By 2019 80% of the content we will consume online will be video content. Meanwhile, our usage of the internet is shifting (or has already shifted) from desktop to mobile. These two facts don’t just correlate coincidentally.
Mobile phones have become better in processing a lot of data at a time. Their screens have become equal to most of the desktop screens. And data plans have become affordable for everybody. But most importantly, mobile phones are also cameras. While carrying a smartphone with you, you are instantly able to capture your dog, yourself or the beautiful scenery around you.
But, as good as a mobile video may be, it is worth nothing if it can’t be seen. Consequently, platforms have arisen that make it possible to share videos with your friends and that attract big communities of viewers. Two of these platforms aggregated enough users to be really interesting for marketing. Of course, it is video marketing we are talking about – as these platforms are video platforms: Vine and Snapchat.
Vine – Are six seconds enough?
The average span of attention online is eight seconds. So it seems just right if a video isn’t longer than six seconds, as it is the case with Vine. But are six seconds enough to tell a story or to make a point? Obviously, they are.
While it is challenging to tell a story in only six seconds, it is hardly possible to place multiple messages within this frame of time. In fact, it is challenging to place a message in the six seconds of moving image at all. So, Vines need to be broken down to one message (and one situation). Only then users will understand and consume a Vine. If you succeed to put your message in a nutshell, the results will be stunning. Creating this kind of “art” is honored by many people. Currently the vine-app has 200 million monthly active users. Vine’s “audience is largely younger and largely female”, as Vine’s General Manager Jason Toff explains. While at first these numbers do not seem to be interesting – compared to other video platforms – it is the runtime of videos that is stunning: Vines are watched 1.5 billion times a day, the same as 285 years runtime, daily.
So why marketing on Vine? As mentioned above, Vine has a growing community. But Vine also has an infrastructure that is built for sharing. Vine can be easily embedded on many popular platforms, such as Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr or other web applications. Furthermore for some of these platforms Vine can be started by autoplay. It is an important eye-catcher for many social networks, such as Twitter. Beside this technical specifications, Vine has one big advantage concerning the attention of its users. Due to its short length, it is the perfect medium to be consumed on the go. It is easy for users to consume their video “snack” while riding the escalator. With Vines, brands have the chance to put a message in a nutshell and right into the everyday life of their customers.
Snapchat – Are 24 hours enough?
Snapchat and Vine have a distinct connection: Both rely on the short attention span of their users. Snapchat became big through its service to message images that disappear after 10 seconds. The app, that was referred to as the “sexting-app” in the beginning, has come a long way. Snapchat noticed the way communication has changed: “Photographs have changed.[…] Today at the advent of the mobile phone and the idea of a connected camera, pictures are being used for talking.”, says Evan Spiegel, Co-Founder and CEO of Snapchat.
It is not just images anymore that matter on Snapchat, it is also the chat, video-chat, money transfers, videos, livestreaming and magazine. Video is an important part of Snapchat. Even though it is not a classic video platform, as YouTube or Vine, it is a platform that heavily relies on video. Snapchat has created, according to TIME online, their “most addictive feature”: live stories. These “live stories” are videos shot by Snapchat users who cover live events or cities. Each of these “live stories” stays online for only 24 hours. Video ads are placed in between the user content. “Discover” follows a similar pattern. Discover showcases Snapchat’s magazine features, where publishers such as Mashable, publish their content on Snapchat.
As Evan Spiegel explains, these ads need to be designed in a way that they don’t disturb the user experience, and this makes them very distinctive. Furthermore, they stay online for 24 hours only. Doubts regarding whether this is a reliable form of advertising are pertinent. At least it is a form of advertising that is reaching a rapidly growing number of users. Currently, Snapchat has 400 million monthly active users – a quarter of them are active daily.
On top of that, Snapchat claims that they have about 5 billion video views a day. Just 14% of snapchats users are older than 35 years. 60% of their users are younger than 24 years. If you look at teens’ mobile phones, you will hardly find someone who is not using Snapchat. Snapchat has one big “disadvantage”: As a marketer you can’t push your brand into the users Snapchat experience besides the live stories and the discover section. This “disadvantage” on the other hand is a big advantage for brands that understand how to deal with Snapchat. Once a user has added a brand, it is up to him to watch the videos and photos a brand is posting on Snapchat – the user has to choose actively if he wants to see the brand’s latest updates. While at the first look this seems to lower the brands impact on Snapchat – you can’t be sure how many eyes will follow your message – it strengthens the bond between the user and the brand as users proactively consume brand messages.
Look back, look forth
Coming to an end, let’s do a short thought experiment: Back in 2006 there was a video service showing cats and dogs online. Well, there was not only one. But one of these services made it convenient to post videos online and to share them with your friends. There was another service where you publicly wrote on your friends’ wall and shared images of yourself. These platforms were far from perfect. But many people were using it already. Advertising on these platforms was in its infancy and results had not yet been proven by many different parties. Looking back on it today, would you have thought about marketing on YouTube and Facebook? Now look at Vine and Snapchat. These platforms may not become the new YouTube and Facebook but they already prove to be powerful marketing tools. One of the major advantages of marketing on Vine and Snapchat is that it is still in its initial stage. The users haven’t yet developed any marketing blindness and are unlikely to develop it at all – but that’s a different kettle of fish, or isn’t it?