The average consumer is constantly bombarded by slick, well-lit images and videos every single day. We’re rarely impressed by them anymore and because we also have the attention spans of gnats, we look elsewhere. What do you do when a commercial comes on? You reach for your phone. You turn your attention away from a beautifully shot, highly produced ad on a 60 inch plasma TV screen in order to absorb whatever video some dude you know from High School just posted on Facebook.

I don’t remember the last time I flipped through a fashion magazine but the last 3 items of clothing I’ve purchased have come straight from the vlogs I follow. These vlogs (video blogs, if you’ve been living under a rock with no wifi connection) are shot by regular women with either a consumer grade DSLR, GoPro or an iPhone. They’re basically amateur videos of themselves living life in cute outfits and recommending their favorite items. Riveting stuff, I know. Their full videos are uploaded to YouTube (for their hundreds and thousands of followers) along with teaser clips on Facebook and Instagram. When I see one of them traipsing around San Francisco in new boots, I click the link below to see the price and BAM — I’m a click away from check out. I wouldn’t have found myself there had I seen a model wearing those boots in a commercial. 

There are many things at play here (the rise of social influencers, product placement in content marketing, etc) but the one I want to focus on is the side effect of amateur video: authenticity. Even though my favorite vlogger probably has a partnership going with that boot company, her vlog still feels a hell of a lot more authentic than that hundred thousand dollar boot commercial.




Karol Severin, an Analyst as MIDiA Research has examined this effect, citing the rise of the YouTube celebrity and how “a ‘non-professional’, without a full crew, facilities or high grade equipment can often easily outcompete entertainment experiences that have multimillion dollar budgets.”

There’s a reason why people watch disjointed SnapChat stories. And why Periscope exists. It’s the same reason why YouTube Stars are now more popular than mainstream celebrities, according to American teenagers. And why the videos that go viral aren’t usually the ones produced by a creative agency. Amateur video might be a little wobbly but it’s a stark contrast to and stands out against the rest of the super polished video ads we’re inundated with. It’s different. It feels more real. And it gets our attention.

When it comes to social video, we’ve learned to value authenticity more than we actually value high production value.

I just used the word “value” 3 times and that was weird but here’s what I want you to understand:

If you’re a brand looking to boost your social media channels, don’t be intimidated by video. Don’t dismiss it because you can’t afford a traditional production company. Shoot it yourself.

Your customers will not only watch it, but they’ll appreciate you for it.


The workers at Coffee N Oven Cafe shot their overnight baking process with a Samsung s5 phone and a GoPro to show how their breads and pastries are (literally!) fresh out of the oven, every morning.

Aiming to show how their cafe is an authentic European style bakery with a Balinese charm, we cut up the footage, added Balinese gamelan music and modern text graphics to create a short teaser video.

After posting this video on a local community Facebook page they got droves of new customers visiting their cafe, thrilled to find European style bread and coffee deep in Indonesia.



We are now in a trust economy. Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising.

As seen in the graph below, despite the fact that they’re essentially sharing the same information — Customer Testimonials are twice as effective as Case Studies. 

To a consumer, there’s a difference between you telling your own success story and your customers telling it for you.

Let your customers speak for themselves in the most transparent and authentic medium there is: video.

Encourage them to shoot product reviews and testimonials. As a bonus, you can incentivise it with rewarding them with perks… but many will contribute just because they want to be part of the conversation. They want to see their feedback valued and shared.

And for many (especially the younger generations), they’re probably going to be psyched just to see themselves featured. Social media is kind of like the jumbotron of the internet: as long as it’s from the right angle, everyone wants to be on it.

Sharing user generated videos attracts new customers by providing social proof.

The less-than-happy-customer videos (and you will get those) can be put to good use by figuring out how you can improve, based on most authentic form of data: real live feedback, straight from the mouth of your customer.

“Authentic” has become one of those annoying buzzwords that’s constantly thrown around (like “disruptive” and “innovative”) but it hasn’t lost its meaning. Authenticity has an effect. When you’re not a professional DP with an expensive camera package, video that you’ve shot yourself reads as authentic. It genuine and real… and your audience will appreciate it.

Don’t let a lack of budget deter you from using social media to it’s fullest extent. Utilize the deepest way to engage an audience: video. 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words whether it’s shot on a RED ONE or an iPhone 6, so get out there and shoot something.


-Rachel King, Creative Director at EditMate