Where Digital Media is Heading in 2017 and Beyond

Where Digital Media is Heading in 2017 and Beyond

We discovered three fundamental shifts that will drive production and advertising budgets in 2017—the evolving definition of a content creator, the rapid innovation in video-capture technology, and how authenticity and mobility dominate our personal social feeds. Together these three trends gave rise to a new, hyper-realistic aesthetic that is rapidly becoming the new standard for digital video.

Rewind even five years and the television industry along with large brands completely dominated demand for digital video.  Since that time, YouTube has evolved from the king of UGC, to the heartbeat of influencer marketing – one of the fastest growing forms of digital spend.  Tools like Squarespace and Wix have brought more and more small businesses online, creating a new wave of demand for digital video. And digital marketers everywhere now create content as part of their day to day – be it for a Facebook ad or customer education.

As much as the evolving profile of content creators has influenced digital video demand, hardware innovation has changed the way we capture video, firmly cementing first-person as the perspective of choice.  Searches for GoPro content exploded more than 1250% in 2016, with VR (+814%) and drone footage (+712%) not far behind.  All of this new video technology enables us to more easily capture the world as seen through our own eyes, and to define and share our own version of reality with our friends and consumers alike.

If you have a single social media account, you won’t be shocked by the assertion that first person content will drive content demand in 2017—we have been seeing that perspective dominate our personal feeds for years.  What is more surprising is that creators prefer video that more directly reflects our real lives—authentic, imperfect, and increasingly mobile—as opposed to the highly stylized and filtered world we see in many photo-first platforms.  Demand for content using qualifying phrases like “selfie,” “smartphone,” and “mobile” was up more than 200% compared to 2015.  Combine that with the desire to have video that reflects diversity (+172%), family (+336%) and LGBT (317%), and you start to see the attributes of our modern world that creatives want to represent in their work.

A rapidly expanding population of content creators, new technology that allows us to better tell first person narratives, and our personal social feeds will combine to bring a new hyper-realistic aesthetic to commercial content in 2017.  Just as more marketing dollars pour into social and influencer campaigns, digital video budgets will disproportionately follow projects that allow companies to see eye to eye with people’s everyday perspective.