Video increases in importance, social media becomes less social


In our business, we have been toiling with this question: Where does traditional media sit within a social media environment? With video being the fastest-growing segment in both categories, we decided to look there to find the answer.

In traditional media, video advertising dollars will rise the fastest of any digital format this year, totaling US$5.96 billion and accounting for nearly 12% of display ad spending. Furthermore, eMarketer expects video ad expenditures to more than double between 2014 and 2018.

Next year, the video flood gates will open even more as social marketers embrace video as never before. Facebook now delivers more than 1 billion video views per day. Nearly nine in 10 United States marketers are using social media marketing, placing it clearly at the core of business marketing in today’s media environment.

In early November, for the first time ever, The New York Times acknowledged that video has become more powerful than text when referencing its digital assets.

Anyone who observed or took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in August of this year likely witnessed the power of video in social media. Through September 1, 17 million videos related to the ALS challenge were uploaded to Facebook and were viewed more than 10 billion times by 440 million Facebook users.

It’s an astonishing endorsement of how you can amplify social media’s clout and reach with video.

Rich media will be the fastest-growing digital format beginning in 2015; eMarketer predicts spending on rich media will nearly triple between 2014 and 2018.

The Wall Street Journal certainly seems to agree and wants to get ahead of the growing trend in video. In late November, the newspaper publisher launched WSJ Interactive, enabling viewers to click on elements within each video linking to relevant articles, other video clips, real-time market data, and other content.

Andy Regal, WSJ video’s senior executive producer, called it one of the most important initiatives that the newspaper will undertake in 2015.

These days, online video CPMS are outpacing anything in the display arena, spurring a recent spate of acquisitions in the multi-channel network, which saw Disney scooping up Maker Studios for US$950 million.

Yet, while the rise of digital video is undeniable, marketers continue to be challenged to balance production quality with the ephemeral nature of social media. And there is still a sense of unease about what works and doesn’t work, and how best to manage social media campaigns.

Social media keeps changing; for marketers that can mean both magic and frustrating mystery.

As 2015 approaches, the overarching trend will see social media evolving in very non-social ways, becoming a more diversified ecosystem of ad networks, content distribution platforms, e-commerce services, and mobile video destinations.

Consequently, marketers need to be as sophisticated at incorporating social into overall marketing plans as consumers have been at integrating social media into their everyday lives.

So where does that leave us? Is social media starting to gravitate to something more traditional? If The New York Times is on the leading edge of this traditional media transition, then it appears as though they are indeed coming together. The question now may be more about the content itself.

If video is indeed more powerful than the word, then let’s look back to what was the most valuable portion of The New York Times print publication. The answer is the sports section. It has always been the most read and most attractive to brand marketers.

Does that then make the most valuable section of a newspapers .com the sports section and more specifically sports video? It makes a lot of sense. Perhaps sports video is one of the ways that traditional media will now align with social, providing the needed balance in production quality and quality content in general.

What appears certain is that a Facebook-first social strategy will not always be the correct strategy as smaller, more private communities gain traction and become larger. At the same time, traditional media will continue to learn and adapt, becoming a major player in this interestingly evolving marketplace we call media.

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