Social media started out and continues to focus primarily on the individual. We are in a constant state of ‘performative perfection’ using available tools to connect, interact and share content with friends and followers to best showcase our digital lives. Our digital profiles are incredibly important to us, so liking and sharing content or following someone/thing that isn’t in line with our image, can be detrimental and lose us valued followers. As such, brands have had to tread carefully on their digital journey and build up an authentic, yet engaging digital face that consumers want to interact with.

If an image speaks a thousand words, video speaks a whole lot more

The first hurdle for a brand is creating content that someone else wants to engage with and ultimately share. We’ve seen competitor brands banter and snipe on Twitter to get attention, and draw in consumers with delectable images on Instagram. Ultimately though, the individual wants more and an image or status only goes so far.

One of the reasons that individuals like online video is that it provides the means for people to quickly satisfy their information and entertainment needs. What’s more, it provokes a reaction. Moreover, with apps such as Vine, Snapchat and Flickr enabling users the ability to film short clips of video aptly named micro videos, video has become something we expect to see in our social feeds and forms part of our daily routine.

According to Cisco the future for video is bright with it set to account for 69 per cent of all consumer internet traffic by 2017. Undoubtedly social media has propelled the growth of online video, Facebook exceeding YouTube’s views last year demonstrates this. Overall we are a nation of sharers and want to build up a social history, which is why social networks provide an attractive proposition to individuals and indeed an opportunity for brands.

Premium snacks

It’s not just user generated videos that ‘go viral’, brands are using snackable, premium content to woo potential prospects. However companies do need to evolve their content and make it conversational and relevant to ensure it is sharable.

John Lewis’ ‘Monty the Penguin’ Christmas ad is a great example of a social video campaign that hits the mark. The ad went ‘viral’ in a matter of hours and Facebook took 40 per cent of all views of the advert. Having built up a trusted social profile and following, as well as producing content that the target audience could relate to, the retailer quickly ramped up the views across the network.

Getting the millennials onside 

It’s not just house hold names that can have social video success however. A new breed of socially native publishers have fully embraced the idea of building up an authentic social image and connecting with a specific audience, presenting another opportunity for brands to achieve social awareness. For instance, UNILAD have built up their popularity on Facebook by engaging with peers and encouraging them to share content from the site with their network. Their genuine and consistent image has helped make these sites a popular destination and also a trusted ‘friend’ in individual’s social network.

Leveraging these sites’ social influence, brands can replicate their tone and style and unlock interest from millennials. And there is a particularly big opportunity with millennials, with comScore revealing consumers in the millennial age bracket are spending 48 per cent more time watching online video than any other age group.

What’s next for brands?

Social has shown in 2014 that the potential is huge for video and with more consumers scrolling and watching video on smartphones and tablets around the clock, cross-device video campaigns are no longer a nice-to-have, they’re necessary to secure eyeballs and engagement. This year, the emphasis will turn to being able to identify users and track reach and frequency across devices.

What’s more with comScore stating that three quarters of video views are outside of YouTube, to succeed in 2015 brands need to embrace multiple channels and present a consistent and relevant social identity that consumers can relate to.

Tamara Jacobs

Tamara Jacobs


Tamara Jacobs, Brand Solutions Manager, Blinkx Media.