"Will you ma…?" Your time is over.
With the launch of Vine, the twitter app that allows users to make 6 seconds movies, we’ve seen all kinds of great things in a very short period of time, since brands showing their messages in the most creative way until marriage proposals. Yes, marriage proposals: the coolest definition of short and sweet – and the definitive proof that our lives are truly social and online, if we didn’t have any substantial proof until now. The marriage proposal we are talking about was the first one in Vine story and followed all the requirements of a good social media campaign: not only went viral, but used the right hashtag (#WillYouMarryMe) and got thousands of replies of congratulations; the couple did not get clung to a single social network, but used several of them to keep the public informed of the progress of the online love story: Instagram, Scribd, Storify and obviously Twitter. The bride-to-be could summarize the unusual proposal in a perfect single sentence: “Bringing new meaning to social media engagement”.
Let’s use her statement and take the clinch here: people spend more of their time online engaging with social media than with any other digital activity. This time has increased year over year, coincidentally (or not) as the time spent viewing online video. ComScore Video Metrix says that Americans viewed more than 39 billion online videos in March this year. The audience for these videos was comprised of over 84% of the U.S. Internet population. “They've begun working in tandem, online video and social - a dynamic duo of visual content and word-of-mouth. More than a quarter of online video viewers aged 18 and older are learning about online TV through social sites, the IAB says, while video technology company Unruly reports that five Vine videos are shared on Twitter every second.”
Social Video, Nice to Meet You.
The partnership between online videos and social media was expected and makes sense – if social networks are where netizens spend more time online and online video has the highest rate of time spent being watched, nothing more natural than these two media combine efforts in order to produce a single social tool - what is called now social video. Social video is simply the term used for online video interacting in the digital world through a social network, whether this video is an ad or user generated.
The strength and the value of a video that is liked, shared and commented gets duplicated. The visible result of it is seen to both individuals and brands: it gives the 15 minutes of fame to many unknown people that never thought about being seen in the whole world (see the Vine couple?) and adds an immeasurable value that brands will never get by themselves advertising out of the social environment: the word-of-mouth of existing and potential customers.
Virtual Universe, Real Emotions
The funny thing about the internet is that word-of –mouth does not mean that you actually used the product, but that you liked or identified with the ad. Take a look at the list of the most shared videos of 2012. The first one is not a big surprise: Kony. Even for those who did not watch all of it (ok, nobody needs to admit that in public), everybody at least heard of it last year. But now take a look at the second one: A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square. It’s an ad. You don’t need to watch TNT or even like it to share it. Why? Because the ad itself is great and worth sharing. Let’s skip the next one, I like it and it worked because all those half naked men get the attention of women. But look at number 4: DC Shoes Gymkhana 5. Did you buy something from DC Shoes? Do you know the brand? Maybe I wouldn’t share it, since I am a girl who’s not that much into racing cars and stuff. But the video is certainly awesome.
That puts this post back into an old discussion: social video is much more into content, into blending content within the video. This is what makes all these ads so interesting and sharable. But there’s a secret ingredient here, something that makes a video go viral and behave differently on a social context. Because a social network before anything, is about the human environment, only digital. And if brands remember that this human environment should be brought to the scene when content is being generated, then the key to success will be achieved. Putting it very simple: the key is emotion. Online video as a social media tool will have success only if they have the perfect amount of emotion and relevancy necessary to the user identify him/herself to it, and as a consequence like it, comment on it and share it.