Over the past year, we’ve seen video innovation take off in the social space. Consider the plethora of new video apps out there, the heavy investments in new video products and tools by all major social media players, and how Facebook bested YouTube in the battle for video views. The video landscape has drastically changed, and so should your social video strategy. We’re always investigating new ways to making our content outshine the rest, so we've been closely watching the evolution of social video and taking note of how innovative brands are using video to tell their stories.
GIFs are an obvious, and not-so-new, step in video evolution. When Twitter announced the platform would support GIFs in June 2014, both brands and users took a stab at perfecting the art of the perfect reaction GIF.
Facebook, on the other hand, still falls behind in GIF-support. However, because the news feed favors auto-played video content, some brands have figured out a way to take a GIF to another level.
That new level?
While the format is not particularly new (Cinema.gram was an app that didn’t quite make it a few years ago), Cinemagraphs have made their debut on social in the past few months, thanks to Ann Street Studio.
Cinemagraphs, like GIFs, are photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. They are usually published in an animated GIF format and can give the illusion that the viewer is watching a video.
Cinemagraphs are hypnotizing, which makes them a great vehicle to capture a user's attention in a fast-scrolled-through news feed. No wonder Facebook is encouraging this format with advertisers.
One of the most recent examples: Stuart Weitzman. The fashion brand used Instagram’s video ads to show off their Cinemagraphs, then targeted those engaged users with a product ad on Facebook (thanks to custom targeting tools integrating the two platforms).
We've also noticed a revival of live streaming in the social sphere thanks for Meerkat’s popularity at SXSW and Twitter’s immediate takeover with Periscope.
On a recent influencer tour we coordinated with Visit Santa Barbara, one of our influencers impressed partners by interviewing them in real time using the Periscope app:
— Ted Nguyen (@TedNguyen) April 17, 2015
The app allowed the influencer to provide real-time information straight from the source to social media, instead of recapping it in his own words in a blog post later. Live streaming is going to bring a whole new level of transparency, authenticity and exclusivity to your brand’s content.
More to come...
These are all great steps forward in the timeline of social video evolution, but there’s more to come. We can’t wait to see how brands embrace the new video formats rolling out in 2015. From Facebook’s collaborative video experiment with Riff to 360-degree “spherical” videos possible on Facebook and YouTube, there's much to keep on your radar.
With Twitter’s native video tool rolling out in the near future, the days of sharing YouTube links may be over. Not to mention, Pinterest Ads are soon stepping up their game to feature looping video ads as a new mobile ad product for brands.
The novelty factor is huge on social. Constantly experiment with non-traditional formats to tell your brand’s story; keep your audience interested. If you want to reach a wide audience and keep that audience engaged, you need to have superior storytelling combined with superior technical execution. From looking for GIF-able moments that tease long-form video content to using the new and innovative tools like Cinemagraphs, it’s time to get your content moving.