Remember those days when marketers considered video content to be an optional extra, a ‘nice to have’ only if budgets permitted? In 2017, video became vital for a killer content strategy. At realestate.com.au, we’re seeing an audience increasingly hungry for video, and, much like my Nonna, we get no greater pleasure than feeding this hunger.
Realestate.com.au creates more than 120 videos every month for our social and digital channels. The performance and engagement metrics of every single video are measured and monitored to ensure our audience loves what we’re serving them.
This year, our new video strategy helped us crack the notoriously picky millennial market. Realestate.com.au was ranked Australia’s number one most improved brand among millennials in 2017 (YouGov BrandIndex), shifting 13.0 points and rising to number 33 versus our nearest competitor’s ranking of 121. Millennials account for 50% of overall traffic to realestate.com.au from Facebook and 40% of total engagement.
So, if you’re thinking about what you might dish up on your video content menu next year, consider these six top trends that we’re currently thinking about at REA Group.
1. Burst video strategies are a dead end for publishers. Instead, a sustained, always-on approach allows for constant experimentation and relationship building. Trust is so important with your audience. It takes time, which means an on-again, off-again burst strategy doesn’t work. The dominance of social media also means there are now so many brands shouting for attention, so there’s power in maintaining a consistent voice that will draw your audience in and, more importantly, keep them there.
2. Embrace fragmentation and tailor your approach. This might be a ‘well, duh!’ moment, but we still see brands publishing TV ads and 16:9 videos across both social channels and on site. Each platform is totally unique and comes with its own distinctive set of viewing habits. One size fits all just doesn’t work. Sorry guys, it’s time to kill your DOP’s cinematic dreams and put your audience’s needs first.
3) GIFs and memes won’t necessarily make you stand out from the crowd. Using these tools on social to form a connection with your audience is not a replacement for a sustained video strategy - it smacks of “look at us, we’re hip and cool like you”! Using GIFs for engaging with the audience in comments is a winning strategy, but audiences are getting tired of seeing them directly on their newsfeed, as there are too many players doing the same thing. To cut through the noise, you need original content that screams your brand’s voice and your brand alone.
4) Despite cost cutting among publishers, there’s power and value in shooting original video. It’s a worthwhile investment to shoot your own content and now there are plenty of cost-effective ways to do so. The rise of more sophisticated digital SLR kits and rigs has totally changed the landscape of filming, so production quality is higher on a much lower budget. Publishers often rehash and repurpose existing video from other brands. However, this only has limited impact. Creating bespoke content that meets the needs of your audience will ultimately gain more cut through.
5) 9:16 vertical videos were a Facebook fad. In 2017, we thought this long and skinny format was going to take Facebook video by storm, but the numbers just don’t reflect this. Instead, they’ll continue to grow in their native habitat, Instagram Stories and Snapchat. This makes sense really: Vertical video on Facebook limits the ability to read comments while engaging with content, which is a key advantage of the platform. Stick with the square format.
6) The sound is on. 70% of users watch Instagram Stories with the sound on while viewing – they are increasingly expecting a video experience. With more than 250 million people using Instagram Stories each day (even more than Snapchat), expect to see more finesse in video storytelling for this medium. Brands that play around with audio in this format could also see a wider audience than traditionally expected.
So when it comes to feeding your audience’s appetite for video, stick to my Nonna’s philosophy, “mangia, mangia”!
REA executive manager for content and production Mark Roppolo