October 28, 2015

Trends-Based Marketing and the Short Video Loop

Content marketing has come to define, albeit to a certain extent, the kind of work we do in our industry. In fact, the term “content marketing” actually contains social media marketing within it, since social media is just one iteration of the content brands and businesses use to engage a target audience.

As we have learned and continue to put to practice, successful content marketing, on top of engaging with customers, is what actually drives profitable customer action, as Joe Pulizzi says in his book, Epic Content Marketing. I would also say that social media, due to its reach and emotional capabilities, has had and (continues to have) the greatest potential for converting consumers of content into profitable customers.

Those reporting on content marketing in the online publication sphere, within the tech and media industries, are particularly interesting. They write about the professional worlds they are a part of and circulate the latest news that were once just thoughts or phrases said by the same people making the decisions that define our experience of social media. It’s the content of content marketing, sometimes commenting on the very thing that it is.

In fact, I would argue that online publications investing in circulating media and tech news have authoritative power when publishing content that is trustworthy and reflective of our own marketing realities. This kind of published content has more stakes in not only identifying trends, but also generating them. We look to sources like Adweek and Digital Trends for something more than news. As we motion through our daily routines, we look to the commentators for trends in order to set our own lives in motion. At least I do––as someone who writes regularly on social media and marketing.

When TechCrunch published two posts about “the short video loop,” (one about Snapchat’s profile GIF and the other about Facebook’s profile video) I was blown away by how quickly and how much traction that one topic quickly gained. I was also beginning to believe there was a conspiracy in motion, or that the top social media gurus from Facebook and Snapchat and Instagram had met to discuss new developments with each other in some dimly lit room in Central Manhattan. Of course, that isn’t true. What is true, however, is that TechCrunch’s reporting influenced my understanding of the short video loop and its recent uses across a variety of social media platforms.

In other words, TechCrunch published content that allowed me to identify a trend, and gave me the feeling of being an insider. Furthermore, knowing that TechCrunch is also “in on it” proves that I am now emotionally invested in this trend, and thus invested in the kinds of content that make such trends gain traction. I developed a relationship with this source of media news, which is why I was pretty sure I had also developed some kind of sixth sense when Instagram launched Boomerang.

Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch
Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch

After the Boomerang announcement, I was stunned by how the timing accorded with the short video loop trend. I was beginning to believe that Instagram had leveraged this trend to boost its launch of Boomerang, and fulfill the branding necessary to make the product a success. I believe that Instagram used trends-based marketing, albeit not intentionally, by launching Boomerang when it did, thus monetizing the concept of the short video loop and packaging it into a consumable 1-second long version that is easily shared.

Has marketing gained an inherent paranoia that not only defines, but also drives our work? Maybe. But one thing is for certain: when an app like Boomerang attaches to a trend like the short video loop – which is a trend that aligns well with Instagram as a business and has been used across social media platforms––the outcome could end up generating more buzz for your brand than you had hoped for. Social media has the power to make something what it is and affects how it is perceived and/or consumed­––no matter if the company producing that thing has contributed content to market its products or not. I’ve learned throughout my reflection of the short video loop that, in more ways than not, content is marketing is business. The rest is chance.

This post was written by current Renegade intern Sam Oriach. You can follow him on Twitter @samoriach.