Key trends in video

August 30th, 2018

The future of online content may be video, but the jury is out as to what form it might take. This is because the last few years have witnessed a rush of new formats and platforms which are forcing savvy content marketers to re-appraise their working practices.

The CMA is running a video storytelling course for beginners on September 6th, which will look at the basics of video creation and distribution. In advance of that event though, we thought we would look at a few trends which may or may not shape the future of video in the coming years.

Vertical video

Not many pundits saw the emergence of vertical video in 2016/17 coming, but then maybe they should have. Vertical video makes sense in content creation for one huge reason. Most of the videos uploaded to social channels are shot on mobile phones, and the easy way to shoot that footage is vertically.  In fact, research has shown we hold our phones vertically 94% of the time. Another reason for vertical videos’ popularity is that it is simple to embellish those videos with interactive features such as geofilters and stickers.

Almost all the major platforms, from Facebook through to Instagram Stories and Snapchat, have been gradually adopting vertical video options.

In spite of vertical growing prevalence most brands have stuck with the horizontal format, though there are signs this is changing. It is early days for Instagram’s IGTV, but the format could potentially do a great deal to popularise vertical video in longform.

The music industry is responding to the change too with artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande delivering vertical clips to complement their standard horizontal videos.

Horizontal video may still prove to be the most popular format with brands, but smart video creators are already accompanying that widescreen footage with vertical clips.

Emerging platforms

Although it can hardly be referred to as a startup as it has been existence for over half a decade, Twitch is becoming a platform that many marketers are keeping a close eye on. Owned by Amazon it was until fairly recently largely the preserve of gamers sharing their footage with fellow players.

There is, however, something of a backlash against YouTube at the moment among members of the creator community who are displeased with its recent moves to limit advertising, as well as its ‘apparent censorship’ of some controversial video bloggers. This has meant that a growing number of video creators have begun experimenting with Twitch. And on their coat tails are a number of brands including KFC, which has teamed up with high profile Twitcher DrLupo, and EA which is working with gamer RoryPlays. What level of resources they will plough into the platform is anyone guess for now, but Twitch boasts a growing number of prominent and creative influencers keen to work with brands, and this can give companies a foothold in a potentially important online community.

Another platform that may be worth keeping tabs on is DTube. Billed as the anti-YouTube, because of its fiercely cherished independence, DTube is an offshoot of the blockchain based social network Steemit. As DTube is built on the blockchain it is decentralised – which basically means that no one has control of what people upload and send. This has captured the imagination of a small, but noisy group of content creators who believe that YouTube’s regulations are limiting what they can post. The slightly concerning part of DTube for brands is that once something is posted it can’t be taken down.

While it seems very unlikely that anyone but the edgiest of brands would use DTube for content marketing, its decentralised approach does provide a few clues as to how video platforms might develop in the future. DTube is unlikely to be the only platform of its kind (decentralised and on the blockchain) for long, and there may be similar sites that are more brand friendly on their way.

Influencer video content

Another trend I think we are going to see a lot of in coming years is brands requisitioning social media influencers to create content for them. There are already many agencies who are offering this including CMA member Tribe. The concept differs with the platforms, but invariably brands come up with a product to promote, and the platform connects the brand with its inventory of influencers who then submit ideas for content that they propose to share with their audiences.

The brands choose the content they like best and the influencers create the video collecting a flat fee in the process. It’s champions claim that this approach is many times more effective than traditional advertising or brand created content, as the influencer not only has an authentic voice but also a unique connection with their audience.

The number of companies offering this service now means that costs to brands are starting to fall. I wonder if what might happen is that brands will use influencers tactically in the future still creating their own content, but using that video as a starting point to inspire influencers.

Don’t forget our video storytelling course for beginners on September 6th,

Ashley Norris, CMA Editorial Consultant

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