Video is by far, the fastest growing medium for online marketing, but too many people are jumping on the video bandwagon without giving much thought to its place and purpose in their overall marketing strategy.
They say that if a picture is worth 1,000 words then a video is worth 1,000,000. Whether that’s quite true or not, online video certainly is becoming an important part of everyone’s world and businesses who don’t use it are certainly missing out. It can also be really easy to be seduced by the format’s appeal, especially the ‘bells and whistles’ of live streaming, or 360-degree technology, but the real magic of video is only really apparent when its integrated throughout the entire marketing strategy rather than honing on one approach over another.
Video has so many applications including:
- brand awareness
- brand promotion
- provide a better understanding of the product or how it works
- present customer stories and testimonials
- provide answers to frequently asked questions
- provide information of value to potential customers
- introduce people to your brand
- giving people a deep understanding of your business and drawing them in
And that’s not even including things applications webinars or video training series among others.
So with so many uses and strong customer adoption, it’s now expected that businesses should include video in their efforts, although knowing exactly where it best fits in and how much time and resources are dedicated to the projects can be a mystery (or a hit and miss) for many.
“Video content is just one piece of the puzzle of a content marketing strategy,” said Emily Ann Brown, director of media and analytics, Elasticity. “When combined with a strategic distribution [paid media] plan and other forms of content, it can be a very compelling piece of the overall marketing mix.”
So why is video so popular?
Well for one, its easier and faster to consume than a traditional static image and text, plus it’s easy to create and share (most smartphones have the capability to do it these days). Plus advances in technology have enabled users to consume video at any time, almost anywhere.
“Video content has become so prominent recently for a variety of reasons. It is so much more conducive in telling a brand’s story than a still image could ever hope to be,” said Chris Madden, co-founder of digital marketing agency Matchnode.
“It can serve to educate, inspire, entertain, or nearly any other emotion a brand is hoping to elicit from its audience,” he said. “It creates a more personal touch — especially with the rise of live video. It really gives the consumers and fans a first-hand view of what is going on inside the life of the person or brand they are following.”
Where video shines the most in a marketing strategy is in its ability to bring more interaction for users and illustrate concepts that just aren’t able to be properly communicated using still imagery and words.
“Brands who have a complex message must include video as part of their content marketing strategy in order to break through the very low level of attention that users have online and fully communicate the benefits of their brand,” Brown said.
So then, how do you incorporate video and make the most of it?
Well, before you even think about video, it’s imperative that you’ve got your overall brand message down pat. If you don’t have your message, and your target market well thought out and solid, then how are you expected to know what you’re going to make a video about or who for.
If you’ve got your message right and your target market sussed, then the next step would be to make a few primary assets that can be promoted for a year or two. Things like a corporate video of who your company is and what it’s about, a testimonial video and a ‘how-to’, ‘intro’ or ‘value offering’ video that can be easily promoted and shared via social media (depending on your business and product).
Once these assets have been created, its best to focus on promoting them rather than continually making new videos. In terms of cost, the general rule of thumb is that when spending $1 in production, plan on spending at least $1 for promotion, per Madden. As for overall content resource allocation, he leans toward pushing 30% of a marketing budget to video assets and the rest around image-focused call-to-action ads and content like blog posts, but there are no hard and fast rules.
Brown also recommends using short-form video to draw viewers to long-form content for deeper brand engagement. “Brands can’t expect users to spend several minutes or more with their content without a proper short-form introduction,” she said.
Know your purpose
Much like the old adage of the tree in the forest – if a video gets produced and placed online and no one watches it, did it ever really exist? Creating the video is important yes, but no more than actually getting it in front of eyeballs!
Madden says “It’s not enough to just post a new video to Facebook and hope it takes off. Put some ad budget behind it and get it in front of both your existing audience, as well as prospective members of your audience.”
You also need to know and understand the mediums you will use to promote the video. For example, 85% of videos consumed on Facebook are viewed without sound, so it’s also important to know how people are using the mediums and adapt the content accordingly. Brown says that “Marketers who aren’t considering a soundless experience for their videos are missing out on an opportunity to engage with users who may never hear the audio of their content.”
Videos need to be designed to be shared, promoted, viewed, engaged with and talked about – and let’s face it, boring or uninformative videos won’t do that! So it is of the utmost importance that marketers and business owners clearly identify the message and objectives of each and every video before they are even produced so that the videos can be created with the communication objectives and distributions methods in mind.
Don’t go in blind with full force – you’ll be setting yourself for disaster or at the very least disappointment.