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It hasn’t even been two years since Facebook proclaimed that by the beginning of the next decade the platform could be ‘all video’, but it already feels like this prediction is fast-becoming a reality.

For some time now, YouTube has dominated the online video clip space. But with more and more resources being poured into video across the social media industry, YouTube faces a mounting challenge from social video. Across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, it’s now 56% of users who are watching videos. Among the key Gen Z audience, this figure climbs to 66%.

The implications of this prediction stretch far beyond merely watching more funny videos on Facebook. Crucially, they signal a more immersive social experience which further positions social media as the go-to destination for a whole host of functional activities, most of which usually lie outside of the social space. One of the most promising of these is online shopping.

The real value proposition of social video in the commerce space lies in its ability to bridge the gap between in-store shopping and online shopping. Yes, shopping via social channels may for now be primarily an APAC-based phenomenon, but it’s not just about the transaction phase of the purchase journey which counts.

Social media is increasingly strengthening its role as a product research channel with online shopping transitioning into a mobile-first activity, Visually-centric platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are increasingly looking to let consumers make informed purchasing decisions, and it’s video which is in the best position to help them with this.

Snapchat, in particular, has pushed for mobile-based innovative solutions in solving this issue. Using location-specific graphical overlays, Snapchatters are able to add illustrations to their videos exclusive to their immediate vicinity, whether that’s an event, or in this case a shop.

Gen Z’ers emerge as the testing ground of this new frontier in online-offline video-based commerce. Among Gen Z Snapchatters, 22% are using geofilters each month, and this is something which could really power their likelihood of making a purchase – Gen Z Social Video Viewers are 40% above average for saying lots of “likes” and good comments on social media would motivate them to make a purchase.

We can see that this group is much more open to the idea of using “buy” buttons to purchase products on social media too, at 31% above average. Also, their strong engagement with other video or social-based channels, particularly vlogs, when researching products indicates a level of trust with these channels to provide them with the information they want.

Looking ahead, brands need to take note that it’s the quality of the message and its delivery tactics which makes the difference in social video. Consumers are confronted with many videos on their newsfeeds with every visit, and so to cut through this noise brands need to give the consumer something that aims to showcase not only their products but also their innovative ways in which they choose to market these.

Guest blog by the wonderful team at GlobalWebIndex

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