The shift toward video is accelerating, as reader demand for video content on hyperlocal websites continues to grow. In order to keep pace, publishers need to get creative about how they adjust their content strategies to account for the latest video trends.
Internet video traffic already makes up more than 69% of all global consumer internet traffic. By next year, that figure is expected to grow another 11%.
In her 2018 Internet Trends Report, digital evangelist Mary Meeker took it one step further, predicting a sharp rise in mobile video usage and the emergence of new types of video content.
For hyperlocal publishers, that means the time to start researching the latest video trends and investing in online video production is now.
What are the latest video trends for hyperlocal publishers?
1. Sounds-free videos
Publishers love to put their top reporters on screen, or have them talking off camera as they narrate videos and discuss the day’s latest events. But video analytics show that relying too heavily on audio is a mistake.
Videos played on Facebook, Instagram, and a number of other social video platforms, have the sound switched off by default, and incredibly, 85% of video views on the Facebook platform are played with the sound off.
Creativity goes a long way in overcoming this obstacle for hyperlocal publishers. For example, publishers can use overlaid text or captions to let viewers know what their videos are about without having to turn on the sound. An even better idea is for publishers to start creating videos that rely more on images than audio to tell their stories in a dramatic way.
2. Viewers prefer digestible content
When the social media monitoring service NewsWhip looked at the top 50 video creators on Facebook, the company found that just five were news publishers. Looking more closely at those five news publishers, and the types of videos they post, provides insight into which types of news videos are most likely to spur viewer engagement.
In its analysis, NewsWhip found that the most successful news videos were short videos that were either feel-good or funny. Videos that were “quick” and “digestible” saw higher-than-average levels of engagement, as well.
3. Including video with social media posts
Video is still the most engaging format on Facebook.
In 2018, 92% of the most engaging posts on Facebook included videos. That’s a major change from 2016, when just 35% of the most engaging posts included videos.
Publishers should take heed of this shifting trend as they plan their social media strategies. Facebook posts that include a short blurb and image—often the de facto style for most news organizations—generate much less engagement than posts that include original video content.
4. Facebook Live drives engagement
Reporters working for hyperlocal news websites should be very familiar with Facebook Live. The live streaming video tool, which is built into the Facebook platform, offers a way to marry edited videos with real-time, live-streamed content.
Thankfully for news publishers, breaking news stories are among the most-watched content on Facebook Live. Sporting events, fires and natural disasters, and community rallies are just a few of the many types of events that reporters can live-stream as a way to bring readers into the action.
With Facebook Live, expensive cameras, and other recording equipment, are totally unnecessary. Reporters can start up their own live streams using nothing more than a smartphone.
5. Strong emotions equal strong performance
In an analysis of the top performing videos from news publishers, NewsWhip found that videos with strong emotions generated the most views and engagement. In these videos, the dominant emotion was either sympathy or joy (feel-good videos).
Local publications are ripe with stories about sympathetic figures—families in distress, school children raising funds, small businesses struggling to survive—many of which could make for excellent video content.
Publishers should be asking reporters to bring along video cameras when they meet with interview subjects, and recording their interviews or b-roll footage to include with future social media posts. Each of these videos should include a strong caption that shares the most poignant aspect of the story. (For example, “Watch this toddler hear for the first time with hearing aids.”)
Engagement data tells us that digital video, and mobile video in particular, is growing at an incredible rate. The sooner news organizations can get in on the latest video trends, by producing and distributing their own original content, the stronger foothold they will have in the fast-paced publishing community.