Video-First Social Platforms Are in an Arms Race

Video marketing is an essential, if not the essential, part of any marketing campaign nowadays. However, the big lingering question is, what kind of video?

A few months ago, the common wisdom would surely have said that TikTok videos are the future, with their easy virality, consumability, and popularity with young audiences.

But a recent report from eMarketer titled Reels and YouTube Shorts are creeping up on TikTok’s lead shows that, even with all the ear-worms, dance trends, and hashtag challenges in the world, the continued dominance of TikTok is anything but certain. 

Let’s take a look at why.

Current Trends in Short Video

When TikTok started eating Instagram’s lunch, Instagram responded by launching Reels, bite-sized videos that were TikTok-like in form and content.

Reels may have taken a moment to catch on. But with Instagram’s reputation for more sophisticated content, particularly in the realm of fashion and food, and its well-integrated shopping features, it didn’t take long for Reels to get noticed.

Why Has TikTok Started To Lose Steam?

The deep pockets and the reach of Big Tech still count for something. Reels, thanks to parent company Meta, can be shared across Facebook and Instagram, whereas TikTok exists in its own echo chamber-like universe. Paradoxically, Reels’ initial lack of popularity with advertisers helped draw viewers who felt like they were getting served too many ads on TikTok. 

TikTok’s ownership has also come to be a liability, with U.S. lawmakers seeking to put caps on its reach, given its suspected ability to collect data and spy on users. The app has been banned from U.S. government devices, and universities, too, are considering banning it (for a mix of concerns about spying and the effects of short and visually overstimulating video on younger demographics). 

Additionally, TikTok’s user base is a young one. While young people are a coveted demographic, they are not the only video watchers online. Facebook’s coolness levels rise and fall, but there are a lot of Gen Xers and Boomers glued to their accounts. 

As popular as TikTok is, it’s still no match for the audiences of Instagram and YouTube’s parent companies, Meta and Google, respectively. These companies are aggressive in wanting to maintain their dominance. As they continue to iterate and optimize their TikTok clone, Reels, they’re able to harness the power of their massive audience to pull users away from their competition.

How Do Video Marketers Remain Agile?

There are two clear tracks you should follow to stay competitive as this arms race continues.

1. Diversify Your Platforms

Finally, if you think about how most viewers use their phones, trends tend to come and go. Users looking to kill time in line might flick across TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, before landing on LinkedIn. The trend toward dominance of any one platform is unlikely to be an uncomplicated one. So, if you’ve prioritized TikTok to the exclusion of all else, it’s time to redistribute as TikTok’s uniqueness and novelty decrease. That means including in your strategy:

  • Social media videos on (yes) TikTok but also Reels, Twitter, and perhaps LinkedIn (so long as your content feels “native,” that is, organic to the platform you’re using)
  • Over-the-top ads, that air on “over-the-top” (nontraditional TV) devices
  • Mixed reality, where the real is blended with the virtual in one way or another
  • Performance TV, which allows you to blend the virtues of classic TV advertising with actionable data insights.

Diversifying your platforms (or channels, if you will) simply gives you more access to potential viewers, as they divide their attention between various apps and screens.

2. Run More Vertical Videos, More Often

The more ads you run, the higher your chances of catching your audience’s attention and convincing them that your product is worth bearing in mind. If you’re worried about having to create an entirely new campaign for each platform — don’t. The creative style of your videos will have negligible differences, as everyone is now mimicking the style and vibes of TikTok. You can readily diversify your platform mix without having to create net-new videos for every single one. While you still have to produce a lot of content, it’s not an overwhelming amount — particularly with the right partner.

Related: TikTok Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

The Future of Video is Vertical

Even with all the video-first platforms racing to the top of the social media heap, theres one thing that truly unifies them all: vertical video. It’s become the predominant format for how countless consumers view video. If you want to stay competitive as the arms race continues, you need to break out of the 16:9 mold and embrace the vertical vibes of 9:16. Trust us: your audience probably wants to see it.

However, to really stay on top of an ever-changing video landscape, it pays to partner with a company that understands both production and audiences. Reach out to QuickFrame, and we can help you efficiently create content that’ll resonate with the right audience for brand.

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