The Digital Takeover
When my father purchased his first smartphone AND joined Facebook in the same year (2016), I knew the world had officially changed. He’s one of those stubborn, old school baby boomer types. He would rather take four wrong turns, pull over to stare at a grossly oversized map, or ask someone for directions..then admit he needs me to take out my phone and punch the address into Google Maps. When he finally joined the digital world, I wondered, why now? I realized it was out of necessity. Social channels are how we communicate, replicate, deliberate and stay current. They influence our everyday actions and perceptions, whether we like it or not.
This powerful reach and influence means marketers must constantly develop fresh, creative content. The latest trend is video, largely driven by a growing thirst for appealing visual content. Wednesday, at the Social Media Week New York conference (#SMWNYC), Facebook’s Marketing Director of North America, Michelle Klein stated, “1.8m words – or 40,000 pages of typed text – is the equivalent of one minute of video to our brains. And by 2020, 75% of all mobile data will be video.” She spoke of video bringing consumers together on a massive scale, using examples such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and Women’s March.
As consumers, we’re constantly swiping, clicking, scrolling and skipping over information presented to us on social media. So, video marketing and expressing ideas visually…makes sense. Our brains process images must faster than words, so video gives marketers a chance to get the message across before people lose interest.
Taking it Further: Fractionalized Content
So, is that it? Grab a camera, film a few eye-catching scenes and bingo, all marketing goals are accomplished? Unfortunately, no. Technology and social media have made it easy for people to skip, fast forward, or close things they have no interest in watching. This is where fractionalization comes in. Videos are tailored to specific social media platforms, and for specific audience subsets. Meaning, the video contains actors/spokespeople that look like, act like, and speak about things the intended audience cares about. Combine that with all the analytics/targeting services available and marketers can reach exactly who they want, when they want. They’re able to quantitatively track how many people they’re reaching, making video effectiveness relatively measurable.
Looking Ahead: The Impact
What does all of this mean? For starters, I believe some of the most sought after professionals will be those who are highly digitally and visually creative. With so much digital information at our fingertips, quality content is more important than ever. Each year, companies continue to spend more money on social media marketing. In 2017, expect this money to be spent on video.
For consumers, I think the impact resembles a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, video and social media provide an efficient way for businesses to connect with consumers. It certainly creates a more direct line of communication, and finally flows two ways. We’ve also seen how video and social media can help provide the spark needed to ignite a social movement for a meaningful cause.
However, there is second edge to this sword. All of the targeting services available to marketers, means each of us leaves a very distinct digital footprint. It means we’re more susceptible to seeing certain types of information and content. I can’t help but think we’re losing some of the necessary variety in the information we consume. How can people be objective, if much of what they consume is based on their own subjectivity? To be clear, I’m not in opposition of how digital marketing is structured. As we’re each scrolling through our news feed, what’s important, is being conscious of why that video is there in the first place. Don’t fall victim to blind influence. We all have the ability to seek new information and continue playing devil’s advocate.