In just a few years, social media videos have become a ubiquitous part of the online and digital landscape. Today, approximately 81% of the US population is using social media and spending an average of 5 years and 4 months in a lifetime of it. While TV is in decline, social media videos continue to grab the attention of not only social media users seeking a quick dose of entertainment but also mainstream audiences.
For advertisers, social media videos are attractive due to their dynamic nature and ability to reach and message global audiences across many social media apps and channels. Studies have shown that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video in comparison to 10% when they read text. Moreover, videos on social are bolstered by the social media platforms on which they exist (e.g. Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users and over a third of the entire internet population is on YouTube). Here we go over eight reasons why social media video is trending with audiences.
Social media video is defined as video media which is uploaded onto a social media platform. It covers a wide range of content and primarily comes in three formats:
At least one format of social media video is on available every major social platform, though conventions differ among them.
Traditional uploads are pre-filmed content uploaded as a single video on a platform and archived within the platform. For instance, YouTubers who upload scripted skits with professional video edits will generally use the traditional upload format. Traditional uploads are generally searchable within a content creator’s video library or social media feed.
Platforms that allow traditional social media video uploads include:
Traditional social media video uploads give users an opportunity to view high-quality and well-designed videos.
Social media video that uses the disappearing upload format, commonly referred to as “Stories“, automatically disappears after a certain amount of time.
Social platforms best known for disappearing “Stories” content are:
Disappearing video uploads allow content creators to share in-the-moment content with a sense of urgency. Because disappearing uploads eventually disappear, they tend to be less refined and more authentic than traditional uploads.
Livestream broadcasts feature live video on social media. Livestream broadcasts can be disappearing or archivable, depending on which platform is used.
Livestreams that become archived and subsequently exist as traditionally uploaded videos can be found on:
Livestreams that disappear are uploaded on:
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Social media’s popularity is incontestable, and its video content is the same. The best social media videos and content stand out from other video formats, such as television or OTT streaming, because it tends to be created by the most popular social media influencers and channels, short-form, and quickly digestible.
In particular, there are eight primary reasons why social media videos are hugely popular with audiences.
1. Archived content – Because all social media videos are tagged on a single social media platform, it is easy for audiences to navigate to recall historic content. Archives of content mean that there are large quantities of video available for audiences to binge watch or to watch over a long period of time.
2. Shareable – Social media video’s short-form content makes it easy to share. When audiences circulate social media video, they are exercising deliberate intent to reach out and grab others’ attention. Moreover, audiences who view social media video circulated by their friends are most likely to enjoy and engage with the video because their friends have tastes similar to their own. When social video is shared from friend to friend, automatic connections are formed between the viewer and the video similar to the way a person would receive and appreciate a gift.
3. Targetable – Based on previous behaviors and stated preferences, social media platforms have algorithms that match specific content to specific people. Platform discovery options are powerful tools that expose audiences to new and overlooked social media video content.
4. Authentic – In general, social media video is less polished than traditional cinema and television. As a result, social video translates as authentic and direct, which reaches audiences well. Audiences can identify well with social media influencers, who they find relatable, giving way to direct and memorable content.
5. Attention – Videos on social media demand attention from audiences. Disappearing content, in particular, pushes audiences to regularly revisit social media platforms to view content before it disappears. This practice commands a high level of attention from social media users that like to stay on top of the most recent trends, news, breaking stories, and timely content from favorite social media influencers.
6. Algorithms – In many social media platforms, video content is prioritized over other forms of content. Platform algorithms are placing more importance on video content and giving more viewing opportunities to video. Because social video is being prioritized by platforms, influencers are creating more video content to increase their chances of being discovered by new users.
7. Commenting – Social media video is also accompanied with a public forum, usually in the form of a comments section. Social media users can engage with videos by liking and commenting on the video. Consequently, social video is often accompanied by engaging, often humorous opinions that embody memes themselves.
8. Monetization opportunity – So long as social media video content comes with monetization opportunities, it will never die. Sponsorship opportunities encourage content creators to create social media videos, since videos have more types of ads available than any other form of media on any platform. From native mid-roll ads to in-video endorsements, social video provides content creators ample opportunity to monetize their work.
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Brands are using social media videos by either creating their own content or partnering with seasoned social media content creators. While social media video created by a brand can be powerful for brand messaging, partnering with social media influencers ultimately give brands the reach they are looking for on social media.
Because social media influencers are already well-connected, brands can create sponsored content with a specific influencer to reach that influencer’s audience in the most authentic way. Influencer sponsorships are an effective advertising solution for brands looking to overcome the social video learning curve. We’ve provided three examples of outstanding social media video created by influencers and sponsored by a brand.
Tech influencer and product reviewer Lewis of YouTube channel Unbox Therapy is known for his unboxing videos and product demonstrations. Here, he is shown partnering with McDonald’s in a paid sponsored video wherein he “unboxes” and reveals how McDonald’s has caught up with tech. The video maintains a tone that is consistent with his original videos. Through Unbox Therapy, McDonald’s reached nearly 3 million members of the YouTube community.
Top entertainment influencer and social media star Lele Pons is best known for her hilarious skits on life’s oddities. In her Next Games sponsored video, Lele and her friends have become a part of The Walking Dead video game app, dealing with high-maintenance zombies and relationship issues. The video authentically ties in Lele’s tone and content making it digestable to readers, and was one of the top ten trending videos of July in 2017.
Beauty and LGBTQ YouTuber Ingrid Nilsen is known in the YouTube community for her candor and natural look. Ingrid partnered with Origins in this video and integrated Origin’s GinZing eye cream in a morning skincare routine tutorial. Ingrid makes the eye cream the center of her video and explains that it is one of the secret products she uses for a perfectly made-up face.