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Social Media Video Challenges (II)

Experiment, measure, redesign, and experiment again. Metrics are the main input to understand, know and manage your digital video strategies.

Juan Pablo Morales Sarmiento*

The trend of cord cutting continues in a race that for television operators represents a significant drop in revenue. According to eMarketer, while in the United States by 2015 there were 205 million TV subscribers in the United States, it is estimated that in 2022 this figure will be close to 170 million. Meanwhile, original content continues to be the main engine for users to continue migrating to Streaming On Demand platforms.

The speed of innovation in this type of service will surely continue to strengthen this trend, so that it is imperative at present, to have plans for communication and distribution of content through digital media.

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In the previous edition we began the presentation of the USER theory: Ux (User Experience), Storytelling, Digital Strategy and Technical Resources, which has been the result of the work, observation, documentation and research of these recent years, as a media consultant and producer of video content. In this edition I will focus the analysis on the last two edges of this strategy, so that a video strategy can be covered, towards each of the angles that the challenges of today represent in this field.

Digital Strategy
The main axis for any communication need is the planning of the appropriate means to reach the audience they are looking for, and this is precisely what the digital strategy is all about.

The selection of networks and media is the first step. Not all media are effective for all content. In the previous edition I made a brief description of how each network has a particular spirit and even special video formats.

The success of communication depends on the precision with which all the tools offered by social networks and the internet are used, both to promote the visibility of the content, and to translate it into conversions, in the increase of the market share of a product, sales and profits.

Indexing is basically the method that allows digital content to be on the radar of a search engine, so that it is shown to the right audiences at the right times. For this there are hundreds of tutorials, the crawling algorithms change frequently, and differ from each other depending on where the content is. Whether you're on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or a website, each medium has particular techniques, but there's one variable that's totally cross-cutting: metadata.

It is also important to benchmark here and understand what keywords the competition is using, what type of content is being seen the most, what trends are in force in the local and global context, and thus be able to guide the indexing mechanisms offered by the digital infrastructure. Google Adwords is an excellent ally for this.

Indexing is a process that involves a simple discipline that consists of two steps: investigate and understand how the keywords associated with the content you want to publish are behaving; and in selecting the most appropriate keywords. The more coherence, strength, originality, identity and precision the titles, thumbnails, tags and descriptions, the name of the file, as well as each of the attributes requested by the platforms where the content will be published, the better the results of its visibility and positioning. The description of the channel itself, the existence of organized playlists, the use of links and even techniques such as the transcription of the scripts within the description of the video, will help the best positioning of the content.

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Closely follow the strategies and tactics of influencers. According to Tubular Labs in a recent study from the second quarter of 2018, more than half of the viewing of videos on social networks corresponds to those made by them. Adopting formats such as Switching Lives, 24 Hours, Mukbangs, Street Food and Not To Do, among others, is an interesting tactic of Digital Strategy with Storytelling to give strength to a content or an idea.

Implement all SEO strategies for video, so that your content has more and more better positioning. Sharing it even through newsletters, blogs and external links can greatly help you start growing organically and your videos and channels have increasing visibility.

It is also very effective to use tools such as Facebook Ads or payment mechanisms such as YouTube Pre-rolls, all of them with short promotional videos that have a Click To Action towards conversion, subscription, sharing, filling out a form, towards the purchase with promotional codes for each social network, or simply towards a redirection between the own content in an autopauta tactic. This could result in enormous visibility at a relatively low cost. Always remember that originality and quality of content are essential to sustain a strategy over time.

Invite your followers to be part of your channel or your message, User Generated Video is a wonderful alternative because it influences the conversion, purchase and engagement of users towards a brand or an idea under an honest sense of credibility.

According to recent research by Jukin Media, in collaboration with the Master's program in Applied Psychology at the University of Southern California, user-generated videos of up to 6 seconds are 55% more unique and 42% more memorable than those used by traditional advertising.

Experiment, measure, redesign, and experiment again. Metrics are the main input to understand, know and manage your digital video strategies.

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Technical Resources
Aerial shots, 360 video, 3D production, augmented reality, live streaming, virtual reality, time lapses, slow motion. Anything goes here, although not everything is relevant. While all of these techniques are useful and can make a difference, it's best to use them when necessary. A 360 video is useless if there are no things going on around. A live streaming is not justifiable if it does not have a validity in time and immediacy and a direct conversation with the user. Technique always goes hand in hand with history. A large production of six simultaneous cameras for five hours is useless, if what you want to get is a one-minute video.

Video quality plays an increasingly important role. An organized pre-production with all the logistical and technical factors is essential. Take care of the details of the cameras, optics, image stabilization, lighting, audio, lipsync. It is advisable to use cameras of the same reference. Changes in light and color are easier to foresee and control in production than to correct in editing. Avoid shadows and try to help yourself with someone professional in lighting.

Remember the details, as it's not just a good cinematographer who is important to achieve accurate shots. Also an art director and a makeup artist can make a good video, a memorable product. Do not forget details considered invisible, such as taking care of the background of your set. Each section of each plane should be subject to an almost obsessive revision.

Try to capture the audio in a professional manner. There are computers of all budgets, but if you are going to use a mobile to record, at least use it with the microphone integrated in the headphones. There is nothing more annoying than ambient audio, and a wonderful video with poor audio is useless. I once witnessed a live stream of an unprecedented memorable symphonic concert. It had wonderful coding in HD quality, but with the most unforgivable audio issues ever. You can imagine the result.

For live streaming, take care of the technical details as well. Install and test the entire system well in advance, remember that it is not only hardware, but there are variables in the software, in the characteristics of the coding and the broadcast software among others, which can improve or also be detrimental to the quality of the content in case you do not know how to use them properly.

In the post-production process try to use music and effects preferably original. If you do not have a budget for them, there are libraries with Creative Commons rights that can surely be used. Follow the instructions, give the appropriate credits and use them according to your authorized use.

Publishing is where digital magic and technological creativity have their climax. Use animated resources such as curtains, graphics or infographics, complement a production in chroma key with attractive compositions. The more versatile and entertaining, the more educational or engaging your content is going to be. Titles or explanations in text are useful in an ecosystem with default playback videos without audio.

Social networks today offer different alternatives related to the playback format. Facebook plays videos automatically and mainly with the audio turned off. The importance of recording and editing taking into account the network comes to life when we must use square or 1:1 formats as in Facebook and Instagram with subtitles, or vertical formats 9:16 in Snapchat or IGTV or in the traditional 16:9 horizontal of YouTube. Play with the format by planning the network and production from the beginning of production planning.

If you are recording in special locations or using trademarks, logos and copyrightable content, it is essential to have written permissions for it. The recording of voices and image of any person, adults or children, must have the written authorization of an adult of a release or an assignment of rights for the use, platform, time and territories of the contents and with all the information of the signatory.

With the USER model, what we seek is to show that the contents must focus on the user, generate conversation when it is pertinent, ensure that it is seen continuously, in its entirety, that it achieves engagement, that it is pleasant to share it in networks or on WhatsApp, that it has meaning and that it transmits emotions.

To the extent that a content follows these guidelines, it will be more likely to succeed and even to take advantage of distribution channels for other types of windows, territories and platforms. If your audience is reflected in your stories and if you feel touched, you will have achieved your main goal.

*Juan Pablo Morales Sarmiento is the CEO of Nuevos Medios Entertainment. You can contact him through his Twitter account @JuanPMoralesS

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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