Native video took social marketing by storm in 2015. How did that play out across platforms?
In 2015, social marketers mastered native video just as it became the fastest-growing ad form on social media. We broke down all of the year’s most successful videos to find exactly what was going on on different social media platforms, and found the trends that drove social marketing to a new dimension – and will continue to define great social marketing in 2016.
By July 2015, the world’s top brands consistently posted between 2500-3000 native Facebook videos every month. Their audiences were already accustomed to seeing so many excellent native videos – celebrity pages had been posting at that rate since March. But brands caught up to those pages, mostly. For instance, celebrity pages posted 60% more native Facebook videos than the top brand pages did in November 2014. One year later, the top brands actually posted native videos 8% more often than their celebrity counterparts, and those native posts made up almost all of the brands’ video interactions.
Native videos spread beyond Facebook in 2015, as well. In September, Twitter native videos finally surpassed videos cross-posted from YouTube on that network.
Twitter was also the first major home of live-streaming video, when its Periscope tool overtook Meerkat as the world’s premier social media video live-streaming service. When Periscope went live, it reduced the number of daily Meerkat tweets by 4x, before basically knocking the streaming video network out entirely.
Other interesting trends from Twitter in 2015:
Native video was the main news for marketers around the web, but it wasn’t the only major change to pass. Some of the year’s most innovative marketing developments came from social media videos.
One of the best ad moments of the year was when the new Star Wars promotion came out on Facebook – and viewers realized they could finally, completely immerse themselves in the desert world Jakku. While their avatar rode a speeder through the sand, Facebook users were free to gaze in 360° awe at their surroundings – and they did, almost 7 million times, while interacting with it more than 350,000 times in total.
That post was a perfect introductory use-case to 360° videos. This format is tailor-made for worlds that viewers already want to immerse themselves into (think films, games, and children’s toys like LEGO), but it can also more fully flesh out the worlds that your product is meant to enrich. If you’re a beer brand, think of producing a 360° tour of your beer’s perfect party – a beach, a swanky nightclub, a family barbecue. In that respect, 360° video represents the greatest opportunity marketers have yet had to completely define their brand.
On both YouTube and Facebook, video lovers have been going wild for immersive video. These were the three best-performing videos from both networks.
Both formats have been around for years, but in 2015, Facebook finally added full GIF support. That led to some great GIF advertising.
And no, GIFs aren’t videos per se – but cinemagraphs are. And as GIFs began spreading wildly and 3rd party apps like GIPHY inspired Facebook users to communicate via animated images, cinemagraphs – which are videos! – became a more crucial part of the creative marketing mix.
In 2015, we definitely found that you should be posting native social media videos. But the real takeaway – truly the lesson for 2016 – is that as social video becomes even more complex and well-mined territory, you can’t let the tech define your message. Instead, brands need to find how their message can be enhanced by novel content forms.
Understand your audience, create more effective content to engage and grow your customer base, and measure social media’s impact on your business goals.