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If you go back twelve months, there was a growing belief that the next big thing in social media was to use video.  Yet this month has seen the announcement that Twitter is closing down its video creation division – Vine.  So, does this mean that you can still use video to win with social media or has its time passed?

The growth of video

The world of online videos started with YouTube and the site is still one of the biggest out there – it has over 1 billion users and numbers continue to increase.  This love of videos for a variety of purposes led to the creation of ‘social video’ – a general term that incorporates anything from professional videos created to advertise a global brand through to a solopreneur creating a short webinar to tell the story of their brand.

Facebook quickly realised that there was something major happening here and started to focus their attention on video with the aim of taking on YouTube and all of those users, known as Facebook Live.  It also realised that businesses would soon create videos to find customers, advertise their business and showcase their products – so would then pay to advertise these features.

Soon, all the sites were at it – Instagram allows 60 second videos, Twitter allowed videos to play at the click of a button and then bought Vine, an independent video sharing network.  Tumblr offered the ability to share those short videos, no more than 5 minutes or 100 megabytes at a time.  Even Snapchat allows businesses to use 10 second clips or string them together to create Stories.

Video facts and figures

While there was undeniably a big draw to watching videos of all kinds, businesses soon realised that there were real benefits to using videos to spread word of their brand.  According to research by Hubspot:

    • Emails containing video saw an increased click-through rate of 200-300%
    • Adding video to full page adds boosts engagement by 22%
    • Landing page conversion rates can be as much as 80% when a video is included
    • 64% of users are more likely to buy a product after watching a video

As a result of this, there was a major rush to get into video and to use video to reach those precious customers or readers.  Over 85% of colleges and universities use YouTube to advertise their campus and facilities while 87% of online marketers use video content.  A massive 96% of business to business (B2B) companies utilise video in some form.  Nearly one quarter of small businesses also incorporate video into their strategy.

Why is video so successful?

The reason why video is so successful in terms of advertising and even just for fun is all based around how we see and react to things.  For example, one survey of executives found that 59% of them would rather watch a video than read text information.  We love content such as comedy and music as well as news and videos have a major impact on brand association, increasing it by 139%.

The age group between 18 and 33, sometimes known as Millennials, are known for spending less time in front of the TV and more time watching videos on laptops and smartphones.  This means that to get their attention, video is crucial.  Video is also very sharable and this makes it easy for people to share with their friends – think viral videos of cute cats and many more examples.

But there are a few warning points on the positivity of video.  For example, the research also found that 5% of viewers stop watching a video that goes over a minute and 60% stop when it hits the 2-minute mark – so short and sweet is key.  And loading time are very important – 4 out of 5 people will leave a site if a video stalls while loading.

But Twitter is shutting Vine?

Despite all these positive video vibes, Twitter recently announced that it was shutting down Vine, the social sharing network that it bought in 2012, just three months after it was founded. Twitter paid around $30 million for the site that had 40 million users as of 2015 and some 200 million people visiting it to watch six second clips each month.

So, does this mean that the video bubble has burst?  Quite the contrary, the problem is more that Twitter’s bubble is wobbling a little, as if someone with a needle was approaching.  Twitter continues to increase in terms of the number of users it has, which it has always done, but it never seemed to make the money that others, such as Facebook do.  This has led to them cutting 9% of their workforce in the last quarter of this year.

So how can bloggers use video?

As bloggers, and sometimes small business owners, the question becomes how can we use video when our natural medium is the written word?  According to experts such as Melyssa Griffin, the way to grow your blog is partly through the use of video.  This might be in the form of podcasts, talking about subjects that you write about.  It might be through free or paid video courses.

Or it might be doing Facebook Live sessions like another of my favourite experts Courtney Foster-Donahue does.  She regularly appears on Facebook Live where you can catch her tips on how to get the most from Facebook and its Ads system.  It is a great way to connect with people and to offer them tasters of paid products, such as her course.

The biggest problem is if you are like me – video-phobic!  I hate the idea of seeing myself or hearing myself so video isn’t natural to me.  I don’t even like having my picture taken!  So maybe you out there have some solutions for me to overcome my phobia or have a video-related solution I can use?  Advice always welcome!!