When businesses first started using video in the 1980s, they found it to be a more affordable option than what film production had been. Now businesses could craft their message exactly how they wanted it to be, which pleased corporate attorneys, and they were guaranteed that the presentation would be the same each time it was used.
These were huge advantages over a live presentation, and video’s affordability allowed companies to find multiple applications for its use: marketing, training, and product or service descriptions.
DVDs enhanced the quality of business video and was a more portable medium, and less expensive, high-quality video cameras made it easier for businesses to produce their own content.
YouTube changed the way we share video, making it much more efficient by simply putting a link in an email. With lower technology costs, higher quality, and an efficient means to share the content, businesses were no longer constrained. Since YouTube’s launch in 2005, millions of corporate videos have been posted and shared.
Each of these technological jumps improved the production, quality and share-ability of business videos. But the basic form of these programs has changed little in the last 30 years.
Now, Instagram Video may be changing all of that.
The popular mobile app for sharing photos added its video feature in June. It allows users to post videos no longer than 15 seconds in length. It doesn’t seem like much time to get your message out.
However, the website Mashable reports that, “startup NowThis News is flipping the social media/PR model upside down by using Instagram Video as its main vehicle to deliver breaking news and featured news briefs.”
NowThis videos typically include stills with text and a voiceover narration, or sound bites. The site has been reporting national news and has picked up more than 54,000 followers as of this writing. Those followers are younger, between the ages of 18 to 34-years-old. This group prefers quick bites of information over longer, more detailed presentations.
With the success of NowThis News, one has to ask what this new format means for business? Companies have typically been slow to adopt any new technology until it has been proven out. Instagram Video will be the same. But there will be innovative marketers who find new ways to present their products and services to this younger audience.
Perhaps it will be in the form of traditional-looking 15-second commercials, or maybe humorous mini-movies with product placement opportunities.
I can even see a public relations application for Instagram Video, where businesses use the format to speak directly to fans.
Or, we may see unique applications that we can’t envision yet. Despite what form it takes, businesses will need to realize that as the 18 to 34-year-old demographic continues to age and earn wealth, competition for their attention—even if it is short—and their dollars will need to be on their terms, and will most likely not be through traditional modes.