Video Trends for 2017

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By digging into the evolution of Snapchat, and the rise/fall of other online video platforms, we can learn where the medium is heading — and how brands of all types and sizes can prepare for the future by evolving their content marketing strategy.

Snap Inc. (the parent company of Snapchat) had a record-breaking first day of trading and, at this point, it’s safe to say that video platforms can be classified as a permanent fixture on the digital landscape.

If you had any reservations about the inevitable transition taking place in video at the moment, consider that NBCUniversal, a power player in the network television and film studios industry, invested $500 million in Snap’s IPO. 1

While NCBUniversal has been known to invest in digital-first media companies, such as BuzzFeed and Vox, the strategic investment in Snapchat is one way for the legacy media company to guarantee it’s video content has a prominent placement on one of the most popular social media apps.

While video is only one component of Snapchat’s features, it is one of the platform’s features that has experienced an explosion in use. Snapchat may have started as a messaging and photo-sharing app — made popular by the fact that content disappeared after a short period of time — but by 2016 video views were up to 10 billion a day. That number represents a 150% increase in video content consumption on the social media app in under a year.

online video growth chart snapchat

At the time the video views used in this graph were released (2016), Snapchat had a 100 million daily active users. As of March 2017, that user base has jumped to 160 million. Source: TechCrunch

Snapchat may be the latest and lucrative (as of this article) digital video app to make news as of late, but it certainly is not the only player in the market. There are plenty of online video platforms that came before Snapchat and also helped shape the online video industry into what it is today. Twitter’s Vine was online video sharing in micro format; Periscope and Meerkat competed for eyeballs and users in the live streaming video market; and then, of course, there is the video sharing company that came before them all: YouTube (founded on February 14, 2005).

As technology continues to become more affordable and efficient, video on digital platforms — whether in short-form on an iPhone social media app or in long-form on Samsung’s latest smart TV — will only continue to rise in popularity. However, we can’t say we didn’t see the rise of video coming: for years, market research has predicted that it was only a matter of time before online video overtook traffic on the internet. Tech giant Cisco says that by 2019, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic.2

Video killed more than just the radio star

First, it was the radio music industry that was rocked (pun intended) with MTV and VH1. Next, it was film studios and video rental companies, upset that Netflix DVD subscriptions were eliminating the need to rent or purchase a film. Currently, cable TV is struggling to capture revenue from a younger audience that is more interested in streaming videos from the internet to Chromecasts and Apple TVs. YouTube TV takes another swipe at cable TV providers that are already struggling to sign new users up for their services.

There is a very clear and distinct pattern in the way that video disrupts — and it follows patterns seen in other industries and markets. As a general rule, it is younger people that begin using a new video platform. From here, it spreads out across demographics and eventually becomes the norm (example: it was a shock when my mom joined Facebook and asked to be my friend).

For readers that are thinking, “only young kids and Millennials engage with online video — and they aren’t my customer,” think again. As a webinar host, I have seen a marked increase in the number of attendees and participants over the past three years. The webinars I host have a pretty specific audience, too: business professionals. I have yet to be asked a question by a 13-year-old girl during the Q&A portion of an Online Marketing for Your Business webinar. My audience is primarily 34-54, either a small business owner or part of a marketing department at a mid-sized company, and can be located anywhere in the United States.

In short: my webinar attendees are the average Americans…and they are consuming more and more branded content in the form of online videos. As online video proliferates, businesses that are able to incorporate online video into their natural brand identities and marketing strategies will be the ones that sprint ahead of their competitors.

Video trends for 2017

Online video was made for marketing, and you can tell from the real results it delivers: 90% of consumers have indicated that B2C product videos are a beneficial force in the decision-making process, with the average viewer exposed to 30+ marketing videos per month.3

Video is visual by nature and conveys a lot of information to the viewer quickly, concisely, and in an enjoyable format. It’s no surprise that even B2B organizations are seeing the benefits of using video as a part of their content marketing strategy. The Web Video Marketing Council reports that nearly three-quarters of B2B companies that use video say that it has a positive impact on their bottom lines.4 

After reading our video trends for 2017, if you think we left something out or would like us to provide additional details around any of the items covered, please send me an email and I’ll be sure to add. This article will be ever-evolving as new video capabilities emerge throughout the year.

My email is catherine at bigdropinc dot com.

Animated online videos

Advancements in animation have made it simple for any company to create customized, animated videos that provide real value to users and accurately reflect your brand.

In contrast to their live-action counterparts, animated videos allow you to let your inner creativity flow undisturbed. Since you are creating an entire world from scratch, the only limitations are your imagination. You have every tool available to you that will help create an engaging marketing video that will speak directly to your customers and hold their attention.

Animated videos are extremely effective when taking complex concepts and distilling them down into understandable segments, which is why they are popular with SaaS and tech companies. As technology continues to push the limits (and Silicon Valley exists), animated videos will continue to be an effective platform for businesses to engage with customers.

For some reason when perfectly intelligent people open up an internet browser, their attention spans disintegrate into that of a goldfish. The use of animated videos in your content marketing strategy is a great way to connect with your customer in a Nemo mindset. In addition to lending themselves to being chopped up into shorter segments that you can share on social media platforms, animated videos are usually under 60 seconds. When a viewer clicks ‘play’ on an animated video, they know that the content will be quick, concise, and ‘snackable’ (for lack of a better word); they know that they will be able to spend a few seconds with your content and walk away with tangible information.

If creating 60-second animated videos isn’t something your business is capable of creating (and you don’t have the budget to outsource it), you can also create micro animated videos in the form of animated GIFs.

Big Drop animated video

Above is an example of an animated GIF that Big Drop created for a branding initiative. We were able to get a lot of leverage out of this simple asset, sharing it on all our social media platforms and in this blog post.

Virtual reality and 360-degree-video

At the opposite end of the spectrum from animated video lies virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree-video. Virtual reality puts the viewer at the center of the action. However, rather that watching a two-dimensional video of a scene, you’re now part of the scene and you can look wherever you desire.

Google made big strides into virtual reality and 360-degree-videos a few years ago when it released Google Cardboard (a virtual reality viewer) at its developers conference. However, other tech companies (like Facebook and Samsung) quickly caught up and started making hardware.

While there are still a few obstacles that stand between virtual reality and a mass audience (one of which is the price tag of VR hardware systems), it is only a matter of time before the technology becomes affordable to all. In fact, on March 1, 2017, Facebook’s Oculus (one of the companies most invested in virtual reality) announced they would drop the price of their hardware.

Below are four VR video marketing examples to give you an idea of where the market is heading:

  1. Live Nation will live stream concerts via its Live Nation Channel on the NextVR app that works on Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets, as well as Hulu.
  2. North America’s first VR coaster has been debuted by Six Flags (I’ll pass on this one, as someone who is petrified of the real thing).
  3. Altoura VR lets real estate companies put renters and buyers in their next home, figuratively speaking. This VR app lets realtors put all their content into one place and then transforms it into a virtual reality version.
  4. Lowe’s Holoroom lets you design the home of your dreams. And when you’re done visualizing, low and behold, you are already in a store that has everything you need to make your dream a reality.

While VR video creation might not be feasible for 90% of businesses, it is still possible to incorporate a form of virtual reality into your online video marketing strategy.

VR has become popular because users want a more immersive experience; they want to feel as if they’re doing more than just looking at a phone or laptop. Virtual reality’s sister is augmented reality (AR) and you’ll recognize her from the Pokémon Go explosion that happened in summer 2016.

Businesses with a physical location were able to capitalize on the large volume of foot traffic being generated from Pokémon Go. By piggybacking on the popular game, local businesses were able to bring customers into their store and associate their brands with the popular game.

Website homepages with a video background

One of the biggest video design trends of 2017 is website homepages that feature a video background. In addition to being fun and engaging, video website backgrounds help users understand your business quickly.

However, creating a great video for your homepage is easier said than done — it takes a lot of strategic planning to execute properly. As with any great visual, your video must be created in such a way that it fits into the overarching design of your website and enhances the website (and doesn’t detract from it).  the design of your video

Videos on your website can be a great way to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time in their customer journey. However, used incorrectly, video can be detrimental to your website if it is hindering users from taking action and converting. For example, if you are trying to capture inbound leads for a white paper, putting a video on the landing page will only distract visitors from the action you want them to take (fill out the form and click ‘download’). Always work with a user-experience professional when deciding where to place video on your website.

If you want to use video on your website, but aren’t sure how to move forward you can always contact us. We’ll review your existing website and determine if using a video would be the right way to move forward, based on your goals.

Talk to us

Below is an example of a website that uses video on their homepage very effectively. Make Offices (a Big Drop client) has coworking spaces in three different cities around the U.S. and their target client is a startup or freelancer looking for office space that is modern and collaborative.

When you land on the Make Offices homepage, the online video automatically plays and begins a virtual tour of their offices. The visitor instantly understands what it’s like to work at Make Offices and begins thinking the possibilities that could unfold if they were a client.

Video quality is now crucial

As more and more businesses create videos as a part of their content strategy, the market will become more and more saturated. You always want your brand to stand out from the competition, in a good way. When you create a low-quality video, you stand out from the competition in a negative way.

Creating a high-quality video for your business doesn’t mean you need to invest a small fortune and hire actors; I’m referring to the resolution of the video itself. Unless you are a film studio, creating super high definition videos isn’t necessary. You want your videos to render well on mobile devices (including Apple’s Retina screens) and have the ability to be uploaded to sites like YouTube or Vimeo.

To create a high-quality video, all you need is a smartphone. Facebook Live was designed to be shot on a mobile device and there are many different ways your business can use live streaming platforms. I’ve seen a lot of realtors give virtual tours or ‘open-houses’ using live streaming services, opening a property up to a much larger audience.

Personalized marketing videos

(Disclaimer: I always save the best for last.)

Perhaps the biggest 2017 video marketing trend we’ll see is the personalization of video by using data. By combining specific information, whether about customers, products, or services, brands have already pressed play on incorporating all the data they have been capturing for the past few years into personalized marketing videos.

For many content marketers, the creation of a single video is passe because of the inability to customize it. Many view video as the equivalent of creating a TV ad spot, a piece of content that they can’t manipulate to speak to each individual viewer. Personalized video changes this static mindset and many marketers are already creating unique videos that are tailored for specific audiences, based on real-time data that is fed into a content management system.

I plan to add to this blog post throughout the year as new video production and marketing trends emerge.

If you’d like me to include a particular video content trend — or you think I forgot something! — please send me a quick email at catherine at bigdropinc dot com and I’ll add it into the next version of this article.