Covid-19 Has Created a Huge Opportunity in Video

From watch parties to museum tours to DJ sets, everyday events have been reimagined through the power of video. This has created a huge cultural shift in video viewing and turned social platforms into powerful spaces for brands, creators and consumers to connect. Let’s dive into how this trend has evolved and how brands can use video to build even deeper connections with consumers.

Shifting viewing behavior

Today, as people look for more news and entertainment while inside, they’re primarily turning to video. GWI reported that 87% of Americans are consuming more content, with broadcast TV, online videos and online TV streaming topping the list. This growth extends to Facebook Live viewership in the U.S., which saw a 50% increase between February and March, according to internal Facebook data collected during that period in the U.S.

But while everyone is watching more video, the way people discover the content they connect to is changing. Many are getting more recommendations through digital word of mouth. Social networks have introduced the unique experience of “serendipitous discovery,” surfacing content you’re likely to love before you even know you’ll love it. Facilitating this personalized experience and social connection is at the heart of Facebook’s goal to create community around great content.

Video as a connector  

It has been especially impressive how video has brought people together on social for comfort, connection and celebration. Just consider some of the recent successes: Netflix watch parties, talk shows broadcast from the host’s home, the record-breaking digital-first premiere of Trolls: World Tour.

The circumstances have also forced people to learn how to use new tools and produce content with limited resources, resulting in an outpouring of awesome creativity. For example, The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden hosts daily Home Safaris on Facebook Live, where kids can meet the animals. DJ’s hosting Instagram Live sets have become a go-to hang, at times attracting hundreds of thousands of people and and some A-list celebrities.

Of course, you can’t forget about Global Citizen’s One World: Together At Home special that was livestreamed on Facebook.  It attracted 300 million viewers across television and digital platforms globally and raised $127.9 million to date in support of healthcare workers. Another great example is Academy Award-winning writer/director Taika Waititi hosting a Thor: Ragnarok Instagram Live watch party, where he cooked dinner, provided commentary and answered fan questions.

Social video lets us build connections with people that are free from space or distance constraints. Going forward, I believe this will influence how video is integrated into our lives, events and entertainment—both online and in real life.

Social engagement lets brands connect on a deeper level

With digital-first content and more opportunities to watch video on social platforms, brands have new and exciting ways to connect with consumers—and help consumers connect with each other.

According to a 2019 study from Toluna, positive user comments about brands on social media helped increase brand awareness among 53% of the U.S. internet users surveyed, while 49% of respondents said they were more likely to purchase from that brand.

Videos in Watch drive an average 12.2 point lift in positive ad recall, according to internal Facebook data from 2019. Built-in features like commenting and groups make it easier for marketers to tell stories that bring people in and strengthen their communities.

So, how can marketers make the most of this disruption as they craft their video strategies?

For starters, they should use platforms that have built-in social features. Try engaging people through watch parties, commenting, live Q and As and more. Invite people to contribute content to foster community.

You can also try to expand the definition of your audience. Now, anyone who wants to participate in your brand, content or products is your audience. Leverage machine learning to understand what your consumers want, then scale learnings through advanced targeting solutions to help refine reach and deliver highly relevant content to the people most likely to love and share it.

Try experimenting with different formats. We’re seeing that authentic videos shot at home are just as popular, so think about how to supplement high-production video with less polished content. Lastly, put your brand in the center of the social conversation. Explore Facebook’s suite of video advertising solutions, including In-Stream Reserve, to connect with highly engaged audiences.

Above all, stay flexible. Rethink video as the center of community engagement, embrace the tools you have and keep experimenting. Now is a great time to set new standards for your industry and reimagine what’s possible, one video at a time.