When you think about the best video content you’ve ever seen, what features made it great? Was it the video’s style or tone? Was it the message of the content? Was it beautiful graphics or outstanding visuals? While videos of all kinds have their place in an overall marketing strategy, in 2020, expect to see less production value in much of the content you interact with online.
Increasingly, viewers are drawn to low-budget, natural-looking video content. While filming selfie-style on your smartphone with inconsistent lighting and audio might not feel like the “right” approach to putting out content, the “right” approach is changing every day. And lately, it favors authenticity.
Other digital spaces are adjusting for this concept, too. For example, Instagram taking steps to remove “likes” from its platform has been a response to calls for authenticity. Many people felt pressured by the platform’s perfectionist standards for content. Having likes on full display gave a clear metric by which to assess the popularity of a given post, encouraging users to put time and effort into getting their content up to par.
For some people, though, getting content “up to par” had become code for showing off a highlight reel that doesn’t even exist in real life. The moments captured on Instagram became exponentially harder to measure up to, and content creators themselves often admitted that their lives weren’t as glamorous as photos and videos might have made them seem.
For Instagram, removing the “likes” feature is a nudge back to authenticity. It’s a safety net for users who want to create for the sake of creating, without fear of rejection in the form of low “like” counts.
In 2020, expect to see more of these changes. What might seem like a step backward in terms of what we’re digitally capable of creating is also a crucial win for mental health, creative freedom, and online trust.
Take the video below, for example. Warby Parker used this video to give their brand some personality. Nowhere in the video are they promoting their product or leaving viewers with a sales-y takeaway, they’re just putting faces behind the brand and showing how they have fun. The content isn’t overly polished either, with the employees being captured in their own workspaces with ambient noise in the background. This type of video would be simple to create even with limited video experience, but it still generates all the benefits of brand authenticity.
How to Make Authentic Video Content
When it comes to video content, we’ll likely see this trend executed in a variety of ways, with two of the simplest examples being story content (for platforms like Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories) and behind-the-scenes content.
Brands are always looking for ways to preserve trust with audiences, and allowing some content to show the day-to-day rather than the once-in-a-lifetime is a great start. Don’t get us wrong: commercials and other formal branded content will still exist. Production value isn’t going away—and it shouldn’t—but not all content needs to match that scale. Filming a spontaneous conversation on Instagram live or showing “a day in the life” content will become more popular.
We’ll likely see more honesty in the messaging of the content, too. Brands may be more open about their struggles, mistakes, and the mundane aspects of their business or industry in the spirit of authenticity. There are data sources that support this decision, too. For example, businesses with some negative reviews are often perceived as more desirable than businesses with only positive reviews. The negative reviews give credibility to the positive ones, build trust, and point to an overall spirit of authenticity.
So, why not put this into practice to kick off a new year, and a new decade in the digital era? If you’re new to video content, now is a great time to get started! With authenticity in mind, viewers are more likely to overlook any blunders you might experience while you navigate the learning curve. If you’re a video expert, maybe consider introducing some smaller-scale content to make your brand seem more approachable and trustworthy.
Our key takeaway is this: give authenticity a try next time you make a video. Only time will tell where the trend takes us in 2020 and beyond!