The production industry is currently facing disruption from brands and media owners who want short, impactful and instant video coverage, more often – and at a greatly reduced cost, although still of good quality.

Many brand and communications experts have been predicting the rise of visual content, particularly video content over the past two years as smartphones got smarter and video started to dominate social media platforms globally.

It’s not just about adapting your content to today’s shorter attention spans to maximise effectiveness, it’s also providing an entertaining and engaging way to connect more intimately with your customer or audience.

The kicker though, is that short form digital video has now become the primary source of news for younger audiences. Campaign magazine reports that 52 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds now prefer it to reading the news.


According to research by AOL, as reported by Campaign: Short form digital video – video between one and 10 minutes in length – has experienced a surge in popularity in the past couple of years where viewing of short form videos has increased by more than 50 per cent. This, says Campaign, is the obvious place for brands to engage with consumers.

YouTube powered the short-form commercial standard which has now transitioned across traditional media; the smartphone brought us first-person breaking news accounts to our screens and television sets via global news networks and social media; and content marketing as a strategy is dominating communications and brand strategy – including video.

The global Mobile Marketing Association, which runs the Smarties Awards for effective and creative mobile advertising annually, recently released its inaugural MMA EMEA Smarties Business Impact Index, which ranks agencies, networks, brands and technology enablers that deliver the highest level of business impact through mobile-first advertising campaigns. Four South African agencies were ranked in the four top spots: Digitas Liquorice, Yonder Media, Gloo@Ogilvy and Gorilla.

Sarah Utermark, country director for MMA SA, said this was a significant achievement for the South African digital agencies. Digitas Liquorice won in the 2017 Smarties for a series of short video content for the brand SA Homeloans. With current trends in video content and mobile in Africa, short video content is going to be a major game changer in the near future in advertising.

“Mobile is without doubt seen as the most dominant screen for video consumption. It’s impactful and with the attention grabbing qualities video content possesses, has proven to yield impressive results as the most effective storytelling platform.”


Storytelling is of course key here. With content on the rise as content marketing and branded content compete with traditional paid media advertising as ways to build brand loyalty, video brings depth to brand storytelling with short-form video.

Relevance, creativity, instant view, quality, snackable videos are all the rage and research is showing that the shorter the video, the more likely the consumer is to watch it to the end. And key here is that the consumer prefers it if the brand is somewhat integrated into the video storyline, rather than as a standalone advert before or after the video. The opportunity here is for brands to own the story.

Utermark continued: “A recent Facebook report showed that last year, the average length of a video published was between 3-4minutes, yet the average time watched tends to be approximately 10-15 seconds or only 4 per cent of the full video length.

“However, the formula for success is far more complicated than a 15-30 second spot, it needs to be relevant to the audience, there needs to be a consideration of brand relevancy and trust, in relation to the channels in which the content is being consumed through, but most importantly, video also offers greater opportunities to be innovative and creative, making the most of a captive audience. With attention grabbing content paramount, it’s always worth adding short titles to your videos, especially in the first few seconds, to captivate the audience.”

AMPLIFY CONTENT reports that it is about more than just the consumer having a shorter attention span so marketers have to provide shorter content: “Short-form videos give you more freedom to produce hard-hitting, relatable videos that get to the point, without the overhead of creating more in-depth content.”

Short-form video content can be used as a livestream; a Snap; an Instagram story; to tease a campaign; or as branded content to provide the sizzle to your brand, says Entrepreneur magazine, and what video does do extremely well, is amplify your content effort, whether it is earned, owned or paid media.

The advice from Entrepreneur is to “capture everything”. Social media is a stage and the more a brand document’s what is relevant to the brand, or a company ethos, the more emotional connections will be made and the more relationships the brand will build. In fact, treat every brand moment and experience as an opportunity to showcase it on the “social media stage”.

Utermark said that with data prices falling, smartphone devices becoming more affordable, Wi-Fi hotspots more accessible, as well as the continual mass sharing of content via social media, it’s no surprise that there is a huge rise in video content.

She said that according to Mary Meekers Internet Trends Report, at the end of 2017, it was expected that online video will account for 74 per cent of all online traffic. “We’re already seeing this with social media platforms across the board adopting a ‘video first’ approach to how we share content.”

Utermark quoted stats from Big Brave Digital which presented at last year’s Smarties Forum:

  • The top three social networks – Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube – gather 22 billion video views a day.
  • YouTube reports that mobile video consumption rises 100 per cent year-on-year.
  • 82 per cent of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter.
  • YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of total internet users.
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day.
  • More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the three major US TV networks have created in 30 years.
  • 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds.

Online video advertising is also expected to grow by 17 per cent year-on-year by 2020, as television viewing and TV video ad expenditures decline, Utermark reported, while mobile advertising grew by 33 per cent in 2017 and was expected to grow by 18 per cent per year by 2020.

Author: Louise Marsland
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