Social media is an important digital video hub, a fact that has been reinforced by the platforms themselves. Brands that neglect these powerful channels risk losing customers.

Every social media network on the planet has spewed out a spate of video marketing tools this year, and as a result, are changing the way audiences consume video.

Valued at £1.61bn, the video industry has grown by almost 50 per cent, and as more consumers steadily migrate to digital platforms to watch short video clips with no sound on mobile devices, a massive shake-up is afoot.

We are already starting to see more Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising appear in public. Interactive videos are popping up on high-streets, shopping centres, events and at festivals. OOH is capturing the imagination, and the attention, of audiences up and down the country.

Home media specialists, Talon worked with three digital agencies to test what impact Full Motion Digital Out-of-Home advertising has for brands. The results averaged a 23% increase and the metrics were consistent across all aspects of the brand funnel.

If videos can have this much impact on your ROI, it makes sense to take advantage of the multitude of video tools that are available on social media. But what are the key platforms and what type of content does their audience want to see?

Instagram Content

Delmondo performed a study of Instagram to determine how brands could get the best results from their content. The research analysts examined 15,000 Instagram Stories and found that:

- more content leads to greater reach

- Videos with 2-10 frames have a higher completion rate

- Content posted outside work hours gets the highest number of impressions

- Sports and entertainment are the most popular content types

Instagram is a major player in the video sphere. The platform has been particularly active around digital video by offering a raft of tools to brands to make it easier to reach your audience.

Last week Instagram announced users can now attach video previews to stories by tapping the paper airplane icon. If viewers want to watch the entire video, all they have to do is tap the video and they will be directed to IGTV.

A recent piece published in Digiday reveals how brands are successfully using Instagram Stories to drive app downloads.

Because content in Stories is only live for 24-hours, users generally take action straight away. The element of urgency appears to be a winning strategy here. As a result, advertisers are seeing their calls-to-action perform better.

Data suggests social media users prefer Instagram Stories over Facebook feeds, and the format has been tipped to overtake its parent company in terms of numbers.

But Facebook has stepped up their video offerings as well - and they have massively ambitious plans to become a digital TV broadcaster.

Watch Facebook

Facebook is gearing up to become the bridge between traditional TV and online video. The Silicone Valley behemoth has splashed over $1 billion dollars adding video features to its platform this year and is investing in video content with a view to becoming the digital destination for original entertainment shows.

Some would call Facebook’s ambitious project is a tall order. They are essentially going up against network TV broadcasters and Google’s YouTube. But Facebook arguably has an advantage.

The biggest social network has over 2 billion active users a month and thought-provoking content can spark discussion among audiences that are accustomed to online chat forums. And Facebook plan to publish human-focused content.

There is also a $28 billion window for advertisers to jump through in the digital video ad market. If Facebook can convince their users that live streams and reality TV are worth tuning into their platform, there will be good reason for brands to become showstoppers.

And Facebook’s video tools are so easy to use that anybody can become a filmmaker - or throw an ad together.

On top of that, the Menlo Park outfit recently launched an app named Lasso which enables users to make short video clips and add fun effects. However, the app feels like an attempt to lure back teenagers that are distancing themselves from the social media giant.

Okay, so maybe video apps with fun effects won’t lure the kids back to Facebook, and with YouTube turning their attention to making How To content for children, the battle in Silicone Valley is heating up. And somehow, you just get the feeling Facebook could be on to a winner!

Elsewhere in Social Video…

Snapchat’s divergence in the British Isles has recently spread to Ireland as the social media network continues its international expansion.

The company recently signed contracts with six vertical content producers to add to their video hub which has been a major success in clawing back usurpers. Even alcohol brands are returning.

Whilst Snapchat’s video hub has been the driver in tripling their numbers of monthly user-visits, Reddit recently hit the 1 billion monthly video views following the launch of its native video player a little over a year ago.

Reddit does not run in-stream video ads, but places ads throughout relevant feeds and subreddits. The companies ability to place ads in front of the right audiences has attracted attention from brands and has tripled its ad revenue in the last three years.

A spokesman for Reddit confirmed the video player is persuading users to spend around 45 per cent more time on the platform every day. Videos are typically short and last no more than 30-seconds.

It’s inevitable that the usual suspects will continue to pull in brands and audiences, but there are other video-hosting platforms you should keep an eye on.

Take Roku for example. The company has gone from being a distribution platform for apps to potentially becoming one of the key players in ad-supported video streaming.

Since Roku launched its own video-sharing channel, the company has accrued 22 million viewers. And thanks to the mass of data the firm has collected, are able to match video ads with relevant audiences.

According to reports, the Roku Channel is on a par with Hulu in terms of OTT ad sales. But the advantage Roku has is their ability to reach the right person in a household rather than the general household.

Whilst there are no shortage of opportunities for brands to publish digital video, the big question is where and how you publish your ads. Let us know if you need any advice.