There is no denying it. Video is becoming an increasingly important part of social media marketing.
By 2019, global consumer Internet video traffic will account of 80 percent of all Internet traffic.
By 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expects the majority of traffic on his channel to be video.
And, currently, YouTube is already the number two search engine, with 180 million Americans—or 56 percent of the population—tuning in.
With this increase in video consumption, it is imperative (especially for higher education marketers) to incorporate more visual content into their strategies.
Apps and formats
Virtually all major social media channels offer users opportunities for capturing and posting video, both live and produced.
Facebook and Instagram both offer opportunities for posting live and produced videos as well as “Stories,” which are a collection of clips—static images and videos—that combine together into one cohesive piece and disappear after 24 hours (see example below). This ephemeral content has proven wildly successful, with more than 400 million people using the service each day, up from 250 million daily users in 2017 and 100 million daily users in fall 2016. Users also can save these stories to highlights reels to preserve the content for longer on their feeds.
Snapchat, while not as popular as Instagram Stories, has a very similar configuration.
Instagrammers also can take advantage of the long-form video app Instagram TV, or “IGTV,” which, depending on how big your account is, can mean upload limits of 10 minutes to an hour. In short, these two apps—widely acknowledged as especially popular among teenagers and twenty-somethings—have placed a premium on video.
And then there’s YouTube. Users start off with the ability to upload videos up to 15 minutes in length, but, once verified through Google, that limit is increased to 12 hours or 128 GB. Additionally, live video can be archived for up to 12 hours in length. Naturally, YouTube, being a video-first tool, has many options for grouping content into playlists (see an example from IU’s YouTube channel) and opportunities for savvy marketers who understand search engine optimization (after all, the platform is owned by Google).
Tired yet? It’s a lot to take in, but there are resources out there that clearly define all the video options, including specs and length limits.
How young people are consuming video
According to a survey of 150 millennials, workflow tool ClearVoice found 77 percent of respondents watch video to kill time, and the ideal video length is 30 to 60 seconds.
A focus group conducted among current students at IUPUI earlier this year found similar results, but students added GIFs were even better than videos. The ClearVoice survey also found millennials preferred to watch video on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, decidedly less so on Twitter and Tumblr. And almost all—95 percent—of the 745 teens surveyed in a 2018 Pew Research Center study said they have access to a smartphone, so you better make sure those videos are mobile-friendly.
Buffer, another popular social media tool, conducted an experiment in 2017 where it ran $1,500 in video ads across different channels to determine which performed better: 1:1 aspect ratio videos or more traditional landscape-oriented, or rectangular, videos.
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Posted by IUPUI on Thursday, March 1, 2018
First, it found square videos took up 78 percent more space in a user’s feed. Furthermore, the study found, in some cases, square videos resulted in up to 35 percent more views than landscape videos. If that weren’t enough incentive for marketers to consider producing square videos, the study also found it cost 7.5 percent less money to engage someone on Facebook with a 1:1 aspect ratio video and 33 percent less on square-friendly Instagram.
It’s all a lot to digest, but the data is out there to make the argument to your bosses: you need video as part of your digital marketing strategy. Now is the time to invest, plan, and experiment.
Kristofer Karol is the director of social media strategy at Indiana University and is always thinking of new ways to get videos on IU’s channels. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.