Will Social Video Peak in 2017?

Imran Azam
17 November 2016

On the 14th of November ‘Buffer’ the social media sharing service released their much-anticipated annual report into the state of social media in 2016 and what we can look forward to according to marketers in 2017. 

Its a survey of 1252 businesses both large and small - I'm not exactly sure whether the sample group is only from the US or whether it included other businesses internationally - but in any case its a monumental piece of work.  At the last time of counting it had been shared over 30,000 times so clearly a hugely respected and influential source. Thanks Ash Reed for publishing the report via the Buffer blog (highly reccomended). 

So what was the key takeaway from Buffer’s report?
And what could it mean for social video production and marketing in 2017?

I've produced a 4min video (with subtitles) with my thoughts here or if you prefer you can listen on soundcloud or read the rest of this article below...take your pick! :) 

 The main key finding of the Buffer report is that marketers are hugely focused on producing multi-platform social video in 2017 that may result in a 'peak' over the next 12 months. Here are some stats for you;

  • 83% of marketers want to create more video but can't find the time or the resources to do that. Now ‘resource’ normally translates to cash...am I right? Is it about money? So time and money are a barrier to actually producing more video. 
  • 30% want to spend more time and resource on Facebook video - live and recorded
  • 28% interestingly want to increase the amount of resource they spend on YouTube. That's right Youtube is emerging again as a marketing platform as opposed to search.  

So there is clearly a long standing and significant gap between the intention and the execution when it comes to delivering social media ready video.  

So will supply meet demand leading to social video peaking in 2017?

As a video storyteller I don't actually think social video will peak in 2017 and I'll tell you why. Video is something that requires particular experience and insight to produce. Now yes of course you would say that Imran because you’re video storyteller but that's based on my experience of running the Art of Smartphone Filmmaking Meetup group. Its a series of workshops I've run for the last 18 months across Europe in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds and is also run in New York and Hamburg. I’ve literally taught 1000’s of people during this time.

The aim of the meetups is to teach marketers, brands, journalists, startups, charities how to use the smartphone in their pocket - which I truly believe is a fully-fledged film production studio - to produce compelling video stories at virtually zero cost. What I found is that I’m absolutely able to teach anybody to create technically sound videos. That is to film on the phone and edit on a phone. But what takes time is actually to be able to translate...to first to see a story in video format in one mind's eye and then to translate that to filming and editing. That's what takes experience and time. 

Producing video is different to say writing...writing copy. Writing and reading is something that we've done since a very young age and therefore most of us can do it and many of us have the confidence to improve. But making video...making video stories is not something we've grown up with. I don't call it something that comes naturally but it's not something that we've been taught. Yes we've consumed video, we watched tons of television but have we studied it? Have we made an effort to try and make it? It's only through the process of making over and over and over again do you then become familiar with what video isn't what's required and can translate that into what people want. 

Does that makes sense? The number of times I've been approached by clients who think they know what they want and then asked me to produce it and then I produce it and then they realise that’s not what they want. That gap is knowing what...how to translate what it is you want into the actual video itself. So I don't think video is going to peek in 2017 at all. I actually think that good quality video storytellers are going to be in hot demand but there's going to be a lot of content out there just doesn’t hit the mark. Now how that translates to how social platforms distribute video - all of them are providing native video apart from LinkedIn which I'm sure will do in 2017 - I'm not exactly sure. We can only wait and see.

So if you want to produce social video for your brand you have 2 options…

  1. Produce it yourself - as I’ve said this is most definitely possible but to get to a stage where you are able to produce - both technically and creatively - regular social media ready video stories is going to take time and plenty of practice. If you have the time then I would recommend going down this route. If you don’t have the time then that brings us to option 2…
  2. Find a video storyteller - let me be clear; don’t hire someone based solely on their technical credentials or the equipment they use. Its more important that you find out who they have worked with, what values they hold and whether they have any relevant industry experience. The closer the video storyteller is aligned to the brand the more likely it is that they will deliver video stories that hit the mark. Also as we are talking about social video its important that whoever you bring on board has a good understanding of how each social media platforms distributes video and how its audience consumes it. For example if +80% of Facebook video is viewed with the sound turned off then its important to produce video that takes this into consideration otherwise its bound to fail. Makes sense no?

Anyway there's my insight guys I hope you really enjoy this article/video and hope you found some value in it. If you did please do subscribe, like, follow, comment, share depending on where you're reading/watching this. Right I'm off now becuase it's bloody cold and I need a cup of tea.

Imran Azam
Founder | thisisreel.co

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