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In 2015, social marketers mastered native video just as it became the fastest-growing ad form on social media. We broke down all of the year’s most successful videos to find exactly what was going on on different social media platforms, and found the trends that drove social marketing to a new dimension - and will continue to define great social marketing in 2016.

Native Videos Came To Dominate Facebook and Twitter

  • If you’re not posting native videos to Facebook and Twitter, you’re already behind the times.

  • The take-home message needs to be at the beginning of your native video.

By July 2015, the world’s top brands consistently posted between 2500-3000 native Facebook videos every month. Their audiences were already accustomed to seeing so many excellent native videos - celebrity pages had been posting at that rate since March. But brands caught up to those pages, mostly. For instance, celebrity pages posted 60% more native Facebook videos than the top brand pages did in November 2014. One year later, the top brands actually posted native videos 8% more often than their celebrity counterparts, and those native posts made up almost all of the brands’ video interactions.

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Native videos spread beyond Facebook in 2015, as well. In September, Twitter native videos finally surpassed videos cross-posted from YouTube on that network.

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Twitter-owned video sources accounted for 97% of all interactions on the network’s top branded videos. But 41% of the top 1000 brand profiles on Twitter still publish some YouTube videos.

Twitter was also the first major home of live-streaming video, when its Periscope tool overtook Meerkat as the world’s premier social media video live-streaming service. When Periscope went live, it reduced the number of daily Meerkat tweets by 4x, before basically knocking the streaming video network out entirely.

Other interesting trends from Twitter in 2015:

  • Native videos made up 60% of all content published by the top brand pages as of November 2015. 40% of that content was recorded video, and 20% was live streamed.

  • 75% of engagement with top brands’ content on Twitter happened with their native, recorded videos

  • Live-stream engagement finished the year low - at just 1.41% of all engagement on Twitter

Native video was the main news for marketers around the web, but it wasn’t the only major change to pass. Some of the year’s most innovative marketing developments came from social media videos.

New Tech Affords Deeper Brand Building Than Ever

  • Use VR technology to create your most immersive social content ever.

One of the best ad moments of the year was when the new Star Wars promotion came out on Facebook - and viewers realized they could finally, completely immerse themselves in the desert world Jakku. While their avatar rode a speeder through the sand, Facebook users were free to gaze in 360° awe at their surroundings - and they did, almost 7 million times, while interacting with it more than 350,000 times in total.

That post was a perfect introductory use-case to 360° videos. This format is tailor-made for worlds that viewers already want to immerse themselves into (think films, games, and children’s toys like LEGO), but it can also more fully flesh out the worlds that your product is meant to enrich. If you’re a beer brand, think of producing a 360° tour of your beer’s perfect party - a beach, a swanky nightclub, a family barbecue. In that respect, 360° video represents the greatest opportunity marketers have yet had to completely define their brand.

On both YouTube and Facebook, video lovers have been going wild for immersive video. These were the three best-performing videos from both networks.

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GIFs and Cinemagraphs

  • Use cinemagraphs to deliver action shots of your product.

  • Don’t stretch your message just to use the format. No one will be impressed.

Both formats have been around for years, but in 2015, Facebook finally added full GIF support. That led to some great GIF advertising.