If content is king, then video is the crown prince
Video as a social medium came on leaps and bounds through 2016 in various different ways. 60% of marketers say they use it within their marketing strategies, with 73% of the rest planning to implement it in the near future.
The obvious reason for the increase is a widening availability of 4G connections in combination with larger mobile screens. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also made the integration of native video much smoother and easier to integrate into users’ timelines. With ‘5G’ drawing closer to release, video streaming will only get cheaper, quicker and more popular in the next 12 months.
Live video streaming has also picked up, particularly on Facebook. Although it’s now been around for a while, politicians like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn popularised the use of livestreaming in the last year to share rallies and events. It was then picked up by both main candidates in the US general election, and by major news outlets across the western world to share breaking news and events. In December, Facebook also began rolling out targeted digital and TV ads for FBLive in a bid to encourage normal people to use it as well. This is mainly in order to gain further information as to how people interact with livestreams and potentially encourage native Facebook content in the same vein as Netflix or normal TV in the future. Who knows, maybe in a few years’ time we’ll be watching the season finale of Westworld live on Facebook.
Also look out for a lot more 360 video content. The advent of Samsung’s VR Gear and 360 Gear will only popularise this even further. This will help people to share the experience of being in a stadium, on a roller-coaster or even skydiving from the comfort of their sofa. Marketers can create experiential marketing events without even getting the customer to leave the house.
Negative reactions surrounding how the UK’s European Union Referendum & US Election in 2016 were conducted can provide insight into how brands might present themselves in 2017. People all over the world vented their frustrations democratically by voting for what they perceived to be their most authentic and ‘in-touch’ option. This will continue to be demonstrated in how brands present themselves to customers. People want a real representation of what’s being given to them, and don’t have time for superlatives anymore. Brands who capitalise on this feeling sooner rather than later will benefit greatly.
This authenticity trend also extends to influencer marketing. Consumers cite authenticity as a major reason for following an influencer (whether this is an expert, celebrity or YouTube channel). They also state that strong personal affinity is extremely important. This will see more and more brands start to use ‘micro-influencing’ in order to target specific groups of people with several different kinds of influencers. For example, to renew popularity in cruise holidays, P&O cruises might team up with young, affluent family YouTube vloggers to highlight how much value-for-money a cruise can give. This would help rejuvenate a sector that has conventionally served an older market. At the same time, running a TV ad campaign with a celebrity who holds high regard among older generations would appeal to their base.
Convergence of e-commerce & social media
Negroponte’s model of convergence is a favourite of many a business school lecturer from Telford to Timbuktu. In raw terms it states that – over time – computing, communications and content will converge until they are one and the same. This has more or less occurred save for the fringes; relics of the 20th Century like print journalism.
The next phase of this convergence is already creeping into fashion, but 2017 will be its showcase. 3rd party companies are already developing bots to be used on social media platforms – namely Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – where users can simply message the brand to purchase from them through that platform. This has massive implications for FMCGs, particularly fast-food & delivery chains, supermarkets, and Amazon. It also gives these social channels a slice of the humongous pie that is online retail. It diversifies them away from advertising and big data, and spreads risk in the event of further players coming to those tables.
Overall, 2017 will be the make-or-break year for whether or not further automation benefits the marketing industry. Alongside the potential of integrating ecommerce with social media, the expansion of programmatic campaigns are also a given, reducing the amount of work needed to analyse a campaign’s particulars.
From all of us at KVA Digital (including Woody), have a happy and prosperous New Year!
Written by Andrew Thomson