We’re well into the first month of 2018, and guess what? Video is still king. So you should be thinking about a video-first content strategy that prioritizes video above other content. This is based on growing evidence that people prefer to watch content rather than read it.

Our brains process video 60,000 times faster than they do text. Reading requires a longer attention span and stronger cognitive efforts.

When we read an article, we don’t just look at the words in front of us — we create thoughts about that content, activating our mental structures,” Liraz Margalit reported for Entrepreneur magazine in 2015.

Compare that to video, which does most of that work for us. Leading content providers are making a staggering investment in video.

In 2014, Facebook changed the algorithm that governs its news feeds to emphasize video posts. It’s also been reported that Facebook videos have, on average, 135 percent more organic reach that Facebook photos.

Here are four trends you should add to your video-first content strategy for 2018:

1) 360-degree and shoppable videos

360 video has been on the rise for a while. Like a  video game with a first-person perspective, the platform allows viewers to control what they see while watching the content. This thorough article outlines the difference between 360 video and virtual-reality content: Most Virtual Reality Is Not Virtual Reality. Here’s Why

360 video offers exciting potential because you don’t need a headset to create or engage with its content. These videos are played easily on smartphones and frequently used for advertising. That makes them easy to create and more accessible to the average user. Thanks to the immersive nature of the technology, 360 content attracts more views, shares and subscribers than standard video content.

This year, 360 video will facilitate the surge in shoppable video content. Birchbox and GoPro are testing shoppable video layers in which users can swipe-to-buy after viewing an Instagram or Snap video ad.

This allows brands to turn social video views into direct-response sales, dramatically increasing conversion. Companies will turn to video content more often to help them bridge the gap between social media scrolling and consumer actionables such as sharing, commenting, reacting and purchasing.

360-degree and shoppable videos

2) Live video

Live video is everywhere on social media. Some of the most popular sites — Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Vimeo — have added livestreaming features. Facebook even gives preference to its live video content.

Some platforms allow simultaneous streaming of multiple live videos. Restream is one that makes it possible to broadcast live from more than 30 different platforms worldwide, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and Twitter.

Last year saw an explosion in live video, and the trend continues. Marketers definitely want to make live video a vital part of their video marketing strategy.

3) Square-shaped video

The format of videos is also changing and affecting all aspects of production and creativity.

Although we used to think of video marketing in horizontal terms, phones and tablets have induced us to think vertical. That’s why an increasing number of brands now dare to create vertical videos directly.

On the other hand, the intermediate solution is videos in square format, which are becoming increasingly successful. Compared with horizontal, square footage occupies 78 percent more space in Facebook’s news section and receives a higher percentage of engagement.

Vertical Video

4) Video and e-learning

There’s no doubt that video is a powerful marketing tool, but its edge doesn’t end there. Videos not only capture action but also are a great resource for transmitting information in a clear and visual way.

Another trend to highlight is use of video as a tool for training, internally in companies or externally by creating monetized content. For firms, this method is highly lucrative because they can train more employees at once with quality content. You can even integrate content training and marketing by offering a video course as a reward for users to leave their personal data, such as their name and email.

Video and e-learning

Bonus extra

These four facts will make you think twice about the future of video and could revolutionize your video marketing strategy for 2018: