Once upon a time, an ad was an ad, a show was a show, and a viral video was a viral video. Ah, how quaint.
Now, things are different. While there’s no question that the much-discussed pivot to video is practically complete, the channels where videos appear—and how they look—are transforming. More than 60% of marketers still see video as “very important to their strategy,” and social media posts containing video get 50% more views than those without. This consensus, however, has taken shape over a shifting landscape.
So where, exactly, does today’s best video marketing exist, and how might videos look in the future?
Strike while the platform is hot
No matter how eye-catching a video ad may be, it’s destined to fall flat if it doesn’t appear on the right platform. However, understanding what “right platform” even means is no small task. For marketers, the playing field is always changing, and that means close attention to the action—and learning when it’s time to abandon ship.
Consider the case of Vine, the erstwhile influencer hub where six seconds was all it took to achieve short-lived fame or a serious boost to the bottom line. In 2014, nearly 40% of brands used Vine for marketing or advertising. Two short years later, the service was shuttered, leaving strategists to recalibrate and seek out the next big thing.
“Vine died as it lived: confusing people who didn’t use it, even as evidence of its influence surrounded them,” wrote tech and media reporter John Herrman for the New York Times. Now, of course, there’s a Vine replacement in town: TikTok. And much like its six-second predecessor, TikTok is a source of confusion to some and a major opportunity to others.
With a reported one billion monthly active users, it’s no wonder brands are rushing to partner with influencers and get their branded content onto the app.
“Brands have moved from just testing out TikTok to making it a budget line item or creating dedicated campaigns for TikTok specifically,” says Krishna Subramanian, the founder of influencer marketing firm Captiv8. And though TikTok is a newer piece of brands’ toolkits compared to Twitter or Instagram, the share of people who have seen an ad on the platform in the last year has nearly doubled.
So how does this marketing move materialize in the TikTok universe? The platform now offers several types of ads, including in-feed ads, category-specific brand takeovers—which are guaranteed to appear right when a user opens the app—and branded effects like stickers and custom filters with influence stretching far and wide.
Take HelloFresh. The meal kit company created a video challenge inviting its audience to show off its cooking skills with #HelloFresh, garnering 65 million views in the process.
@hellofresh What should I make next? 🤔#tortillatrend #food #cooking #fyp #hellofresh #foryoupage ♬ Get On It – Chris Alan Lee
Fashion label Stella McCartney, meanwhile, employed in-feed ads with an external link to subtly drive traffic to a new season’s collection. In the process, it also amassed 3 million impressions and gained 8,000 new followers. Not bad for a 7-second ad.
The future of disruption is… passive?
In contrast to the full-screen, immersive ads of TikTok, another channel is taking a more camouflaged approach to melding video content with marketing.
Twitch, the interactive content streaming platform, was founded in 2011 and has become especially popular for video gamers. Every month, hundreds of millions of visitors tune in to watch their favorite streamers play games in real-time, tell a few jokes, or simply just hang out. It might be tempting, then, for a creator to simply pause the action for a quick ad every few minutes.
But Twitch is channeling its roots and experimenting with a different method. In describing the appeal of Twitch, Ars Technica editor Sam Machkovech describes a socializing effect akin to the arcades of decades past. “People gathered and they could actually hear each other… the experience of Street Fighter was you’d put your quarter up and wait your turn [to play]… There’s this social clique-iness.”
Naturally, a lively chat around an arcade machine wasn’t likely to be suddenly interrupted by an advertisement. That helps explain why Twitch recently launched Stream Display Ads. Instead of pausing to feature a video or more traditional commercial, Stream Display Ads appear under or around an ongoing stream, allowing viewers to follow along seamlessly—all while being marketed to.
Twitch wants, in its own words, for “creators to have the opportunity to earn additional income via advertising while building their communities, without the interruption that comes with standard video ads.”
A pivot to professionalism with LinkedIn
Video marketing isn’t all fun and games, however—sometimes, it’s strictly business. A fast-growing video marketing medium is LinkedIn; according to research from Wyzowl, 68% of marketers plan to include LinkedIn video in their 2022 strategy.
What’s the allure of the professional networking site? For B2B marketers especially, LinkedIn brings a new way to create original content that sticks. Even more, LinkedIn’s video infrastructure targets the most relevant audience—a crucial feature in a social media landscape that inundates visitors with video ads.
LinkedIn lets marketers leverage several different types of video to grow their brand. These include both embedded videos from channels like YouTube and Vimeo, as well as native video and LinkedIn ads.
Native video offers marketers a more hands-on way to ensure their content doesn’t get lost in the mix. That’s because it integrates LinkedIn’s “Matched Audiences” tool, which brings together your existing first-party data—such as email lists and website traffic—with LinkedIn’s own source of professional data. Then, you can ensure your videos appear in the feeds of the right accounts and stakeholders. These audience-specific videos also incorporate add-ons like lead generator buttons, making the challenge of ongoing engagement and email capture a little easier.
As Kaydee Bridges, Goldman Sachs’ VP for Digital and Social Media, described, “While our videos can be long—up to 3 minutes—we are seeing deep engagement.” But it’s not just industry giants who stand to benefit. Small companies aiming to catch the attention of decision-makers are more likely to do so through LinkedIn, due to the fact that “executives tend to watch work-related video on business websites (75%) far more often than they watch such content on YouTube (51%).”
So whether it’s tapping into buzzy platforms, channeling the nostalgia of pre-internet games, or leaning into a professional network, video’s place in the world of digital marketing is anything but static.