DOTF BLOG – Top Video Marketing Trends for 2019

For over a decade, DOTF has been saying that video content is king – and the statistics don’t lie, with over 81% of individuals purchasing a product after viewing video content, and 76% of marketers agreeing that using video has increased their sales.

Google also recently announced that auto-playing video previews will be a significant part of mobile searching – and that they’ve been using clever AI to read captions and transcribe audio tracks to make video searchable beyond clever captioning and tagging – making 2019 undoubtedly the year of video.  Whilst our favourite trends from 2018  are still going strong and are definitely informing our picks, here is our outlook for 2019.

Vertical Video

Whilst 2018 was the year of diverse aspect ratio, 2019 bows to vertical.

Sure, widescreen still offers cinematic gloss for that YouTube presence (which absolutely should not be underestimated)  and 1:1 looks great on the Insta feed. However, as IGTV,  Stories and Snapchat continue to rise (and Facebook and Instagram post are lost to the incomprehensible world of the algorithm) that lanky 9:16 ratio is where you’ll want your video to go. We’ve been creating and recommending a vertical video for the past couple of years - but in 2019 it’s essential if you want to make sure that your content is seen.

Adidas Originals Superpower Vertical Mobile Ad 2016, directed by Jan Foryś and found on YouTube


Selling isn’t the only path to monetary rewards with video.

Branded video content is obviously the most effective way to engage an audience, leading to increased sales and better brand awareness – however, e-learning content can save employers significant amounts of time and money.

Employees have to be trained - and this is often a time-consuming and expensive process. Training video modules that can be done by the individual at home, or in less time and cost than required to take a day out of your employee’s schedule, book a trainer, put on refreshments and all of the other costs and time-wastage that is associated with upskilling.  E-learning can teach more with less and offers flexible engagement in previously unseen ways.

Additionally, e-learning content can be combined with promotion in order to engage your audience, and associate the brands with newly acquired knowledge or skills. This has been done with best success by food brands, moving their serving suggestion recipes into the video realm  – and cosmetic brands, engaging to create tutorials of looks featuring their products – but can be applied to a broad range of brands with some creative thinking.

Live Video

Video In The Moment

DOTF prioritises authenticity when it comes to connecting brands with audiences, and the use of the live video function across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitch provide a great opportunity for a real connection with your demographicm with viewers spending more than three times the amount of time on a live video compared to a pre-recorded video.  

Why go live? The main benefits are real-time connection, humanising your brand (which is of ever-increasing importance in 2019, as consumers bring their ethics with their purchasing power), setting customer expectations and the ability for immediate insights into how your audience views your brand.  Also, it can be incredibly cost effective.

You could do a Q&A, like Sephora, take Apple's lead and bring your global audience to you as you launch a new product, or combine live video with the e-learning trend to broadcast live classes and tutorials – a format particularly popular in the fitness and hospitality sectors.

Our top tip for going live is to work with a content agency who can help to plan your broadcast and offer contingencies and suggestions for live engagements that will bolster your brand and capture your audience. Whilst the brilliance of live video is that your brand and your audience experience simultaneity, sometimes this can go horribly wrong – just ask Lindsay Lohan.

Shoppable Content

Watch, Want, Buy.

Whist shoppable content has been around for a while, we imagine that 2019 is the year that it goes mainstream. Shoppable content involves stickers, notes or additional on-content features (such as YouTube has been doing for a few years now) that allows the content viewer to purchase a product featured in the content directly from the content – no additional website trawling. Watch, want, buy.

Instagram has joined the game, and whilst they’ve had shoppable posts for a while now, they’ve recently recently introducing product “stickers” (featuring product name, price, description and link to online commerce locations) can be included in Instagram Stories, making it easier to own the product that’s caught your eye.

The benefit of shoppable content is that it allows brands to move further away from traditional advertising, and concentrate on authentic engagmenet and building a relationship with their audience – attracting loyal customers and improved sales.

Content Length

The Long and the Short of It

Content length is definitely up for a shake-up in 2019, and whilst the 15-120 second videos will still reign supreme, it’s worth considering looking at significantly shorter videos – and significantly longer.

Whilst Vine may have died, its six-second format left an indelible mark on the video content world. However, that’s not a lot of time to work with. The best way to use that six seconds? Make the content support additional content, working as an element of a larger suite of content, or bigger holistic campaign. You can keep it simple, by ensuring that images, text and colours immediate evoke your brand – or you could go for something quick, cheeky, shocking and fun (following the Vine tradition). In fact, some of the world’s top advertising creative suggest treating the six-second video like a joke. Short. Sharp. Punchline.

OW001B - Video 2a - Marcus - Buzzfeed Answers - if you were a girl vignette from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

Laminex - Anna - Stop Motion from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

MasterCard 6 Seconds from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

On the other end of the spectrum, brands are investing in longer form content, using storytelling to support their brand’s ethos and perception rather than necessarily sell specific products or services. Chevrolet teamed with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee to create a 17-minute documentary about a young female baseballer. The only overt brand presence are the cars used a mode of transport in the final scene, and rather than closing credits, the film ends on the Chevrolet logo. It’s a lovely, moving film and a big name director gives it legitimacy, and gives the audience a warm feeling about Chevrolet as a brand. Tech and telelcommunications brand took it even further, creating a 30 minute short drama, starring Olivia Munn and Joan Chen, showing technology in (admittedly, dramatized) context.

Here at DOTF, we’ve championed long-form branded content, creating half-hour and broadcast hour documentaries for HTC and Deakin University.

Deakin University - Business - TVC from Department of the Future on Vimeo.


The power of real people.

Influencers and brand ambassadors can be great ways to draw attention to your brand, but at DOTF we’ve always championed authenticity – using real people involved with a brand to represent that brand – and we’re pleased to see this trend emerging for 2019.

Whether it’s the behind-the-scenes crew for Bon Appetit’s test kitchen becoming influencer purely through being real people, doing their jobs, or showing an authentic experience of a student study trip through video diaries and fly-on-the-wall documentaries, as we did for Deakin University, the appeal of the real is on the rise.

Audiences from the Millennial generation and younger are notoriously brutal with brands they see as disingenuous – and this includes the involvement of celebrities and influencers with brands that don’t seem authentic. Even celebrities are happy to call out the hypocrisy, with The Good Place star Jameela Jamil’s calling out Kardashians, Cardi B and the “fit tea” trend for inauthentic representation.

Content Partners

Collab to create.

Following on from the authenticity discussion, we foresee that brand collabs – already a significant presence across social media with influencers and personalities – will evolve into content partnerships – brands accessing authenticity and existing audiences through video content creators – with high-quality content with authentic reach as the result.

This is another trends we’re excited about at DOTF, as this is the exact format we’ve used for content creation for over a decade, starting with our youth culture platform, Speaker TV. Whilst content partners could simply mean creating the content for a brand, or incorporating that brand directly into your existing content format, the content becomes more powerful whether both names are brought to the table equally, resulting in new, collaborative content.

Our national campaign for the HTC One was created this way, mixing HTC’s brand strategy with our brand at Speaker TV, resulting in a series of events all along the East Coast, and online content featuring the HTC brand interacting with the Speaker TV demographic in an authentic way.

DOTF 10th - Vignette - 2013 - HTC from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

What other trends do you see on the horizon? Leave us a comment below!

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