When it comes to new online video products and offerings, 2016 did not disappoint. All of the major players—including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Vimeo, and Snapchat—had big-ticket releases. So, what might the New Year have to offer? Here are some possible predictions.
YouTube: It’s the largest online video platform in the game, but YouTube faced heavy competition this year. YouTube isn’t going anywhere, though it will need to continue addressing the uptick in social engagement seen on other platforms if it wants to stay ahead of the curve.
Why? Because marketers understand and evaluate social engagement metrics under a microscope, and are always looking for new and smart data to prove a campaign’s worth. A social platform with a die-hard community, YouTube did have a release in 2016 aimed at increasing engagement.
Back in September, the platform released a beta version of a community tab that lives on a YouTube channel. The focus is to give users a simple way to engage with viewers and express themselves beyond video. Read the full post on YouTube’s blog.
To address the challenge of keeping views on its platform, YouTube rolled out a beta in-app messaging program for mobile users to easily share and comment without having to leave YouTube.
YouTube is trying to capitalize on the massive amount of people who use other messenger services to share its content, and who can blame it? Facebook and others have made bold moves against YouTube by making it harder to display YouTube videos in their news feeds.
Look for YouTube to continue going feature-heavy in 2017. It’s listening to its creator and user base for fresh ideas. It will be interesting to see what type of YouTube features are released. Will they be targeted at user-generated content audiences or will they focus on premium or even business brands?
Facebook: The social network has always crushed it with its ability to connect users. It’s stayed true to that mission with its video experience.
One of the more interesting announcements for Facebook Video was the feature that allows users to watch videos from Facebook on a TV by streaming via devices such as Apple TV and Google Chromecast.
While this may not be cutting-edge in some circles, it does speak to Facebook’s commitment to understanding that audience’s want a multi-screen experience. The real-time reactions and comments that appear on-screen are going to be a big win for engagement with Facebook video. With 1.13 billion daily active users, Facebook already has some of the strongest engagement statistics out there.
For video publishers, this may be a wise option when choosing a video platform that can deliver a social and active viewing experience.
Twitter: For the sake of this article, we’ve combined Twitter and Periscope into one platform. Twitter is the parent company to Periscope and it’s safe to say Twitter has upped its video strategy since Periscope beat out rival Meerkat in the live streaming wars of 2015. According to Periscope, it had 200 million broadcasts in its first year.
While those numbers are impressive, Periscope released Periscope Producer, a way for brands, media organizations, and other live video creators to broadcast high-quality streams from devices beyond a phone or tablet. Twitter is targeting big production value and more traditional media with this release.
Premium content means premium advertising and essentially more revenue for the blue bird. Twitter continued its push into live streaming when it partnered with the NFL to broadcast 10 Thursday night football games globally for free. Twitter is also in negotiation with other sports leagues and networks to add more live content to its app.
It’s highly unlikely this video will remain free to watch, so Twitter is targeting cord-cutters and trying to lure them in with these offerings. We’re anxious to see how Twitter and Periscope evolve in 2017. Between the Periscope Producer release and Twitter’s deals with premium content providers, it almost seems like the two are competing with each other.
Vimeo: Vimeo’s reputation has always been as a platform for filmmakers and artists. While that perception is still somewhat true in 2016, Vimeo has made many marketers and brands reconsider its capabilities with Vimeo Business.
Business accounts allow for tools and players that are more advanced than many of the other platforms mentioned in this article.
Between 360-degree video, 4K resolution, and other advanced technology, quality will be key to the future of many online video platforms. Vimeo has always been a big proponent of video quality, so expect to see more progress in that arena to keep Vimeo ahead of the competition.
Snapchat: While it’s one of the newcomers to the online video game, Snapchat is a platform to watch. Back in June, the app rolled out a redesign that included a new Discover section. This section spotlights stories from big name publishers such as ESPN, CNN, and BuzzFeed. Video content is a big component to many of those stories.
Snapchat has made itself a hub for short-form content and has an active user base. On average, people who use Snapchat spend roughly 10 minutes a day with the app, according to a Cantor Fitzgerald analysis, compared with Instagram’s 6.4 minutes.
Instagram (owned by Facebook) has taken note, releasing its own version as Instagram stories back in August.
Both platforms, but especially Snapchat, are fighting to capture younger demographics, a holy grail for advertisers. The strategy of mixing premium content with user-generated video diaries is one that seems to be accelerating at a rapid pace. What’s most intriguing is that eMarketer estimates Snapchat brought in more than $246 million solely from its video ads.
With those numbers and a rumored IPO coming up, it’s likely that Snapchat will be around for a while.