NEW YORK, United States — In June, Instagram launched IGTV, a long-form vertical video platform built both into Instagram and functioning as a standalone app. Gucci was among the first brands to engage with the new tool, posting archive footage of Alessandro Michele’s runway shows, while the eyewear company Warby Parker uploaded interviews with customers, such as the illustrator and designer Sophia Chang and the comedian and writer Samantha Irby.
The launch of IGTV, and the speed at which it was adopted by fashion brands, indicates the growing importance of video in fashion marketing. “It's tricky and it's costly, but video is the most important,” explains Paper Magazine’s chief creative officer Drew Elliott. Despite the expense, brands create videos due to growing numbers for video consumption — in 2018, it is estimated that 1.87 billion individuals worldwide will use a mobile phone to watch digital video, which is an 11.9 percent increase on 2017.
As a result, whether working for an agency, brand or publication, understanding video functions and live streams on social media is integral to digital marketing. “Everyone is excited about video, and for good reason,” says Elliott in his Digital Marketing course with BoF. “It is the main mode to deliver a true story and to deliver things in motion. It makes you activated.”
With Instagram reaching 1 billion monthly users in June, Facebook boasting over 2 billion users a month and YouTube more than 1.8 billion, the opportunity for brands to reach potential consumers through video is growing. However, publishing on those platforms effectively is a complex task requiring a developing skill set. From idiosyncratic platform dynamics and the importance of shooting in native dimensions, to live streaming and the changing role of audio in capturing ever shorter attention spans, video as we consume it today has evolved.
"My course is for everyone who wants to get ahead in communications and marketing… whether you need a brush up, or you are just starting your career in digital. Nothing is more important to my business, and anyone’s business for that matter, than having new talent who are digital thinkers," explains Elliott.
BoF sat down with Drew Elliott, chief creative officer and co-owner of Paper Magazine to hear his top tips for an effective video strategy.
Shoot in Native Dimensions
“Consumers like videos because it's low touch. They don't have to do anything other than just consume,” says Elliott, who catapulted Paper to global exposure through his #BreakTheInternet cover with Kim Kardashian. “It's absolutely critical that you make video that is native to the platform and you use all the tricks and tools that the platforms offer.”
The form of video format ranges from site to app, but also then within the platforms themselves. Elliott uses Instagram as an example: “There's Instagram video. There's stories. There's live. Those are all video components, but they're all considered in very different ways. All those different pieces that make video enticing to the audience — use those tools. They're in your arsenal. Bake it into your video.”
Subtitle Creatively to Better Engage
“There are two ways to consume videos. With sound and without sound. The attention span on social is very, very short and they're not necessarily going to have that sound on. Always keep that in your mind.”
Whether a 20-second "wochit" or a long-form video, subtitles are becoming increasingly important as viewers now consume on the move. Videos are also getting shorter, with the average short video running length at 4 minutes in 2017, which is believed to reduce by a further 25 percent year-on-year.
As many consumers watch videos in public or at work with the sound off, this can have an adverse effect on the wrong platform or if presented incorrectly — and with video length diminishing, it’s a very short space of time to draw and hold attention. “One of the things you need to consider is how you're titling your videos,” Elliott explains, citing the example of Paper’s Christina Aguilera shoot in BoF’s digital marketing course. “Videos must have some type of call to action or promise that they're going to deliver. When the stakes are high, people want to stay tuned for that whole video.”
Prepare to Put Live Stream Audiences in Control
When Tim Coppens live streamed his menswear show at Pitti Uomo on Instagram in January 2017, he revealed the potential for the platform’s then newest video capabilities for fashion brands. But in 2018, live streaming has become a common tool for brands, whether revealing a runway show, holding an informal press conference or conducting a Q&A.
“Now, all the platforms have live capabilities where the audience can decide their own adventure,” says Elliott. “Your brand is going to have to take them where they want to go.”
As a result, brands need to be prepared for live, especially as consumers react, comment and question during the filming process. “Live is a bit of a scary place for brands because the consumer can ask any question. They can address anything that's bothering them. Brands need to have a strategy. They need to have mitigation. They need to really understand and anticipate what might be asked of them.”