Online video is on the verge of becoming much bigger than it already is today giving marketers more reason to build it into their strategies now. As to be expected, technology to produce, edit and distribute video is becoming cheaper, faster, higher quality and easier to use. This will place online video on center stage in tomorrow’s marketing mix. I’ll start by building a conceptual framework in this post and then drill into the takeaway details next week in part 2.
The Original Video: Speeches
Before, the printing press, people exchanged information and ideas through interpersonal, face-to-face communication. The ancient Greeks were known for spreading information by sending actors to give speeches from city to city. When the printing press was invented, it became a much more efficient channel to communicate and distill ideas through and took over as the more predominant medium. It took over because it was more efficient, not because it was more effective. Being able to both see and hear someone speaking is a far more engaging communication format than merely reading something.
We are now in an era where being both seen and heard when communicating is just about as efficient to distribute to the masses as distributing printed (or typed) text. In other words, video is the closest mass distribution tool to facilitate communication as if you were talking to someone in a face-to-face meeting.
Video > Print
If given a choice, there are few people nowadays that would rather read an article than watch a video about something because it is more stimulating and communicates through multiple senses.
To give an example, a good friend of mine with a PhD working in the upper administration of a prestigious university once told me that he much preferred to watch a great lecture live over reading a good book for this very reason. He said the challenge was that he often had to travel to hear a speaker live whereas he could easily purchase any book from any scholar in the world on Amazon.com and have it delivered to his front door.
Now, anyone with a broadband connection can access any lecture put on YouTube or Coursera from any other broadband connection in the world. You don’t even have to wait 2 days for Amazon Prime to deliver the book.
Granted, a written blog can exchange information just as fast, but again, it won’t be as engaging. When many peoples’ attention only lasts for 140 characters, it’s hard to keep them reading for 140 pages. High quality video can capture and hold attention much better in the midst of this world of distractions.
In the more consumer-oriented, advertising sphere that I come from, we often joke and often times expect that consumers can’t (or won’t) read. Make it visual and make it engaging.
YouTube is Growing Up
YouTube has been around long enough to be an adolescent now. Sharing online video internationally has already been possible for years; where are we going next? What will be possible when our computers, tablets, smartphones are twice as fast and the average Internet bandwidth is double what it is now? It won’t take us long to get there.
As I wrote about in the article, 3 Social Network Trends Inside Your Enterprise, these technologies are changing incredibly fast. Historians have seen bursts of faster innovation when certain technologies such as the printing press were invented. Many experts predict that we will see a similar burst of innovation with the development of social technologies and the ease of information sharing.
My great Grandfather was born before the invention of the light bulb and lived to see a man walk on the moon. Think about how much changed in one man’s life time and let it sink in. Don’t forget to consider and remember that his entire life was lived in a slower world than the one we live in today. It was a world before YouTube. If the experts are right about how fast this YouTube enabled generation will innovate, companies must be constantly looking at how they can capitalize on the latest technologies and innovations because the brand new innovation you just came up with is about to become obsolete.
When computers, tablets, and smartphones become twice as fast and the average Internet bandwidth doubles, video will become more prominent—not less.
When the prices for all of these devices drop in half, they’ll flood into developing countries bringing more eyeballs online. Many people in these developing countries learn English by watching movies, TV shows and listening to music. They don’t learn it in school so many don’t know how to read effectively, leaving video the ideal medium to reach them. You can read more about social media trends in Southeast Asia based on my trip there in the summer of 2012.
Companies looking to capitalize on the latest technologies and innovations would be foolish to not take a serious look at how they can move their business with online video.
Check out part 2 of this article where I will dive into the details of how the tools are changing, how Instagram will transform online video, how video will change search, what future innovations are around the corner and most importantly, what the implications all of this has on businesses regardless of their industry or size.
Listen to me speak on 7 Social Media Trends on November 27th in San Diego.