Social video is a dynamic beast. It can adapt, shift, and take any form a creator wants, but there are common tropes social videos take. From content to format, we see similar forms repeated consistently, and with good reason! Viewers want and favor certain formats. This doesn’t mean these are your only options, but you might call them standards of social video. Here are five common social video formats, and a great example of each.
The listicle is one of the all-time favorite most successful types of content on social, and it now has a life in video. Listicle videos are so popular for many of the same reasons a written listicle tend to be: they create clear expectations for the viewer in terms of content and delivery. People like to know what they’re getting into, and a list makes that unmistakable.
Check out this great video from Interesting S*** on 20 Good News Stories You Didn’t Know About:
This video format has gained increasingly more traction in the past year or so. It incorporates social media posts into a video, sometimes as commentary on the news, sometimes as the story itself. We’re likely to only see more of this type of content as social has become not just an outlet for sharing or learning about things, but increasingly a space where news and stories are made and covered first.
Here’s a sharp piece from Focus Online that primarily uses Instagram content to tell its story:
News reporting is ever-present on social and, as mentioned, social is increasingly the place people go to get their news. When major events are unfolding in the world, people hop online to read the latest tweets and seek out videos showing them what is going on. Social is likely to only continue to grow as a primary news source, and breaking news video along with it.
TV 2 News does a great job of covering U.S. military action in Syria in this piece, telling the story quickly with compelling visuals all within a short, social-friendly timeframe:
Another production-centric format that has gained popularity is the text-focused video. These pieces tell their story primarily through on-screen text, often coupled with archival footage. Most social videos include on-screen text these days, to allow for viewing with or without sound, but these videos are specifically built around their written content.
This excellent piece of Reader’s Digest is one such piece, covering its subject with standout text overlay that is the video’s focus and utilizing archival footage to keep things visually interesting in the background:
There’s no special trick to this kind of video, but it may be the most common format on social. Whether humorous, shocking, or just entertaining, videos focused on unique content are meant to show viewers something they haven’t seen before or aren’t expecting. From cute animals to amazing stunts and everything in-between, these videos are often times some of the most popular online because their unique, light-hearted content drives engagement and sharing.
Have a look at this piece from CBS news about a more than unusual sight: a goldfish with a tiny wheelchair! This kind of content is perfect for social:
These are just a few of the tropes you often see in social video. You’re not beholden to these structures, but as a social marketer they can help guide your video creation process and social marketing strategy.
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