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13 Social Video Predictions For 2013

Goodbye 2012 – it’s been emotional. Bring on 2013! There is no doubt that 2012 was an incredible year for social video. The type of videos people share is a powerful indicator of global sentiment, and in 2012 emotions certainly ran high, as viewers swept aside their cynicism to be moved to tears by P&G, inspired by human endeavour and outraged by atrocities in Africa.

But as we bid farewell to 2012, it’s time to look forward to the next 12 months. So what can we expect in 2013? What significant social video trends will emerge? Well, here are Unruly’s predictions for 2013:

1. Emotional Engagement Will Be Front Of Mind

Testing what works and optimising the performance of branded content isn’t just about using big data to make decisions and optimising in real-time, though of course this is absolutely critical. It’s about emotions too.

The brands that succeed in the future will be the brands which create content that elicits a powerful emotional response from their audience. Content that makes us weep a river, laugh out loud or shiver with delight. That’s the way to get cut-through when there’s so much content available, and it’s also one way of shortcutting decision-making processes.
We make decisions based on how we feel and – crucially – how our friends feel about a brand. People are much more likely to buy a product if their friends have sent them content from that brand. This may have dire consequences for unshareable, interruptive pre-roll advertising.
2. In The Year That Is Being Dubbed Empty13, Brands Will Need To Come up With Their Own Conversational Starters

After a huge year of national events, there’s not that much on the agenda for 2013. So the question is: will the brand chatter go quiet or will this give brands the impetus to be truly creative and build their own storylines in 2013?

Certainly, they’ll need to step up to the creative plate if they want to engage with today’salways-on digital consumer and earn the attention of their consumers rather than force an ad view using the interruptive, pre-roll format.

3. New Industry Standards for Social Video Advertising Will Be Set

How do we know this? We’re helping to set them! Our Social Video Best Practice Guidehas passed muster with the IAB steering groups and video councils.

With a formal set of guidelines extending across the market, the format will become a more concrete offering for brands who will know exactly how much bang they get for their buck from one platform to the next. Ethical guidelines will also set standards for disclosure and transparency. We’ll be launching it officially in the new year. In the meantime, you can refer to best practices here: http://www.unrulymedia.com/industry-standards

4. Broadcast TV And Online Video Advertising Planning Will Become More Integrated

This was a big trend in 2012, and it’s set to continue into 2013. According to a study by Adap.tv, 58% of survey respondents said they plan to bring online video and TV ad planning closer together, while 67% of participants see online video advertising and TV advertising as complementary to each other (up from 59% last year).

5. We’ll See The “World of Mouth” Phenomenon Continuing, With National Boundaries Becoming Increasingly Irrelevant

For a connected generation of super sharers. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perryhave more followers than the populations of Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Canada, Argentina and Egypt combined.

Digital natives are increasingly aligned to virtual, cultural and social tribes as opposed to national ones. Their endorsement of a piece of content can drive it to a massive number of followers.

6. There’ll Be More Focus On Delivering Earned Media

The CMO of Ford said in a recent interview that the creation and distribution of shareable content was his top strategic priority. We think this will be the case with many CMOs over the next 12 months, who have already seen the value of word-of-mouth recommendations.

Since 90% of people trust word-of-mouth vs only 14% of people who trust ads, it makes perfect sense for brands to invest in making and distributing videos that people want to share, turning passive viewers into brand advocates.

7. Brands Will Be Asking WHY Some Content Is Popular

2012 was the year that social video grew up. Rather than chasing the next ‘viral hit’ – the strategic equivalent of throwing a lit match in a darkened room – a lot of advertisers over the last 12 months have stopped crossing their fingers and instead focused on creating content that is optimised for sharing.

With 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, there is a lot of competition. However, recent research studies have found there is a formula. Social video success is predictable, measurable and repeatable. Just look at agencies such as Duval Guillaume Modem, who created three of the top 20 most shared ads of 2012.

In 2013, brands will look more deeply into why particular videos are successful, how they can predict success and what they can do to operationalise that success to make sure that they have a sustainable, “always on” video strategy that takes advantage of the social video opportunity.

8. Narrowcast Sharing Will Become More Commonplace

Users will be more selective about who they share with and use apps such as Google Circles, Path and Facebook Lists to share with more intimate groups of people, adjusting their sharing behaviour between platforms.

9. Brands And Their Agencies Will Become Content Curators

With 72 hrs of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute, and a billion pieces of content shared on Facebook every day, content discovery and curation is as large a task, and as important, as creating content in the first place.

Without curation, promotion and distribution, content can sink into the noise, never reaching its intended target audience.
10. Content Measurement Will Increasingly Begin With CPE (Cost-Per-Engagement) Rather Than CPM

Active engagement is a clearer measure than passive exposure. Pre-rolls are a turn-offfor the digital generation. Nobody enjoys being forced to watch an ad before they watch the content that they actually want to spend their time watching.

Skippable pre-roll is not only user un-friendly, but can be misleading for the advertiser, making a viewer’s inertia appear as brand advocacy.

11. Measurement Will Move Up A Notch

We’re seeing an increasing focus on testing what works, and in particular what drives active engagement and word-of-mouth, rather than measuring merely views, which can be bought and are more a measure of media spend than a measure of content quality or effectiveness.

Why this shift? Because brands want to create shareable content repeatably and at scale rather than crossing their fingers and hoping for a ‘viral hit’. Research studies are beginning to show that increased shareability of content leads to a direct increase in product sales.

The science of sharing is a big focus at Unruly. Increasingly, brands are asking us to evaluate content for its shareability, predict its share-to-view ratio and use Unruly’s new sharing alogorithm  to estimate the level of word of mouth a piece of content is likely to generate.


12. Myths Will Be Busted!

As academics and professional research companies develop a body of research around branded content, there’ll be mythbusting galore.

For example, in the early days, marketers thought you needed to hide your brand if you wanted to make your content ‘viral’. Studies have shown that this is not the case. It’s fine to have the brand front and centre of the content, as long as the content hits the relevant emotional triggers and the brand presence feels relevant and authentic.

Volkswagen’s The Force, the most shared ad to date, and Evian’s Roller Babies, the most viewed online ad to date, both feature their respective branding prominently.

There’s no mistaking who’s behind this content – the brand takes centre stage. Consumers are less concerned about the identity of the content maker and more focused on the quality of the content. It’s whether it makes them laugh or cry that counts; not whether it’s made by P&G or Coca-Cola. (We maintain an updated bibliography on latest research on effective branded content here: http://www.unrulymedia.com/further-reading).


13. More Content Will Be Designed For Multi-Screen Consumption

Content-makers are already getting creative with transmedia strategies. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus did this particularly well in 2012, uploading a TED talk from the future (2023) that then became the backstory for the blockbuster film set in 2093.

It’s not just the big screen that’s getting in on the act – with as many as 44% of TV viewers using a companion screen while watching TV, we’ll be looking to more brands, particularly broadcasters, to make companion content designed for smartphones & tablets.

According to recent studies, 44% of people have a second screen in front of them when watching TV. The introduction of 4G in the UK will mean that consumers will be able to view videos faster on their mobiles than on their desktops, placing increasing pressure on brands and advertising networks to make content work on such an intimate device. So there’s lots of scope to create a different type of content.