The Future of Social Video: A Brief Look At Next Steps [Expert Predictions + Data]

In recent years, video has become one of the most compelling ways for brands to tell their stories on social media.

From the instant popularity of Facebook Live Videos to Instagram, which increases video length from 30 seconds to 60 seconds, marketers are harnessing the power of video to communicate their company’s personalities and brand stories, express creativity, and make emotional connections with fans and build followers.

And it works: According to research from Adobe, 51.9% of marketers worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. And over 60% of marketers plan to increase their investments in video over the next year.

Right now, video is doing incredibly well on social media. So where are we going later this year and beyond?

Read on to learn more about the future of social media video trends. These predictions are supported by today’s research and well-known marketing experts.

The future of social media video

YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram will be the preferred platforms for social media videos.

As videos become increasingly popular on social media, not every platform will benefit equally from this growth. Some social media platforms are better than others for creating, posting, and sharing videos. And the ones that marketers are most successful with will be the ones who attract brands the most – namely Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

For example, over 100 million hours of video are viewed on Facebook every day, and of the 79% of marketing teams who posted videos on Facebook in 2020, 85% said they were successful. Of the 85% of marketing teams who posted videos on Youtube, 83% found it successful. And 65% of video marketers said they plan to include Instagram in their 2020 marketing strategy because the video content has been so effective on this social media platform.

These three platforms are going to be the most popular when it comes to social media video content. Not only do they already have millions of active users, but they also allow you to get in touch with followers after you’ve posted a video. The more you respond to comments and communicate with your audience, the more they’ll interact with your content the next time they post.

Meghan O’Neil at Adweek offers that advice.

“When you get in touch with your fans on Twitter and Facebook, the more likely they are to notice when you have a new video … and share it with their friends.” – Megan O’Neill, Adweek

There will be more video-based social media platforms.

While Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram will serve as the premier platforms for social media video, that doesn’t mean they will stand alone at the top for long. In fact, there has already been a wave of new video-based social media platforms that are rapidly gaining popularity around the world.

Take Twitch, for example. In just eight years, the video game streaming platform has grown from 102,000 viewers to over 1.4 million viewers.

Twitch user Image source

Tik Tok is another great example. It was number one apps downloaded in 2020 with an estimated 738 million downloads. With over 500 million active users, Tik Tok is the sixth largest social media platform in the world after Instagram, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Facebook and WhatsApp.

However, Tik Tok and Twitch aren’t the only social platforms aiming to join the ranks of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Smaller players like Meerkat and Parascope aside, Twitter is now turning into video with its newest feature, Fleets. Fleets are temporary posts that expire after a day, similar to an Instagram story. Fleets allows users to post videos on their timelines that are retweeted six times more often than a photo tweet. Research by Nielsen suggests that Twitter videos are twice as memorable as videos viewed on other social media platforms. The reason for this is that Twitter videos are generally considered to be more organic and real than videos posted on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.

Social media platforms will compete with streaming services.

The next frontier for social platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram seems to be television. Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith told Likeable that she believed Facebook’s goal was to “become the next generation digital streaming TV platform.”

“Facebook’s mission is to become the next generation television platform” – Mari Smith

This means that Facebook would work entirely directly with brands like Netlix and Hulu. Its goal is to become the target for video streaming, and according to Smith, it is investing heavily in its “watch” feature to achieve that goal.

YouTube, on the other hand, has been experimenting with YouTube TV since 2017. YouTube TV allows users to watch live television without a cable subscription. This is very different from YouTube’s original approach, which was all about user-generated content. As more and more social media platforms compete, YouTube is expanding its offering to appeal to a larger audience.

Let’s not forget Instagram either. While it doesn’t offer a full streaming service, Instagram recently launched its IGTV feature, which is geared towards long-form video content. And instead of having to tilt your device sideways to watch a video, IGTV expands the picture so that the video can be viewed over the vertical surface of your device. Research shows that watching videos from this angle improves completion rate.

Video becomes part of the shopping experience.

Video has already become a standard part of the customer experience, and now with more people working from home and shopping online, it’s vital for brands trying to promote their products. Social media provides the perfect opportunity to share these videos as 61% of consumers crave video content when interacting with a brand. And 55% of people use a brand’s video content when making a purchase decision.

Here is an example of J. Crew using videos to promote their new products on Instagram.

Product promotion isn’t the only way to use social media videos, however. Brands like Napoleon Cat create “explainer videos” explaining how a product works and who would use it.

Other brands hold Q&A sessions and also post client videos. This provides social evidence that helps customers trust a brand after watching one of these videos. For example, here is a testimonial video for Clek that was created by one of his clients.

These are just a few examples of how social media videos affect the customer experience. As Brian Halligan points out in the quote below, these are the timely opportunities “marketers need to adapt or risk extinction” by falling short of their competitors.


For more video tips, see Create Social Media Video Ads.

Free guide to using videos on social media

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