If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video’s worth a thousand pictures and even more so in the digital world. Covid-19 Lockdown has only accelerated this trend. Today, video consumption on the Internet accounts for more than 75% of all data consumption on mobile devices in India; expected to further surge in 2021. Never was a better period for brands to wake up and make videos an integral part of their digital strategy. Let’s understand the why and how of this phenomenon:
1. India alone has more than 350M video viewers on YouTube. T-series is the biggest YouTube channel in the world with 150M (and growing) number of subscribers.
Such is the stature of videos and YouTube in India. If it’s not an important part of your 2021 digital strategy, you might want to head back to the drawing board.
2. Huge rise in behavioural search — don’t assume it’s only for entertainment. YouTube is one of the most important brand consideration and category discovery platforms — if not the most important. The audience is not only searching about their favourite kajal brand but also DIY tutorials to create a smokey eyes look; not just about their favourite running shoes brand but also about ways of doing a chest workout at home.
The ‘how to’ genre, especially in fitness, beauty, home, cooking, health and parenting categories has grown massively allowing brands to also share knowledge and position themselves better in front of prospective customers. Brands such as The Man Company, Mamaearth and Licious have grown phenomenally in the last two odd years by leveraging these trends. Licious has witnessed more searches than its category — a huge testimony of how its video strategy (among other factors I’m sure) has made them synonymous with the category itself; leading to a huge jump in consideration searches on YouTube. Take in case, the search for ‘Best mattress’ having grown by 150%, ‘Best headset’ by 140%, ‘How to lose weight’ by 180%, ‘Best Telugu Movies of 2020’ by 450%.
3. Rise of vernacular content — video consumption is not just about English or Hindi Languages, but also about ‘my language’ — something that’s always relatable. Almost 735 million people are expected to be online in 2021, more than 536M out of which will browse in their native language. According to estimates, 90% of video content consumption happens in regional languages. However, the content creation for a lot of national brands is still happening in either Hindi or English and there needs to be a massive investment in growing vernacular content — especially for brands operating at a national level.
4. Rise of micro-influencers — authenticity, not pedigree: Covid-19 saw a sudden rise of micro-influencers (usually below 10k followers on Instagram) across all categories, all cross-sections of society and content genre. On account of their fabulous content, they’ve become an integral part of any brand’s digital planning. A lot of their content is video & in vernacular languages — helping brands develop relatable content at scale. Today brands are using services of 50-100 micro-influencers in building content strategy instead of just deploying tier A, almost-celebrity influencers (who also continue to be more important than ever) and this will continue to rise as a trend.
5. Dominance of the big influencers — inluencers like Bhuvan Bam, Ashish Chanchlani, Ajey Nagar (CarryMinati) having a following and engagement better than a lot of movie and TV stars are being actively engaged by the biggest brands to advocate them in their own unique styles. There are more than 2,500 creator channels in India that have more than 1M subscribers. And they will continue to become a steady feature in most brands’ media planning in 2021.
6. Rise of small format — though TikTok got banned, the small duration, low production video format is here to stay. It has also democratised video production and hence it’s not the bastion of only the young and stylish anymore. Everyone is a creator and everyone has an audience. With Instagram Reels and the rise of other homegrown platforms like Chingari, Roposo and Sharechat, brands need to rethink their small video creation strategy while incorporating micro-influencers and UGC.
7. Videos in Social Media is a match made in heaven — Gone are the days when the only video that ever counted was a ‘viral video’ on Facebook or WhatsApp. Your video strategy needs to be more now. Instagram has grown massively in the last few years in India and a lot of marketers can tell you that Instagram rewards authenticity. Photographs over Photoshop. Stop Motions over Illustrations.
Hence, in the game of improving organic engagement rate (the true measure of creativity) video content can be vital. Fortunately, Instagram allows you to create up to 1 minute videos as part of the feed, vertical videos in form of Thumbstoppers & stories, long form videos as part of IGTV and less than 15 second videos for Reels. Phew – if this doesn’t tell you how important videos is for Instagram – what will?
Indeed it’s time that you make 2021 the year that your brand invests in a video marketing strategy aimed to address your customers’ pain points and increasing much needed brand awareness with new audiences. It’s time that you ROAR!
(The author is co-founder and CEO, Lyxel&Flamingo. The piece has been co-authored by Nishant Singh, creative director – copy and Hitanshu Gupta, solutions architech, digital, Lyxel&Flamingo.)