Video marketing: Evolution and current trends

If video wasn’t a part of your day-to-day life at the start of 2020, it certainly was by mid-March. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of many digital trends and new modes of communication on a global scale. The latest stats point to a 60% increase in video consumption worldwide since the pandemic began.

While we anticipate social distancing numbers will shift back to pre-pandemic levels throughout 2021, the value of video is here to stay.

Video evolution and its effect on marketing

To see where video is headed, it’s helpful to take a peek at the past. We’ve come a long way since 1941, when the first TV ad aired during a Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies game, promoting a wristwatch to baseball fans.

The dawn of the internet age catapulted video marketing from a television affair to your computer — then eventually to your smartphone and tablet. In February 2005, YouTube hit the scene, and seven months later, the channel’s first viral video — a Nike ad — hit one million views.

Today, one billion hours of video are watched daily on the platform. Facebook videos have 8 billion views per day and 11% of all the content uploaded is video.

The benefits of video marketing can be seen in the numbers. Take these stats from the Wyzowl Video Marketing Statistics 2020 report:

• 96% of people watched a video to learn more about a product.

• 84% of people decided to buy a product after watching that brand’s videos.

• 66% of people said their preferred way to learn about a product was by watching a short video versus the next-highest method of reading text (18%).

• People are twice as likely to share videos with friends than other content types.

It’s a digital world, and many consumers spend hours per day scrolling through feeds on their phones. For their thumbs to pause on your content, you have seconds to stand out. That’s where video comes in.

Video marketing trends for 2020 and beyond

The need for a brand to embrace video is clear. But the space is getting crowded as more videos are lobbed online. In 2020 and into 2021, marketers need to develop videos that are strategic, interactive and creative. Here are nine video trends to consider.

• 360-degree video and virtual reality. This technology lets your fans sit in the driver’s seat of a product and take it for a spin in a variety of environments you can control — without the costs and logistics of physically transporting people to these locations.

• Animation. Animation is a great option for illustrating your abstract ideas, products that are in the concept stage and locations where live-action shots aren’t doable. There’s no limit on where animation can take you, and it’s a great way to add a dose of modern flair to an established brand.

• Behind the scenes content. We’re eating up authentic glimpses into others’ lives during video conferences, and your fans want the same from their favorite brand. Show the unscripted side of your company. That passionate guy who’s been assembling engines on the line for decades. Your engineering team designing the next big thing. Templates, graphics and standard intros and outros can help less-produced videos stay on-brand.

• Live video. Authentic, behind-the-scenes content can be hosted on live videos on Facebook and YouTube. These provide channel-specific content to your followers and allow them to virtually attend events like product releases and educational talks. Taking live events further by hosting Q&As during the broadcast allows you to engage with viewers in real-time and make meaningful connections. Platforms often prioritize live videos in algorithms, so a live video is more likely to be seen by your followers, as well.

• Search optimization. For searchable platforms like YouTube, having search-optimized videos is a must to ensure that your content pops up when someone is searching for a how-to or product. Adding relevant keywords, hashtags, tags, file names, titles, descriptions and closed captions boosts the likelihood that your videos will rank in search results and grab more views.

• Platform-specific video. Today most social media platforms support native video. However, the format and length of that video varies based on the purpose of your channels. Heading into 2021 and beyond, we’re seeing brands develop tailored video strategies for their channels, giving fans unique experiences on each platform. That’s particularly true with long-form mobile video content, which requires a long-term strategy to get right. IGTV launched in 2018, and the platform is a rising star for showcasing longform video, including tutorials, Q&A discussions, behind-the-scenes looks at your brand and more.

• Ephemeral content. Social sites with temporary content that’s only available for a brief time, like Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories, are increasing in popularity and offer video a real-time, personal feel. Most channels either offer this functionality or are in the process of rolling it out, including YouTube Stories, LinkedIn Stories and Twitter Fleets. Followers view ephemeral content immediately before it disappears, so you’ll want to create content that feels exclusive and timely. The main goals of temporary content should be to produce an immediate response (e.g. read an article or sign up for a newsletter) or boost engagement (respond to a question, share user-generated content).

• Testimonials. Customer testimonials aren’t new, but their popularity isn’t slowing down as we look into 2021. Prospective customers find reviews from other users much more believable than a manufacturer’s message. There’s nothing like seeing someone’s face light up with emotion when discussing how a product has helped him or her grow their business.

• Dynamic shooting equipment. Video shoots are no longer limited to a boxy camera fastened to a tripod. With drones, gyro stabilizers and point-of-view cameras that can be fastened onto a moving product, you can get much more dynamic, in-the-action footage to engage your audience and tell a more well-rounded story.

Ready to breathe new life into your video strategy for 2021? Explore your options and have some fun.