Why would you want to get a second opinion on which way video marketing is headed in the coming year? According to a panel at the 2014 International CES, which is being held this week in Las Vegas, brand advertisers are about to stream onto YouTube.
Plus, it never hurts to get a second opinion from the company that created the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which has tracked 365 billion video views since 2006, and has delivered, tracked and audited 3.5 billion video views across 3,000+ social video campaigns for over 400 brands including Volkswagen, Dove, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Microsoft, Warner Bros and Adidas.
So, here's a short synopsis of Unruly's top 10 social video trends for 2014:
1. New tools will emerge to help real-time marketers become more 'agile'
In 2014, we'll see the emergence of new tools and platforms to support the macro-trend towards content marketing and real-time marketing, with more brands becoming newsrooms for their niche. It will lead to greater investment in content discovery, content curation and content creation as brands vie with each other for consumers' share of mind on social platforms.
2. Brands will explore the wearable tech marketing opportunity
The next generation of advertising will see brands making use of more complex and more varied data sets to improve targeting and timing e.g. only advertising woolly hats in cities where temperatures have fallen overnight or advertising umbrellas in areas where it's forecast to rain.
3. Mobile will truly become the first screen
Engagement rates on mobile devices exploded in 2013. Looking at Unruly's campaigns alone, click-through-rates (CTR) on smartphones and tablets more than tripled. It's a trend that looks likely to continue into 2014, with mobile video predicted to increase 25-fold between 2011 and 2016, accounting for over 70 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period (Source: Cisco).
4. The Prankvert will make way for the Trackvert
The thin line between advertising and music videos became a lot thinner in 2013. Of course, product placements are nothing new. From shameless movie plugs to Hollywood being 'caught' with shopping bags, we have all seen A-listers flaunt their supposed tastes in fashion and cars for extra money over the years. But over the last few months there have been a lot more ads which could arguably be identified as both a music video and a full-blown ad. During the next few months, we expect to see a lot more ads that push the boundaries between music video and ad.
5. Social video will amplify TV spend and demand TV budgets
Social video advertising - which sits at the intersection of social, mobile and video, the three hottest trends in digital marketing - has long been overshadowed by TV. But in 2014, we are going to see social video demanding a far larger share of the marketing pie. This will be fed by the launch of Facebook's new video ad platform, while Twitter will also play a big part in 2014.
6. Brands will question the value of a view
The value of a video view will come under huge scrutiny in 2014, as more and more brands will want to know their ad is actually in view and we'll see a growing demand for guaranteed viewability. Secondly, the main purpose of digital video will change from purely brand awareness (cited by 94.6% of US media agencies as the prime objective of their campaigns) to other metrics further down the funnel. It's not just about YouTube now. Smart marketers and brands are engaging consumers in their own native environments across the Open Web.
7. Big data will be cut down to size
Did you know that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created by sales and marketing organizations every 24 hours? (source: IBM). Yet despite this overabundance of data, according to Forrester, nearly half of the 68% who said they planned to increase data-related marketing spending in 2014, saw analyzing the data as their biggest marketing challenge. In 2014 we expect to see Big Data cut down to size and broken up into smaller, more-manageable pieces. After all, Big Data is most useful when combined with human thinking rather than seeking to replace it.
8. Facebook will shake up the video ecosystem
Facebook introduced its much-anticipated video advertising stream at the end of 2013.It means that rather than just embeddable videos, brands can now place auto-play ads directly into users' news feeds. It's a game-changing move by the social network, with Morgan Stanley predicting Facebook video ads could be worth $1billion market to the social media giant by the end of 2014, a figure which could rocket to $5.5 billion by 2019.
9. More brands will play the long game with short form video platforms
Whether you wanted a six-second fix or your 15 seconds of fame, the short-form revolution, led by Vine and Instagram Video, was certainly a big feature of 2013. Brands experimented with short form content in 2013, but in 2014 we'll see platforms such as Vine and Instagram being integrated more meaningfully into marketing programmes. New players like Snapchat, Line and Keek will also have their say as advertisers look to make the most of this new trend of 'ephemeral content' over the coming months.
10. Brands will make it big in Brazil
With a massive year for football ahead, it's highly likely a brand will pick up on the combination of music, football and exhilaration to create a crossover video that hits the back of the net. The World Cup in 2014 is a huge opportunity for brands hoping to make it big in Brazil, which was recently dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as the "social media capital of the universe". What's more, Brazil is a country of self-confessed video junkies. It boasts the highest levels of video sharing in the world, so there's an opportunity to kick-start a viral cascade that will ricochet around the world.
Interview with Sarah Wood
Search Engine Watch interviewed Sarah Wood, the COO and co-founder of Unruly, to get a sharper perspective on five of the top trends. Wood has been voted UK Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the Growing Business Awards, one of 15 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc., and one of 10 London-Based Entrepreneurs to Watch by Forbes.
Search Engine Watch: Will content marketing and real-time marketing push brands to create newsrooms or "war rooms" for their niche? I've visited the Churchill War Rooms in London and always thought that was the right kind of setting to wage a "marketing campaign."
Sarah Wood: It's already happening and there'll be a need for both. Newsrooms to keep the brand relevant, delivering continuous content to an always-on generation that wants to be plugged into the zeitgeist; war rooms for those moments when the brand becomes the news and there's reputational fire-fighting to be done.
For brands that want to keep up with the speed of culture in the 21st century, operating a creative newsroom is one way to create a framework for creating and curating content on the fly, responding in real time to surging trends, current news events and consumer feedback and not just for the duration of a marketing campaign but from an always-on perspective.
There are already agencies and brands running virtual (and sometimes physical) newsrooms to keep their audiences informed and entertained in areas where the brand has permission to play. And not just entertainment brands like EA but CPG, automotive and tech brands, where there's a growing commitment to creating and curating content that engages their target audience.
SEW: If mobile truly becomes the first screen in 2014, what impact will that have on the type of videos that get watched and shared? Does some video content perform better on mobile devices?
SW: I would say that shorter content works better for mobile, for a number of reasons. For example, you would normally watch video content on your mobile device while on the go, where you have less time and limited access to fully enjoy the content.
This is why short-form, "sugar cube" apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine will come of age in 2014.
You need something quick and simple. With Vine videos to date the focus has been on compelling visual composition such as stop motion that repays several loops - the average time spent watching a 6 second Vine is actually 18 seconds.
Increasingly, we are seeing the growth of the "Vine Star" with huge, adulant followings. Jerome Jarre, for example. For other videos, however, we find that having strong audio cut through is more important than visuals on the smaller mobile screen as the audio can be all-immersive when you have your headphones on, whereas the screen is competing with a lot of visual clutter when you're on a journey to work or sitting in a cafe.
SEW: If a lot more ads push the boundaries between music video and ad, does that mean brands need to partner with the musicians who compose and perform the music or the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music?
SW: As the revolution of the music industry continues, artists are looking for new streams of revenue. And in our media-soaked century more brands aspire to be creators of content and curators of culture.
This brings a number of opportunities – opportunities for brands to become the incubators of up-and-coming musicians and position themselves at the cutting edge of culture, opportunities for brands to re-discover old classics from back catalogues that can be a powerful driver for nostalgia; opportunities for brands to work with established stars that connect with a broader, mainstream audience. This phenomenon is still in its infancy and as such, it could be said that b(r) and collaborations have mainly been badging exercises.
The recent "play the road" project between VW and Underworld points to a deeper and richer future for this trend. The key is for brands to be authentic, to work with musicians that genuinely reflect the ethos of the brand.
SEW: If Facebook is going to shake-up the video ecosystem, who will be the biggest losers? AOL (including Adap.tv), Google Sites (driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com), and other video ad properties, or TV?
SW: Facebook's video offering will accelerate the shift of ad spend away from TV into digital and will steal some share from YouTube, too, as advertisers want to feel they have a choice.
The Facebook offering is also part of a larger story – the move away from traditional display ad formats and into native, in-feed formats where the ads are delivered within the content stream and advertising is integrated more seamlessly into the user's experience.
Ads delivered as content will work best of all when the ads have been created as content, ads which are relevant, entertaining and timely for their target audience. Ads which people want to watch and share!
SEW: Why do you think the World Cup in Brazil is the biggest opportunity for brands hoping to create a crossover video that hits the back of the net? Are the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, and midterm elections just also-rans?
SW: The Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl are great sporting spectacles in their own right and combined with the World Cup opportunity, the first half of 2014 is open season for brands in search of high-profile, massively high-reach conversations that global sporting events generate.
So, why's our money on the World Cup? The Super Bowl is primarily a U.S. event (though Super Bowl ads can travel and VW's The Force is still the most shared ad of all time); the Winter Olympics doesn't have great form in comparison with its summer cousin (although that's not to say they won't surprise us this year!) and the World Cup numbers are simply staggering.
Every single country and territory on Earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle, tuned in to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. The in-home TV coverage reached over 3.2 billion people around the world, or half (46.4 percent) of the world's population, based on viewers watching a minimum of over one minute of coverage.
There is every reason to suggest that engagement with the World Cup in Brazil will surpass the levels of 2010.
- It's the spiritual home of soccer.
- It's also the home of high energy, highly exhilarating music (remember - sharing of music videos massively outstrips any other type of video).
- It's the social media capital of the universe (according to the WSJ).
- It's a country of self-confessed video junkies – with one of the highest levels of video sharing in the world.
- Plus, 8 out of 10 biggest ad markets in the world (Zenith Optimedia) are competing, so the level of interest and accompanying interest from brands and marketers will be huge.
That's why we believe there's an opportunity for brands to kickstart a viral cascade that will ricochet around the world.