How to Spot Power Trends in Social Video: Key Takeaways from Fortnite
By Carla Marshall · May 12, 2019
Note: This post was originally published on November 28, 2018.
Content Strategists are busy people, so we put together a tl;dr infographic with the most important takeaways from our Fortnite report. Read below!
The staggering success of Fortnite took the gaming world by surprise, but those with access to the success metrics that matter would have quickly spotted it becoming a power trend to watch.
Power trends have the ability to disrupt the online conversation and pull it in a new direction altogether. They also open up countless opportunities for content creation across different platforms, verticals, genres, and formats.
Fortnite has disrupted the narrative in so many ways, not least because it has served as a catalyst for a number of video trends that have broken down the boundaries across genres. It’s had its own “Harlem Shake” moment with the Fortnite Dance Challenge, pulling in creators and viewers outside the usual gaming fanbase, and opening up the possibilities for innovative content creation.
While we’re on the subject of Fortnite, let’s use this game as a guide to breaking out the signs of a power trend across social video!
Download our report on how Fortnite changed the YouTube game.
5 Signs of a Social Video Power Trend
Video content strategists and audience development executives are always on the lookout for insights and trends in social video around which they can create quality and engaging content. It can often be a challenge to know where that content sits if those teams don’t have access to the latest data. When something as big as Fortnite comes along, it can also be a challenge to identify the opportunities around video. The Fortnite phenomenon has changed the game for gaming brands, and to put this gaming trend into context, Fortnite-related content could qualify as its own genre, bigger than some mainstream verticals on YouTube! Brands, publishers, and influencers have all benefited from creative campaigns around the game — here are five ways how:
#1 Power Trends Often Start with Single-Genre Influencers
Fortnite launched in a blaze of glory in July 2017, but nobody could have genuinely predicted how the game would ripple through online video in the subsequent year. Of course, it’s a no-brainer that influencers would jump on the game (as they did in their hundreds of thousands, generating 49B views on YouTube between July 2017 and September 2018). Channels like FGTeeV, Ali-A, and Ninja embraced the multiplayer game with massive enthusiasm, creating walkthroughs and reviews for a quickly growing fan base. So far, so predictable. It’s what happened next that started to turn Fortnite into a trend worth watching.
#2 Influencers Outside the Genre Adopt the Trend to Reach New Audiences
Fortnite content soon began migrating outside of the usual gaming channels to catch the attention of more mainstream creators. Influencers like the Eh Bee Family started to upload content around the game, generating significant views and establishing Fortnite as one of the truly-defining pop-culture moments of 2018. The Fortnite phenomenon changed the game for video influencers, with a staggering 6% of YouTube influencers creating Fortnite-focused clips — of those videos, over 80% were from creators considered non-gamers.
#3 Influencers Create Multiple Videos Off the Same Trend
The next indicator of the power trend that is Fortnite is the way non-gaming channels – like The Eh Bee Family – created multiple pieces of content off the back of the game. That particular channel picked up on one aspect of the phenomenon: the Fortnite Dance Challenge. It took that to the mainstream in April 2018, generating 71.8M views for this particular video:
Following the success of “Fortnite Dance Challenge in Real Life,” the Eh Bee Family created another 6 videos around the challenge, generating a further 172M YouTube views for their challenge.
#4 Demand (Views, Engagements) Outpaces Supply (Videos & Creators)
The fact that 80% of Fortnite content has been created by non-gaming YouTube channels highlights the demand for Fortnite-focused videos far outstripping supply. Viewers are hungry for content, and the publishers who recognized this are reaping the rewards in terms of views and engagements. Around 50 billion total YouTube views of Fortnite content were created by less than 50 media publishers, blowing open the case for creating more clips around the game.
#5 Early-Adopter Publishers Successfully Bring the Trend Mainstream
Those publishers who jumped on the Fortnite Dance Challenge bandwagon and helped to push it mainstream include major digital and traditional publishers like BuzzFeed and the Cartoon Network. These early adopters generated 40M views and over 700K engagements on the back of a trend that may well have stayed hidden in gaming circles, but went viral as more mainstream channels recognized the appetite around this particular moment.
These five signs are a distinct way to identify an up-and-coming power trend in digital video. Fortnite may have been the key example from the last couple of years, but these signs can be found across any genre or industry — keep that in mind for 2019.
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