Close this search box.

The Hot Trend in 2023? Think for Yourself.

Happy New Year!

If you’re like me, you try to stay up to speed on emerging business trends.

About this time every year I enjoy doing a good old fashioned Google search to pull up articles specific to certain industries, with an eye on learning what experts and educated observers project will happen in the year to come.  I’m looking for patterns, ideas, evolving consensus on issues.

With 2023 now officially here I’ve been absorbing as many of these as I can tolerate.  Typically, they’re loaded with mounds of data points, statistics, charts and citations from all kinds of sources.  It’s enough to make your eyes cross.

After spending hours at a time sifting through a deluge of information across scores of websites, I have in fact discovered a glaring trend, but not one I expected:

An alarming number of these alleged think-pieces are full of contradictions and conflicting recommendations.

For example, I did a search for “video marketing trends 2023.”  Blog posts and articles on this topic are plentiful, but many of them display a suspicious sameness and redundancy.  Makes you wonder:  are some of these authors copycatting and plagiarizing?

And then, slowly, you start to realize that in their rush to publish something seemingly intelligent, they got sloppy.  You’ll find statements that are in direct opposition to each other.  One article says this:

“81% of marketers think videos that include music perform better – and a further 66% think videos perform better when they include a voiceover. The takeaway: make sure you think carefully about audio.”

Yet elsewhere it advises:

“85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off. The upshot: don’t rely on audio to get your message across. Make sure your videos are captioned or make sense without sound.”

So which is it? Use audio…or not?  I hate to split hairs, but how about some analysis and critical thinking? If you’re going to cram both of these statements so close together, then you owe the reader some clarity. Do most marketers merely think videos perform better with music and voiceovers?  Or do they know that because they’ve tested and measured, and have metrics to prove it?  Would they still stand by this in the face of evidence that 85% of viewers kill the sound?

Or did the writer truly mean this was unique only to Facebook? It’s hard to know. This piece and countless others muddy the waters by haphazardly intermingling statistics and blithely weaving in and out of discussions about both social media and various other platforms, until it begins to morph into something a lot like “most video viewers hate videos with sound.”  I spotted that 85% reference in numerous other pieces, and sometimes it suddenly soars beyond 90% — while accounts of what specific platform this stat belongs to get oddly ambiguous.

The contradictions get worse.  A slew of articles tells us the vast majority of people prefer to get their information in a “short-form” (under 5 minutes) video format.  The average engagement rate is allegedly around 50%, while videos 5 to 30 minutes in length substantially lose engagement.  And a “long-form” video 60 minutes or longer?  Forget it – average engagement rate is a measly 17%.

Yet then you learn that on one platform, the creation of “long-form” videos over a five-year period spiked 446%, and videos 5 to 30 minutes long jumped 288%.

Pardon me, but WTF?  If people don’t engage with long videos, then why are video producers making more of them?  Something is not adding up.

You’d be well served to cast a very, very skeptical gaze and take whatever you read online with a grain of salt.  Too often it suffers from careless overgeneralization, weasel words and vagueness. I wonder if a lot of it isn’t just being churned out by shady SEO content mills; it presents as smart at first glance, but on further examination falls apart logically.

If you’re in the video production business, or a marketer striving to understand how best to maximize the effectiveness of video, I’d be wary of slavishly adhering to the one-size-fits-all proclamations dominating these superficially authoritative, pseudo-verified “Here are the Official Trends to Follow in 2023” essays. Yes, go ahead and read them and glean what you can – but then supplement by seeking out legitimate experts and analysts.  Vet sources.  Network with fellow pros and start probing discussions.  Do your homework!

Ultimately, you know instinctively what feels right for your business or your client.  Maybe long-form instructional video does work.  Or perhaps there’s room for an audio-free 60 second short on Facebook.  Maybe a voice actor helps, maybe not.  The answer depends upon your goals and your target audience.

So what’s the real hot trend for 2023?  How about think critically, study the market, and then go with your gut – just like any other year!