Happy New Year! Now that we’ve had some time to relax over the holidays, it’s time to reflect on what lies behind us and consider what we face in the future when it comes to video marketing.
You may be working on your video marketing strategy, evaluating which social media platforms you should be creating videos for, or thinking about what your next big marketing campaign will be. These are all exciting places to be!
To help you with key decisions in your video marketing plan, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider in 2023. Read on for our 10 video marketing predictions!
Let’s start with the lowest-hanging fruit. Google has a big banner across all Universal Analytics profiles telling us that they will stop collecting data on July 1, 2023, and encouraging everyone to switch over to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). However, very few companies have done this yet.
I am very enthusiastic about the idea of GA4 and moving beyond a web analytics lens anchored in URLs and page views towards a more holistic understanding of user interactions across a web property — but the product is not ready at all.
I think it’s going to be another couple of years before GA4 gets full adoption and, despite claims to the contrary, Google will end up keeping Universal Analytics going a while longer.
All the chatter on marketing social media over the last few months has been about artificial intelligence-generated content and what this means for the future.
With tools like ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, and MidJourney now starting to create quite functional pieces of written and visual media with very simple prompts, people are starting to question where this software fits in a creator’s toolbox and whether or not it will eventually replace creators altogether!
I’ve played around with all of the AI gadgets coming on the market and personally, I think the most immediate use case will be around the rapid prototyping of creative ideas.
I’ve already found myself using Stable Diffusion to create images that illustrate an idea and aesthetic for pitch decks, and ChatGPT to create blog posts that were used as dummy text in a product video.
In the next 12 months, I think these tools will get good enough for you to be able to take a treatment and ostensibly turn it into an animatic, with a few additional visual cues.
This means better testing and interrogation of scripts before filming, being able to better convince stakeholders of the virtues of an idea in a pitch, and the ability to create much more specific and clear briefs for directors and creative teams.
Some hyperbole earlier in the year suggested TikTok was now a competitor to Google as a search engine. This really isn’t true, but TikTok does have a developing role as a narrow search/recommendations engine, somewhere between YouTube and Yelp.
If you’re looking for restaurant recommendations in Boston, browsing through a couple of the top videos from TikTok search will give you as comprehensive an idea of options as looking at Google Maps or TripAdvisor — so it is a powerful marketing tool in certain sectors, particularly tourism and consumer goods.
TikTok is also just as efficient and effective as YouTube for quick tutorial content, meaning there are several search channels for businesses to try and optimize for.
What’s lacking to enable this is simply some sort of third-party tool that estimates search volume. I think we’ll get something like that soon, although I suspect the accuracy will be very poor. However, with a semblance of comparative data, I think marketers will jump on the chance to create short videos that match searcher intent.
In my view, this will probably not be a terribly effective use of marketing budget. TikTok doesn’t really respect “Channel Authority” in the way YouTube does, and so each term becomes winner take all and it’s a constant challenge to produce the most up-to-date and high quality content for any term, with a high risk of that investment delivering little to no value.
In addition, TikTok numbers are demonstrably wildly inflated (I suspect less than 50% of views are actually engaged views from real humans), but rather just bots and browsers loading things.
There’s been a lot of talk on the ethics and political status of TikTok. ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, raises many flags about how they collect data in their app. And, the wider ways in which Chinese authorities have legal recourse to demand that information for surveillance and intelligence work at scale is concerning.
This, unfortunately, became something of a partisan issue in US politics after President Trump released executive orders threatening to ban TikTok in 2020, and questions about national security and TikTok haven’t quite been resolved under the Biden Administration.
Some fall down on the side of moral equivalence, stating that because US companies collect similar data, it’s prejudicial to suggest a Chinese company shouldn’t be able to do the same.
However, with some insight into this world and how videos can be used for political manipulation, I think the security concerns are valid and that, at the very least, a tighter legal and regulatory framework should be implemented to secure the data of private citizens uploading videos.
I think this position will become more mainstream over the next 12 months, and I could see a western government somewhere taking action to ostensibly or directly ban TikTok. If I had to guess, my money would be on a digitally savvy, smaller European country at the sharp end of Russian disinformation, such as Latvia or Estonia.
5. The Google Analytics 4 default Channel Groupings will cause companies to start investing in “Organic Video Optimization”
Back onto GA4: I think the new “organic video” channel grouping is going to change the way many businesses think about and measure video.
This grouping separates out video search traffic from other search traffic and bundles a number of video-sharing sites, as well as YouTube, Google Video, and Bing Video into a single group.
So if you’re using video as a tool for traffic acquisition (and you should be!), then there is now a default view in Google Analytics that allows you to track performance over time.
I think lots of businesses are going to see this grouping performing better for them than expected and think, “Oh, here is something we should look to improve.” This discipline, which is referred to variously grouped with the wider terms video SEO and video strategy, will coalesce around a new “Organic Video Optimization” video optimization.
Organic Video Optimization is basically distribution not involving paid media — getting more natural views on YouTube and ranking better in Google video search.
Companies reduced their advertising spending in 2022, and I don’t think it’s coming back any time soon.
I’ve been railing against the flaws in advertising measurement for some years, and I think amidst difficult economic headwinds, businesses are going to be laser-focused on investments that bring in directly attributable revenue, rather than speculating on acquiring views and brand uplift.
So while I think the more attributable advertising (e.g. PPC) will hold, a lot of spend on video and social media will not return. In its place will probably be more investments on bottom-of-funnel activity.
2022 was another death knell for the world of data tracking, with Google phasing out third-party cookies and iPhone users asking apps not to track their activity 95% of the time.
Now, if you’re trying to achieve full-funnel measurement, you’re on the path to failure. But, I think there are many businesses that don’t realize the way their data has changed. Many will look at their analytics and see that over time, more people seem to have converted with fewer sessions, and paid advertising or direct is the best-converting channel, and not recognize that this is because marketing has become less trackable, rather than due to a positive change in strategy.
Businesses that focus on attributing conversions to marketing activities will think that the more trackable channels (lead capture, email, direct response advertising) are the ones actually working for them, and continuously try to squeeze more out of them while undervaluing and underinvesting in activities that actually work but are less trackable.
Soon they’ll see traffic is drying up, sales are down… and they won’t really know why.
It’ll be because they preferred what was measurable over what was strategic. Data-driven decision-making doesn’t work when the data is a very partial reflection of reality.
Substack has been trialing out a basic video feature this year and with its success in capturing the market for podcasters, writers, and journalists, I think we’ll see a number of prominent creators move their video content behind a paywall here.
This is because it’s hard to make money off YouTube when you have a small audience of very engaged viewers, but much easier when you have a large audience of somewhat engaged viewers.
YouTube will remain an important video platform for journalism and podcasting, but I suspect many people will start using it more for clips and trailers that promote paywalled content than just pushing out all long-form content on there for free.
YouTube Shorts has been a very interesting trend to observe this year. Channels that invested heavily in shorts found that (much like with TikTok) occasionally a video would seem to get a load of views, and then….. not much would really happen after that.
I think Shorts do have a place on YouTube, but when it’s basically presented as just an attempt to offer something like TikTok, I don’t think it takes advantage of YouTube’s unique selling points.
One of these is obviously a connection to the wider Google infrastructure and recommendations engine. With a “feed” concept tied to YouTube, you can connect timely, location-centered recommendations, so you can see what’s going on near you that might pique your interest.
Perhaps it’ll be slightly different, but I see Shorts starting to feel very different to TikTok as Google works out what to do with it and discovers there are some cool use cases.
Let’s be real — most webinars can get a bit dull. A lot of companies out there are more focused on capturing leads than they are giving those registrants a truly valuable experience.
The main reason they have taken off, I believe, has relatively little to do with user preference and far more to do with the fact that you can use them as a blunt instrument to get email addresses that can be handed over to a sales team.
I think that in 2023 this might change a bit and webinars will become, well, good! The expectation of marketers to have a video set-up at home should now mean production levels of videos and presentations are higher. Combined with innovations and improvements in software for delivering live video, including OBS and of course Wistia Live, the opportunity is there for webinars to become a genuinely innovative method of video communication.
This is less a prediction and more a hopeless request!
Rel=”canonical” came out in 2012 and has since been a really useful way of telling search engines when there is duplicate content on a page for usability reasons and pointing them toward the original version, which they should rank.
But in a world where we’re thinking less exclusively about pages and more about media assets being fluid things that sit across pages and apps, etc….the original rel-canonical is not quite enough.
For most websites, there are good reasons why a video may be on multiple pages. This video could be appropriate for a product page, a media page, a Wistia Channel, a blog post, etc. In such instances, there is usually a page that we would prefer users are sent to if they discover the video in search. Then there is also social media; I may upload the video to YouTube, to Facebook, and more.
How can I tell search engines and other applications, “This video here is the same as the video here, and this version is the primary location for this video?” Currently, there is no way. Something like rel=”canonical” would be an imperfect but helpful tool to make more sense of the ways in which videos are distributed across multiple places on the web.