“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes (and social platform updates)”. – Benjamin Franklin
As many of you have already seen, there have been some fundamental changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed and requirements around YouTube video. While these changes have some immediate impacts, they signal a future where social video matures and becomes a truly viable alternative to TV advertising. Beyond the immediate impacts which you can read more about here, this post will explore what these changes signal about the larger market.
Social video is about to change
When thinking about video on social, we think of three primary tiers:
- Tier one: User Generated Video (things that we as consumers would create) and smaller content producers (new and upcoming influencers)
- Tier two: Publisher (NBC, Buzzfeed, ABC etc) and social first video producers (A+, Tasty, NowThis)
- Tier three: Highly produced, long form content (shows on Facebook Watch or YouTube Red).
The shift towards content from friends and family on Facebook may limit the ability of publishers (tier two) to monetize their content (especially higher cost video), while the new requirements surrounding YouTube will hurt smaller content creators (tier one) that cannot reach the new viewing thresholds. What this means for advertisers is that there may be fewer videos produced for each platform by the groups outlined above.
Social inventory is becoming premium
All social networks have been making this pivot towards premium content in one way or another (Snapchat Discover, Twitter Amplify, Facebook Watch, YouTube Preferred, etc), but none have had the impact that the above changes will, as lower cost, less premium inventory was still available to purchase.
The above changes will reduce the amount of inventory available to brands on Facebook and YouTube, which will cause costs to increase (the degree to which is still unknown). With that said, we still see this as a positive for brands as the two largest players in social video are pushing their creators to develop spaces where consumers have higher quality brand experiences on platform.
This opens up an opportunity for another video platform
The big question now is “what happens to those creators that are negatively impacted by these changes?” (tiers one and two) We believe that these shifts open up a huge opportunity for a third social platform to become a home for the creators that may no longer have a place on Facebook or YouTube. Based on the current crop of networks, we feel Twitter is in the best position to take advantage of these changes as Vine and Periscope (Twitter acquisitions that were made part of their app) were very popular for creators, while news and publisher content has always been heavily consumed on the platform.
While these changes will have major implications in and out of just social, we see these updates as a huge opportunity. For brands, it brings the power of premium (which television and digital video already had) to social. For other platforms, it gives them room to compete with the two largest video platforms on earth.