The online battle of the decade is happening before our very eyes. The video content crown is up for grabs and social media platforms Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are all desperate to win.
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But, what about Twitter? Our favourite opinion platform has stuck to its lane over the past few years, only making small changes to how it works and the features it offers, and even sticking to its 140 second long videos. They don't seem to be involving themselves in the rush to get the newest and shiniest features, trusting that their original USPs will see them through against the competition.
We can’t say the same for the other big players though, who seem to be doing the opposite and are becoming more and more similar, offering more and more of the same features in an attempt to keep up with the successes of others. They all want to be THE platform.
We spend hours upon hours looking, reading and watching with these apps. Social media now has such immense power that it can create waves big enough to get a US President to change border control practices within just a couple of days. This particular case from recent months happened after leaked audio footage from Texas Immigrant Detention Centres went viral across social media. It sparked a worldwide outcry condemning the treatment of families and children, prompting the US government to announce that they would stop separating families from their children, only a couple of days after it started spreading across the digital world. It’s an age where if the people post enough, they become the ones in control, and video has a huge part to play in that.
Elsewhere on a lighter side of the internet, the #WhatTheFluffChallenge is getting dog-owners everywhere to confuse their furry friends with just a blanket and a doorway (if you haven’t seen any of these then you are missing out, but don't worry, just take a look below for some of the best examples out there), the Yodel Kid has been making big appearances, including at Coachella, after he Yodelled in Walmart and the video went viral. Kim Kardashian is still getting richer off her product promotion Instagram stories, with the most recent scandal being weight-loss lollipops, and the world is taking notice after seeing the footage from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China.
Video is arguably the most powerful and popular type of media and so no wonder our social media favourites are jumping on the bandwagon of making video features their top priority this year. The new features are coming out left, right and centre and they don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. It’s not only a powerful and popular type of media, but video also makes money. A recent study by market research firm eMarketer, found that video makes up 17% of all US digital ad spending, and it’s growing. It’s expected that video ad spending will rise 19% to $32 billion in 2018, so there’s a lot of reason for these platforms to go head-to-head in the race to the video crown.
The talk of the town right now is Instagram’s IGTV, the new long-form vertical video feature which allows users to watch even more of their favourite video creators in the app and for longer (videos can be up to an hour long). The Google-owned platform, YouTube, was the original online video monarch, but this recent release is definitely making them break a sweat. In response to the new arrival, YouTube seems to be clutching at its video creators by offering more ways for content producers to make money:
Audiences will be able to contribute funds directly to their favourite channels by buying memberships.
Creators will get the opportunity to sell their own merchandise through the platform.
The new Premieres feature will mean creators will be able to schedule videos and promote them as if they were live.
The Premieres feature is actually being tested by both Facebook and YouTube, both under the same name and both with the same functionalities (although the Facebook rumours did start first), and they will also both have the real-time chat aspect that Facebook Live already has. YouTube is rolling this feature out ‘soon’ whilst Facebook hasn’t published a release date as of yet.
The trend of social media platforms following in one another’s footsteps doesn’t stop there, the ‘Story’ feature is now on 4 out of 5 of them, including the parent of the ‘Story’ phenomenon, Snapchat, as well as on Instagram, Facebook and now YouTube is having a piece of the ‘Story’ pie too.
With all of these similarities, you may be wondering where to focus your own video efforts and with the mass of choice out there, that would be no surprise. In finding out which platform will be best for your content, you’ll need to look towards your audience. What sets these platforms apart is the type and age of users that they attract and how they interact with the platform- this will be vital to you in choosing where to focus your time. Luckily for you, we have done the hard work and have a handy blog that will give you just that: find out about who uses each platform, why they use it and even how each one can yield results for your business here.
Predicting which app will come out on top and which will come crashing down is hard, and it will most likely be a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs, but what we can be absolutely certain about is that the battle will be fierce and video will definitely be the biggest weapon.