We’re just over halfway through the year making it a good opportunity to take stock of the latest content marketing trends 2016 that have dominated so far. One of the major trends in the last 6 months (and the last few years) has been the steady increase in the importance of video. So important in fact, that by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic according to Cisco.

In 2016 we’ve continued to see more brands create more videos published on sites like YouTube, and use live streaming apps such as Periscope and Facebook Live.

Mario Kart on Lombard Street amassed 23 million views and 340,000 shares on Facebook in little over four weeks. The ad was created by US clothing company Chubbies, and features Super Mario characters (not the real ones – people in fancy dress) racing children’s ride on toys down San Francisco’s Lombard Street, the self-proclaimed ‘crookedest street in the world.’

Cheap to produce and easy to send on to your friends, needless to say this was a very successful campaign. (And rather bizarrely, continuing on the Mario Kart theme, we’ve also seen both Razor’s Crazy Carts and GoPros cameras in use in yet another viral video, this time in London shopping centre Westfield….)

On a slightly larger budget & scale Hyundai & EURO 2016 launched ‘Euro 2016 is coming’ in April that has amassed over 34 million views to date. It’s the story of a little boy who saves up his pennies from dog walking and odd jobs to buy tickets for the tournament, only to find they’re all gone. The video appears to have hit the right chord with the general public…

And it’s not just pre-recorded video that’s continuing to take 2016 by storm…if you excuse the pun. US Airline Soutwest Airlines chose to use livestreaming on both Periscope and Facebook Live during a period of extreme weather to appease frustrated flyers.

The Airline broadcast from a control room filled with flashing monitors, showing how it was trying to cope with the bad weather, to more than 100,000 viewers.

Rob Hahn, Assistant Manager of Social Care at Southwest, commented on Social Media Today that the Social Care Team has quickly evolved from four agents to up 35 agents working 24/7: “Our customers, they’re in the moment dealing with the situation, so they want an answer as soon as possible”.

What this approach allowed the company to do was highlight exactly the challenges being faced by its employees in dealing with the adverse weather, therefore providing maximum transparency to customers who are therefore much more likely to be understanding.

And in other news, BuzzFeed decided to blow up a watermelon….

Skip to the end…. More than 800,000 people tuned in to the live stream that saw two BuzzFeed employees trying to make a watermelon explode with rubber bands. In case you were wondering, it took 686 rubber bands and quite a lot of nervous tension to finally get the watermelon to burst. According to Facebook, it gained 807,000 viewers all watching at the same time at its peak toward the end of the 45-minute live video.

With more than 5 million total views and more than 315,000 comments, as Facebook Live broadcasts remain online indefinitely after they air (a feature that Periscope has also now adopted in May this year) the popularity of the video will likely continue.

Why is video dominating? According to research by HubSpot, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and therefore visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. That might go some way to explaining why video is here to stay, and therefore why brands should embrace it.