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Social video marches on

News, 18 January 2017
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GLOBAL: Social video shows no signs of losing its attraction for marketers who are achieving results through quality content and emotional engagement, and are also tapping into the new possibilities offered by live video, according to a Warc report.

Toolkit 2017, Warc's guide to six major marketing trends for the year ahead, shows that brands are structuring social video content to grab viewers' attention within three seconds – the typical window they may have while users are scrolling through their news feeds.

But the report adds that measurement will be a major challenge in 2017, especially after Facebook's admission it had been significantly overestimating average viewing times.

That said, the social networking giant's scale means that, whatever its deficiencies regarding metrics, it remains the lead platform when it comes to audience reach and popularity and so benefits from the rise of a 'broadcast' approach to social media. (Non-subscribers can download a sample of this Toolkit chapter here.)

Commenting on the trend, Ian Forrester, Global VP of Insight at Unruly, adds that while brands will often turn first to Facebook and YouTube, they should remember that many views take place outside of these two platforms. "Lots of people never go on Facebook or YouTube so consider the open web as well as part of your distribution strategy."

The Toolkit report further observes that while brands are now investing in paid distribution, sharing remains a useful indicator of engagement with a video and advises aligning the characteristics of the content to the particular behavioural factors, such as the pursuit of social currency, that motivate the engagement.

At the same time, brands need to avoid falling into the "crap trap" of bombarding consumers with inconsistent, incoherent and irrelevant messaging – something Procter & Gamble has confessed to being guilty of – and focus instead on craft and creativity.

That requirement has become urgent as so much social media use now takes place on mobile, where video may be skipped or viewed without sound. Research has shown that creative designed with the small screen and small attention span of users in mind can generate huge uplifts in ad effectiveness.

That may mean, for example, using captions or ensuring that key visual elements such as logos, are proportionally bigger than they would be in a TV ad in order to be noticed.

Data sourced from Warc

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