Video formats: the last piece of the production puzzle

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By Annabel Hodges, contributor. 29 November, 2018
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Having looked at the type of video content best suited to each of the social media platforms, we now take a look at an equally important piece of the social video puzzle: video formats. We’ve reviewed the pros and cons of live vs pre-recorded video, tested the YouTube waters and looked at how best to use Instagram - but what other format opportunities should finance brands consider when deciding where to invest their video content budget?

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Video doesn’t always need heavy investment and high production costs; you can test the waters. But if you’re testing the waters for the first time; it’s important to remember even three second Instagram Stories can be video content and don’t need to be (in fact shouldn’t be) perfectly produced or polished. Simply adding movement to a normally static piece of content can be enough to give your traditionally ‘boring’ financial brand that extra boost. Social video formats to consider include:

Simply adding movement to a normally static piece of content can be enough to give your traditionally ‘boring’ financial brand that extra boost.

1. Short-form video tips and tricks

Well suited to short-form video platforms like Instagram Stories; sharing a series of tips in short bursts of just a few seconds is a great way to bring your brand to life. Consider the content you might traditionally place on your website and whether there’s a simple way to move some of that information to short-form social video. Nerdwallet has some great examples on its Instagram feed that explain the business offering through social video.

2. Listicle videos

Popularised by sites like Buzzfeed, listicle content has long been a popular way to communicate your expertise to your target audience. With platforms like Wochit allowing for relatively low budget entry points; moving listicle content to a video format can be a great way to share key insights in a more interesting format, easily shared across both social media and on-site. Don’t forget the subtitles!

3. Real-life stories

A series built around real-life stories is a relatively simple but effective video marketing strategy to show the human side of a financial brand. Kabbage Stories is a great example of this; using the stories of their real-life customers to clearly demonstrate the value of their business offering in an approachable, informal manner thanks to their use of social video. Bank of America is also sharing some great examples of real-life stories via Instagram.

4. Data visualisation & infographics

Editorial infographics are a great way to bring complex financial topics to life but there’s also a lot that can be done with data visualisation in this social video age. Turning your data into interesting videos - both long-form suitable for YouTube or Facebook, and short-form for Twitter or Instagram - is a great way to repackage content and data you already have to fulfill your social marketing efforts. Bloomberg used video data visualisation to great effect across all its social platforms to demonstrate the impact of global warming.

5. Live video

Live video isn’t for every brand but given Facebook live has reported audiences spending 3x as much time watching livestream videos and commenting 10x more during the broadcast compared to traditional video uploads, it’s worth considering. Practicing the live video ahead of time and actively engaging with your audience will ensure smooth but authentic video content. A great option for live is inviting a relevant influencer or industry partner to do a live takeover of your stories.

6. GIFs

Not traditionally considered a ‘video’ format, brands often shy away from the use of GIFs for fear of being too informal. As a format that’s easy to create, highly accepted and recognised across social media, and a simple way to inject a dose of humour into a potentially ‘dry’ topic; GIFs shouldn’t be underestimated. A couple of seconds of ‘video’ can make all the difference.

7. 360 video

Not as easily accessible to many brands, 360 video is still a format worth considering if you’re aiming to promote a more ‘experience’ focused marketing strategy. It allows the user to look around in multiple directions and gives them control over their view direction, bringing a more immersive quality to the content. This can be an opportunity for a brand to take their audience on a trip with them, increasing an emotional and/or empathetic attachment. The Urbanist use the medium perfectly, making the audience feel like they are sharing the city experiences and often combining the live and 360 function for a truly personal feel. For a finance brand offering home loan products, this type of video content could help customers visualise themselves in a potential future home.

Short or long, educational or built around raw, real-life stories, social videos in any format should be considered a piece of your marketing puzzle.

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Originally hailing from the UK, Sydneysider Annabel is a digital marketer with over a decade's experience working with global agencies and brands. A data and spreadsheet aficionado, she recently swapped SEO for motherhood and we eagerly await the analytics report! She is also maternally bilingual in French and English and speaks fluent Spanish.