Every year, the month of December brings with it a treasure trove of year-end overviews and “top 10” lists, predictions pieces for the year ahead and, often, some thought-provoking research surveys and related analysis. I love mining through all of these materials and find that applying industry-wide “lessons learned” to my own content and general marketings plans helps me to stay organized and to prioritize appropriately for the coming year. It’s also fun to review the research synopses and throw in my “two cents,” based solely on intuition and eschewing any scientific analysis.

Not surprisingly, I’m specifically intrigued by video-related recaps and studies. During the past few weeks, I have noted a few interesting survey results and blog posts with implications for online video and have used some of the holiday break to delve more deeply into these pieces. What did I learn? With a spring in my step, I am happy to report that online video really matters and it will continue to grow in prominence in 2013.

We’re Right-brained, Visual Creatures
My seventh grade art teacher first introduced me to the concept of “right brain” and “left brain” many years ago. People with right-brain tendencies tend to be more creative and respond to visual stimulation (i.e. color and imagery). “Left brainers” are more analytical and have a passion for language and numbers. My teacher always told us that there were more “right brains” in the world than left, and she might have been onto something; in fact, this Forbes blog post responding to a study conducted by the public relations firm Matter Communications highlights the power of visual content as a means for effectively, authentically connecting with target audiences. According to the study, 95 percent of marketers believe visual content is very important for online marketing. 89 percent of marketers already use or plan to use visual content in social media and, perhaps most significantly, 80 percent of survey respondents indicate that they will budget for the production of visual content in 2013. Since online video is the ultimate embodiment of visual content, these statistics certainly bode well for the growth of video marketing in the near future. Admittedly, Matter doesn’t offer any insight into its survey methodology so it’s difficult to investigate the results in greater depth; however, Matter’s findings align with the feedback we’ve been collecting from our customers and support the data we compiled with the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs in October.

Social Media Isn’t Social without Video
In light of all of the excitement surrounding visual and video marketing, I’ve been thinking a lot about the integration of visual content into social media as I plan for Brightcove’s own social presence in 2013. Anecdotally, I’ve always noticed–and enjoyed!–the immediate gratification in the form of “likes” that accompany a photo or video-driven Facebook status update. According to Facebook, posts that incorporate a photo or video actually do generate 120% more engagement than the average post. And in this MediaPost blog from December 24th, P.J. Bednarski explores the “marriage” between video and social media via an assessment of a recent report published by Brafton, a content creation and marketing agency. The Brafton report indicates that online video is the key to effective social marketing. This is because video sits at the top of consumers’ wish lists, judging from comScore’s November 2012 Online Video Rankingswhich uncovered that the average viewer enjoyed 1,182 minutes of online video in the month of November alone. Wow! That’s a lot of online video viewing. But beyond passive watching, Brafton also notes that consumers are more likely to interact, share and engage via social if video is a piece of the puzzle. This is similar to recent findings from IDG Research which indicate that tech consumers specifically are drawn to video–with 72 percent reporting they have forwarded, shared or posted a video for social consumption.

These myriad of sources all ultimately indicate the same thing: online video is and must continue to be an integral component of marketers’ ongoing strategic planning. As January rapidly approaches, it will be interesting to see how these online video trends continue to evolve and manifest more broadly in 2013. Also, I’d like to offer special acknowledgement to our fellow Boston-area companies referenced in this post (Matter, Brafton and IDG). It’s wonderful to see such local emphasis on content marketing!

Brenna Fitzgerald on December 26, 2012