From Facebook Live to vertical video, explore the past, present and emerging trends that could inform and influence your video marketing strategy.
Ever since the advent of YouTube in 2005, the use of video online has grown exponentially.
6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TVTHINK With Google
As businesses have become aware that audiences are shifting away from traditional media, like newspapers, magazines and television—6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV—they’ve increasingly incorporated video content into their marketing strategies.
So much so that two thirds of advertisers shifted budgets from TV to digital in 2018 alone. Over time, some of the new and innovative strategies for using video in marketing have resonated with viewers so effectively that more and more companies have adopted them in their marketing, thus creating video marketing trends.
Brands such as Coca-Cola used video in record numbers in 2014 to throw themselves behind great causes, including the most talked-about social video challenge of the year, the Ice Bucket Challenge, which aimed to raise money for ALS.
2014 was the year that 13-year-old Little League Baseball pitching sensation Mo'ne Davis graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, and it was also the year that brands like Always decided to take on the derogatory term “… like a girl”.
The more emotionally moving a video ad is, the more likely we are to share it with our social networks. This was the year that funny videos gave way to videos that tugged at our heartstrings, like this one by UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.
After launching video ads in 2014, the world’s largest social network, Facebook, became a serious challenger to YouTube in 2015. Brands such as BuzzFeed took advantage of Facebook’s feature-rich platform to develop content that targets niche audiences, like its cookery how-to videos for its food brand, Tasty.
This was the year that saw luxury fashion brands getting up to speed on YouTube, with resounding success. This terrific Jimmy Choo video, created with Artist Rafael Mantesso, became the YouTube video with the highest engagement rate upon release.
In 2015, only six of the top 100 YouTube channels were actually brands, but 2015 was the year that saw brands begin to use YouTubers such as JackAsk to promote their products and services to fans.
Facebook's 360-degree videos were introduced towards the end of 2015 but started to take off in 2016, with National Geographic being named as one of the top 10 performers on the platform.
Instagram’s 15-second video slots didn’t leave much room for story development, but brands like Ikea started to turn out superb short form video content as a result.
An explainer video helps users to understand how a product or service could make their lives easier, and in 2016 this sort of utility-focused online video took off, with brands like Spotify making excellent use of the format.
One of the most important 2017 video marketing trends was the explosion of brand video specifically designed to align brands with higher values and a sense of social duty. The New York Times used its ‘The Truth is Hard to Find’ campaign to highlight the importance of journalism in a world that is growing progressively more fractured.
Another of the video trends for 2017 was the use of video by brands like Volvo to tell stories that connect emotionally with customers, show their purpose and core values, and connect their products and services with an experience that transcends the mundane.
2017 was the year in which the number of mobile video views surpassed desktop. The combination of the proliferation of smartphones, cheap bandwidth, and a shift towards watching whatever, whenever and wherever we want, means that mobile views of online videos, like those by GoPro, were trending upwards drastically.
Top video marketing trends in 2018 included live video, whether on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. US retailer J. Crew, for example, regularly made use of live video on Instagram to offer exclusive deals for a limited time to faithful followers.
The popularly of the 1:1 screen ratio grew considerably in 2018, with brands such as Benefit Cosmetics creating mobile-optimized video that displayed best on their preferred platform.
Short-lived videos became a favourite of brands such as Daily Harvest because, although they may have a narrower reach, they create a sense of urgency for the audience, resulting in higher engagement rates.
2019 was the year that text versions of audio content became a must-have rather than a nice-to-have, and responsible brands stepped up to the plate to make content accessible to all.
Video on Instagram had been around for a few years, but this was the year we all really started paying attention to vertical video becoming THE format for the mobile. Fashion brand Chanel kept it classy and showed us how it’s done.
As brands sorted out their approach to video content, they also realised what was resonating with their audiences – leading to video series’ being the obvious choice to capture and keep the attention of viewers. We saw leading examples from brands like Western Union.
It’s now fairly widely accepted that there’s no better advertisement than consumers plugging your products to other consumers, and user-generated content (UCG) became a very capitalized-on tactic in 2020 for harnessing authenticity. It was done especially well by Google Australia in their ‘Here to Help’ campaign.
Bringing creative concepts to life, fluid animation took off in 2020. Featuring constant, swirling movement, we saw vibrant backgrounds and emotionally charged visuals in a year where shooting live action video – particularly in public places – was rarely viable.
Channelling the ‘80s themes of retro and cyberpunk, gradients gave us striking backgrounds which still effectively highlighted text and other elements. See it in action in this sneaker campaign by Chilean department store chain, Paris.
Interactive videos do exactly what they say on the tin: engage viewers by directly interacting with them. Shoppable videos are some of the first tangible examples to hit the market, where viewers can purchase items directly through drop-down menus linking to product pages. Big brands like Ikea have jumped on board but there are also examples of interactive films, not to mention the ever-evolving interactive options on live streams.
Personalization gives you a leg up in what can seem an impossible task – standing out from the crowd. By taking the recipients personal information and using it to sub bespoke content into a video, personalized videos are a step up from the well-trodden personalized email and when done well, can be very shareable. Cadbury, for example, recently ran a video campaign called GLOW using data from their existing accounts.
With more and more high-quality video content and search engine algorithms easily matching pace, it’s essential to keep with the crowd by maximizing your video SEO. Things like file names, titles and descriptions will obviously be helpful, but so will adding subtitles and closed captions or using original thumbnail images – Google has plenty of information to find out more.
Animation is the new school old school, an evergreen tool for sparking attention and one that is set to gain evermore momentum in 2021. Relatively easy to produce, animation can add a playful element to your marketing content. Take a look at this advertisement from Paypal to see what we mean.
It nearly goes without saying that social media videos will continue to grow in popularity in 2021. Brands have embraced Instagram Reels and TikTok, with the likes of MAC Cosmetics and Sephora just some of those leading this trend. As an extension, ephemeral video (one’s that disappear after a set amount of time, like 24 hours) and vertical videos are trends unto themselves.