The iAcquire blog asked me to predict three out of the top four emerging trends in social video for 2014. Why should anyone at the forefront of content marketing shoot for a 75-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.”
I believe that content marketers should act like “leathernecks” and move forward if at least three out of my four predictions for 2014 are on target. Yes, surprises are inevitable, but in this rapidly developing and highly competitive field, we can’t afford to wait for perfect conditions.
1. Mobile video engagement rates explode
2014 will be the year that sees mobile engagement rates explode. Why?
Well, 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% of consumer media consumption already takes place on mobile devices. It is 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 the forecast period.
But, it’s also because the format is so immersive. Viewers are highly engaged when they are consuming content on their mobile devices, unlike on other more traditional formats such as TV. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, mobile and tablet users are also 3x as likely to view a video as laptop users. Just think about the number of people you see walking down the street, almost walking into lampposts while looking at their phones! Whether a consumer is playing a game, reading a blog post or browsing Twitter, they are engulfed in their device.
2. Video at the Speed of Social
Marketers are increasingly expected to create content on the fly, responding in real time to new data, surging trends, current news events, and consumer feedback. Looking forward into 2014, this emerging trend poses huge challenges for brand marketers, for whom “overwhelmed is the new normal”.
For brands to make the most of this, the technology also has to be in place. For example, Twitter’s ad targeting tool was designed to bridge the gap between content and conversation. The goal was to bring more TV advertisers onto Twitter, which makes perfect sense for a platform built on conversation and cultural trends. Back in August, Twitter also started testing a “trending TV show” banner along the top of a user’s timeline screen.
This kind of rapid-response or “agile marketing trend” is set to continue into 2014, with 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 is more important than ever and advertisers will look to tools which help automate the discovery of trending content to ensure they can respond to breaking news as quickly as possible.
3. Exhilaration picks up pace
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%) to help brands cut through the clutter and help viewers recall their message. Hilarity, the most overused emotional trigger, is the second, with 51% recall.
Towards the end of 2013, we started to see examples of brands, such as Ford, Red Bull and Volvo, not only embracing exhilaration, but using this emotion as the main focus of their video campaigns. This highlights the importance of brands making shareable content for a reason. It’s not just about racking up a huge number of views among new potential customers. It is about being remembered, favored, and bought because of it.
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.
4. The rise of long-form video content
The arrival of short-form content platforms was one of the inevitable surprises in 2013 and the rise of longer form video content may be one of the unavoidable counter-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.
Anyone who’s been on Vine will have also noted how stop-motion animation has thrived on the 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.
However, brands may start looking way beyond the shorter formats to achieve other marketing objectives in 2014. For example, Patagonia’s “Worn Wear: a Film About the Stories We Wear” is almost 28 minutes long. Released as an antidote to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy, Worn Wear is an invitation to celebrate the stuff you already own.
Surprises are inevitable, but act like a leader of “Leathernecks”
Remember, even if one of my four predictions for 2014 is off target, you should act like a leader of “leathernecks” and move forward. Yes, surprises are inevitable, but in this rapidly developing and highly competitive field, you can’t afford to wait for perfect conditions.