The number of social video platforms that exist seems to keep growing every year. And hey — we’re not mad about it! As marketers, we’re always looking for new ways to share our content and get our business discovered. However, that doesn’t make it easy for us to choose where to distribute the videos we’ve invested so much time and energy in creating.
In this past, YouTube was the holding ground for all things video, including long-form, short-form, informative, entertaining … the list goes on. But as our very own Phil Nottingham put it in his WistiaFest talk from 2017, these days, all social networks are video platforms. With so many options available to us, it’s hard to know what platform(s) make the most sense for our unique businesses. After all, if you’re doing it right, you aren’t just sharing the same video across all of your networks. That means investing even more time into creating unique versions of your content catered to every platform.
In this post, we’ll look at the social video landscape as it stands today and how factors like your audience, your message, and what you measure can help inform your decisions for distributing your brand’s video content!
While YouTube is still super popular, other legacy social networks are now investing heavily in video. Plus, new video networks are popping up all the time, which means everyone can find the perfect place to share their content online.
In late 2017, both LinkedIn and Reddit launched native video, and based on its success, Reddit launched in-stream video ads a year later. In 2018, mobile video app TikTok became the most valuable startup in the world. Twitch also had a breakout year in 2018, with its gaming livestreams seeing a 21% increase in viewership (that same year, YouTube game streams were down 12%). In 2019, Twitter released a new camera feature, encouraging filming from within the app.
Video production has also gotten much easier in recent years. Whether you’re an individual or a small business, technical whiz or software newbie, anyone can make a video. This process has been brought about through increasingly high-quality smartphone cameras, fast internet connections, and products like Soapbox and free video editing software.
So, how do you decide where to distribute your brand’s video content? It all boils down to a few simple questions based on categories any video marketer should be familiar with:
- Audience: Who are you making these videos for specifically? Where does your audience like to spend their time?
- Brand: What do you want people to know about you through your videos? What stories are you trying to tell?
- Engagement: What do you want people to do with your videos? How will you measure success?
The answers to these questions will make choosing the best platform for your content much easier! Let’s dig in.
There are two types of people on every video platform: Users, who are your potential audience, and creators, who are your peers and competition. Finding your place amongst both will give your content the best chance at success.
Some platforms have existing communities for the people you’re seeking to reach. Start with some demographic info to find out if your audience hangs out on a particular platform. Below is a super-quick, general summary of audience stats for popular and emerging platforms:
- Twitch: 55% millennial (Gen-Y), 81% male, gamers
- Reddit: 64% between 18–29, 67% male, frequent internet users
- Facebook Live: All ages (over 2 billion people)
- Instagram Stories: All ages, 68% female, 80% outside U.S.
- Snapchat: Gen-Z
- Twitter: Gen-Y and up, urban, highly educated
- LinkedIn: Business decision-makers, 56% male
- Houseparty: Over 50% under-24 (Gen-Z) ^
- TikTok: Gen-Z
^ According to Digiday, the Houseparty team has so far been silent on advertising. However, the fine print of its privacy agreement asks users to consent to adverts when they sign up, suggesting brands are coming.
And these are just a few examples! No wonder it’s so hard to choose. Once you’ve settled on the best demographic fit, you can then look into audience interests and habits. Consider how and why similar audiences are using different platforms. For instance, Snapchat is largely used for private messaging, whereas TikTok videos are optimized for public viewing.
“Once you’ve settled on the best demographic fit, you can then look into audience interests and habits. Consider how and why similar audiences are using different platforms.”
Then, consider the other people on the platform — your fellow content creators. Are other brands gaining any traction? Are they creating content that interests you and your audience? A platform that encourages creator growth, as well as audience growth, will provide fertile ground for coming up with fresh ideas.
A brand that uses Twitch to stream online events will make a different first impression than one that mainly distributes content through Twitter. Every story you tell gets filtered through the lens of the platform. But still, you need a message that resonates.
Here are a few examples of how storytelling can work together:
Livestreams: Shows you’re transparent, that you want to create a global community, that you enjoy spontaneous interactions.
- Use Facebook Live to: Stream events and interviews
- Use Twitch to: Stream your screen and yourself
- Use Twitter Live to: Stream newsworthy happenings
Series: Shows you’re an expert on a topic, that you want to share knowledge, that you are willing to go deep to explore a question or subject, that you want your content to last for a while (at least in internet-terms).
- Use YouTube to: Promote trailers, behind-the-scenes clips, and monetize an existing YouTube audience
- Use Wistia Channels to: Group and display your content on your own site, without ads, with more control and access to data
Daily Stories: Shows you want to check in with your audience every day, that you’re not afraid of off-the-cuff production, that you know how to create striking visual content.
- Use Instagram Stories to: Capture spontaneous happenings, offer quick tips, show behind-the-scenes action, repost user-generated content, and collaborate with influencers
- Use Snapchat to: Offer exclusive content to your most dedicated fans and partner with younger influencers
Video helps you tell your brand story in a visual, human way. The right platform helps you deliver that story in an appealing, engaging package that resonates with how your audience prefers to consume content.
“The right platform helps you deliver that story in an appealing, engaging package that resonates with how your audience prefers to consume content.”
Like any marketing initiative, trying out new video platforms should be tied to some measurable goals. Think about what you’re hoping to get out of your brand’s videos and what success looks like. A video can be deemed “successful” on social media and on your Wistia Channel — but that success will probably look a little different for each.
For instance, with social networks, you’ll probably want to measure engagement on your content within the platform using their analytics. Things like impressions, view counts, follower and subscriber counts, likes/upvotes/reactions, comments, retweets, and shares are all meaningful within those platforms and will contribute to your brand’s growth in those environments.
On your website or Wistia Channel, you’ll want to measure your video’s performance differently. Organic traffic, time spent with your brand, and leads generated are all foolproof metrics to tie your content’s success.
For both social platforms and your own site, Time Watched is a winning metric for video. We’re big fans of Time Watched because it shows not just what’s the most eye-catching, enticing thing to click on, or what content persuades people to buy a particular product — instead it shows what people linger over and what makes them meaningfully engage. This gives you more information about what your customers truly care about and how you can connect with them more deeply and sustainably over time.
With all of these new video platforms emerging, you have tons of opportunities to interact with and win over prospective customers. And when you share your content on new, niche platforms, you can create highly specific content that’s more targeted. You can also express your brand more clearly without the constraints of traditional distribution platforms, helping you learn more about what’s working and what’s not. This way, both the medium and message go hand-in-hand — without sacrificing your brand.