Leveraging Video Content for Marketing This Year
In a fleeting fraction of one second, a rapidly scrolling thumb clicks in or passes by forever. Research published in Behaviour & Information Technology places the engagement decision-making window at a narrow 50 milliseconds. In this highly social age of virtual friends, followers, shares and endless feeds, having a targeted plan for leveraging video content and using it to your marketing advantage has become more important than ever.
Leveraging Video Content for Marketing This Year and Beyond
Video is expected, mobile devices preferred and decisions quick. These facts have resulted in the rise of the four Goliaths of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter—apps that provide seamless one-stop entertainment, social interaction, news, commerce and endless opportunity. Together, video and mobile are forever changing how we communicate.
As confirmation, CISCO predicts that by 2021, video traffic will make up 82 percent of all “consumer internet traffic,” anticipating threefold and fourfold increases. At the same time, mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold, growing twice as fast as IP traffic and making smartphones the far-preferred mode of access.
In short, the world is accessing real life through their phones. For businesses, the overriding strategy for leveraging video content is to become part of their reality.
How To Leverage Video Marketing for Optimal Return on Investment
If you’re going to adopt video for marketing, you want to be smart about it, which is what leveraging is all about. How do you get the view, and how do you get the clicks that make it count?
1. Understand how viewers use video and mobile devices.
This sounds intuitive, but gaps among generations are pronounced:
• One savvy, younger Millennial described a telling scenario. Reminded of an upcoming birthday, she looked over her friend’s wish list of favorited items on Twitter, clicked on the gift-to-be and ordered it. While there, she checked out the seller’s career path and followed the site herself before sliding back into Twitter.
• In contrast, another, slightly older Millennial is an intense hobbyist who has doggedly ferreted out his topic’s how-tos and reviews on YouTube but is slowly being lured over to Facebook Live as notifications filter in. Once there, one video typically leads to another, immersed in the social interchange.
• Of note, both are friends with lots of people who are friends of friends. Neither have ever met them, yet they know everything about them because they’re linked online. When they do meet, they recognize each other and move on, sans the getting-to-know-you waiting period.
This is a far cry from a more conventional Baby Boomer who prefers the larger format of a laptop, for example, and still travels website to website, email by email, friending only people they already know and trust. If you want to register on a group’s radar, be sure that you understand how the group operates.
2. Keep the video’s message simple.
The mere presence of a video immediately coveys a sense of helpfulness and welcome. A study published in the University of Minnesota’s Management Information Systems compared websites using static pictures, videos both with and without narration, and virtual product experiences. Repeatedly, viewers found videos and virtual experiences far outweighed actual factual knowledge presented about a product in evaluating how helpful a website was and how likely they were to revisit that website.
All video content has to do is convey what you want a viewer to know and confirm that you’re the source they should rely on. It doesn’t have to be complicated. One highly popular Snapchat merchant streams posts of its spokespeople demonstrating product while sharing a steady stream of gossip and girl talk. Highly intellectual it isn’t, but riveting for its intended audience it is.
Now, consider the fact that more than half your visitors are accessing you through the compact screens of mobile devices. Yes, viewers can read text and zoom in on static diagrams, but video means that they don’t have to. With video, it might even be perceived as entertaining—and for that, they’ll view you and other video communications more favorably.
3. Evaluate the full range of video strategies available to you.
Video marketing is a whole lot more than a factoid-droning head. Formats and occasions are virtually limitless:[4,5]
• Alerts, invitations, recruiting events and contests are typically quick and high-energy. These present flash opportunities for clients to participate, buy limited quantities, enjoy previews, share, apply, opine or compete for prizes.
• Animations, video PowerPoints or talking boards can reveal the magic that happens inside your product or the process that guides your service. Especially for complex topics, one minute of video can be worth a million words or more.
• Interviews and testimonials present opportunities to have a respected expert or industry professional share insights as a positive influencer or partner. Remember that partial sound bites can be powerful because they’re so short.
• Instructive tips, demos and how-tos can build content over time by offering tips, updates or other pointers to retain clients’ interest. How-tos are one of the most-watched types of videos out there.
• Customer or sponsored user reviews are highly valued content, especially for high-ticket items. More than 80 percent of Americans seek recommendations prior to purchasing according to a 2016 Nielsen study.
• Recorded lectures or round-tables lend themselves to a Ted Talk format. If you’re speaking at a symposium or conference, record it, and start a content archive, one video at a time.
• Virtual experiences use 360-degree video to allow users increased levels of experiential participation.
• Live webcasts or webinars are a way of scheduling sharing events or hosted discussions. Streaming live links you to your audience in real time. For younger demographics raised on Skype and Facetime, they expect it.
• Video podcasts—also known as vidcasts, vodcasts or vlogs—bring the visual element to standard podcasts. These can be longer and more involved, but for highly visual sectors—fashion or the arts, for example—they may be worth the following.
4. Select video delivery platforms for optimal exposures, engagement and shares.
From your own website’s interactivity to external links, just about every form of electronic communication now supports video:
• Emails. Wistia found video thumbnails increased engagement by anywhere from 25 to 40 percent, depending on the perceived value.[11,12]
• Push Notifications. An essential part of most mobile apps, push notifications can replace or supplement emails, with click-through rates of up to 40 percent in some cases.
• Multimedia Messaging Service—MMS. These lend themselves to shorts and are easily forwarded and shared.
• Social Media. Most companies’ to-do lists include Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Yelp and even Foursquare’s Swarm app, for example, are also in there. The first four or so offer the added benefits of friends or followers, shares and entertaining exposure. [15-17]
• Video Hosting. Many businesses struggle whether to go with YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia. In a nutshell, YouTube keeps viewers on YouTube. Vimeo is a bit more arty and member-oriented while Wistia caters to business with lots of how-tos and analytics.
• Paid Ads. Of course, you always have the option of paid ads on various platforms. Common choices include banners or suggested videos, for example, as well as targeting tools to match your video with your target demographic customer’s feeds.
5. Ensure that video content defines your brand.
The best marketing videos are distinctly identifiable, setting you apart from competitors yet resonating with customers. That branding, however, encompasses a full gamut of elements, each with a full spectrum of decisions to be made to ensure consistency and recognition:[20,21]
• Tone. Will videos be serious and informative, for example, cheerful and upbeat, or humorous or comedic?
• Promise and Values. What can viewers count on? What do you stand for? How do you want viewers to perceive you? What vision can you share?
• Language and Word Choices. Catchphrases, slogans, terminology and energy level translate to identity. Video is a delicate balance of pacing and gaining the viewer’s trust that the end will be worth the watch.
• Colors, Logos and Fonts. Be mindful of competitors’ choices and inadvertent distractions that might detract from your message.
• Audio Tract. Listeners decide on vocal authenticity and trustworthiness in 300 to 500 milliseconds according to a study from the University of Glasgow. Music can be equally effective or complementary.
• Visuals. Shooting parameters, film and cameras create unique impressions that often are as identifiable as fingerprints. Quality execution compels the eye and leaves a viewer no choice but to keep watching.
Drawn together, the pieces become a complex composition defining your position in each viewer’s mind: who you are, who your competitors are and who you’re trying to reach.
6. Analyze video metrics to improve performance.
Why do 75 percent of all viewers abandon that virtual home tour 45 seconds in? Nobody found your webinar, why? What is the reason so many people shared your contest video last time but swiped away on this one? The more meaningful the analytics you have, the better you can home in on your target audience to deliver what they want most:[23,24]
• View Count. How many people view your video? Keep in mind that platforms’ criteria can vary anywhere from 3 seconds to 30. What counts as a view on Instagram may not on YouTube, for example.
• Traffic Source. How did viewers find your video?
• Device. What operating system did viewers use to watch your video—mobile device or desktop?
• Demographics. Who are these people viewing and clicking your video by age, gender or location, for example?
• Engagement. This tells you how long viewers watch your video and hopefully also which parts they repeat or skip.
• Social Sharing. How many times do people decide your video is worth passing on to a friend or colleague or cross-posting to social media?
• Click-Through Rate. If you have a call to action, what percentage of viewers respond? Do viewers follow you or go on to view your products or services?
• Conversion Rate. How many viewers become customers or active participants with some skin in the game?
• Feedback. Does your video motivate viewers to the point that they’re willing to offer their own input? Even if they disagree, it’s valuable data for future projects.
Customized Video Marketing for Small Business
Shifts from desktop to mobile and from images to video mean that what used to work for a website presents new challenges in presentation, compatibility and translation. At the same time, cloud technology folds distances in real time, allowing greater personalization, limitless creativity and more intensive engagement than ever before.
Yet many of the same rules still apply to ensure that viewers find your video, click on it, answer the call to action and consistently repeat the experience. You still need to optimize your actual video content, mobile compatibility, thumbnails, formats, platforms, links, titles, text descriptions and captioning—in short, everything. However, everything is what makes it all work.
If you find yourself tensing, relax. Shooting a video has never been easier, and demand for informative how-tos, entertaining reviews and a-day-in-the-life shorts is insatiable. Leveraging video content for your business is not something you have to do alone. All it takes is a plan.
Adworkz can help you with that, contact us today so we can move your project forward.
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