By the end of 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic – and more and more of this traffic is coming from social media platforms, where video continues to evolve as a storytelling medium for brands and publishers, friends and family. As of now, Facebook videos attract 500 million unique viewers every day, and 82% of Twitter users watch video content. But these “big brothers” have a lot of work to do if they want to hold their place at the top – 2016 showed us how a strong focus on users’ video experience could transform an unknown platform into a major competitor (read: Snapchat). So what should we expect in 2017? Here are 11 social media platforms that will be ramping up their video game this year:
Last Year’s Returning Social Video Champions
1. Facebook Collections
Facebook’s fickle algorithm changes, fake news controversy, and video metric miscalculations posed as a threat to the platform’s long-held reign. To amend their rocky relationship with publishers and secure their leadership position in the social video market, Facebook has reportedly begun pitching Collections. Similar to Snapchat’s Discover and Twitter’s Moments, Collections will showcase impartial news stories – curated from select publishers, free from algorithm filtering. The platform will also continue to push forward Facebook Live, and has started to implement AI censoring technology to block any illegal or fake live events.
2016 was a very rewarding year for Instagram thanks to their heavy focus on optimizing users’ video experience. The platform doubled its monthly active users to 600 million from 2014 and added game–changing updates that included 60-second video, Instagram Stories, live video and messages, and ‘hands-free’ video – all of which have contributed to an exceptional growth of their ad business that won’t stop anytime soon. Research shows that almost 75% of American companies with 100+ employees are expected to invest in Instagram ads in 2017.
Snapchat users watch 10 billion videos per day, which is 2 billion more than Facebook’s number of daily video views. Snap has already doubled its acquisition with innovative companies like augmented reality startup Cimagine Media, 3D & VR company Obvious Engineering, and mobile discovery app Vurb. It also launched Spectacles, the first wearables on the market with social video capabilities. With just a glimpse of Snap’s aspirations on the horizon, there’s a lot to expect in 2017.
Since the success of Twitter and the NFL’s first live streaming partnership, Twitter has become a go-to for cord-cutters looking to watch live, high-definition sports games. Unlike other live-streaming sites, the comments on Twitter’s live videos are real-time tweets, which are publicly available and searchable. At the end of 2016, Twitter added Periscope as an in-app feature and introduced 360-degree live video capabilities. Twitter has only selected a limited number of partners to try out 360-degree streaming for now, but we’re expecting the feature to help catapult the news app back to the top this year (and bring its publishing partners along with it).
As one of the top OTT networks that allow free video sharing, Vimeo launched their own consumer – facing subscription service in late 2016. The platform didn’t face the same resistance as Youtube did from their launch of YouTube Red, thanks to Vimeo’s creator community and their early investments in paid video content. Along with the subscription plan, Vimeo is also redesigning its service’s consumer experience, and pushing forward Vimeo Originals.
Social Video Underdogs on the Up and Up
WeChat, a “one-stop-shop” social platform that is massively popular in China, broke 700 million monthly active users last year. The versatile platform incorporates features like group messaging, voice and video calls, mobile wallets, and ‘Moments’ where users are able to share pictures and looping videos up to ten seconds. WeChat’s broad international user base in China, India, South East Asia, and Latin America offers publishers and marketers a great opportunity to expand business abroad. Several pioneers like Huffington Post, Vogue China, Buzzfeed, Vice, and BBC News India have started their subscriptions channels already, and more publishers are expected to come onboard as the platform expands into the Western market.
In 2015, Pinterest started adding buy buttons to pins – and within a year, 55% of people were using the platform to shop (43% higher than any other social networks). Pinterest quickly responded to their newly discovered market niche by launching a mobile video ad platform for marketers and publishers. Promoted Videos provide brands with a unique opportunity to not only reach consumers, but reach them where they go to shop, where they’ve already shown interest in buying a product, and where it only takes one click of a button to do so..
8. Beme + CNN
CNN made their intentions for reaching millennials in 2017 quite clear by acquiring Beme, a mobile video app found by Youtube influencer Casey Neistat and Tumblr’s former Head of Brand Strategy & Marketing Matt Hackett. Their 11– person team is currently developing a new media brand to be launched in the summer of 2017, which will focus on original video content starring social media celebrities and influencers.
Originally launched as yet another live video broadcasting platform, Blab quickly garnered 3.9 million users in less than a year; however, they announced a temporary shutdown in August 2016 due to low retention rates. Once they’re back up and running the platform will be, according to CEO Shaan Puri, an "always on" place where users (read: millennials) can hang with friends.
Sharing the same vision for real– time mobile video with other major social platforms, Airtime found their own market niche with live group chats. The platform makes it easy for users to video chat, share gifs, Youtube & Vimeo videos, and Spotify music streams with up to six people at a time.
Vidku was announced to the public in 2015 as a video messaging app for private groups. Unable to compete in the congested (and Snapchat– ruled) market, Vidku recently shifted gears and merged with its flagship educational platform Flipgrid. The newly revamped Flipgrid platform will allow educational users and businesses to leverage video to improve corporate learning outcomes.