The world of video is constantly evolving. As more and more tech platforms incorporate video content into their native infrastructure, the video formats they demand also change. Sometimes format developments are subtle and sometimes they’re more obvious, but from platform to platform, the specifics of creating, sharing, and enjoying videos are constantly shifting. And even when new technologies don’t demand a reinvention of video as we know it, discreet, platform-specific tweaks make it possible to optimize for video success.
The goals and style of the platform itself have a lot to do with the video format specifics that arise. Live video requires content of a certain format, for example, as does 360 video or even disappearing, 24-hour Snippet videos on Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Another factor determining video format is the type of audience targeted by any given distribution channel or platform. A new video format might encourage content geared more towards education or entertainment, for example, or might inspire or even demand videos of a certain length.
We investigated the new platforms emerging to support video and the established platforms that are empowering creators by introducing video as native content. Here are some of the most exciting platform announcements that are shaking up the social video scene, and the specific video formats that will perform best on each:
1. LinkedIn: Short-form Ted Talks
Predictions show that between 2015 and 2020, online video traffic will increase by three times. LinkedIn introduced native video for the first time this year, allowing users to upload original content in order to compete for some of the social video attention that is taking the web by storm. But to get the most out of this new player in the online video arena, creators are going to have to rethink the content they make.
Fundamentally, the types of videos that perform best on platforms like Facebook won’t have the same results on LinkedIn. The short, surprise-packed videos popular on Facebook, for example, will give way to longer, more informative content on LinkedIn. With an expanded five-minute time limit, LinkedIn video creators have more room to dive into the details of core messaging, without getting too bogged down in the nitty gritty of a thirty-minute long explainer. And since LinkedIn is a career-focused platform, videos with a more serious tone that share professional lessons, high-level expertise, and business messaging will do best.
2. Google Stamp: A New Home for Snippet Videos
Google announced Stamp this year in order to compete with platforms like Snapchat Discover. Built to support Google’s AMP webpages that are already designed to load faster, Stamp lets users swipe through a seamless slideshow of customized content. Because it’s diving into a crowded corner of the platform world, Google kicked off their Stamp launch by subsidizing the costs associated with creating an entirely new type of content for a brand new platform. Google is primarily supporting big-name publishers that will help get Stamp off the ground.
Meanwhile, Snippet videos are already a very familiar video format for any creator familiar with platforms like Snapchat Discover and Instagram Stories. Optimized Stamp videos will be short and concise in their messaging, and can also incorporate text alongside the videos themselves. With publishers like Conde Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., CNN, The Washington Post, and Vox Media already working with Google to master the new platform, Stamp video creators will have to strive for top production quality and videos that exemplify craft with attention-grabbing imagery.
3. Facebook Live 360: Full Picture Streaming
Facebook combined the power of two popular video formats when they announced Live 360. Whereas live video has provided a powerful window onto world events as they unfold in real time, 360 video has broken down the confines of one-directional framing that were once the norm for video content. And while platforms like Instagram focus heavily on framing and filters to curate a single shot, Live 360 video takes into account every angle of an event or environment and documents occurrences without the interruption of editing of any kind.
Whether the scene is a week-long National Geographic experiment at the breathtaking Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah, or a conference unfolding with a view on panel speakers and audience reactions at the same time, Live 360 videos succeed by taking into account a more holistic view to video-making. Facebook opened up their Live 360 platform to the public this year, enabling any brand or creator to succeed streaming beautiful scenes around the world, sharing exciting news from every angle, and documenting critical moments in real time.
4. Twitter Video Website Cards: Goal-Oriented Video Ad Optimization
Original video content is an authentic way for brands and publishers to reach their audience and attract customers, but video is also a crucial tool in the world of advertising. Twitter launched Video Website Cards this year specifically to help brands optimize their video content for specific business goals. The idea is to combine the high quality videos that capture attention as users scroll through their Twitter feeds with the power of advertising optimization - aligned with specific phases of business growth or stages of a customer journey.
The Twitter platform is set up to auto-play videos and anchor them to the top of the screen while a user scrolls, so short, eye-catching videos that embody a brand’s voice or get straight to the heart of a publisher’s story will win out here. And to make the format most effective for businesses, creators should gear each video towards a business goal like building awareness around a launch or event, driving traffic to a website, or engaging fans and potential customers.
5. YouTube Reels: Filter-Friendly Social Video
YouTube has become the newest major player to jump into the deep end of the social video Stories pool with Reels. The platform is a spin on the popularity of Instagram Stories and Snapchat Discover, adapted to suit creators accustomed to cutting together highly labor-intensive content for a typical YouTube video. Reels won’t expire and creators will be able to upload multiple Reels at the same time, just by stringing together mobile video snippets of up to 30 seconds with the added features of filters, text, and stickers. In order to separate these easy-to-film snippets from the more effort-filled videos that are the pride of the YouTube community, Reels will have live in their own tab on a channel page.
YouTube envisions Reels that will help round out creators’ channels with backstage peeks, literally or figuratively. Whether brands are crowdsourcing feedback on their next product or a new video, or companies are capturing the behind the scenes efforts going into an event or a big launch, the more casual format is a complement to typical, full-length YouTube videos, not a replacement. Users will be able to link to full-length YouTube videos so Reels can be used as teasers or highlight reels, and the ability to link in with other creators makes it easy for brands to cross audiences with influencers or brand ambassadors.