Video is fast becoming the preferred way to communicate online. We’ve seen a lot happen with emerging and evolving platforms in 2019, but where to from here?

With so many of us consuming online video today, creators need to work out how to make the best use of it. To keep you ahead of the curve, we’ve highlighted four video trends to experiment with over the next year.

  1. 1. Scary good data

Social media networks are video-driven today. And Facebook is making a play to bring back to water-cooler moment for millennials and Gen-Z users with the advent of Watch Parties, allowing users to invite their friends to watch a piece of content with them and have a live discussion, from wherever they are.

This has opened up a new market for creators, and the savviest are tapping into audience data to help tailor their content to the audience. 

Crypt TV is one such creation unit, producing horror show The Birch for Watch. Founder Jack Davis explains the company creates monsters which its audience can identify with because they are the “external manifestation of the characters’ internal struggles” – in the case of The Birch it’s about bullying. This then encourages viewers 35 and under to comment and share the content as something they and their peers can identify with. 

Moreover, the company uses watch time data and analysis to understand how to actually make the content – where to bring a monster in during an episode, how long to put it on screen for etc. Rather then rely on gut instinct traditionally favoured by creators this approach allows content creators to tailor what they are doing to their audiences.

  1. 2. Short short short-form video 

It’s a myth people’s attention spans are shortening – how else do you explain the binge-watching phenomenon? What has changed is the time you have to grab their attention and get them to engage. 

There is a lot creators can learn from the best advertisers who have been grappling with this problem for some time – and have become experts in telling stories in 6 seconds. 

But with the average dwell time on a Facebook post 1.7 seconds, one agency went further, creating ads that do a job in that time. Mediamonks created the ads for L’Oreal, which were viewed six times more than standard ads. That’s a massive surge in engagement, and the ultimate test for any storyteller. If you can distill your core message into a quick grab, you have more chance of capturing a viewer’s attention.

  1. 3. Vertical video is very en vogue

If you haven’t already, it’s time to flip the camera over and start thinking about your content in a completely different orientation. While vertical video has been something of a fad, recent announcements show it’s definitely now mainstream, and a format younger viewers in particular are more than happy to engage with.

Snapchat is boasting success with its original video series, claiming recently its series Endless Summer had achieved more than 28 million views. That’s a massive number and a borderless opportunity, and all of those views are vertical. 

In China, media companies like iQiyi and TenCent are experimenting with vertical drama designed especially for a mobile experience. They take the form of short comedy sketches and sitcoms, with popular shows like Mr Yan Dong! Don’t Come Over  and My Idiot Boyfriend. What this trend suggests is that ‘vertical’ is not just aspect ratio, its fast become a genre in its own right. 

Instagram claims Stories is one of the fastest growing formats of all time, and all of that is short-form vertical content, whilst IGTV is also gaining popularity. 

If you’re not considering vertical video when you’re shooting your content you’re missing out on a massive market opportunity.

  1. 4. People power through interactive video 

Interactive video is a trend really picking up steam. Brands and creators love it because it is a simple and effective way to engage with audiences online. We’re already seeing interactive content taking shape on platforms such as Instagram, with the clickable ‘shop now’ links in photos and ‘swipe up’ prompts on Stories. 

These trends are creating opportunities for collaboration between brands and creators, with a trend for music artists especially to act as influencers and model the latest trends in their music videos. 

But interactivity is also now about giving viewers the choice of what they see, and picking their own route through content. Netflix’s much-vaunted Black Mirror: Bandersnatch experiment was claimed to be a massive hit for the platform, allowing people to decide the choices made at key moments by the main protagonist, playing out to different endings for him. 

It’s an interesting moment for creators who now have the opportunity to explore different paths within their content. This will unleash a whole new wave of experimentation, and make content work harder with viewers returning several times to see how different decisions affect the outcome.

VidCon Asia Summit, its first conference in Asia, will take place over two days on December 3 and 4 at the Raffles City Convention Centre Singapore. Here’s what you can expectSign up to get updates on speakers and the programme here