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Mobile video goes social, opening up new opportunities for marketers

With the recent launch of Vine and similar video recording features for Facebook?s iOS app, social sharing of mobile video content is on the rise. However, are marketers prepared to take advantage of this latest trend?

The growing adoption of mobile devices and the rising popularity of video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo are converging to create a new opportunity in social mobile video. With visual content a proven tool for marketers, these trends underscore the need for marketers to create a video strategy that covers mobile, social media and new platforms that emerge.

?The big news for 2013 is the shift happening to social media as a video platform,? said Neil Bhapkar, director of marketing at Uberflip, Toronto, Canada.

?With global consumer video traffic expected to double by 2016, marketers must adapt to new and emerging platforms across social media in order to effectively reach their audience,? he said.

?Those who fail to adapt and continue to think that YouTube covers them for the online video component of their marketing plan will lose out to quick-thinking marketers who discover innovative and cost-effective ways to reach their audience at scale.?

Social video options grow
Mobile video is expected to account for 66 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2017, up from 51 percent in 2012, according to new data from Uberflip.

Uberflip's research also shows that 87 percent of marketers in the United States use video for content marketing while the amount marketers are spending on video ads is growing rapidly. This year, marketers are expected to spend $3.9 billion on video ad marketing ? up from $2.9 billion last year ? and the number is expected to reach $6.3 billion by 2015.

With social mobile video sharing an emerging category, marketers should be considering funneling some of their video investment in this direction.

Two of the biggest social networks ? Twitter, which owns the Vine app, and Facebook ? are looking to dominate the video sharing scene.

Vine, a new iPhone app, lets users create six-second mash-up videos and share them on social networks.

Facebook recently updated its iOS app with the ability to record and share videos within the app. Users can now also send voice messages in-app.

However, these are not the only social mobile video solutions out there.

For example, there is also Canadian start-up Keek, which recently raised $18 million and lists the Kardashian?s amongst their users who post short videos on social networks.

Socially awkward
Social mobile video offers several potential benefits for markets.

First, the barriers to entry are minimal since the media costs are taken out of the equation and production costs are significantly lower for a quick-hit six-second Vine video compared to a 15-second YouTube pre-roll.

Also, social media videos offer more analytics and insights into audiences than previous generations of online video. As a result, marketers will be able to have insight into who is viewing their content and how engaged those potential consumers are.

Finally, there is potential for exponential reach since ease-of-sharing is inherently built into social networking.

However, marketers are likely to face some challenges with social mobile video.

?Marketers will face the same challenges that social media has always presented, which includes exposing yourself in an open forum, being unable to adequately partake in two-way social dialogue and adapting creative to new specs and standards,? Mr. Bhapkar said.

?Further, more creative resources are needed to properly strategize around the different types of video content and video production required for even more placements,? he said.

The reality is that very few social media marketing campaigns break through the clutter to have real impact.

However, the marketers who act fast may be able to gain first-mover advantage on these new social media video platforms.

?Marketers should treat mobile video on social media as another tactic to strategize around,? Mr. Bhapkar said.

?They should produce video content specifically for their social channels ? content that is consistent with their overall messaging strategy,? he said. ?They should be testing within this emerging category.

?What works in February 2013 might not be relevant by summer. The nimble marketer will be able to take advantage of this emerging channel and effectively reach the masses while demonstrating ROI.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York