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Micro video content is probably one of the most interesting trends in social media to see growth. Vine launched in January of this year, Instagram video two months ago. MixBit (this month). The adoption, and release of micro content services particularly for video and image based services continues to explode. Snapchat came out of no-where, having been launched in January 2011.
All of these services, continue to eat into Google’s video market share and the diversified offerings continue to attract consumers. So what can YouTube learn from them?
Private networks don’t mean slower growth. Privacy matters.
Whilst Vine and Instagram are public, Snapchat is a private network, and yet has still managed to achieve massive growth. I’ve said it before. Small is the new big.
Of particular note, is that it is a peer to peer network, that leverages the address book of your phone to create connections, in much the same way as Path, and its userbase are in the age bracket 13-23. They’ve even launched a SnapKidz service for users UNDER 13 back in July. They don’t care about sharing the information to your Facebook page, or Tumblr account, or other social network so you don’t have to worry about maintaining your social identity. Self destructing messages that disappear is both a technical advantage, and a user one; it means you can take snapshots of your life that you know aren’t going to end up going viral round the internet. They’ve liberated their userbase.
Take away point? It’s a closed, gated community of people whom you’ve chosen to communicate with, and have fun with, and Gen-Y consumers love them for it.
Phones mean faster content creation and consumption
How easy is it to upload a video to Instagram, post a Vine or send a Snapchat message? How easy is it to consume them?
If you are a user of any of these services, you’ll know the answer is very. The easier and faster you can make it for people to create content, the more people will adopt and use it.
Whilst Google have had YouTube Capture available for ages, they’ve done a really poor job of promoting it, including ignoring an Android version. YouTube is also missing the critical intimate social connections that Vine, Instagram and Snapchat have at their core. No social, no sharing, no content.
Even still, the other alternatives are cooler because they make things faster and remove distraction when consuming the content. YouTube is where you go to upload video that has had precision editing applied, and the entire toolbase and feature set faciltates that. Not to mention the sprinkle of advertising when you are watching it.
Both Vine and Instagram have went with very minimalist design options in both the display of the content on their own website, and in the design of their embeddable players. YouTube is lit up like Vegas in contrast. For an audience that is increasingly crafting their own spaces online, that is an important trait.
Minimal branding, autoplay by default, sound off by default, video controls minimal. Mousing over doesn’t significantly affect the experience.
Microcontent is more personal and honest
What all of these services have realised, is that micro content intrinsically makes the content much more personal, as people share snippets of their lives and opinions with each other, and that’s exactly where brands are going to gravitate towards. BrandsOnVine is a great resource for seeing what and how brands are interacting on that platform, and there’s a forgiveness, and indeed acceptance for it not being polished advertising. A continuation of the “flawsome” trend.
YouTube in contrast, has powertools for removing camera shake, and many of the more popular videos have been heavily edited. There is a realness about Instagram and Vine content. You want fake viral videos that’s YouTube content.
Video and Photo content is social currency, and the shift of young people to create content is driving growth on these mobile first networks. Sure, YouTube has massive control over video, and its usage shows no sign of slowing. But I guarantee we’ll see more videos of intimate family moments popup on networks such as Instagram and Vine over time, and as we continue to become content creators rather than content consumers, it’ll be the trust worthy networks that aren’t covered in advertising that we trust.