The Essential Guide to Branded Video on Social Media
Sep 16

The Essential Guide to Branded Video on Social Media

The Time to Create Branded Video Content is Now

Marketers take note – if you aren't already doing so, now is the right time to invest in brand-owned video. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer video content (four times as many would rather watch a video about a product than read about it) and branded content is more popular than ever, with brand channel subscriptions on YouTube up 47 percent year over year.

Video will account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2019, reports Cisco. A recent Nielsen study found in the four years since 2011, almost one-third of 18- to 24-year-olds’ traditional TV viewing time has migrated to other activities like viewing digital video.

Social media platforms are the new frontier for video marketing. No longer just a source for hosting and passing along referral links, every major platform now boasts in-app video viewing that offer different opportunities that every brand should leverage.

Snapchat just surpassed 4 billion daily video views, according to the Los Angeles Times. Facebook reached that figure in April in part thanks to auto-play and better mobile functions. Facebook-owned Instagram doubled its user base between 2012 and 2015. Twitter launched an in-app, auto-play video player this year which provides for smooth integration with its own micro-video site Vine. Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope may be the newest of all the platforms, but it’s already changing how brands think of video with it’s raw, real-time content.

Of course, we can’t forget the platform that started it all: YouTube. Over 300 hours worth of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s essentially an archive for all video content, but with the sheer size of YouTube, more is required to make videos stand out above the noise and increase engagement.

While the task may be daunting, the benefits of video content creation still make it enormously valuable. Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic, and 55 percent of people watch videos every day. 65 percent of video viewers watch more than three-fourths of a video.

With a combination of meaningful, value-providing content and distribution of that content to the right platforms your brand can properly leverage the opportunities digital video provides.

The 6 Platforms You Should Be Posting On

Ready to get started? Now is the perfect time to take a closer look at the six social media platforms that are packing a powerful punch with branded video content and explore the opportunities to engage your fans on each.

Facebook is the king of consumer data just waiting to be targeted. This, coupled with its native video player that features auto-play and view counts, has resulted in engagement rates that quickly outpaced those of YouTube videos shared on the site. Brands are now beginning to upload videos to Facebook first. Even back in December 2014, native Facebook videos captured more than 80 percent of all video interactions on the platform, according to SocialBakers.

“On average, more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily,” Facebook reported in a January blog post on the shift to video on Facebook. With almost 1.5 billion users, that statistic says it all.

Brands looking to post videos natively—meaning to upload videos directly instead of linking to another source—to Facebook should focus on the advantages that auto-play and Facebook’s insights provide. The nature of autoplay means that the video begins playing without sound once users scroll to that point in their feed. Videos on Facebook need to capture a user’s attention within the first few seconds (Facebook measures views after three) even without sound. Consider compelling titles and thumbnail images to tease viewers.

On Facebook, you can also create a call-to-action that appears on the last frame of your video. These include buttons like “Learn More” which you can use to link to your brand’s website or blog and “Watch More” to share more of your brand’s videos.

Facebook Insights also provides easy-to-translate metrics for your videos like the average duration people watched your videos, whether they watched it after clicking on it or using auto-play and at what point in the video the audience began to drop off.

Remember how we mentioned all the targetable consumer data Facebook has? You can also turn your native videos into Facebook Ads to specifically achieve the objective of getting video views from consumers who will be most interested in your brand’s offerings. Facebook will no longer let you include a YouTube link in Sponsored Posts and Ads.

Instagram added the ability to upload 15-second videos in 2013. Similar to their parent company Facebook, Instagram’s videos auto-play, but they also do so without sound. Users must tap on the video to hear it, and by the time they do so a majority of the video could have already played, so it’s best to create content that doesn’t rely on sound entirely.

Instagram has the same endless looping feature that Vine famously launched. If your video captures the user’s attention, your brand message could potentially be reinforced: think of endless loop as an opportunity to make the user ask questions, enticing them to rewatch the video to see if they missed anything.

Also, remember the power of the “Instagram effect.” The filters that define Instagram attest to user tendency to prefer beautiful, authentic content over anything that’s “too shiny.”

Instagram has created more advertising-friendly environment for businesses of all sizes, which is important to note because of Instagram’s generally higher engagement rates compared to other platforms. A recent article from Digiday cites that Instagram ads get almost double the click through rate of Facebook, 1.5 percent compared to 0.84 percent, according to Salesforce.

Twitter introduced its native video player in January of this year, along with a native mobile camera and auto-play of all native videos, Vines and GIFS in June. The video’s sound only turns on once you tap the video and it expands to fill the screen.

Due to Twitter’s character limits, native videos are a clear winner in terms of illustrating your brand and messages you want to convey. Beats by Dre, for example, has used the autoplay tool to respond to customer service requests by offering a 30-second step-by-step video instructing how to connect their wireless headphones to devices.

Videos on Twitter offer an opportunity to cut through the clutter on a platform that has largely become one for listening rather than conversing due to oversaturation. Brands can also take advantage of Promoted Videos, which according to Twitter, provoke a 28 percent higher purchase intent in users than if they watched those videos as pre- or mid-roll during a 22-minute program.

Vine saw a sharp decrease in users once Instagram introduced video in 2013. However, the platform still can be an innovative way for brands to pique consumer interest and tease ideas that can be expanded upon in the text of Tweets thanks to parent company Twitter.

The platform allows for endless loops of 6-second videos that inherently demand creativity. Stop-motion is often a preferred technique to use on Vine to maximize those six seconds. Vine also uses hashtags in-app to help users find videos.

Snapchat commands the younger set of social media users, claiming over 60 percent of 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users in the U.S. are active on the service. With a 10-second video limit that disappears upon viewing (or in 24 hours, if you’re talking about a Snapchat Story), Snapchat creates a sense of urgency in users that isn’t replicated on any other platform.

However, as a result of this sense of urgency, it’s even more important that brands capture user attention in the first two seconds of their video or ad. Snapchat offers a unique opportunity for brands because while videos only last seconds, they take over a user’s entire screen.

The advertising opportunities within Snapchat are even more unique, as brands can provide pre-roll ads for media content provided by publishers in the Discover section or in Live Stories like the one from MTV’s VMAs that received 12 million views.

Periscope is the newest and most foreign product for many people. It’s owned by Twitter, which allows for seamless integration between the platforms and has assisted in it’s popularity. It’s a live-streaming app that allows users to broadcast what they’re doing in real time and others can interact by giving “hearts” to broadcasts (similar to likes on Instagram).

Once a broadcast (also known as a scope) ends, it can still be viewed for another 24 hours, but then it disappears. There are a few more terms to know: scoping refers to the act of doing a broadcast and scopers refer to the people doing the broadcast.

Periscope allows users to give a real-time glimpse into their lives, and brands can take advantage of this do-it-yourself feel with how-to and behind-the-scenes videos. Periscope also gives brands a greater ability to interact directly with their audience on an individual basis as you have access to the number of viewers of your scope.

Your Turn

The message is clear: the time is now for brands to create video content. Think about what platforms support your brand’s goals best and use them as a springboard to deliver value through video to your audience.