Time and how we spend it is arguably the most valuable of resources. It’s precious to us. We trade our time for money within our jobs, exchanging the un-recoverable resource in the hope of bettering our standing in the future. We also trade time in many other ways for the benefit of our futures. In the gym we trade it for health and in the library we may trade for new skills and knowledge. Time is the currency we trade to propel and guide our futures. This has been a fixed narrative since time began.

The Twenty First Century sees this traditional narrative shift into alignment with more traditional economic resources like coal, gas and electricity. Online businesses are now powered based on their customers time and attention. These two resources have a direct correlation with profitability in almost all consumer-facing online companies.

Consumer time is the twenty first century’s coal and steam, the key resource of the industrial revolution.

Time Saving and the Kill Time Model 

For Google the goal is to provide the most useful results to its customers in the shortest amount of time. They operate a ‘time saving’ closed system model. This is defined by the process: a customer question, the search, followed by the result. Only the ‘search’ part actually takes place on Google. It’s a touch and go service like a takeaway. 

However sites like Google are now a rarity online. Most sites are geared towards a ‘kill time’ model. This model aims to capture consumer attention and time by offering a buffet of experience in a closed loop. The content on these sites aim to keep the viewer in a sustained state of engagement within the sites ecosystem.

High usage sites and Apps like Tick Tock, Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, LinkedIn and Reddit all operate the ‘kill time’ model, among countless others. 

In a study titled: Sustainability in Online Video Hosting Services: The Effects of Serendipity and Flow Experience on Prolonged Usage Time. It is argued that video sites operating the ‘kill time’ model make ‘…users discover unexpected and interesting content during their browsing, which can attract more attention, immerse themselves in the hyperlinks, and extend their usage time.’  

Exposure to unexpected and novel content increases ‘stickiness’ and attention. 

Killing Time on YouTube

Youtube is an exceptionally good example of this model. I open up the search engine and type ‘Alex Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega’, a very specific UFC match. I click on the video. Then the magic happens. While watching the video, I’m served up countless suggestions, some related to UFC and some completely unrelated, but generated from previous searches or popular content. 

This is the white rabbit’s invitation to wonderland.

Before I realise I’ve spiralled into a parallel universe where time has stopped. Only to come round a few hours later, questioning myself just how I got from UFC to UFOs conspiracies. My time spent watching had been constantly rewarded with more things to spend my time watching.

It’s no surprise YouTube is the second most visited site worldwide with the average user spending almost 30 minutes of their time there per visit. 

We expect a sites search option to operate the ‘save time’ model, so it seems counterintuitive for sites to offer content non-related to the defined search. Yet if the user is only exposed too similar or comparable content the novelty soon wears off and attention slips, after all variety is still the spice of life.

Video Content Wonderland and the Kill Time Model

The content curation ecosystem

The authors of the study Sustainability in Online Video Hosting Services: The Effects of Serendipity and Flow Experience on Prolonged Usage Time likens YouTubes content curation to an ecosystem: 

‘…where the fewer kinds of organisms are available, the less stable the ecosystem can be; therefore, we believe that increasing heterogeneity would help to improve the sustainability of online video platform operations.’

Sustainability in Online Video Hosting Services: The Effects of Serendipity and Flow Experience on Prolonged Usage Time

By offering a broader range of content video platforms can increase ‘stickiness’ through variety and novelty. The study suggests that a curious consumer is more likely to experience pleasure and enjoyment the greater the opportunity for discovery. 

So how can we Incorporate a ‘Kill Time’ Strategy into our Video Marketing? 

There’s a temptation when creating online content to always stick to a proven model of content production. If something works, why not use it as a template to create similar content and continue to deliver a similar experience to consumers. After all it seems to be what they want.

However by increasing content variety the consumer is exposed to the brand in new and novel ways. If all your video content is motion graphics based, why not throw in some interview footage, sound-bites or even play on a trend like ASMR even though it’s seemingly unrelated to the core brand.

This isn’t a suggestion to throw the brand-guidelines to the wall and forget the brands culture. Instead it’s an invitation to be more experimental and cast a wider net. It’s more of a one size doesn’t fit all approach. Your consumer may land on your site or page for a particular reason, give them more of a reason to explore and discover the brand through a wider content range. It’s about creating an ecosystem people want to spend extended periods of time inside. 

Video Marketing Strategy Suggestions: 

  • Link video content together through hyperlinks that may otherwise seem to be loosely connected. 
  • Present information in unexpected ways. Avoid being vanilla.
  • Embed a level of surprise in your videos. A well placed transition can go along way. 
  • Play on contemporary trends but avoid cliche formats/layouts 
  • Place timer bars in content so the user can gage the length. 
  • Produce content with varied lengths. 


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  • Online video content is more relevant than ever
  • Lead with objective first before creating content
  • The main video content types are live videos, demo videos, promotional videos and testimonial videos
  • More and more brands are turning to live videos to deliver content to their audiences
  • Consumers are valuing transparency more than ever
  • Your content should be relatable, realistic and empathic to your audience

A Video Generation

Marketing attention has now firmly shifted to a post-pandemic Gen-Z consumer, who now accommodate for at least 40% of the consumer market. Nailing you online video content game is more important than ever. From long format podcasts, to short-form meme-based remixes on Tick Tock, consumers just can’t get enough.

Traditional media is quickly becoming a relic of a historic era. Evidence even suggests only 12% of the Gen-Z population get their news from traditional sources in contrast to 42% of adults.  People would rather have their daily updates fed to them through a platter of different social sources and hosts.

As we adapted this past year too living and working a little more isolated from one another, this reliance on new media sources has only been accelerated. The latest YouTube Trends Repot shows more and more people have turned to online content (specifically video) to for-fill their longing for community and tribalism.

So as marketers, content creators and designers what can we do to best serve our audiences on these platforms?

As with all great marketing and design, the starting point should be firmly routed in what you wish to achieve with the media in the first place. Who are you targeting? Are they part of your pre-existing following? Is your main aim to drive sales? Or is your goal to build awareness of the value your product can bring? 

Your objective should determine the different qualities of your content. This includes, but is not limited too, the length, the platform you use and the content.

When we search for popular content online it tends to fall under four different headings. These are demo videos, live videos, testimonial videos and promotional videos. While this is not a complete overhaul of all video content, these four categories seem to be the most effective with the largest ROI’s.

Let’s break them down:

Live Videos:

Live videos have had a massive boost in popularity this last year with 78% of people in the U.K. reporting they’d watched a live video within the last year. This is no surprise as more brands rethink how they deliver content and events to their audiences during the pandemic. Formula 1 hosted their first ever Grand Prix live event on YouTube, Travis Scott hosted a concert in Fortnight and Post Malone held an online charity concert livestream where he raised a massive $7 million and amassed a total of 14 million views.

Check this article for more on Live Streams

Many apps now have Live streaming options, however the three top players are still YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, with Facebook currently ranking top.

According to Facebook Live, consumers watched for 3x longer when watching live streams and the number of comments were multiplied by 10. That’s a huge improvement over pre-prepared video.

It’s worth mentioning here that most platforms will also automatically save your stream, so you can continue to re-use the content generated to engage with your audience.

Demo Videos: 

Demo videos are a great way to demonstrate to your audience what value your product or service can bring to their lives. In a study conducted by Wyzowl last year, 96% of people surveyed said they’d watched an explainer video to find out about a product or service. They also reported that 79% of people said they’d been convinced to buy or download a piece of software after watching a video.

There are many factors which may effect where you might place a demo video to best engage your audience and its a good idea to know just who you are targeting before even making the video, let alone hosting it.

However having a demo video on your landing page or at least somewhere on your site will make those warm leads just that little bit warmer.

Testimonial Videos:

Okay so we know that your average Gen-Z customer isn’t watching TV. They’re getting their news updates from someone they actually have a connection with. They want their information from real-life people they can generally relate to.

So it’s important for Testimonial videos earn their merit on transparency and how genuine they feel. If the video sounds scripted and forced the experience feels fake and your truth-seeking audience will see straight through it. 

Break the 4th Wall

Life post-pandemic sees the 4th wall being broken all over the place, we’re now more accepting and comfortable with seeing our politicians and public figures in real life unpolished settings, facing the same struggles we all do.

Attorney Rod Ponton became world famous as his courtroom cat filter video leaked out all over the internet, breaking the boundaries between the formal and the informal. And there has been countless cases like this and will be many more post-pandemic, dare I say it is ‘The New Normal.’

Testimonial videos should feel real and relatable, featuring a person and setting your audience can directly relate to. A great place to share your video is a setting where your audience is already fairly ‘warm’ to your brand. For example sharing on social media means your video would already have a narrow focus on people who are already interested in you.

Your website would also be a good place to embed your video for these same reasons. This would allow an undecided customer to gain a second opinion of your product or service. It may just provide the tipping point your customer needs. 

Promotional Videos:

Promotional videos sell the ‘dream’ of your product or service to your customers. They engage your audiences’ imagination. What might life be like with your product? 

The meditation app Headspace does this by providing free explainer videos on YouTube. They use a combination of motion graphics and people to tell stories, give explanations and tips to help people live more healthy lives. It’s a great way to provide value to your customers and engage their imagination. 

Perhaps the audience learns something new or feels calmer after watching the video. They gain insight into how the service may be of use to them, and as a result, buy into the experience the app may provide. 

When creating your product video you should consider these four points:

  • Is it relatable and empathetic?
  • Does is demonstrate value?
  • Is it professional but not too ‘commercial’?
  • Is it short enough to keep your audience engaged? 

Conclusion: 

The most important thing to consider when making videos to represent your brand will always be target audience and application. What is your end goal? Who is your audience? etc. We need to ask ourselves these important questions again and again. 

Without being distracted by our own egos or shiny ‘object syndrome’. We work for our consumers and they should always come first.

At Traphic, we use in-depth discovery sessions to explore and define all these things with you, to help you tell your brands story in the most efficient way possible. We work with and for you to produce the best motion graphics to help you achieve your goals.


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  • Live video streams are a growing trend
  • ‘Another Room’ videos are becoming more and more popular as people search for escapism post-pandemic
  • People are placing more value on longer-format video content and watching for longer.

Seeking a Tribe

Video has become an important and powerful part of all our lives over the past decade. Study after study continually confirms the increasing demand for video is not slowing down. New and old social platforms continually push to optimise for video creation and consumption. And it’s working, 75% of people surveyed reported they’d personally created and posted video content online within the last year.

In YouTube’s Culture and Trends Report, earlier this year, data suggested that more than ever people turned to online video content for a sense of connectivity and community. With the pandemic forcing us all to be less sociable in person, we turned to online content to fill the void. More specifically video was the championing media of choice for most people, with live format video especially showing massive growth.

Live and ‘Another Room’ Videos:

In the U.K. 78% of people surveyed reported they’d watched live steams over the past year. The looping animated-graphic channel Lofi Girl, where low-fi beats play over a graphic of a girl often studying or relaxing in different settings, grew to have 8.71 million subscribers. It has facilitated the growth of a multi-platform community of viewers watching live together.

Lofi Girl is part of an even bigger trend know as ‘another room’ videos. Content where viewers experience visuals and sounds which transport them to different locations, some real and others fantasy. Think ‘staycations’ but where you don’t actually physically leave the comfort of your house.

Long before I’d realised this was a trend I’d been passively consuming videos. I’d watch people walking through cities at night, and finding a sense of calm, but also a sense of culture, community and exploration.

While in some ways it may seem our attention spans are getting shorter and our expectations of immediacy increases – same-day delivery, faster loading times, fewer clicks. It seems the value we place on more immersive video content, of a slower nature, is in some ways increasing.

YouTube reports that the average length on the top trending videos was longer by >9.5x in 2019 than in 2010. Our tolerance for long-format is on the rise, as we seek out digital escapes to experience online as a collective.  

So, what does this have to do with branding?

In short, everything. 

Its common knowledge within the marketing industry that landing pages with embedded videos lead to higher conversion rates and video in general seems to lead to a higher ROI in terms of engagement, but why not go further?

As shown with the growing popularity of ‘another room’ experiences, video content can be used to create highly immersive content with little complexity.

We live in a time where a series of looping videos or animated graphics combined with an audio track (Lofi Girl) can hold its ground against a live stream of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. Why? Because its immersive, effortless to watch and widely relatable. One of the top comments on the ‘4 A.M. Study Session’ reads:

‘Everyone dreams to have a millionaire life, but I dream having Lofi Girl’s life.’

Everyone can relate to Lofi Girl studying alone in her room listening to music. Everyone can buy into her story. And branding is all about creating a narrative for your customer to buy into, often literally. It’s storytelling. 

Melting Butter

Earlier this year K-Pop band B.T.S. used a simple long-format live video on YouTube featuring an animated graphic of a melting bar of butter to build interest in their new upcoming album release. Over the course of an hour the story of the rectangular bar of butter slowly unfolds, melting into the shape of a heart featuring the B.T.S. logo. The video has no new music from the album. Instead is accompanied by the soundtrack of a sizzling fryer. 

It currently has over 17 million views.

Perhaps it was simply the power of the already established following of B.T.S. Or was it, as with the Lofi Girl videos which facilitates a multi-platform community, the mundane relatable novelty of the melting butter simulated by motion graphics?

The album ‘Butter’ by B.T.S. has since been released and uploaded in full to YouTube.

 It only has 1.9 million views.

Conclusion:

Consumer behaviour is always evolving and it is often a challenge for marketers to keep up, especially across multiple platforms. Site and setting have massive impact and influence over the type and length of content people engage with – you probably wouldn’t expect to watch long-form video on Tick Tock.

However the evidence suggests that not only are we consuming more video than ever, but we’re also watching for longer, and there’s massive growth potential for brands within that.


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