Comments from Facebook exec Nicola Mendelsohn show that she, at least, believes that video is the future of the network. Her prediction about where Facebook will be in five years is that it will almost definitely be focused around mobile and will likely be almost exclusively video that’s being shared.
That shouldn’t be surprising considering literally everything Facebook and other networks have been doing recently. FB itself is paying media companies to produce Live video, it’s giving videos preferential treatment in the News Feed to surface more of them and lots more. Snapchat is focusing on video. Twitter is focusing on video through Periscope and through, primarily, ads. Instagram has expanded its video capabilities. If you’re not playing in video, you’re behind the curve.
So with all the networks focusing on video and Facebook, by proxy, has signaled that’s where it sees the future of social content lying, how much should you, as the brand marketing professional, bet on that format? It depends on how much you’re betting on the future of the networks themselves.
If your content strategy relies largely or exclusively on Facebook and other networks then yes, double-down on video since that’s where they’re putting the incentives. Play to the algorithm, bend to their wishes and work with the system that’s in place now and in the future to do what you can to make the rules and current preferences work for you.
If you’re not, don’t. Keep focusing on on-domain content with distribution that may or may not work in your favor. You can produce video, sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if it’s not your focus then don’t sweat it, just keep doing what you’re doing if it’s working for you.
Facebook says video is going to be the future. That’s today. Tomorrow it could be something different. No one knows. My personal opinion is that concorting yourself on an ongoing basis to the daily whims of the social platforms is a path that leads to madness. Not that it’s not beneficial to know what does or doesn’t work there, but keeping in mind their roles as distribution channels, treating them as such and adjusting expectations accordingly is essential.
So go ahead and bet on video. Make the changes to content flow and production that are necessary to do so. But do so with the knowledge that you may need to adjust in a different direction in six months as Facebook or another network decides it’s going to chase something different.
Like what, you might ask? What could come in and dethrone video? How about stickers? iMessage announced support for them will be coming soon and they’re already widely used on Whatsapp and other messaging apps. It’s *easy* to imagine a scenario where in a year everything has realigned to focus on stickers and that’s the content type everyone is focusing on. At which point yep, we’ll all have to do this dance again.