Just when you think you’ve got your head around social media, along comes something new to add to the marketing mix.
In fact, there have been a number of new social media platforms coming to the fore in the past year. Embraced by the younger generation - who can spot cooler alternatives to Facebook when they see it - new platforms like Snapchat, Vine and Instagram have really taken off.
Now we have Meerkat and Periscope, two live video streaming apps that have been launched in quick succession (and in competition with each other). You may not have heard of these new apps or have any experience of actually using them, but what they have in common is native video.
Let’s focus for a minute on the safe ground that is Facebook. How many video clips do you see in your news feed? I’m guessing quite a lot - either clips of family life uploaded by friends, compilations of cats doing silly things, or live video streams from the brands or business pages that you have Liked and followed. All of these examples are native video.
And they are "native" because the video is uploaded or created directly on that social network and accessed via that network without being redirected to another site such as YouTube.
Video now accounts for almost 80% of all web traffic. And native video seems set to absolutely sky rocket, especially when you take into account the fact that video views on tablets and smartphones more than doubled last year alone.
Social media apps such as Periscope and Meerkat have now made live streaming video content incredibly accessible, and it opens up all kinds of new marketing avenues.
So Twitter is no longer just about choosing your words carefully, you can now publish video content of up to 30 seconds in length using Periscope. And Meerkat enables users to stream video directly on Facebook.
In short, video is big news; there are some three billion video views a day on Facebook alone, according to some estimates.
Savvy businesses are now adopting native video into their marketing strategies. Big brands and small firms alike have recognised that the potential of live video streaming goes way beyond cute cats and dippy dogs; it's a powerful marketing tool that offers a new way of directly engaging with their target audience - without expecting them to shift their attention from one online environment to another.
Copyright © 2015 Sarah Orchard