Video Trends for 2021

January 8, 2021 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: October 19, 2021

With every new year comes new changes, but one thing reigns true, video is here to stay.

2020 brought about many changes, including the COVID-19 global pandemic. It forced us to shelter-in-place and socially distance from family, friends, and colleagues. Since face-to-face interactions could no longer be, we had to get creative as a community to stay connected. That’s where video comes in.

From catching up with family and friends to binge watching the latest shows to giving work presentations, we’ve increasingly had to rely on video. In fact, according to BBC News, adults spent nearly 6 and a half hours a day watching TV and online video during lockdown.

In our new digital-first world, video is more important than ever before. Let’s dive into the major 2021 video trends and how you can leverage each one in your video marketing strategy.

Download our Free Video Accessibility Checklist! ☑️

1. Live Streaming Video 📱

Live streaming technology allows users to film, watch, or share videos in real-time. All you need is a device that connects to the internet and a platform to stream from.

Unlike pre-recorded video, live video can’t be cut and edited so it tends to be more raw and unscripted.

Many popular live streaming platforms include Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, YouTube, House Party, TikTok, and more.

Since its inception, the demand for live streaming has increased substantially. By 2027, the video streaming market is projected to hit 184.3 billion.

Live streams are particularly popular among social media users because they are a fun and authentic way to connect with audiences. Brands can chat and relay information to viewers in an impersonal way and in real-time. No wonder why live videos can hook viewers three times longer than pre-recorded videos!

It’s no surprise that live streaming has made it into our 2021 video trends. Without in-person interactions, live video is the next best thing. You’re able to see the person(s) face, hear their voice(s), and pick up on nuances just like you would in person!

💡 3Play tips for making the most of your live streams:

  • Live caption your live streams, so that they’re accessible to all viewers
  • Ensure you have a strong internet connection
  • Minimize background noise and distractions
  • Choose the right social platform based on your audience

 Follow our Guide for Live Captioning Best Practices ➡️ 

2. User-Generated Content 🤳

User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content (i.e. video, images, etc.) showcasing a product or service created by users instead of brands.

Many consumers love sharing their favorite brand’s products and services on their social media platforms. This isn’t to be confused with sponsored content, which brands use to partner with social media influencers. UGC isn’t brand-sponsored; it’s made by consumers who are genuinely excited about a product or service and decide to share about it on their own accord.

Brands love sharing UGC on their own social media channels and websites because it promotes authenticity, builds brand loyalty, and has a major impact on purchasing decisions. According to Business Wire, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic compared to content created by brands.

Warby Parker's instagram account showcases a cute, tan and white dog sporting Warby Parker glasses while sticking its tongue out.

Courtesy of Warby Parker’s Instagram Account


In our current climate, authenticity from brands will be incredibly important, which is why it’s included in our 2021 video trends. Consumers are craving real, genuine experiences while using social media, and sharing videos of user-generated content is a great way to make that happen!

💡 3Play tips for making the most of user-generated content:

  • Repost your customer’s content on your social media channels and tag them to give credit
  • Ask permission before reposting, even when your brand is tagged
  • Encourage followers to use a specific hashtag when posting to make it easier to keep up with new content

3. Educational Videos 📚

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, then a video is worth millions.

Video is an incredible learning tool. By using both the auditory and visual senses, viewers are able to digest more information by watching a video.

Educational and/or how-to videos are some of the most popular on video platforms because they make learning about a new topic simple and engaging.

A study by WyzOwl uncovered that 96% of people use videos to learn more about a particular product or service and 84% of people are more convinced to purchase a product/service after watching a brand’s video. With an educational video, you’re able to teach people about something they perceive to be valuable rather than attempting to sell a product or service to them. People are much more receptive to listen and watch a video because the intention is to educate rather than to sell.

Webinars are a great example of educational videos. They have the power to attract customers in a “non-sales-y” way, which is why they’re so popular.

Consumers aren’t the only ones who benefit from educational videos. Employees can, too!

Since many employees can’t train for a new job in-person, training videos are the next best thing. They can provide a number of tools and resources for job success no matter where the employee is in the world.

Training videos have been proven to aid in comprehension, focus, recall and they improve learning outcomes.

In addition, Forrester Research found that 75% of employees prefer to watch a video than read an article, document, or email.

More often than not, the structured employee training that once took place in physical locations, are now being conducted online. By providing employees with the ability to access training content whenever and wherever they want, they’re able to take control of their learning and feel empowered to apply their new skills in the workplace, whether virtually or in-person.

We predict that this 2021 video trend will be around well past this year.

💡 3Play tips for making the most of educational video content:

  • Ensure your content is accessible to all learners, including ones with disabilities, by using captions, audio description, transcription, and an accessible video player
  • For how-to videos, don’t focus on selling a product/service. Instead, provide value by being a thought leader
  • Consider adding an interactive transcript to give learners the opportunity to search directly within the video

Download our Free Video Accessibility Checklist! ☑️

4. “Less is More” Approach to Video Production 🎥

Many of us are in the comfort of our homes when creating video content, which means we may not have all of the fancy equipment needed for a large production.

In our next 2021 video trend, you’ll find that a number of brands are taking a “less is more” approach to their video production due to the limitation of recording from home.

In the following BBC news clip of an interview with Professor Robert Kelly, you’ll notice that he is conducting the interview from his home office. The video went viral when his two adorable children hilariously interrupted the interview, which was broadcasted live on international television.



Although this video took place in 2017, it accurately foreshadows what was to come in the following years. Many of us working or learning from home have probably experienced someone’s child, spouse, or furry friend making a surprise entrance in a video (we wouldn’t be surprised if it even happened to you)!

Even though it can be funny and/or embarrassing, it really provides an authentic look into the lives of our friends and colleagues.

Due to COVID-19, many shows used a “less is more” approach to their video productions, too, like Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The View, and more.

One thing that 2020 has shown is that trust and transparency are more important than ever before. 40% of consumers regard authenticity and honesty as extremely important.

Through video content, brands have the opportunity to showcase their real identities. When recording your next video, don’t be afraid to show who you are, including the fact that you may be filming from home and have limited equipment. Truth be told, it really humanizes your brand and lets your customers know that we’re all going through the same thing. There’s no better way to build connections and brand loyalty than being authentic!

Furthermore, fancy equipment may make your videos look nicer, but it doesn’t compare to the value your content provides. The quality of the content supersedes the production quality by tenfold!

💡 3Play tips to make the most of your limited video production:

  • Don’t be afraid to let people know you’re recording from home; it shows you’re being authentic
  • Although video quality can take a bit of a backseat, be sure to have good audio quality by using a microphone and minimizing external noises
  • Test your creativity and work with the gear you currently have

 For More Remote Video Production Tips, Check Out our Webinar with Wistia ➡️ 

5. Virtual Reality and 360 Video 🕹️

At this point, it’s unsure when large in-person events will resume. In the meantime, you can expect to see an increase in virtual reality and 360 videos.

Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive 3D digital experience where the user has the freedom to move around freely and perform a series of actions – just like in real life.

360 video records in all directions, allowing the viewers to see a 360-degree view of a location. With 360 video, viewers are able to control what they watch from different perspectives.

Brands can utilize VR and 360 videos to promote an exciting event, give a sneak peek of upcoming products, and so much more. Both of these videos give viewers a more immersive experience compared to traditional videos.

Since 75% of consumers expect brands to leverage new technologies to build better experiences, VR and 360 videos are the way to go.

Using advanced technologies like VR and 360 can be expensive for the average small business, but if your budget allows for it, they could be a great way to increase viewer engagement. However, it’s not a necessity, so don’t feel pressured to jump on the bandwagon; like the previous trend mentioned, sometimes less is more.

💡 3Play tips to make the most of virtual reality and 360 videos:

  • Gamify the user experience
  • Make it fun and engaging
  • Let users become apart of the story
  • Add captions for accessibility

 For More Tips on Adding Captions to Your Virtual Reality and 360 Videos, Read More in this Blog Post ➡️ 

6. Video Accessibility 🤝

Last, but certainly not least, the final trend in our 2021 video trends list is video accessibility.

Accessibility isn’t a new phenomenon. Many people with disabilities, activists, and advocates have been championing accessibility for many years.

Since society’s dependence on technology is ever-increasing, it’s important that everyone, regardless of ability, has equal access to it.

Video is a wonderful tool to teach, entertain, and inform, but when it’s inaccessible, it excludes the millions of people with visual, auditory, and motor disabilities.

In order to make video accessible, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Closed Captioning: a time-synchronized textual representation of the audio within a media file. They make video accessible to deaf and hard of hearing viewers by providing a text track as a supplement to, or as a substitute for, the audio.
  • Audio Description: describes relevant and key visual information to viewers who can’t see the screen. It is particularly useful for blind or low vision individuals
  • Transcription: the process in which speech or audio is converted into a written document. The two main transcription practices are verbatim and clean read.
  • Live Captioning: Just like captioning, but in real-time

Digital inclusion is the future. It not only helps users with disabilities, but users who have various learning styles, viewing preferences, sound sensitivities, and more.

By making your video accessible, you make your content viewable to a broader audience. It ensures that all viewers can consume your videos in nearly any environment, including remote environments.

💡 3Play tips for making the most of accessible video:

  • We recommend using a trusted and reliable video accessibility vendor to ensure accuracy
  • In order to get company buy-in, equip yourself with the tools and resources on the benefits of accessibility
  • Work with your team and a video accessibility vendor to find the best ways to budget for accessibility

Thriving in 2021 and Beyond…

2020 was an unprecedented year, and we’re hopeful to see what this year holds. By using these video trends, you’re sure to not only survive 2021, but thrive!

Video will continue to be an important way to communicate messages. No matter what type of video content you produce, it’s important to keep human connection at the heart of what we do – in the physical world and the new digital world.

Video Accessibility Checklist: How to Make Online Videos Accessible


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