Movies. They are important from both an artistic perspective and as educational tools. And their language, the language of the body in motion, the reflection of life as we know it, is a universal one. From the glory of the 70mm epics to the intimacy of home videos, movies do more than entertain us, they connect us, reaching forward and backwards through time in order to capture the breadth of the human experience.
However in the age of social media, that experience has been fundamentally changed. We are always connected, all the time, and as technology advances so too do the limits of the experiences we can capture on video.
And as we move into the post-influencer era, video content is proving to be a way for brands and creators to, not only provide a range of experiences and content, but authentic ones at that.
The Appeal of Video Content in the Post-Influencer Era
From Reels to TikTok to Stories to Lasso, it seems like every major social media player has launched a dedicated video content service. Fueled by the rise of new social media platforms, today’s video content is bridging the gap between the home movies of the past and the professional quality of feature films and television. It is also changing the way we consume video content.
In the United States, 85% percent of internet users use their devices to watch video content online. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2022 videos will make up more than 82% of consumer internet traffic. And it’s not hard to see why. Video content appeals to consumers because it is easy to digest and engaging. And as technology and the platforms powered by it advance, it becomes more and more accessible, both to consume and to create.
Short-form Versus Long-form
The video content of today is most easily divided into two categories: short-form and long form, with each being suited to different tasks. This division of content is part of what makes the medium extremely versatile when it comes to content creation, whether for entertainment or marketing purposes.
How TikTok and its Competitors are Redefining Short-form Video
Most of us will be familiar with the way TikTok has iterated upon the efforts of proceeding platforms and competitors to revolutionize short-form videos. While apps like Snapchat and the now defunct Vine, popularized short-form video content as a way to connect with peers on social media, it was TikToks built-in editing features and inherent musicality that set it apart. And with the platform’s phenomenal success, came a wave of imitators and competitors.
First up was Facebook’s Lasso. Launched in 2018 to little fanfare, the TikTok clone was subsequently shut down in July of this year. Shortly after, the company began testing its second short-form offering under the Instagram brand, Reels.
Reels is an add-on to Instagram Stories, and essentially brings TikTok style editing features to Instagram’s established user base. And while there are few technical differences between the two offerings, where they are really differentiated is in the content being created.
The success of TikTok is due in large part to the kind of environment cultivated on the platform. Big with Gen Z, TikTok content for the most part doesn’t take itself too seriously, embracing silliness in order to provide entertainment.
Meanwhile, even though it is still undergoing a slow-rollout from region to region, a quick scan through the existing content is enough to spot how Reels content differs. The aspirational, more serious and professional vibe that defined the “influencer era” of the last decade, is very much front and center on the Instagram extension.
However, these two different approaches essentially give brands two competing avenues to targeting slightly different demographics, two different stables of influencers, and two ways of expressing themselves through one medium.
The Juggernaut that is Youtube
And then there’s YouTube. While the battle for short-form supremacy is being kept interesting by TikTok’s current political woes, in the long-form arena YouTube dominates. With 1 billion users, there is simply no other long-form video content platform providing the same amount of exposure. More importantly, because membership is free, YouTube relies heavily on ad revenue, which has a direct impact on its content. To put it plainly, the videos on YouTube are trending longer.
These longer videos tend to incorporate more ads. However, this coincides with a trend that sees users spending a majority of their time consuming videos over 20 minutes long, making long-form video the intersection for user and brand interests.
Furthermore, brands like RedBull are taking advantage of this trend and the versatility of the video medium to offer up diverse entertainment that stays true to their image while expanding their audience. In this way, Redbull has leveraged the reach of YouTube and the impact of video to transition smoothly into the realm of media publishing. They are a prime example of how to use video to boost a brand’s overall offering to consumers.
The Art of Storytelling
Video content is many things. It is the dominant form of internet media, a great return on investment for brands, and, in it’s short-form iteration, the trend that social media platforms are hedging their continued success on. But at its simplest, video content is the art of visual storytelling. And as the tools for recording, editing, and scoring our lives become more accessible, the stories we get to tell and the people who tell them become more diverse. Video content is the future of influencer marketing not simply because it is “marketable”, but because it is changing how we relate to each other.
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