While video production technology continues to advance in very cool directions, most of these advances are irrelevant for marketers. Why? Because marketers don’t need to know about bigger camera sensors, or better lighting technology, or fancier lenses. What marketers do need to understand is how to create and distribute video content that connects with their audiences and provides solid ROI.
Our post on top video production trends for 2016 is one of our most popular, because video production is complex, and marketers need guidance. To that end, here are the top video production trends for 2017.
1. Camera resolution keeps going up, but for marketers it doesn’t matter
Not too long ago, 4k video cameras were new and exciting. Not anymore - 4k video production has become an expected part of video production companies’ services.
2017’s new video cameras continue to offer ever-higher resolution - 5k, 8k, even 18k. Which means that the video is 5,000, 8,000 and a gigantic 18,000 pixels wide, compared to 4,000 pixels wide for 4k video. This resolution is awesome for Hollywood movies and camera geeks - but irrelevant for marketers.
Why? Because video marketing means video delivered on the web, and the web is just starting to figure out 4k video. It can’t handle video in higher resolutions. In fact, almost all video currently delivered on the web is a maximum of 1,920 pixels wide.
If your video production company wants you to spend more to produce your video in resolutions beyond 4k, or even at 4k, you need to ask why.
2. Drone video popularity keeps increasing
2016 is when the FAA came out with its official drone regulations, which require pilot certification for commercial drone applications like video. Now that there’s a clear process for certification, more and more video production houses are adding drone pilot certification to their qualifications, and drone video to their offerings.
At the same time, drone manufacturers have continued to introduce new models with better performance and higher camera resolution.
Given that drones can provide, at a very reasonable price, the visually stunning aerial shots that used to take a helicopter, the trend is obvious:
2017 will see continued growth in demand for aerial drone video shots - and for increased creativity beyond standard overhead shots.
3. 360 Video is no longer exciting
Last year, the introduction of 360 video triggered excitement in the video marketing industry. But people got excited because 360 video was new, not because it gave them a powerful storytelling tool.
Since its introduction, we’ve seen 360 video show us some nice interior and exterior locations - but that’s all we’ve seen. Marketers haven’t come up any other ways to use 360 video to tell stories, and we’re not seeing any on the horizon.
For 2017, 360 video as a marketing tool is a fizzle.
4. VR and AR: a lot of buzz but not a good fit (at least not yet)
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) present the holy grail for marketers: complete or enhanced immersion in their video story. But a 2017 study published in PR Newswire found that only 8% of marketers are currently using VR, and only 7% are using AR.
Users love VR and AR, but right now the application of these technologies is limited almost exclusively to gaming and entertainment. It’s unclear when they’ll be useful - or available - to more than just a very small percentage of marketers.
These technologies have great potential as marketing tools, because of their immersive nature and the excitement they generate. It’s just a matter of figuring out how best to use them.
Facebook is already working on it, and has created a social media VR team in collaboration with VR headset maker Oculus to integrate VR technology onto its platform. And while Oculus is higher-end equipment, it’s a good bet that Facebook has no interest in keeping VR unavailable to most of its users because of equipment cost.
In the future, look for VR and AR to be more than just niche entertainment.
But for now, VR and AR are not relevant to most marketers.
5. Facebook video gets more complex - and more important
Facebook has become a video behemoth, with more than 8 billion daily views.
With this kind of popularity, Facebook video's importance to marketers continues to increase. Facebook knows this, and Mark Zuckerberg recently promised that video will be “at the heart of all of our apps and services.”
Along with this increase in popularity, best practices that give better performance continue to emerge. For example, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, leading to marketers figuring out that their Facebook videos must tell stories silently, either with onscreen text - or some other way.
Marketers who ignore this new Facebook video best practice risk wasting their video dollars, as viewers skip right past their videos because they’re incomprehensible.
Facebook videos are a critical tool for marketers - but marketers must understand best practices to avoid wasting their video production dollars.
6. Social media video is now a specialty
It’s a given that social media is critical to video marketing success. What used to be an afterthought for marketers, who posted the same video across all their social media channels, has now become its own specialty.
When it comes to video, social platforms continue to diverge. To succeed with video on social media, marketers must understand each platform’s optimal formats and best practices, so they can create unique video versions that fit each platform - including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
Video production now means creating a constellation of videos, each customized to the requirements of where it will live - especially if that’s on social media.
7. Paid promotion for Facebook video is the new normal
Video on Facebook is a requirement for marketers, but just posting videos is no longer good enough. The sheer volume of video on Facebook is staggering - in his Q4 2016 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook now sees 100 million hours of video watched per day.
That means it’s very easy for your video content to get lost in the noise.
Marketers now have to give serious consideration to paying for their video content to be preferenced - especially to the right viewers.
Facebook’s robust promotion options - newsfeed ads, promoted posts, boosted posts - give marketers plenty of options for making sure their videos are seen above the noise.
Social media will always be free - as will posting video. But visibility on social media is what marketers must have, and what they’ll be budgeting for.
8. Live streaming video keeps getting hotter
Live video streaming is everywhere - from apps like Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube and Periscope to platforms like Lifestream, Brightcove and DaCast. Why? Because the immediacy of live beats pre-recorded hands-down.
The data clearly shows that viewers want live. For example, Facebook Live is so popular that Facebook now considers Live video to be a different type of content than pre-recorded videos - and gives Live videos higher ranking in your news feed.
Given that live is so popular, marketers need to figure out how best to integrate live into their content strategies. But live doesn’t work like other content that you create, place, and then attract people to. With live, you must attract people first, so they’re there and ready when you start your live stream.
Marketers will need to expand their skill set beyond content distribution and promotion to include attracting live audiences to their live videos.
9. Animated explainer videos are still going strong
Animated explainer videos have been around for a long time, and you might expect their popularity to have waned. But no. According to Wyzowl, 45% of businesses have an explainer video on their home page, and of those businesses, 83% say their home page video is effective.
Animated explainer videos work best when they do what their name says - they explain. Whether your offering is a product or a service, your audience wants to know How does it work? An animated explainer video can provide a quick, concise answer to that question.
Animated explainers are still an effective and popular solution for marketers who need to explain how something works.
10. Video production is now guided by video analytics
For marketers, measurement is everything. When it comes to video, robust analytics on video platforms (like Wistia and Vidyard) and on social media (especially Facebook) now make it possible for marketers to understand the details of their video content’s performance.
Marketers now understand what specifically connects with their audiences, and what doesn’t. They can stop creating video content their audience doesn’t care about, and focus resources on content their audience finds interesting and useful.
Audiences also benefit, as the video content they receive better reflects their needs and wants.
A critical component of video production is becoming the detailed analysis of video content performance.
Marketers are now using video analytics to guide production as well as evaluate ROI.
What's the takeaway?
For marketers, there are now two constants that define their production of video content:
- Increasing complexity. Which video content to produce, how many different versions, where and how to distribute, how to measure ROI - it all just keeps getting harder.
- Constant experimentation. Marketers need to keep experimenting with platforms and format and style and length and every other variable, so they can analyze results and determine how to achieve the greatest level of success within their video production budgets.
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