NEW YORK, NY — June 29, 2017. Digital benchmarking firm L2 Inc analyzed 60,000 videos and 293 video campaigns for 201 brands across activewear, auto, beauty, consumer electronics, CPG, fashion, financial services, retail, travel, and identified key components that brands must take into consideration when creating and distributing video marketing content for optimal impact.
Despite the fact that a slim majority of brands deploy on all four major video platforms, brands should be aware that each platform has a distinct value proposition and a different path to success. Content must be created and deployed on a marketing campaign and platform-specific basis. The new L2 Intelligence Video report breaks out its recommendations into four main areas:
- Balance Spend: Brands should balance their spending across multiple digital properties while continuing to invest in TV.
- Strategize First, Then Deploy: Brands should determine platform deployment based on strategic goals, since each platform has a unique set of KPIs.
- Integrate: Brands should deploy video across all appropriate social platforms to capitalize on cross-channel consumer behavior and the relative strengths of each platform.
- Shorter, Sound-Optional, Searchable: Best-in-class brands experiment with unique creative formats that are mobile-first, optimized for viewability, and well-positioned for visibility
in platform search.
According to the report, social platforms are a vital component of a strong digital video marketing strategy. As of Q1 2017, just over 50 percent of brands in L2’s study deployed video on all four of the major platforms analyzed—Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat—while another 47.5 percent deployed on all but Snapchat. Although brands seem to agree on general deployment strategy, approaches to content diverge significantly.
Some brands, for example, can bank on their existing TV spend to boost digital video organically, while others view digital channels as a distinct area for investment and create bespoke marketing content to spark engagement online. Content strategies produce varying levels of viewership and engagement, with a common goal of maximizing ROI for video content.
The New York-based company, L2 Inc, identified several key components to a successful video marketing strategy: distribution of spend, platform-dependent content deployment, and the blending of paid and organic approaches. For example, brands seeking organic reach should prioritize Instagram and YouTube, while brands looking to buy a large volume of views should rely on Facebook.
According to the report, Facebook accounted for over 48 percent of total video views in L2’s study, the highest share among the three major platforms. On average in Q1 2017, brands received a total of 18.8 million views on Facebook, compared to 14.8 million on YouTube and 5.2 million on Instagram.
In 2015, Facebook’s annual earnings call was all about mobile—the app, the mobile site, and ad products. In 2016, the focus was video, especially as the platform attempts to compete with TV for consumers’ attention and brands’ ad dollars. As part of that focus, Facebook boosted the number of video posts appearing in users’ News Feeds, launched Live video for consumers and brands, implemented Snap-like Stories across its apps, and doubled down on video ad products for brands.
Brands are upping their video investments on Facebook. Video comprised 21 percent of brand posts in Q1 2017, marking an increase of 6 percentage points from Q1 2016. Beverages, CPG, Watches & Jewelry, and Beauty saw the biggest jumps in video adoption. On the high end, video represented 47 percent of Beverages posts, and Retail had the lowest share at 12 percent. In addition, Live video adoption jumped to 4 percent by Q1 2017, a year after its launch.
YouTube—the original video platform—boasts one billion global users, but does not draw the same level of engagement as Facebook. Brand YouTube videos received 54 percent fewer views per video than Facebook, and 91 percent fewer interactions per video in Q1 2017.2 Facebook is increasing pressure on YouTube, as its native video content outperforms embedded YouTube videos on its site.
Native Facebook videos saw an interaction rate nearly three times higher than the average YouTube video in December 2016. If this trend continues, brands may divert more of their marketing budgets towards Facebook to the detriment of YouTube. In light of this looming threat, YouTube has endeavored to differentiate itself with a recent foray into TV. YouTube TV is an over-the-top (OTT) service that aims to replace traditional TV services, offering users a package of channels for a monthly fee of $35. This could open fresh opportunities for advertisers. While the strategy helps YouTube expand beyond its digital platform, the OTT space is also dominated by powerful incumbents.
The US OTT market is forecast to reach over $24 billion by 2021, but Netflix, which is already present in 75 percent of US OTT households, seems positioned to capture the lion’s share of these gains. Despite the challenge that Netflix poses, YouTube has several opportunities for entry. First, YouTube’s digital platform has 53 percent penetration in OTT households, second only to Netflix. Moreover, YouTube is the most popular service among non-Netflix subscribers, indicating YouTube can circumvent some of the saturation in the market.
YouTube has traditionally excelled at longer-form video relative to Facebook,allowing brands ample room for episodic storytelling. Users view YouTube videos for 65 seconds on average, compared to only 15 seconds on Facebook. Financial Services captures viewer attention for the shortest amount of time at 43 seconds, while Consumer Electronics leads with 71 seconds.
With over 700 million users, Instagram is the world’s third largest social network, behind only Facebook and YouTube. Brands have embraced the platform as a vehicle for engagement; Instagram boasts eight million brand accounts and one million active advertisers. Instagram’s expanded suite of advertiser opportunities include multiple video ad formats.
Instagram first launched video sharing in June 2013 and increased the maximum length from 15 to 30 seconds in September 2015. In August 2016, the platform released Instagram Stories for both video and static images and Live Video in November 2016. Despite the push for enhanced video offerings, brands remain primarily focused on posting static images to the platform; adoption of video on Instagram is lower than on Facebook, at 16 percent.
Beverages and Activewear lead adoption, with rates higher than the overall average. For now, however, Instagram’s algorithm still provides remarkable organic access to a brand’s followers. Compared to the other top two platforms, Instagram is a master of video engagement; the average engagement rate for video on Instagram is higher than that of Facebook or YouTube by an order of magnitude. However, as Instagram becomes increasingly pay-to-play, brands should be prepared to see organic engagement wane.
Digital video vs TV
Research conducted by digital benchmarking firm L2 Inc has also revealed, that US ad spend on digital video will see double-digit growth annually through 2020, while TV ad spend is projected to grow much more modestly, between 2.0 percent and 2.5 percent.
Data & content sourced from L2 Inc Intelligence report video 2017©; additional content by NicheHunt.com staff