2016 has been a big year for social video. Popularity continues to increase among consumers. Publishers, brands, and outlets of every shape and size have embraced social video as a critical component of their online presence. We’ve seen numerous trends emerge over the last year as video has grown. Let’s take a look at 3 of the big changes that are sure to stick with us in the future.
Text overlay took over
2016 was truly the year of text-overlay. Social video moved away from the traditional voiceovers of the past. Instead, creators began focusing on text to tell the story behind the visuals, with the only sound being thematically-appropriate music.
What drove this shift? The biggest influencing factor was the perfect storm of growing video popularity and increased mobile viewing. Year-to-year, mobile browsing has been increasing for some time. This is especially true for social networks. Users browse from their phones and mobile devices from almost everywhere, which means they encounter and watch video almost anywhere as well.
As more video is viewed on the go, users have become increasingly likely to watch without sound. At least 85% of video views on Facebook are done without sound. To keep up with user habits (and avoid pushing out meaningless content), publishers have embraced text overlay. It lets them tell a complete story without the need for voiceover. And it makes videos function fully with the sound off, meaning any viewer, anywhere can get the most from a video.
Horizontal became old hat
Not very long ago, non-horizontal video was universally frowned upon. Vertical video was reviled and square aspect ratio was mostly a distant memory of aging TV sets. But 2016 has seen all of that change.
Vertical video came roaring into favor on the heels of the unbelievably successful and fast-growing network Snapchat. The popularity of Snapchat and video content shared with the platform showed that consumers were open to and interested in vertical video.
As publishers and advertisers took note, other social networks did as well. Facebook and Instagram now allow and even favor vertical formats in their feeds. Even the old standard of YouTube has taken to vertical video, allowing for native vertical viewing on mobile.
In the latter half of the year, we’ve seen square video begin to emerge as a potential new standard. Square content takes up more visual real estate in many social feeds, notably Facebook. It also displays and plays well, regardless of the device or screen orientation upon which it is viewed. Facebook even now explicitly recommends a 1:1 ratio for video ads.
Social networks doubled down on video
The popularity and prevalence of video content on social has been growing rapidly over the last few years. But 2016 solidified video’s place as a foundational element of social media.
No longer just another content form, video is a critical component of the social media ecosystem. From news to content marketing to ads, video is the most popular and most desired format among social media users.
All the major networks have committed themselves increasingly to video. Facebook’s algorithms, while ever-mysterious, are known to directly favor video content (especially content that is uploaded natively). Facebook also made a big (and, thus far, successful) push for live video on the platform, rolling out features to allow publishers and regular users to instantly begin broadcasting live to their network.
As Instagram’s feed shifted to an algorithm, it has become clear that they favor video content, as well. Twitter has also shown favor to video, allowing users to shoot and upload from within the app. And while Twitter’s algorithm doesn’t seem to explicitly pro-video, they do give special visual real estate to video posts.
There’s no indication that interest in video is slowing down – quite the opposite, in fact. As we head into 2017 and a whole new year of social video, these trends are sure to carry on. Social networks are dedicated to video and mobile viewing will only continue to grow, pushing variable aspect ratios and spurring the use of text-overlay. But new trends will also be emerging. As they do, Wochit will be right here to guide you through the ever-shifting landscape of social video.