As 2018 winds down, the prospects for video makers and marketers in 2019 are beginning to heat up. The film and video industry is changing rapidly, with new gear, formats, channels, and avenues for advertisements gaining momentum every day.
Let’s look at the top ten video marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2019, and how you can stay ahead of the industry curve.
1. Democratization of Video Creation
As was the case in the early 2000s when the DSLR digital camera came to prominence, the rise of a prosumer video economy has further leveled the video-creation playing field. 4K mirrorless video cameras are saturating the market at very reasonable price points, while easy-to-use free and freemium video creation softwares and apps continue to pop up. The landscape is full of new, creative, and budget-friendly solutions for aspiring video creators to join the game quickly, and it’s a brave new world for budget-conscious marketers wanting to expand their video content.
On the production side, this expanding class of video professionals might mean more competition for clients, but it also opens many doors for expanding services, diversifying the industry, and reaching new clients who had previously been priced out of expensive video production services.
On the marketing side, 2019 will see advances in smartphone videography as social platforms like Facebook and Instagram look to native in-app shooting, editing, and hosting (think IGTV). This is the natural progression of an industry obsessed with video content, and it’s the small, agile businesses that can create quickly and frequently that are sure to benefit.
Learn more about the pros and cons of the prosumer video revolution.
2. Facebook Down, Instagram Up
To the dismay of video and brand marketers large and small, Facebook has seemingly backed off from its laissez faire approach to content and video. After the 2016 US presidential elections revealed widespread dis- and mis-information spreading on the site, Facebook responded by limiting the organic marketing power of its News Feed algorithm and shifting priority to a people-first system. It doesn’t mean that Facebook won’t still be the largest social platform in the game, but it does mean that targeted ads and paid campaigns will be the more expensive reality for 2019.
The good news, however, is that Facebook’s small $1 billion investment into Instagram has trended in the opposite direction for video makers and marketers alike. With a reported 1 billion active monthly users, engagement on branded Instagram content is up to 10x that of Facebook content. Plus Instagram’s IG Stories and IGTV functionalities have also skyrocketed in terms of targeted reach and high engagement metrics. For video content creators and marketers, this is great news.
Read up on the seven rules for creating Instagram-ready video content.
3. Reddit Becoming More Video Friendly
Facebook and Instagram are obvious contenders when it comes to video marketing, but don’t forget more unlikely distribution channels, like Reddit.
Against seemingly all odds, Reddit has continued to grow and is still one of the most visited websites in the world. As its online user share stays consistent, the social news aggregator has made a somewhat aggressive push in 2018 to being more video-focused and friendly. For video marketers, this is big news. And though Reddit’s video hosting services have been rolled out slowly and quietly, they could lead the way as one of the biggest storylines in 2019.
As Reddit’s advertising API continues to evolve, it will be a promising future to monitor as one of the largest websites in the world continues to explore its own untapped potential. Discover some tips and tricks for using Reddit’s new video hosting features, as well as a full breakdown on how to maximize video posts for video professionals and marketers alike.
4. Internal Talent as Content Creators
Influencer strategies can be risky and expensive, as celebrity endorsements are only as valuable as the public’s’ opinion of said celebrities. That doesn’t mean this trend is budging – in fact, some brands are doubling down on the concept, exploring digitally created influencers. But this isn’t the only route when it comes to personalities and marketing.
Closely tied to the concept of influencers is that of brand spokespeople, whose value doesn’t lie in their large followings, but in their ambassadorship. This option sees internal talent act as brand personalities, and it’s unique to the intimate nature of video content. Internal talent create added value through industry knowledge and the sincere, personal quality of their content. It also gives businesses the opportunity to tailor their branded content and create an overarching tone and voice to their content marketing that they simply can’t control with outsourced influencer content.
As an example, look to the meteoric rise of Bon Appetit’s own test-kitchen crew. These chefs-by-trade, on-screen-personalities-by-happenstance have become the beloved face of Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. In fact, Brad Leone, the former Test Kitchen Manager, has garnered such a massive following with his “It’s Alive” cooking tutorial segment that he’s reached influencer status in his own right.
Another example that’s closer to home is the internal team of video content creators at Shutterstock. This small crew has grown the brand’s YouTube presence with filmmaking and photography tutorials that inform and engage audiences and keep them coming back for more. Logan Baker, a Content Marketing Manager at PremiumBeat and Shutterstock works dually as an internal content creator for photography and filmmaking tutorials. He’s part of a growing trend of hybrid brand spokespeople and content creators that get to explore new and adventurous ways for brands to engage with audiences on a personal level.
“It’s really been about brand engagement from day one. Our goal has always been to create empathetic and actionable content for audiences, whether that’s with blog posts or video tutorials. As we’ve pushed into Youtube, it just made sense to jump in front of the camera to help tell stories, give actionable advice, and entertain.”
Not only are these videos a great way to entertain, but they also encourage an unparalleled level of engagement. Baker says, “the comment section on our YouTube videos has been eye-opening for us. The direct line of communication with our audience was on Facebook or Twitter in the past, but on YouTube it’s a true person-to-person conversation. This lets us work on projects and videos that we know people want to see. It’s kind of changed the game for our content strategy.”
5. The Second Screen Phenomenon
As people spend more time on their smartphones, a new “second screen” phenomenon is making its way into the video marketing and advertising dialogue. This second screen phenomenon describes when audiences are consuming content on a first screen, typically through broadcast television or streaming, and also browsing or viewing content on a second screen, typically a phone or tablet. While the two types of content are often unrelated – like a user watching a show on their television while online shopping on their phone – marketers see an opportunity for a more integrated second screen experience.
In 2017 it was estimated that 75 percent of adult audiences were participating in this second screen phenomenon, and that could increase to well over 80 percent in 2019. While it’s easy to peg this as bad news in terms of engagement, it could actually spell opportunity for even greater engagement and brand awareness.
Take the tech startup Mercku for example, which we featured at SXSW in 2018. It’s already finding ways to capitalize on targeted ads and marketing as part of the first screen viewing experience. “The second screen phenomenon is definitely going to grow in 2019,” says Mercku co-founder Alex Qi.
“Brands like Netflix are already experimenting with choose-your-own-adventure content and storylines. As television audiences continue to change how they watch, advertisers are going to adjust. Companies like Mercku are looking to integrate hardware and software to provide users with a lightning-fast Wi-Fi connection to stream TV, as well as have the ability to become the new TV guide with information about everything from actors to additional information on products on screen.”
For future-focused video marketers, the second screen could become as important – if not more – as the first screen in 2019.
6. 6-Second Video Ads
Vine might have died in early 2017, but the legend of its six-second videos lives on in popular culture through wildly popular YouTube compilations. There’s no doubt this super-short format captured our attention, so it makes sense that it’s finding new life in advertising.
Teased as early as 2017 from brands such as Google and Youtube, the six-second video advert is poised for a full-blown revolution in 2019. Studies have suggested that nine out of 10 six-second ads drive ad recall and a hearty 61 percent lift brand awareness. Bite-sized ads have even made it to broadcast TV with networks like FOX implementing split-screen breaks to show 6-second adverts in their National Football League broadcasts.
For video makers and marketers, the push towards shorter content isn’t a surprise. As competition for consumer attention increases, the demand has been for shorter, smarter storytelling; six-second ads are just the next iteration in the trend of snackable content. But with these ads playing a role in large paid campaigns, there’s a big focus on ROI, and more brands will work to crack the code of the perfect short form ad.
The medium presents obvious challenges for storytelling and editing. However, for video marketers with the right attitude the adjusted canvas size just opens new creative opportunities, as you can already see in some of the best six-second ads to date.
7. Brands Exploring Longform Content
On the opposite end of bite-sized six-second ads is the somewhat uncharted territory of longform branded content. Some important players like GE, IBM and BMW have already made major longform content plays in the last few years (here are seven of the best examples). This trend marks the evolution of the standard product placement from marketing gimmick to full-fledged tactic, and speaks to a decentralized filmmaking landscape. Longform strategies are new and ambitious, and the space is open for influencers and video marketers alike to find new brand partners.
For smaller businesses and brands, longform content doesn’t have to make it to theaters on a Hollywood budget. It’s social media, including YouTube and Instagram, where longform video content can find a home. From product explanations and walkthroughs to reviews and unboxing videos, brands and agencies have found creative and entertaining ways to make longform a priority and increase audience retention and engagement.
8. Live Video Looks to Twitch and Esports
It seems each of the last few years has been dubbed the Year of Live Video (or 360-degree video), and that’s held somewhat true as Vimeo, Youtube and Facebook have all made strong offerings in the space. However, while stats and engagement point in the right direction, audience reaction has been rather lukewarm and advertisers have yet to fully crack the medium’s potential.
In light of these less-than-exciting numbers, 2019 might be the year that consumer marketing starts taking cues from the industry where live-streaming is actually working: gaming. Take live-streaming video platform Twitch, which has remarkable user numbers and growing ad revenue. While esports stars like the ESPN-profiled Ninja may turn the biggest six-figure profits, Twitch is quietly growing ad and affiliate marketing revenue off their growing user base – something video content creators should keep close eyes on.
Esports in general is an industry that will soon boast over $1 billion in value and over 300 million engaged fans. (Read more about esports explosive growth here.) With the aforementioned “Ninja” leading the way, brands like ESPN and the NBA are demonstrating ways this tactic can become a dominant part of both live broadcast and online streaming, as well as a new avenue for branded content.
A few brands have made great use of live video through social and other channels as a means to communicate quickly and transparently with consumers. Take Southwest Airlines and their External Communications team. Derek K. Hubbard, a Senior Specialist, shares how their team has been able to utilize live video as a major part of their social media communication.
“For us, it begins with storytelling. Every piece of content we put out – whether that be traditional media, digital media, or even live streaming media – needs to help tell stories and engage and inform our audiences online and beyond.”
Hubbard, who’s often hosting Southwest’s live streams on Southwest’s Facebook, sees more emphasis in live video content with its greater returns in terms of brand engagement as audiences are tuning in more for important news and information from their social channels.
9. Commercials on Streaming Apps
As long anticipated, Netflix has begun testing “video promos” between episodes on their binge-friendly streaming service. This has so far been limited to promos for other Netflix shows, but is still a definite departure from the endless streaming experience. Audience response to these in-house ads has been tepid, meaning there’s an unpredictable future ahead for potential ad revenue on the platform.
Other streaming apps like Hulu have already embraced video ads and commercials, albeit on varying subscription paywall levels. In fact, Hulu’s ad revenue is less than its subscription revenue. However, as the television industry shifts towards streaming and brands such as ESPN, TBS, and AMC build out streaming services of their own, commercials are primed to once again become a staple of this new normal TV-viewing experience.
10. Video Content Agencies
While the video agency has been steadily changing over the past several decades, 2019 looks to be bringing some major updates to how companies and agencies operate. The early adopters of script-to-screen and turnkey production companies are in a good spot to transform again towards the new realm of “video content agencies.”
As the demand for diverse types of video content grows, from longform and live video to short ads and micro-social moments, brands will need comprehensive video services with creative solutions to the inexhaustible demand. As such, production companies and newly formed content agencies that can cater to this demand are in a good position in 2019.
According to Shezad Manjee, co-founder and creative director of DHD Films, a full-service content agency in Dallas, clients and brands are looking more for content partners than traditional á la carte production facilitators.
“We’ve found that, going into 2019, the conversations are rarely just about video needs. Instead, our clients are engaging us as strategy and execution partner and expect us to deliver on business outcomes. These solutions range from recruiting in a hyper-competitive landscape, using video brochures for PWC to capturing the first ever 360-degree heart transplant globally for the UT Southwestern Medical Center.”
Whether you outsource video to an agency, or you invest in an internal team to customize your content, one thing is for sure – 2019 is the year to stop thinking of video as a passing trend, instead approaching it as an essential part of your marketing strategy.
We also looked into the top digital marketing trends of 2019. Read up to get even more prepared for the year ahead.
Artwork created using images from Shutterstock contributor Dmi T