It’s Tough to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future of Video Marketing

Now, I don’t normally report breaking news, so no one expects me to predict what YouTube, Facebook, Vine, or Instagram are going to announce during the next fortnight. Instead, I try and focus on delivering strategic insights, critical data, tactical advice, and trends in the digital video marketing business. But, try forecasting trends in the world of online video more than a couple of weeks in advance. It ain’t easy. In fact, in the rapidly changing online video and internet marketing industries, it’s pretty hard to do.

For example, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this month. First, there’s March Madness. I could have confidently predicted that the 2016 Men’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket matchups would be announced on Sunday, March 13th between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 P.M. EST. After that, college hoops fans and video marketers haven’t a clue what will happen during one of the year’s biggest marketing moments. Hey, whether you’re a pro bracketologist or casual fan, you can safely forecast that there will be plenty of competitive stat slinging at bars, trash talking in man caves, and taunting rivals from the stands.

But, try using Google Trends to see YouTube search interest in the terms, “college basketball” and “March Madness,” in the United States over time. That’s right, “March Madness” jumped the shark a year ago and “no forecast is available” for these search terms this year.

So, if Google Trends can no longer forecast a typically seasonal search term like “March Madness,” how can I confidently predict what video marketers should be doing? What am I supposed to do, speculate that mobile apps and video content have taken center court? Should I hazard a guess that this explains why conversations happen earlier, stats fly faster, and more people get in on the action?

All I can tell regular readers of ReelSEO is this: Keep double-checking your assumptions. Because the normal trends in the digital video marketing business are changing in unpredictable directions. Maybe it was caused by the shift to watching YouTube videos on mobile devices, the advent of Facebook video, or the growing popularity of Snapchat on college campuses. But, in times like this, the most dangerous assumption to make is that this year will be just like last year.

If there’s any tactical advice that I can share with video marketers it’s this: We’re not the first professionals who’ve needed to learn how to navigate our way forward in an ever-changing industry. So,  video marketers also need to focus on the metrics that matter. But, we also need to remind our clients and executive that we’re working in an ever-changing industry. So, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future of video marketing. And if you think that we should, then just try to predict the teams that will appear in this year’s Final Four.

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