One word sums up the current state of social media marketing for brands: video.

Campaigns using video had 66% greater engagement (likes, comments, shares), and approximately 600% more impressions, according to a presentation given by social media management firm Dash Hudson at yesterday’s eTail West conference.

Whence Comes This?

To satisfy viewers’ ever-decreasing attention spans, producers are catering to them with snappier, more engaging content. Because of its emphasis on short-form video, TikTok has more daily users than any other major social media platform.
Despite the rising expense of social media advertising, engaging video has proven to be an effective way to reach consumers.
Consumers in the Millennial and Gen Z generations are increasingly using their social media feeds to find amusement, rather than to interact with friends and family.
Among the younger demographic, TikTok has surpassed streaming television in popularity.

Same Old, Same Old

Advertisers want to own and manage the entertainment to maximise the options for communicating as short-form video increasingly dominates social media.

This new type of branding, like traditional advertising, can only succeed when it’s presented in a variety of places at once. Stella McCartney saw a 29% increase in average impressions and a 20% increase in average interactions when it shared the same video across several social media channels.

Basic Twos

During the Innocos Biohacking conference in San Diego, Neutrogena and its creative firm Movers + Shakers presented two guidelines for efficient brand-focused short-form video:

Listen to your clients instead than talking at them. To further inform its customers, Neutrogena produced the Skin University video series.

Make something fun to watch, not commercials. Neutrogena’s “In the Sun” film was either an official selection, semi-finalist, or winner at eight different festivals. HydroHouse, a TikTok reality programme, was also produced by the company.

So, where do you see social media advertising going from here?

No one knows what the future holds for social media marketing, which is part of its allure. Nonetheless, it exhibits familiar patterns of behaviour, much like early television.

The next trend seems to be a change in the role of social media influencers. Those who have a large number of followers but are more dedicated to a certain niche tend to have a greater impact. In comparison to their larger counterparts, their relatively limited audience size gives them a higher aura of credibility, and their advertisers view them as more valuable and effective.

In theory, the most forward-thinking companies always seem to discover the most cost-effective means of reaching customers first; then, their competitors follow suit, driving prices up until the cycle begins again with the next breakthrough.

At the moment, online video serves mostly as a medium for promoting brands through subtle means. From then, the next step for innovation is up to whoever comes along.