By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. More and more of this traffic is coming from social video platforms, where video continues to evolve as a storytelling medium for brands and publishers, friends and family. As of now, Facebook videos attract 500 million unique viewers every day, and 82% of Twitter users watch video content.
But these “big brothers” have a lot of work to do if they want to hold their place at the top – the last few years have showed us how a strong focus on users’ video experience could transform unknown video platforms into major competitors (read: Snapchat).
So what should we expect next year? Here are 10 social video platforms that are ramping up their game:
1. Facebook Watch
Facebook’s fickle algorithm changes, fake news controversy, and video metric miscalculations posed as a threat to the video platform’s long-held reign. Although their release of Lasso, Facebook’s answer to TikTok failed to compete, Facebook Watch is booming. Facebook Watch launched in 2017, and by 2019, it nearly doubled its viewership in 6 months with 140 million daily users and 720 million monthly users. Facebook already partners with major celebrities and networks like Jada Pinkett Smith on shows like “The Red Table” and MTV’s “The Real World.”
Facebook Watch also focuses on social engagement and features to bring audiences together. Their Watch Parties bring
groups together to watch a video together. Videos can also sync up so everyone watches content together at the same time.
Over the last few years, Instagram has put a heavy focus on optimizing their users’ video experience. The visual storytelling video platform hit 1 billion monthly active users thanks to the game-changing updates they made over the last few years: 60-second video, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Stories templates, live video and messages, ‘hands-free’ video, and more recently, IGTV – all of which have contributed to an exceptional growth of their ad business that won’t stop anytime soon. Businesses are also at an advantage, with 200 million Instagram users visiting at least one business profile per day.
First introduced as a video platform in 2017, LinkedIn video soared 17% from 2018 to 2019. LinkedIn users are also 20x more likely to share a video on the platform than any other type of post. The video platform gives marketers, B2B buyers and job seekers alike a great place to tell stories in a professional setting. Video is also the preferred format for over half of executives on LinkedIn. When polled, 59% of executives said they would choose to consume it via video over written text.
A few years ago, Snapchat users were watching 10 billion videos per day on the video platform, which was 2 billion more than Facebook’s number of daily video views. Snap was also doubling its acquisition with innovative companies like augmented reality startup Cimagine Media, 3D & VR company Obvious Engineering, and mobile discovery app Vurb, and with their launch of Spectacles, the first wearables on the market with social video capabilities.
While Snap’s future didn’t seem so bright (especially with their “redesigned redesign” snafu, which had them making drastic design choices — much to the dismay of their users), it’s bounce back with addition of Shows and popular features like Stickers, Geofilters, Lenses, Snap Map, and Discover.
Snapchat’s introduction of new features paid off with a total valuation at $3.5 billion as of September 2019, topping the $1.2 billion mark in 2018. By the end of 2020, that figure rose to $50 billion. However, of particular interest to video platform users, the total daily video views by Snapchatters toppled 18 billion.
TikTok is the Gen Z-favorite social video platform where you can go to get your next 15 minutes of fame. A projected 1 billion users all over the world are using TikTok to watch and/or share the 15-second music videos that can be easily created right in the app to enhance your social marketing video. By 2020, TikTok grew five times compared to 2019, in part due to the pandemic. It’s now the most downloaded app in the world.
The video platform has been compared to Vine – but its massive global reach and strategic business partnerships (most recently, its merger with musical.y and partnership with Modern Sky) may keep it alive much longer than its predecessor.
Since the success of Twitter and the NFL’s first live streaming partnership, Twitter has become a go-to for cord-cutters looking to watch live, high-definition sports games. Unlike other live-streaming sites, the comments on Twitter’s live videos are real-time tweets, which are publicly available and searchable. Twitter saw an explosion in video growth, with 2 billion videos viewed per day, which is 67% YoY growth according to Twitter internal data.
At the end of 2016, Twitter added Periscope as an in-app feature and introduced 360-degree live video capabilities. Twitter has only selected a limited number of partners to try out 360-degree streaming for now, but we’re expecting the feature to help catapult the news app back to the top this year (and bring its publishing partners along with it).
In 2019, Vimeo launched an online marketplace to connect videographers with businesses looking for video content. The Vimeo For Hire video platform is open to filmmakers, editors, videographers, animators and other pros with paid account options ranging from $7 to $75 a month.
As one of the top OTT networks that allow free video sharing, Vimeo launched their own consumer-facing subscription service in late 2016. The video platform didn’t face the same resistance as Youtube did from their launch of YouTube Red, thanks to Vimeo’s creator community and their early investments in paid video content. Along with the subscription plan, Vimeo is also redesigning its service’s consumer experience, and pushing forward Vimeo Originals.
WeChat, a “one-stop-shop” social video platform that is massively popular in China, has increased 20 million each quarter, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users from a diverse range of age groups. The versatile video platform incorporates features like group messaging, voice and video calls, mobile wallets, and ‘Moments’ where users are able to share pictures and looping videos up to ten seconds.
WeChat disclosed they facilitated close to $250 billion in annual transactions through its mini programs. These third part services run on their app and allow users to buy clothes, order services, grab a taxi, get delivery, and more.
WeChat’s broad international user base in China, India, South East Asia, and Latin America offers publishers and marketers a great opportunity to expand business abroad. Several pioneers like Huffington Post, Vogue China, Buzzfeed, Vice, and BBC News India have started their subscriptions channels already, and more publishers are expected to come onboard as the video platform expands into the Western market.
In 2015, Pinterest started adding Buy Buttons to pins – and within a year, 55% of people were using the platform to shop (43% higher than any other social networks). Pinterest quickly responded to their newly discovered market niche by launching a mobile video ad platform for marketers and publishers.
Promoted Videos provide brands with a unique opportunity to not only reach consumers, but reach them where they go to shop, where they’ve already shown interest in buying a product, and where it only takes one click of a button to do so.
Pinterest also released an updated video uploader for businesses and creators to upload video directly to Pinterest. The player enables users to to engage with their audiences and tap into their latest metrics. A new video tab on business profiles enables users to feature their videos in one place to help their audience discover more content.
Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest videos surface and resurface over time. They don’t disappear with a feed and offer brands an evergreen marketing tool. You can view your stats on a new video analytics tool for businesses to view lifetime views.
According to the Pinterest newsroom, brands including L’Oréal, Giada De Laurentiis’ Giadzy, Tastemade, and PureWow are already using Pinterest videos as a form of inspirational storytelling. Pinterest also reports “inspirational videos” increased 31% over a single year. To capitalize on the trend, Pinterest is introducing new video features including an improved uploader, video tab, lifetime analytics, and video Pin scheduling capabilities.
10. Flipgrid (Vidku)
Vidku was announced to the public in 2015 as a video messaging app for private groups. Unable to compete in the congested (and Snapchat-ruled) market, Vidku shifted gears and merged with its flagship educational video platform Flipgrid. The revamped Flipgrid video platform allows educational users and businesses to leverage video to improve corporate learning outcomes.
In 2018, Microsoft acquired Flipgrid and made it free for school use. The video platform integrates with Microsoft products including Teams and One Note. Today about one in three U.S. teachers use Flipgrid, and both students and teachers can respond to prompts by creating one to five-minute videos from explainer videos to peer review.
Flipgrid also announced new features for 2020 like automatic closed captioning that can also be edited to smooth out transcription hiccups. Community Builder badges to honor active community members, a new camera design, an Immersive Reader feature, and improved student-to-student replies.
Flipgrid also expanded its partnerships during the pandemic. California State Parks joined Flipgrid’s Discovery Library to help students attend virtual field trips and see California seashores, light houses, and reservoirs.