There’s no question that social video has become a critical part of online marketing. After all, Facebook alone has 8 billion video views per day, and Bloomberg reported that Snapchat had 10 billion video views per day as of April 2016. That’s not even counting all the other social media video formats on channels like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
And if you think you’re seeing a lot of video in your social feeds now, hold onto your hat: Cisco predicts that online video traffic will increase three times from 2015 levels by 2020, so that video traffic will represent 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic within the next three years.
Of course when we talk about social video, we’re actually talking about several different things at once. While some types of video are designed to have a long shelf life, others are much more ephemeral, disappearing after only a day. Let’s look at the different social media video options beyond the standard native social video, and explore how to use them on the various social media platforms.
Types of video for social media
1. Live video
According to eMarketer, more than a third of internet viewers say they watch live video online, with Facebook Live as the most popular channel, followed by YouTube live streaming. Live video is also available on Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook Live Video
You can start a Facebook Live broadcast spontaneously, or schedule one for later. The commenting feature on Facebook Live Video makes it a great way to interact directly and authentically with your clients and fans.
Twitter live video
Twitter has owned the live-broadcasting app Periscope since before the latter even launched. But only in December 2016 did Twitter make Periscope’s live video functionality available to all Twitter users, without downloading the Periscope app.
To launch your live social video straight from Twitter, tap the compose icon, then Live. When you’re ready, tap Go Live to start broadcasting.
Instagram live video
Unlike live videos on the other social networks, Instagram live videos cannot be archived. Once the broadcast is over, the video is gone, so make sure you’re also recording to another source if you want to have something more permanent.
2. 360 video
Think of 360 video as an entry point to virtual reality: it’s a social media video format that lets viewers virtually rotate the camera to change their point of view, allowing them to immerse themselves in the content you present, as in this National Geographic 360 video on Facebook.
The format of 360 video is still new enough that it stands out from regular old 2D video. According to eMarketer, more than half of users find 360 video engaging, and more than one-third say they’re more likely to engage with 360 video than with other social media video formats.
You can post pre-recorded 360 videos on Facebook and YouTube. To create these videos, you’ll need a 360-degree camera—a small device that records from all angles, mimicking a multi-camera set-up.
3. Live 360 video
Blend live video with 360 video, and what do you get? That’s right: live 360 video, combining the interactivity and virtual reality elements of 360 video with the immediacy of live streaming.
Facebook and Twitter have both launched live 360 platforms, but they are only available to select publishers for now. Facebook’s program should roll out more broadly later this year, and Twitter is taking a waitlist for its live Periscope360 program. Periscope360 will roll out to iOS users first, and for now only supports integration with the Insta360 Nano camera.
4. Looping video
Remember Vine? The original looping social video network is no more, but its legacy is alive in the looping video functionality available on Twitter and Instagram today.
Twitter looping video
When Twitter shut down Vine in January, it announced that all Vine-length videos posted to Twitter would loop—regardless of what tools were used to create them. So, post any video less than 6.5 seconds long to Twitter and watch it loop away.
Instagram looping video
For short, fun, looping videos, you’ll want to investigate Boomerang, the Instagram app that takes a burst of up to 20 photos and turns them into a video that loops forward and backward.
Facebook looping video
Similar to Twitter, Facebook automatically loops short videos. But there are a few differences. While Twitter loops any video up to 6.5 seconds long indefinitely, Facebook loops videos shorter than 30 seconds for a total of approximately 90 seconds.
So, if you upload a six-second video to Twitter, it will loop forever, but if you upload that same video to Facebook, it will loop 15 times. If you upload a 10-second video to Twitter, it won’t loop at all, but if you upload that same video to Facebook, it will loop nine times.
5. Disappearing video
Not every video needs to stick around forever. Sometimes it’s all about creating timely, in-the-moment content that will disappear soon after it’s posted. If you’re feeling particularly ephemeral, you can head to Snapchat or Instagram Stories. For the best social video experience, keep in mind that since these videos are intended to be watched exclusively on mobile, they’re best filmed vertically.
Snapchat is the originator of the disappearing social content concept. Like anything posted to a Snapchat Story, Snapchat videos disappear after 24 hours. Of course, if you want them to last longer, you can always save them and post them to other social networks as well.
6. High-production video
If you’re creating high-quality, high-definition social video, especially in longer formats, you will probably want to post to YouTube or Vimeo, as both support full HD videos (1080p) and Ultra HD 4K.