5 top video trends for 2020

Struggling to stay atop the latest developments in visual storytelling? Here are the emerging strategies and tactics you should watch for this year.

Editor’s note: This article is a re-run as part of our countdown of top stories from the past year.

Video is today’s premier communications tool.

“Look no further than the growing popularity of visual search and visual devices like Amazon’s Alexa Echo or Facebook’s new ‘Portal’ video device,” says videographer Lou Bortone. “Video is only going to accelerate this year, and it pays to get a jump on the hottest trends and tools.”

Here are five you can expect to see more of this year:

1. RIP the “like” button. Instagram is the latest big social media channel to limit the power of the “like” button—and that’s a good thing, Bortone says.

“We’ve become too obsessed with vanity metrics such as ‘likes’ or number of views on YouTube,” he says. “The only metric that really matters is engagement.”

Watch time is a good indicator of engagement. “That’s why you’ll start to see YouTube and Facebook algorithms focusing more on watch time this year,” says Bortone.

Register for Ragan Training’s Feb. 7 virtual summit, “Master Video and Visual Storytelling” for more tips from Chad Carter (American Red Cross), Lou Bortone (author, “Video Marketing Rules”) and Jenn Herman (author, “Instagram for Business”).

His advice is to concentrate on creating compelling content that keeps viewers on your channel. “Stop chasing ‘likes,’ and start trying to be more likable,” he says, citing a favorite quote by HARO Founder Peter Shankman.

Instagram expert Jenn Herman agrees. “Keep creating content your audience wants, and they’ll engage,” she says. “Don’t forget that you can still see how much engagement your posts receive, including ‘likes.’ Only the public-facing count is going away.”

2. Micro content goes big. Micro video sites like TikTok, Caffeine, Byte and Facebook’s beta Lasso platform are all the rage.

With a 33% drop-off in videos longer than 30 seconds, it’s no surprise that quick burst videos are becoming more popular,” says Bortone. “However, don’t worry about platforms that skew young, unless that’s your target market—or at least wait until they become more mainstream. Byte and Lasso are perfect ‘wait and see’ examples.”

3. Long-form video surges. Short, snackable video isn’t the only game in town. Vimeo and Instagram’s IGTV clearly show that long-form video is also gaining in popularity.

“IGTV videos are designed to be longer,” says Herman. “Two to three minutes is best for average viewer retention, but you can now offer even longer video if the content is high-quality. Forty-five minutes isn’t out of the question anymore.”

That doesn’t mean you have to emulate Martin Scorsese.

“Think podcast- or webinar-style with lots of great info for long videos,” Herman says. “Your IGTV video should also have a really quick intro. Don’t dawdle through who you are or what you’re talking about. Open for 10–15 seconds, and then get into it right away, or you’ll lose people who don’t want to wait around.”

The first minute of your IGTV video can also be shared to your regular Instagram feed, allowing your followers to see it in theirs.

“That minute should be captivating and valuable, encouraging them to click through to watch the rest of the video on IGTV,” Herman says.

4. Personalized video pops. Sixty percent of consumers are “highly annoyed” with generic advertising blasts, and 80% are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experience, Bortone says, citing a recent ClickZ report.

This creates an opportunity for more one-to-one video.

“Take advantage of this trend to engage in more video email, using video services like Loom or Dubb,” he says. “I love the simplicity of Loom for personal video outreach and video email. It has a free version and is easy to use.”

5. Livestreaming sticks around. “I’m still a big fan of livestreaming and Facebook Live,” says Bortone. “That’s why I like third-party live apps such as BeLive and Streamyard.”

He uses Streamyard to enhance his Facebook Live posts by adding guests, graphics, overlays and screen sharing.

He’s also a fan of free scripting and storyboarding tool “Storyboarder,” which allows you to quickly sketch out your video concepts.

Another favorite is Celtx. “It’s fairly robust for video planning, given that the paid version is just $10 per month,” says Bortone.

Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and event producer. Chad Carter (American Red Cross), Lou Bortone (author, “Video Marketing Rules”) and Jenn Herman (author, “Instagram for Business”) will share more video insights in Ragan’s Feb. 7 webinar virtual summit, “Master Video and Visual Storytelling.”


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