A year ago, Search Engine Watch reported that the Marines had launched a new Pandora-inspired YouTube channel. And today, we've been inspired by the Marines to predict at least 7 out of the top 10 trends for video in 2014.
Now, why should anyone shoot for a 70 percent success rate? According to Lawrence Harmon of The Boston Globe:
The US Marine Corps strives for a similar outcome when entering the field of battle. There is rarely time to gather all the facts, and surprises are inevitable. So, Marine officers are taught to go forward when a plan has about a 70 percent chance of working. Waiting for perfect conditions means nothing gets done.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 predictions for video in 2014.
1. Mobile Video Will Explode on Smartphones and Tablets
Mobile video has grown rapidly in the past two years, but 2014 will be the year that it explodes. Why?
The obvious answer is greater smartphone penetration, supported by the rollout of various 4G networks across a number of territories.
According to Cisco, more consumers in emerging markets are acquiring handsets, bandwidth is improving, and 37 percent of consumer media consumption already takes place on mobile devices. It's a trend that looks likely to continue into 2014, with Cisco predicting mobile video to increase 25-fold between 2011 and 2016, accounting for over 70 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of their forecast period.
2. Short-Form Video Content Will Go Mainstream
The arrival of short-form content platforms was one of the inevitable surprises in 2013 and its rise is one of the more predictable trends in 2014. Although Vine was launched only 11 months ago and Video on Instagram didn't debut until June, they now boast around 200 million users between them.
Several important micro-trends have been associated with short-form video content. Brevity has made product teases cool again, with fashion houses like Burberry releasing sneak-peeks of its collections and USA Today teasing tomorrow's headlines.
Stop-motion animation has thrived on the Vine format. Never far behind, brands like Lowe's and French Connection have jumped on this trend, producing some of the most inventive and shareable branded Vines around.
3. Agile Video Marketing Will Become 'the New Normal'
Marketers are increasingly expected to create video content on the fly, responding in real time to new data, surging trends, current news events, and consumer feedback. Looking forward into 2014, this agile video marketing trend will become "the new normal."
This kind of rapid-response will see agencies buying media based on social signals and brands becoming more like newsrooms, curating as well as creating content as they strive to deliver timely, trending, engaging content that their audience will love. Speed will be more important than ever and advertisers will look to tools that help automate the discovery of trending content to ensure they can respond to breaking news as quickly as possible.
4. Blurred Lines Between Music Videos and Ads
In 2013, viewers started seeing Beyonce's video for H&M, Lady Gaga's partnership with Kia's Hamsters, Italian singer Arianna and rapper Pitbull's music video for 'The FIAT Song', as well as Volvo's partnership with Swedish House Mafia.
If you think about it, the next logical step is for the line between music videos and ads to blur in 2014. Why is this likely to happen?
- Music videos are already the most shared videos of all time. Just look at the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which ranks videos by the number of shares they attract across Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere. Only one video out of the top 100 videos of all time is not a music video and it's Kony 2012, which ranks 93rd.
- Music and advertising make a magical combination. If you look at the Mashable Global Ads Chart, the vast majority of top 100 brands' social videos of all time boast an incredible song or catchy jingle. It's not hard to see why. After all, recent academic research has found that the most shared ads elicit the strongest emotionsfrom its audience. And what better way to elicit strong feelings of joy, sadness, or exhilaration than through music?
5. Super Bowl 2014 Will Create Yet Another Pyrrhic Victory
After spending $4 million for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl 2014, some advertiser will be declared the winner of the "Big Game". But real-time polling by React Labs will show that this is just another Pyrrhic victory.
Immediately after last year's Super Bowl, React Labs and Frank N. Magid Associates announced that consumers had the strongest response to Budweiser Super Bowl Ad 2013 - The Clydesdales Brotherhood – significantly outperforming everything else. The strong emotional connection, driven by a strong musical track, clearly drew in their respondents and brought them along. Despite that power, their respondents reported little to no intent to purchase while watching the spot.
This trend isn't about to change until today's advertisers re-read what David Ogilvy wrote 30 years ago: "When I write an advertisement, I don't want you to tell me that you find it 'creative'. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product."
6. P&G Will Take Home the Gold Again in Winter Olympics
Just as it did for the Summer Olympics in 2012, Unruly will create a Brand Tracker interactive infographic for the Winter Olympics in 2014. And just as it did two years ago, P&G will take home the gold again in the race for social videos from official Olympic sponsors that generate the most social media buzz.
Why will P&G top the official Olympics ads chart yet again? As Damon Runyon once said, "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."
7. Nike and Pepsi Will Score Exhilarating Goals at the World Cup in Brazil
In her recent book Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing, Dr. Karen Nelson-Field of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute revealed that exhilaration is the emotion that's most likely (65 percent) to help brands cut through the clutter and help viewers recall their message. Hilarity, the most overused emotional trigger, is the second, with 51 percent recall.
Going into 2014, this trend will only get stronger as the world's gaze falls upon Brazil for the World Cup. When Unruly trained its algorithmic tool to predict viral success in the Brazilian market, the marketing technology company discovered that exhilaration was the most effective emotional trigger in the Latin American country, more effective than humor, which is the most popular emotional sharing trigger in the US and UK.
Look for Nike and Pepsi, which hijacked the World Cup in 2010, to score exhilarating goals again in 2014. Neither Nike nor Pepsi was an "official" sponsor four years ago. Nevertheless, they demonstrated that the open distribution and virality of the web had created a whole new path for ambush marketing.
8. Endorsements by Kids, Parents, and Siblings Will Win Elections
Virtually everyone in politics noted the impact on the outcome of the Mayor's race in New York City by the endorsement of Bill de Blasio by his son Dante.
During the 2014 midterm elections for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, state governorships, and state legislatures, we'll see plenty of "surprise endorsements" by kids, parents, siblings, and in-laws instead of the traditional "Airing of Grievances", which takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. Why? As the song "New York, New York" reminds us, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."
And, because of YouTube's new comment system, these political candidates will have new tools to review comments before they're posted, block certain words, or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans. These features can help them spend less time moderating comments by trolls and haters on YouTube, and more time fending off family feuds on Facebook.
9. YouTube Will Have Its "Bay of Pigs Moment"
In early July 2013, Search Engine Watch took a hard look at "How to Make Money on YouTube" and concluded: "The number of advertisers who are using TrueView in-stream ads needs to increase significantly and/or the amount of money they spend on YouTube advertising needs to increase dramatically, or an awful lot of poor YouTube Partners are going to face a hard decision this winter: remain starving artists or look for another day job."
Later that month, downLOADED, the show where opinionated geek and tech pundits gather around to discuss issues and news impacting technology and its users, asked, "Is YouTube's Business Model Broken?"
And in December 2013, Geoff Yang, a Partner at Redpoint Ventures, posted "Big Idea 2014: YouTube's Bay of Pigs Moment"on LinkedIn. Yang wrote:
From where I sit, this is YouTube's Bay of Pigs moment. As you may recall, the CIA funded and encouraged rebel troops in Cuba to overthrow the Castro government. But that encouragement was not accompanied by the proper operational and air support to ensure victory. So the rebel upstarts did not prevail over the establishment. Let's hope that YouTube does not make the same mistake and doom its chance to be pioneers in creating the next generation of content networks and unseat the traditional media establishment."
So, it's a good bet that YouTube will have its "Bay of Pigs Moment" in 2014, fix its broken business model, and help a million partners who are trying to build a sustainable career on YouTube and beyond.
10. YouTube Will Redesign its One Channel
The initial YouTube One Channel was supposed to make channel art "scale beautifully to any size screen," and ensure that social and merchandise links would be "available on any device with a browser." But, this list now includes a much wider variety of brands as well as whole new categories of devices.
For example, Google's $35 Chromecast wasn't launched until July 2013. By December, Hiawatha Bray of The Boston Globe was saying, "Dead simple and dirt cheap, Chromecast is a near-perfect stocking stuffer."
Then, in August 2013, Google's official blog for news, tips, and information on AdSense announced "we're launching the TrueView video ad format across our games monetization platforms." TrueView Instream skippable video ads drive a lot of advertiser demand on YouTube, the Ad Exchange, and AdSense for video.
So, only a few YouTube Partners will complain when they have to tweak their channel art again in 2014 so it will "look good everywhere – laptops, phones, tablets, TVs, refrigerators, or any place with pixels."
Surprises are Inevitable, but Act Like a Leader of 'Leathernecks'
Remember, even if three of these 10 predictions for 2014 are off target, video marketers should still act like the leaders of "leathernecks" and move forward. Yes, surprises are inevitable, but in this rapidly developing and highly competitive field, waiting for perfect conditions is not an option.