Mark Zuckerberg said at the end of 2015 that we would be in the "Golden Age of Video" for some five years. So... it's not over yet, and business owners' and marketers' growing access to video will only further the shift in our social feeds in 2017.
We should also expect to see changes in the way users engage with content on social channels; an influx of new media formats, including 360-degree video, live video, and virtual reality; and new marketing tactics as brands experiment with these new formats. Finally, we'll also start to see more automated ads and personalized ads targeting our screens as such new technologies make their way into the hands of more and more marketers.
Here are seven predictions for the social media and video marketing landscape in 2017.
1. Every marketer will need to have a video strategy
Many businesses recognize that they need a marketing strategy, which often includes a social media presence. However, as the focus and functionality of social media platforms change, so should marketing plans. Today, that means more video, and lots of it. With users constantly refreshing their news feeds, marketers will need to consistently post branded video content that stands out and engages users. And that requires a video strategy.
2. Automated video ads will become prevalent
Technology has had transformative effects on the advertising industry, both in targeting and marketing content; now, it is transforming the way ads are created.
To make it easier for app developers to promote their products, Google launched automated video ads that automatically pull images, descriptions, and ratings from the app store and add music to create a quick promotional video. There are also new social video creation platforms (like my company's Promo) that allow SMBs and marketers to create hundreds of personalized videos in a matter of minutes, with minimal resources. We'll be seeing many more such automated video ads in 2017.
3. Videos will get shorter, and quality will diminish
The average attention span is now just eight seconds, and it's not for nothing that brands are spending anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars a year on marketing and want to ensure their ads are being seen. Snapchat video ads, for example, average less than three seconds a view.
To get the most out of their audiences, marketers are increasingly shifting their focus and budgets away from the ad itself and toward targeting users with ad penetration techniques.
4. Audience tastes and expectations will evolve
Although video length and quality might diminish, people still want to connect with brands. It can be simple, but each ad needs to be consistent with the brand's story so that audiences come to recognize that brand in every interaction. A challenge for advertisers will be consistent messaging across different platforms and mediums.
Whether using pictures, livestreams, or video ads, marketers need to ensure they are telling the same brand story over and over.
5. Marketers won't take to disappearing livestreams
The Snapchat model of disappearing videos has now permeated Instagram. Big brands might be convinced to give it a spin, but with users' feeds already overcrowded, disappearing livestreams will quickly lose their allure. Marketers already have constrained budgets and limited time—and the disappearing act for videos that they've put effort and resources towards will likely end up providing too few rewards.
Short-form videos on social media are a much more effective marketing tool since users can connect, like, share, and revisit.
6. Shoppable ads will be huge
YouTube was the first to take shoppable ads mainstream, but Pinterest and Instagram have quickly followed suit. Facebook is even testing shoppable video ads. The popularity of these ads will quickly rise as new technologies make it easier and more affordable for brands to participate. Moreover, instead of redirecting transactions to a brand's website, social platforms are now making it possible to complete in-channel transactions for a seamless user experience.
7. SMBs won't engage in AR orVR ads for a few years still
There's been a lot of hype in marketing and advertising around the next big revenue-generating frontier: augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). However, their use will remain less prevalent for SMBs as production costs are still way out of reach.
It will be years before these types of ads make their way to everyday marketers. For now, AR/VR ads will be reserved for big brands with large advertising budgets and the flexibility to test new technologies.
What we are likely to see is more branded content within AR/VR games along with opportunities for small businesses to engage, such as with Pokémon Go.
* * *
In short, we are still in the "Golden Age of Video," and we should expect to see more of these valuable nuggets of marketing and advertising, in all shapes and sizes, in the years to come.