Customer Preferences for Viewing Videos on Social Media

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“In recent years, a clear trend favoring video content on social media has emerged. The billions of daily views and millions of viewing hours represent a significant opportunity for brands striving to engage with their audiences online,” – David Mendels

Storytelling is a unique creative pursuit that is exclusive to human societies. History and mythology are rife with examples of fables, stories, tales, and oral narratives that seek to convey a message to posterity. In modern times, storytelling has gained prominence in the form of videos on social media. These instances of contemporary storytelling seek to convey a commercial message, spotlight the uses of a product, or narrate the utility of a business process, etc. Recent research indicates that a growing number of customers and business prospects are attracted to videos on social media as a form of entertainment. Consequently, brands and businesses must invest in this medium to establish their credentials with online audiences and convey commercial messages. We will examine some of the pertinent aspects of the matter in the paragraphs below.

Research indicates that a high percentage of online audiences watch branded videos on social media. This is an important milestone in media consumption metrics because it indicates that traditional media is ceding ground to online audiences. That said, we note that advertisements on broadcast television, cable television, and Internet radio continue to retain a sizeable presence in the media mix. However, consumers that interact with commercial brands and businesses on social media tend to arrive at purchase decisions that favor branded content. In light of this fact, media planners and brand strategists should work to promote the placement of videos on social media platforms.

A significant number of consumers polled by market research analysts stated that online video content helped them gain familiarity with a brand. We note that this statement clearly upholds the matter of consumer choice and promotes the voice of the customer. The statement also underlines the fact that online video is an agile and flexible medium that helps a brand sponsor to highlight product attributes. The addition of a soundtrack to videos on social media ensures that consumers can connect with the letter and the spirit of the commercial message. In addition, modern Internet technologies have heightened the cost-efficiency index of videos. In light of these facts, we may state that online videos represent a versatile marketing tool that amplifies a marketing message.

Media theorists opine that online videos heighten customer engagement. This is significant from a marketing point of view. The crisp visuals that comprise videos on social media hold the customer’s attention and can go ‘viral’ through social media platforms. ‘Likes’ and ‘shares’ can boost the circulation of the video in the online domain, while comments and feedback from viewers can inform brand sponsors about the public reaction to these video products. In addition, certain viewers choose to bookmark videos in their online browsers, thereby creating the potential for repeat viewing in the future. These facts indicate that videos on social media represent a powerful modern tool to reach huge numbers of business prospects and significant swathes of online audiences.

Two factors – the ubiquity of the Internet and the wide spread availability of high speed broadband – have spurred mass access to videos on social media. In modern times, it is commonplace to see scores of people watching videos on their connected mobile devices. In earlier generations, consumers on public transport and in a variety of public spaces chose to read printed content on newspapers, books, and magazines. In subsequent times, small portable radios enabled consumers to tune into radio broadcasts irrespective of time and location. In modern times, the online video, or snippets thereof, dominates media consumption habits among a wide range of contemporary consumers. This generational shift demonstrates the evolution and miniaturization of electronic media technologies.

Brands and businesses that seek to leverage videos on social media for their commercial objectives must ensure that they manage and adapt custom video content across the range of social networks. Commercial organizations must realize that online social networks are largely un-regulated entities and therefore, rival organizations may create competing strategies. Therefore, original and professionally edited branded content must distinguish videos on social media. This helps to preserve brand exclusivity and reinforce a brand image in the minds of online audiences. These actions also enable a video sponsor to create dedicated pools of fans and followers that may potentially function as online evangelists of the brand. The tacit endorsement of branded products will likely attract new customers, boost its earnings, and expand revenue margins for the brand.

Videos designed and created for consumption on social media should be exemplary instances of professional media production. This approach enables brands “to deliver what consumers want through careful targeting, a tailored approach to each social network, and by paying attention to their audience’s ongoing preferences.” For instance, a manufacturer of athletic footwear may elect to create hand-held video footage depicting various forms of freehand exercises. The ‘edgy’ visual quality of such a video can win young fans that appreciate the originality in the commercial. This form of advertising creates a deep impact on the minds of consumers, can spur conversions, and boosts the resonance of a brand name in commercial markets.

Online videos represent a powerful media tool that enable commercial brands to retain and boost a brand presence. Radical media strategies that accompany a new product launch may earmark a new product for ‘online launch’ only. In line with this, the sponsor may agree to commission the creation of videos embedded with graphical animations and a soundtrack. This video should promote the said new product for the benefit of online audiences. We note that this strategy potentially entails lower marketing costs because it bypasses traditional media channels. Further, ‘digital natives’ may engage with the sponsor on the basis of videos on social media because they find the content engaging and relevant to their interests.

The soaring consumption of social videos indicates that such videos are an excellent channel to pursue customer engagement. Consumers that ‘like’ a certain video may recommend it to their family, friends, and colleagues. They may also choose to buy products and services that featured in the social video. This indicates that online videos contribute to consumer awareness in terms of commercial offerings. Further, a social video can also educate customers on the correct and intended procedure to use a certain product. These are known as instructional videos or do-it-yourself videos that are deployed on social media platforms. In light of the above, we may state that the modern video product represents a refined commercial and marketing artifact.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the many aspects of customer preferences in terms of viewing videos on social media platforms. We must note that the whole idea would have sounded very radical and purely speculative a few years ago. However, the social video is a mainstream marketing product in modern times. We also note that consumer preferences and choices remain subject to change without notice; however, brands and businesses can seek to counteract this lack of assurance by refining and further developing the concept of the online video. Various forms of creative inputs and innovation in digital technologies can spur such refinements.

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