As digital marketing has evolved in recent years, producing video material has become increasingly important. Every digital marketer worth his or her salt today knows that producing absorbing video content which truly reels consumers in should be considered an essential facet of a marketing campaign. And the key millennial generation has been shown to be statistically far more attracted to video than any other form of content (although engaging photographs can also very successfully attract this group).
At the same time as video is becoming such an important marketing tool, it is also important to emphasise that the social media sphere is becoming more complex. Social media marketing has become a central aspect of the digital approach, and it is an excellent way to ensure that content becomes viral very quickly.
Dominant Social Platforms
With this in mind, three social video platforms have previously been incredibly dominant. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all attract vast amounts of traffic, and although they have had varying degrees of success in achieving profitability, the future of these three sites appears extremely secure.
However, at the same time the big three are increasingly being challenged by the new social media plurality. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn have achieved rapid growth in a short period of time, and a contemporary marketing strategy must now take these young upstarts into consideration. And at the same time, the existing heavyweights of the social media and video sphere are attempting to reassert their predominance.
Facebook Expands Video Operation
Recent initiatives that Facebook has entered into indicate that the social media site, , is intending to take YouTube head-on in the battle for video supremacy. This might seem like something of a losing battle considering the market penetration of YouTube, and also the fact that people solely visit the YouTube site in order to view videos. Facebook has certainly become associated with video to a certain extent, but its overall content is obviously more diverse than YouTube.
YouTube has become so successful with attracting people to create their own personal life viewing experiences that it is currently considered to be the second largest search engine in the world. Once YouTube has attracted people to the website, it has been proven statistically that displaying related content can still drive discovery more than any other aspect of engagement.
So Facebook is playing catch-up to a certain extent, and has a slightly different approach to video. Facebook effectively chooses videos for its users, with the selected material displayed in the newsfeed on an individual’s Facebook homepage. Facebook has moved in recent months and years to ensure that video is a more central part of the Facebook experience, but there is one fundamental difference to YouTube. Searching for video on Facebook is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and users are effectively faced with the situation of watching what the social platform offers up or watching nothing at all.
Aside from the embedded approach which Facebook is attempting, there also grounds for comparison with regard to content distribution. This is something that YouTube has worked very hard to develop, with most analysts believing that Facebook needs to rebrand and develop before it can be considered a viable television viewing platform. Where Facebook does have an advantage over YouTube in this department is that it offers a truly social platform, which is becoming increasingly important in all manner of digital experiences. If Facebook can create the same quality of content that YouTube delivers then it could seriously rival the dominant video platform.
YouTube is also delivering significantly more premium content than Facebook, but as the number of people engaging with the social media platform closes on that of YouTube’s viewing figures this could conceivably change. Ultimately, the creators of content will decide this marketplace, and if they perceive that Facebook provides a superior platform then this will be a significant blow for YouTube.
While Facebook is currently redoubling its attempt to challenge YouTube, other sources are also attempting to unseat the market-leader. Twitter, Snapchat and Meerkat/Periscope are all offering unique video-based experiences, and the future of the genre will very much depend on delivering intelligent, flexible serialized content for customers which they can access on their own terms.
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