Social Media Engagement: Video vs Photo

Social media engagement: video vs. photo

Social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram & TikTok) are driven by visual elements. From the profile picture you choose, the photos you post and the videos you share – how you utilise your social platform will ultimately determine how engaged viewers are with your page. 

The impact of videos and images differs between social platforms. Whilst some platforms such as Facebook and Instagram favour images, other platforms such as YouTube and TikTok rely on video. Previously, both still images and video content shared the space however, recent developments – such as Instagram’s algorithm update – have changed the rules.

Read further to discover the benefits of video and photo content, and what you need to do to keep up with the trends now and for the future.

The Instagram algorithm

The recent updates to Instagram’s algorithm have shaken users. 

In an effort to keep up with the infamous platform TikTok, Zuckerberg is prioritising short-form videos on the Insta-feed. This means, video content is ranking higher than still images with videos appearing at the top of your feed, explore page and reels. This has stirred anxiety amongst users who have long relied on still imagery to promote their pages. 

Although users are generally engaging more with short form videos, this update has come as a big surprise with many campaigns protesting to bring the “old Instagram” back. 

Celebrities such as the Kadashian family are sharing the iconic graphic “Make Instagram, Instagram Again” over social platforms and promoting to sign a petition to stop the platform replicating Tik Tok’s interface. However, this backlash hasn’t changed Instagram’s plans to increase video sharing… Nothing is getting in the way of short form videos. As Head Of Instagram Adam Mosseri says, “we’re also going to need to evolve because the world is changing quickly and we’re going to have to change along with it.”

Businesses, influencers and celebrities are now brainstorming ways to get creative with video to match these demands… Which is no easy feat!

Pros and cons of photography

Since the beginning of Facebook (founded in 2004) and Instagram (founded in 2010) still images have dominated, attracting viewers globally to engage with various social platforms. However, as technology increases and attention spans decrease – stopping thumbs from scrolling has become a challenging task. Here’s where video content has taken the spotlight.

The pros of photos:

  • Quick and easy to execute 
  • Less time consuming than videography
  • Less skill involved in taking a single photo
  • Less equipment needed 
  • Plenty of useful apps and digital tools to edit imagery
  • Less variables to consider in overall production

The cons of photos:

  • Social algorithms are now prioritising video content over still images
  • Still visual cues aren’t engaging audiences as effectively 
  • Photos aren’t as interactive compared with video content
  • Less story-telling components (such as v/o, music, imagery) compared with video

For businesses and influencers, video content is a much more daunting medium compared with still photography. Yet, they’re left with no choice. If users seek to increase engagement and followers on socials, they’re going to need to press record and prepare to dance (figuratively… but also sometimes literally).

Pros and cons of videography

For a long time, videography was reserved as a medium for TV, YouTube and longer story-telling advertisements. However, with the introduction of SnapChat, TikTok and Instagram Stories and Reels – video content has become the new photo. Now, consumers are engaging with quick 5 – 10 second clips. In fact, Instagram conducted a survey that revealed 58% of people become more interested in a brand after seeing it in their Stories. 

The pros of video:

  • Effective tool for story-telling
  • Impressive engagement rates
  • Essentially a way to share short commercials
  • Great way to teach and interact with audience
  • Offers more creativity
  • Stop those thumbs scrolling!

The cons of video:

  • Time consuming
  • Involves tech know-how
  • Usually requires more staff to help
  • Content ideas 
  • High reward… yet also high risk (say the wrong message at the wrong time and it can quickly spread).

With more focus on videography, social platforms are doing everything they can to make the video-making process easier. You can now make great videos completely within the social platform (Instagram & TikTok). However, even with these video-making tools, it’s undeniable how much more work this is requiring from business owners and influencers. Whether you’re loving or hating these changes, if you want to stay ahead of the curve you’ll need to brush up on your videography skills. 

The future of social media

As tricky as it is to change our habits, when it comes to marketing—it’s essential. Read any blog – whether it be from Hootsuite, Hubspot or Later – and the marketing experts will share with you the necessity to grow and adapt with the times. Failure to do so, will lose your customers to competitors.

We understand that social media takes a lot of time. Especially, if you’re a business owner trying to keep up with trends as well as run your entire business… realistically, this isn’t sustainable. We urge you to reach out to a social media manager to run your online platforms. It can be nerve wracking to give up this responsibility but it will be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. 

Have a chat with our social media team! We’re dedicated to applying your vision to your social profile, adopting your tone of voice and creating an overall social presence that’s authentic and trustworthy. Whilst also keeping up with the trends, we’ve developed a nuanced social media approach that’s ready to hit the ground running to help your business grow.



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