What Stock Footage Trends Can Teach Us About Video Marketing

As video continues to become the default medium for top-tier content marketing, the aim of the game is no longer just reaching your target audience, but reaching them in a way that generates meaningful engagement.

Stock media is a vital resource for video marketers, especially when faced with restricted budgets and time constraints. And as the line between influencers, content creators, and video marketing becomes ever-more blurred, stock media providers are becoming more than just a resource for video creation.

Currently, 40 percent of online marketers surveyed said they use stock photography, but only seven percent said they use stock video. With video being such an important visual medium, it’s crucial marketers start investing in this growing content trend.

By tracking search terms and visual trends in stock media – and especially stock footage – you can extrapolate not only what video content consumers want, but also whether or not video creatives are meeting that demand.

Stock Footage: Swimmers in the Ganges

Native advertising is an advertising strategy that blends promotional content with the content that audiences organically come across in their searches, newsfeeds, and everyday life. It is, for all intents and purposes, advertising that is engaging enough that it doesn’t trigger the default reaction to skip it, without being so integrated that it doesn’t leave a lasting impression or high conversion rate.

This return to authenticity is reflected in increased searches for honest and conceptual realism, and a wider movement by stock media providers to create a product that looks and feels authentic. Marketers and consumers alike are looking for images and videos that are realistic, like impact photography (citizen journalism) and deadpan photography (images that don’t appear filtered or edited.)

The growing connection between brand and customer means that, beyond stripping back the editing software, more and more brands are stripping back time differences, turning to live video over pre-recorded video. This sharing, advertising, and informing on-the-go is supported by a wider trend for travel and community-related stock footage, where the immediacy of surroundings becomes a trust signal that is stronger than ever.

For example, this six-second ad from Corona taps into the sense of community, travel, and wanderlust with a single video clip, appealing to audiences who see these kinds of videos on Instagram, and reaching out to them on YouTube:

Within the world of native advertising, augmented reality is still a strong contender. Snapchat-esque filters and the gamification of videos and websites are all part of the VR-video experience. Motion graphics, production elements, gifs, and short videos are now an established cornerstone of communication on messaging and social media platforms, making them not only crucial elements of a strong video marketing strategy, but a strong stock media search category, as well.

Have you seen the special effects used in the bumper ad for Mom’s Touch, the South Korean chicken burger chain? Fire-breathing sheep is a simple idea that uses augmented reality in an entertaining, personable, and definitely weird way (check it out below!) Weird as it is, it was ranked second in YouTube’s 2017 bumper ads leaderboard. Anyone could have made this video and shared it on YouTube – all it took was some stock footage, a production element, and a little imagination to become an amazingly memorable visual representation of a playful brand.

More and more brands have turned to cause-related advertising in recent years, choosing a cause or organization that speaks to their mission statement in order to put a human face on their product or service, all while boosting likes, shares, purchases, and memorability.

Last year, Pixability CEO Bettina Hein crunched the numbers on cause-related marketing. She found that the number of cause-related ads on YouTube had increased by a factor of four over the last five years, gaining both increased views and engagement. Brands’ favorite causes included women’s empowerment, community aid, adversity, sustainability, equality, and healthy living.

And trends in stock media searches match. Shutterstock reported a 660 percent increase in searches for “International Women’s Day” and a 540 percent increase in the search term “activism.” Similarly, Storyblocks reported that searches for “LGBT+” are up a whopping 782 percent. It’s clear that footage related to women’s empowerment, equal rights and representation, and the reconstruction of gender norms are not only in demand but being used in branded video projects.

Gillette tapped into this with their “Go Ask Dad” campaign, which not only reflected a return to authenticity but aimed to redefine gender stereotypes.

It’s nearly impossible to create a personal, entertaining, and engaging video without telling a story. The majority of YouTube video searches these days cover two main categories: entertainment and education. People seek out videos that will either tell them a story or tell them how to do something. So it’s unsurprising that the marketing sector has caught on.

Stock Footage: Car Driving Through Iceland

Stock footage has not only changed significantly over the years, moving away from the staged to the naturalistic, but the way people are using stock media has changed, as well. Demand for videos related to search terms like “cinematic,” “transition,” and “background” have increased as video creators seek out stock footage that’ll strengthen their own video stories. By turning to stock video, content marketers and creators can find shots that take time and money to create, quickly, easily, cheaply, and sometimes even for free!

Who better to turn to for an example of successful storytelling than Instagram itself? Take a look at their video ad compilation below, which combines the cinematic and the hilariously homemade, perfectly covering the content users can expect to see and create on the social app. It also does a great job of showing you don’t need to go out and film the high-budget stuff yourself if the in-house elements are up to the task!

The emergence and popularity of how-to videos as a marketing strategy also show the changing ways stock media is being searched for and used. Aiming to empower the customer, how-to videos teach users how a product can help them do something they couldn’t before, for example, through makeup tutorials, recipe creation, fashion do’s and don’ts, and more.

As a result, searches for stock footage tend increasingly more to the stuff that’s harder to shoot yourself; the awesome, the far-flung, nature, technology, or clips that speak to the fantastical in order to make unique and personalized content.

As advertising, and especially video advertising, becomes more sophisticated and has to contend with the varying restrictions of different platforms, buzzwords like “micro-moments” have emerged.

Micro-moments, broken down by Google into four distinct stages, refers to the split-second window in which potential customers turn to a device – increasingly a smartphone – because they want to know something, go somewhere, do something, or buy something. Making sure your video is available at this particular moment has led to increased pressure to get the timing of your video’s distribution exactly right.

As the need for clips which express mood and sentiment quickly, clearly, and unambiguously increase to meet these demands, a measurable increase can be found in stock media searches for emotional objects, essentialism, textures, and nature.

Nevertheless, this short-form advertising has remained a popular strategy, boasting better engagement and brand recall rates, and allowing advertisers to more easily A/B test their videos.

Calm, a mindfulness and wellbeing app, showed they were listening to the new conversations around time (and how much of it customers are willing to spend watching an advertisement) with the ‘want to try’ micro-moment. Their recent ad series (below) is comprised of relaxing stock clips anywhere from 15 seconds to two minutes long. It invited viewers to “do nothing,” bringing attention to shortening attention spans, promoting mental health, and demonstrating how and why customers should use their app.

Stock footage is a tool for marketers and consumers alike. In the interests of meeting consumer demand, stock footage providers must take stock (pun intended) of what their users are looking for. And since these users cover such a broad spectrum of markets, it’s worth taking a moment to analyze the elements of stock media market research that can work for you, so you can stay ahead of the game!

Written by Videvo.net