Are you wondering why your newsfeed is flooded with baby videos, cat videos, videos on empowerment; videos that lack sense in any and every context? Welcome to the age of Millennials! Gone are the days when you would open your Facebook to find a cat staring at you, with a really bad font over its eye. Now you get to see a cat, hear it purr and enjoy vicarious warm fuzzies. All this thanks to the sensorial makeover of content that has gone from static to video.
The magic is in the video, the wow is in the detail.
Moving images have blown away the monopoly of static posts with their ability to visually amplify a topic. Tech guru A.J. Agarwal predicts that “by 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic”. According to Social Bakers, “a survey carried by Animoto, 76.5% of marketers and small business owners who use video marketing say it had a direct impact on their business.”
And why wouldn’t it? From Dove to Old Spice to Always, every brand that has used the video format in the past managed to set new records of virality and brand love. Humans have an inherent need to hear stories, a thirst for that ‘someone like me’ feeling and the video format fills this void perfectly.
Facebook has already mapped this shift on an algorithm by giving more reach to videos than posts. According to WebProNews, 27% of all videos are promoted compared to 17% for photos. Needless to say, Facebook is giving YouTube a run for their money by not only hosting video content, but by boosting their reach. Fifty four percent of users picked Facebook as their first social destination for video consumption. Proactive international brands are now pondering the possibility of making ads and videos without sound based on the insight that most Millennials watch videos in mute mode.
Another factor that has facilitated the rise of video marketing is the fact that 55% of frequent video viewers prefer watching them on their smartphone. The change in digital consumption pattern is evident in the skyrocketing popularity of pre-roll ads abroad. Maltesers, for example, set a new record of virality with their ‘Brilliantly Filthy’ ad, first seen as a pre-roll before the Paralympics. The ads were released to eliminate the awkwardness from discussions about disability and it did just that by featuring disabled people sharing their hilarious relationship mishaps.
However, although international brands such as Always, Old Spice and BlendTech make for phenomenal case studies on how video format can optimise the mileage of a campaign, most Pakistani brands are hesitant to embrace the shift. Having said this, some FMCG giants in Pakistan have started dabbling in this, although the move is slow. A recent example is #MyBigFatDesiWedding hosted on Beautiful You that smartly cashed on the spike in the sense of self during shaadi season and created content targeted at women who want their skin and hair to look flawless during this period.
Brands such as Shan have also stepped into video content, giving a poignant twist to the old ‘yeh masala behtareen hay’ theme with Shan stories (hashtag: #ShanStories). The series comprise short, testimonial-style videos that feature real women living abroad and easing their culinary woes with Shan masalas. Although the format and the execution has nothing new to offer, Shan stories still tug at your heartstrings because of the realness of the women in the videos.
National Foods initially launched #NationalMadeEasy on their Facebook page as one minute culinary solutions; they are now on the verge of becoming one of Pakistan’s biggest recipe platforms.
Internet celebrities have been quicker to pick on this trend and collaborate with brands or launch solo videos. Case in point – Danish Ali’s collaboration with NesFruita, Mangobaaz’s video with Momina Mustehsan for Sprite and Bekaar Films joining hands with Lenovo.
The shift to video consumption has also given celebrities the opportunity to project themselves as brands. A notable mention would be Shumaila Bhatti (Desi Bombshell) who became bit of a phenomenon with 'her' razor-sharp critique of Pakistani society and witty solutions to ‘boy problems’. ZaidAliT, on the other hand, isn’t based in Pakistan but re-enacts typical Subcontinental situations that brown people come across no matter where they live.
A look at the statistics and digital trends shows that video content is currently monopolised by internet celebrities and comedians. Perhaps that is the reason why brands like Lenovo and Sprite chose to collaborate with Bekaar Films and MangoBaaz respectively to get maximum mileage with their and internet celebrity’s joint fan following. Although there is no set formula to internet fandom, an overview shows that videos that make us go ‘aww’ or ‘wow’ have a higher chance of hitting the virality jackpot.
Taniya Hasan is Head of Content, Digitz.