies are implemented correctly, everyone wins – consumers, content creators and advertisers.
However, creating and distributing social videos in a cost effective, timely and efficient manner remains a challenge for many providers. But, through a smart strategy and an in-depth knowledge of your audience and their needs, social video has the potential to boost engagement and achieve significant ROI.
Social video is the biggest new opportunity for broadcasters: make sure you capitalize on it.
Wildmoka provides the tools to support your social video strategy. Learn more about them here.