Social media’s massive shift toward video content is undeniable. The explosion of TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram TV demonstrated that the future of social is video. In 2022, brands that effectively use video as the driving force behind their brand accounts will engage better with their audience on social media.
But why has video content—both long- and short-form—become the essential format of social? And why should your team adopt video as a central part of your social media strategy in 2022?
Video is engaging
Video is naturally more dynamic and attention grabbing than traditional static text or image content, so users are more willing to engage deeper with each piece of content. As platforms increasingly change their formats to cater to video, we can expect users to continue spending more time engaging with individual videos on social.
We used Conviva’s Social Insights Leaderboards to measure the performance of video content across a wide variety of industries, and the data demonstrates just how much video engagement has grown in the past year. For Fortune 500 companies, YouTube engagements, such as likes, dislikes, and views, increased 23.5% in 2021 when compared to 2020. In the world of sports, MLB teams stood out with an astounding 164% increase in engagements on video content across all social media platforms in 2021. It’s clear that across different industries, video is the answer to the ever-constant problem of getting and keeping a user’s attention.
Video is a part of daily activity in social
With the massive shifts in the past two years to the way we live and interact with others, we have also collectively adjusted the ways we use social media. We are spending more time on social media overall. In 2020, the average American spent 1300 hours on social media.
But our daily usage has shifted even more toward video. According to Statista, in 2020, “U.S. adults spent 209 minutes (three hours and 29 minutes) per day watching TV video content, and 103 minutes (one hour and 43 minutes) per day watching digital video on devices.”
As more time was spent at home, social video usage increased not just on mobile, but also on connected TVs. In our Social Guide for Streaming 2021, we reported that that YouTube’s share of viewing time on big screens was over 25% in 2021. Social video is now everywhere, and proactive brands will find new opportunities to speed up their video production to meet the daily consumption habits of their most engaged users.
Vertical video has matured
Accidentally filming a video in vertical, portrait format used to be a major faux pas for social media managers, but vertical video has become the norm across all social in the past few years. Thanks in part to the explosion of TikTok and the way devices are naturally oriented to capture video, we now accept and expect vertical videos in our social media feed.
Vertical video has the benefit of taking up a larger portion of a user’s screen when they’re scrolling social content, meaning it’s more likely to grab and hold on to a viewer’s attention. TikTok’s full-screen video format is one of the reasons users find themselves endlessly scrolling on the app. And other social media platforms are taking notice. Twitter is experimenting with a new explore page that mimics the full-screen, vertical format of TikTok. Even Spotify is embracing vertical video with its new Discover feature that hosts a feed of vertical music videos for users to explore.
Users rely on video content when making purchasing decisions
If the influencer economy has taught us anything, it’s that individuals rely on the opinions of others when making purchasing decisions. The social media ecommerce market is expected to reach 1.2 trillion dollars by 2025, much of that growth aligned with the growth of the influencer economy. Most individuals have watched a review video about a product they were considering or discovered a new item from a video produced by one of their favorite creators. Social media has facilitated that decision-making process by allowing users to see additional content—particularly video reveals, hauls, and reviews—that convince them to purchase.
Social media platforms are capitalizing on that video-first purchasing process by developing new tools to support brands as they promote their products. Pinterest is developing a live-streamed content series, TikTok is experimenting with in-app purchase functionality on its videos, and Instagram has continuously found new ways to encourage ecommerce through video.
Brands are beginning to develop more organically generated video content to try and mimic some of that authenticity and honesty of top influencers. Rare Beauty, the standout beauty brand by Selena Gomez, uses its TikTok to create simple, organic videos that look like they could be created by any user. Overly polished, corporate-looking video resonates less with users these days, so brands are starting to create video content that better connects with a potential customer.
@rarebeauty Lizzie wears Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick in Power Boost 💥 #rarebeauty #rarebeautybronzer #creambronzer #bronzerhack ♬ original sound – Rare Beauty
Younger audiences tend to use video more often
It seems like every brand is on a quest to reach the ever-elusive Gen Z market. While many brands have tried and failed to connect with Gen Z (we’ve seen more awkward attempts at the latest TikTok dance than we would like), the consensus is that Gen Z loves video content.
According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, most 18- to 29-year-olds use Instagram or Snapchat and about half say they use TikTok. But the younger end of that spectrum, namely 18- to 24-year-olds, are even more likely to use these video-heavy platforms; Instagram (76%), Snapchat (75%), or TikTok (55%).
And while many have the preconceived notion that Gen Z has a shorter attention span than any generation before, the truth is they are more willing to engage with longer-form video content than any other generation. 95% of individuals between 18 and 29 also use YouTube on a regular basis.
The key is to create content that looks organic or promote content created organically by users. Gen Z, more than any other generation, can see through the corporate facade many brands try to portray on their social media. The brands that have found the most engagement with Gen Z have removed that layer of corporate polish and created content that looks like it was created by any user. Take the success of Scrub Daddy on TikTok, with nearly 900k followers, the brand consistently produces content that participates in trends without feelings like a “stuffy” corporate brand.
@scrubdaddy We are not the same lmaoooo 🤣. #scrubdaddy #americasfavoritesponge #cleantok #cleaningtiktok ♬ original sound – Sports/Marvel Vids
It’s clear to see that the world of social media is trending toward more video content. The biggest social networks release new features every day that make video content even more dynamic and encourage users to take deeper action. To be successful in 2022, social media managers need to find new ways to adapt to the culture and formats of each of these platforms and create videos tailored to their audience.