Social media video content is still dominating users’ attention spans. Right now, people are watching over 100 million hours of Facebook videos and over five billion YouTube videos every day. Even more astoundingly, 80% of all internet traffic this year will come from people streaming videos.
With the insane popularity of video content on social media showing no signs of shrinking in 2019, brands are scrambling to catch consumers’ attention in an increasingly video-first world. The question is, with so much content out there, how can you stand out?
One way is to be fearless in exploring fresh video formats on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are constantly putting out innovative new video types that you can take advantage of to make creative, eye-catching content.
So, we’ve pulled together the seven most compelling social media video formats that we think are worth trying in 2019:
1. Live streams
Live social video offers a real-time perspective of your business, which viewers connect with. This unedited format builds trust and gives your audience a chance to engage with you directly, ask questions, and react to your video as it’s filmed so you can see how it’s landing.
This is a smart format to give a behind-the-scenes look at your brand, showcase a big event or new product, or hold an interview with an industry leader who will grab engagement with your audience. You can see more the benefits of using live video here.
Live at the Airbnb Treehouse at the World Premiere of The #JungleBook!
Posted by The Jungle Book on Monday, 4 April 2016
Facebook: Facebook Live videos are carefully weighted within the Facebook algorithm to show up higher in a newsfeed while they are filmed. Facebook encourages users to inform their audiences about upcoming broadcasts ahead of time, to gain the biggest live audience possible. You can broadcast a live video spontaneously, or schedule it under the Publishing Tools tab of your Facebook Page.
Offering live content may also boost your page’s presence within your audience’s feed.
Pro Tips: Create a compelling description for your Facebook live video to give it context and draw a qualified audience. Engage with viewers by greeting them by name, and remind them to follow you to receive notifications of when you’re going live. Facebook recommends a broadcast of a minimum of 10 minutes.
Twitter: Twitter live video is available for mobile and tablet users and, through Periscope, broadcasting from other external video sources to provide crisper, professional video. The audience is able to comment and send hearts in support while the video is broadcast.
Pro Tips: Practice your live video ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to use scripts. Build anticipation by leading into something you’ll reveal later. Twitter recommends a broadcast of a minimum of 10 minutes. Check out Periscope Producer for high-quality live streaming.
Instagram: Instagram video formats can be square, horizontal and vertical, but the best video format for Instagram live video is a 9:16 vertical ratio. Instagram live video is prioritized at the top of your audience’s feed, so take advantage of this to offer them something they can only see by watching your broadcast.
Pro Tips: Do a test run and check the quality of your video. Don’t be afraid to work with a script or outline to keep your message on track. Promote your broadcast across channels ahead of time to let your audience know when you’ll be live. Save your video when you’re done so that you can reuse the content.
2. 360 videos / VR videos
360 videos, also known as immersive videos or VR videos, are one of the most engaging social media video formats of the past few years. They place users at the center of the content, letting them look in any direction using their phones or a VR headset.
That feeling of control makes users feel involved in the content, keeping their focus and getting them invested in the video’s message.
If you want even more immersive videos, you can actually shoot 360 live videos. Viewers watch videos as they happen and can see everything going on around the camera. Short of actually being there, there’s nothing more in-the-moment than live VR content.
If you want to draw attention to a major event like a conference or product launch, we highly recommend this format.
At the moment, you can post 360 videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter—so any videos you produce in the format can be part of a multi-channel campaign.
Many marketers shy away from making VR video content because they assume it requires multiple cameras or expensive omnidirectional ones. In reality, though, free apps such as Splash let you shoot 360 videos with nothing more than a smartphone.
So, no more excuses—give 360 videos a try. It’s sure to turn heads (literally).
Pro Tips: 360/omnidirectional cameras use fish-eye lenses, which will distort objects up close to the camera. If you’re using one, be sure to keep your distance. Also, 360 videos tend to have a large file size, so you may need to compress them or downscale their quality so they’re not too big to upload.
(See our 2019 Social Media Image Size Guide for all the best specs for social media videos)
3. AR videos
Augmented reality (AR) videos have a lot of potential, and they’re just going to keep growing in the future. Snapchat has been pioneering AR video effects with its Lenses, which let users change their appearance or insert virtual objects into their videos.
Recently, they released shoppable Lenses which let brands create their own AR effects for photos and videos on the platform that come with a CTA button.
Facebook has also been exploring opportunities for brands to get in on the AR video effect game. For example, their new AR Studio tool lets anyone create AR filters and effects.
That means brands can create custom AR content that they can use in Facebook videos. It also opens up big opportunities to encourage user-generated content—if your brand makes a funny or engaging branded AR filter and it goes viral, that’s massive reach for free.
Pro Tips: Even if you don’t have the resources to create your own AR video effects, using existing AR filters in your videos is a good way to spice up your content and make your brand more relatable.
4. Looping videos
Looping videos are an easy way to make short-form video content that pops in users’ feeds. The format burst onto the scene with the popularity of apps like Vine on Twitter and Boomerang on Instagram, which let people easily create quick videos which repeat after only a few seconds.
The appeal of these micro-videos lies in just how short and fast-paced they are. In fact, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has stated that videos lasting six seconds or less show “higher brand metrics across the board.”
Considering that the average human attention span is now down to about eight seconds, it makes sense that shorter content performs better on social media. If users have videos set to autoplay in their feeds, they’ll easily see your whole looping video while scrolling, too.
Pro Tips: Luckily, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will all automatically loop your videos if they’re short enough—encouraging users to watch them repeatedly and really hammering your brand message home. If you want your videos to auto-loop, keep them under 30 seconds on Facebook, between three and 60 seconds on Instagram, and under six and a half seconds on Twitter.
5. Animated text videos
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Love this simple animation function on @adobespark – just one click and your image animates into a video or live photo – or you can publish like an regular image too! This quote is perfect for the start of a week that has brought some surprising (but good) twists and adventures. Will be interesting to see how the week pans out. #diydesign #visualcontent #visualsocialmedia #creativeentrepreneur #adobe #adobespark #visualmarketing #designtips #brandingtips #socialmediamarketing #instagramtips #instagramstories #instagramtools #startuplife #startuptips #shortvideo #shortvideos
Animated text videos, also known as animated visuals, look at first glance like any other image post…until they come to life. Animating the text on an otherwise still image makes whatever quotes, stats, or other content you’ve written really pop.
Like looping videos, the appeal of animated text videos lies in their short, attention-grabbing style. Think about it: would you be more likely to stop scrolling in your feed for a visual of static text or for a dynamic video that pans, zooms, and reveals the text to you dramatically?
Think of animated text as an alternative to bland, standard image posts. They’re more likely to get users to really focus on the meaning of the text too, so they’re excellent for conveying important brand messages.
Pro Tips: Making text animations doesn’t require fancy graphic design skills. Apps like Adobe Spark Post and Ripl let marketers with minimal design experience animate their visuals in a simple, affordable and intuitive way. Plus, Facebook now has a similar tool brands can use natively.
6. Vertical videos
For a long time, vertical video had a bad reputation on social media. It didn’t fit the horizontal layout of platforms like Facebook or YouTube, and people browsing from laptops or desktops just saw it as a waste of screen space.
Times have changed, though. Smartphones have changed the way users interact with video content, as over 60% of online video plays are now on mobile devices. What’s more, viewers find it unnatural to turn their phones horizontally every time they want to watch a video—research has found people hold their phones vertically 94% of the time.
So, shooting and releasing vertical videos is sure to hit the sweet spot for mobile viewers. Fortunately, YouTube and Facebook now both support phone-friendly vertical videos, Snapchat’s video ads are all vertical, plus Facebook and Instagram have pushed hard for the format with both Stories videos and last year’s release of IGTV.
Vertical video is a new and exciting way to format video content, giving brands the chance to experiment with unique angles and framing. In fact, a study by Facebook found that 65% of users find brands using vertical videos more innovative, and 79% said the format was more engaging than a horizontal layout.
If you want to please mobile viewers and keep your videos fresh and interesting, vertical video is the way to go in 2019.
Pro Tips: Since fullscreen vertical video is still new to many users, they’re sure to remember highly creative uses of the space. Take advantage of the unique layout by creating content that pans up or down instead of side to side, try splitting the frame in two, or play around with animations that flip or scroll down the screen.
7. Stories videos
Speaking of vertical video content, there’s no more popular vertical layout right now than Stories videos. Stories, created by Snapchat and popularized by Facebook and Instagram, are sets of images and videos uploaded by users that typically disappear after 24 hours.
While some brands have questioned the value of creating temporary content, most have realized that the fleeting nature of Stories is great for generating excitement and urgency—like these 5 famous brands kicking butt on Instagram.
Other than their mobile-friendly layout and their 24-hour limit, Stories have a lot to offer brands. For one thing, they’re relatively new and popular with a younger demographic, so they’re a good match for brands that want to appeal to those users.
They’re also constantly getting new features that brands can leverage to engage people, seem more human and stand out from the competition. Take music stickers, which let you add the latest hits as background music to your Stories videos, making them more fun and memorable. Or questions stickers, which prompt people to connect with your brand in an “ask me anything”-style format that’s sure to encourage interactions.
Plus, Stories on every platform have been expanding their advertising and e-commerce capabilities hugely over the last year with features like shoppable tags on Instagram and CTA stickers on Facebook.
Considering all this, working Stories videos into your social media content strategy for 2019 looks like a great bet if you want to connect with young people, get more engagement, or expand your social e-commerce.
Pro Tips: Be sure to take advantage of fun Stories features like filters, stickers, and captions—but only where appropriate for your brand. For instance, if you’re a soda company, you can probably get away with a lot more whacky effects than a major bank.
The future of social media video formats
In 2019 and beyond, we’re looking forward to seeing the rise of new social video formats and the growth of existing ones. AR and VR videos are still in their early days of development, while Stories and vertical video look poised to become standard ways of consuming video content.
It’s hard to say what the future will hold, but we know this much: users gravitate toward fresh content and innovative visuals. If your brand can evolve and adapt to the latest video styles and formats, you’ll get an edge over the competition in this video-obsessed world.