Two thousand and seventeen is in the books and it’s been another monumental year for online video. Recapping the highlights, here’s a look at what some of the major online video channels did and what we can expect from them in 2018.
YouTube: The largest online video platform and second-largest search engine continued to separate itself from potential competitors. One of the major moves YouTube made in 2017 was the release of YouTube TV. The launch of this service puts its platform in even more living rooms than before. YouTube is making the transition from online video to traditional TV viewing almost seamless.
Online video publishers should keep this service on their radars, because as of this writing membership includes YouTube Red, which allows ad-free YouTube viewing, as well as offline viewing via mobile devices.
Bundling its services and offering packages at modestly priced rates could prove tempting to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. This could be a big swing in the way advertisers and brands create ads for YouTube.
Looking ahead, YouTube’s goal of becoming a full-on entertainment platform is going to only increase the amount of content it offers. Publishers will need to create better and more engaging content along with truly optimizing their videos for success on YouTube. Otherwise, their videos will not able to compete with brands that have detailed YouTube strategies.
For brands not using YouTube, this could sway the decision of increasing or decreasing their efforts. They’ll need to think about the resources available and whether or not YouTube makes sense for them.
Facebook: Recapping the world’s largest social network shows that Facebook continued to invest in video in 2017. While it made a lot of big moves, it’s the smaller moves that may be most rewarding to online video marketers.
For starters, Facebook introduced users to Watch, a tab on its native platform where they can view original Facebook shows. This tab also lets users subscribe to their favorite series instead of just watching videos in the News Feed.
According to Facebook, users asked for a dedicated place where they could go to watch video. Facebook will never truly surpass YouTube as the largest online video platform, many experts agree: It’s not a place where people go solely to watch videos. However, this is a step in the right direction for Facebook to simplify the user experience and segment video from other content.
It’s also a good sign for brands and marketers that are looking to expand their video libraries across Facebook, while also keeping their content organized and easy to find.
One other noteworthy move that Facebook made was the release of in-stream video ads in August. This allows advertisers to deliver 5- to 15-second mid-roll video ads to Facebook viewers. Facebook has a strong ad network, giving publishers the ability to capitalize on audience targeting and video ad placement.
Between improving the user experience and the ad system, Facebook is making aggressive moves to become an online video hub. On top of that is its investment in live streaming and augmented realty. Facebook is in full video force.
Mark Zuckerberg claimed in 2016 that Facebook will be mostly video within 5 years, so expect to see more video-focused releases from Facebook in 2018.
Instagram: Facebook-owned Instagram made news of its own in 2017. One interesting move was how it changed its autoplay feature. Essentially, Instagram videos autoplay with the sound off, but if the user turns the sound on all subsequent videos will also play with the sound on.
As mentioned before, one of the main differences between YouTube and Facebook is that users go to YouTube to watch videos, while they may not be going to Facebook for that sole purpose. While YouTube doesn’t autoplay videos, it will, by default, keep playing videos with the sound on when a video is finished. This doesn’t bother most users, because they’re on YouTube to watch (and hear) videos.
This move shows Instagram following suit, believing that users come to its platform to watch video. It’s an interesting middle-ground approach and an unobtrusive use of autoplay.
Another Instagram video announcement was its Go Live With a Friend feature added in October. The feature allows video streamers to add a friend—or anyone who’s currently watching their live broadcast—to the video itself. This encourages collaborations across Instagram creators and introduces video creators to new audiences.
Live video has been all the rage this year, and this is Instagram’s way of increasing engagement. It will be interesting to see how brands use these features with their own audiences. Influencers may find themselves in high-demand as brands try to reach certain audiences and demographics.
Expect Instagram to further grow as a video destination in 2018. Whether or not it will stay true to its creative roots is uncertain. With Facebook’s ad network and brands trying to monetize, Instagram may have to undergo some serious changes in the future.
Vimeo: The high-quality online video site continued breaking through as a turnkey marketing tool in 2017. While Vimeo doesn’t get the same press as other platforms, it really should. The impressive amount of tools and features Vimeo offers through its business accounts is unmatched in price and simplicity.
Recapping Vimeo, one favorite release in its business plans was an email capture tool. This allows marketers to capture leads for viewers interacting with a video. It’s too common these days to watch an engaging video then find no call-to-action. Many brands fail at this, but Vimeo has created an easy way to solve the problem.
With this feature, Vimeo created an easy way for collaborators to leave notes and feedback. Video editors can turn these into consolidated lists or even get feedback in real-time. This tool is available in Vimeo Pro and Business accounts.
Expect Vimeo to target more brands and publishers in 2018. It may not have the same user count as YouTube or Facebook, but that could be a selling point. There’s less noise on the platform and more opportunity for users to interact with video. Plus, it offers a quality player that can be embedded on company websites.
That’s it for our recapping. The online video landscape is crowded, so all of these channels and others such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat will compete for consumer attention this year. Stay tuned to OnlineVideo.net for updates on what is sure to be an eventful 2018 (which we’ll be recapping in 12 short months)!