Video killed the radio star, as The Buggles proclaimed in their 1979 hit, but seemingly it’s providing new life to business brands. Present in everything from digital billboards to streaming services, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone denying its utter dominance over all marketing mediums. “After years of trying to convince clients that video marketing was going to become an essential part of the content marketing mix, the time has finally come when not even the naysayers can deny its importance,” says Andy Barr, managing director of 10 Yetis, the PR agency.
The internet is a massive enabler in this respect. By 2022, video – including everything from video on-demand to file sharing and video-streamed gaming to conferencing – will represent 82% of global internet traffic, according to IT giant Cisco. “With a staggering 45% of consumers discovering new brands through social media video advertising, there’s certainly space in every marketing plan to maximise return on investment through the use of this medium,” Barr says. With the demonstrable diversity driving video traffic, it’s clear video marketing is no longer one thing but multiple parts that each demand unique strategies to master.
This wasn’t always the case. Video marketing was once restricted to silver screens only iconic brands like Coca-Cola could afford to splash their logos across. But with today’s tech, shooting a quick advert, vlog or announcement with the potential to reach just as many eyeballs is often an affordable way for small businesses to get their names out there. “Over the last few years we’ve entered a space where budget restrictions are no longer a valid excuse,” reasons Barr. “Any SME can start creating their own branded content using a phone or DSLR, a microphone and some lighting, which will set you back next to nothing.”
Indeed, 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool throughout 2018 and 99% intended to carry on doing so, according to research company Wyzowl. That’s because the content doesn’t need to have production values that can be likened to James Cameron’s Titanic – it’s still possible to make a big splash with a jet-ski after all. “Even if you’re just giving your clients and consumers a sneak peak behind the scenes with a weekly live video, you should see an increase in engagement,” Barr opines. “You just need to ensure you’re consistent with your output and the content is planned strategically.”
Although the practicalities may seem straightforward, video marketing takes a lot of thought to navigate. Here are some pointers on getting it right.
Say it loud and clear
This doesn’t mean marketers should be screaming into a microphone with clickbait-clad headlines like some online personalities. But researching what makes your target audience tick and catering content to them is paramount to maintain eye contact. “Well, the first rule is easy – be interesting,” advises Philip Slade, director of Jaywing, the digital marketing company. After all, although the fact 81% of companies use video marketing is a reassuring statistic, it means competition for attention is fierce – especially with advert blockers on sites like YouTube stopping some brand marketing from even appearing. “In the age of ad blockers – 51% of people are using these now – video marketing must be genuinely interesting and provide an incentive for consumers to give advertisers a chance,” Slade continues.
Audience retention is an even bigger factor to take on board when spreading videos on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Through their respective Stories feature, sharing and viewing is engineered to happen at a lightning-fast rate. “People swipe, swipe and swipe until something catches their attention,” says Sarah Cantillon, managing partner at Movement, the marketing agency. “There’s no time to gradually draw people in by building up a narrative: you need to be upfront with your key message from the outset.” She recommends presenting your video as a brief animated poster to stay as eye-grabbing as possible to the millions already thinking of swiping on. And it goes without saying you must then deck it out with all the features social media offers. “Businesses should make sure they’re up to speed with the different platform functionalities to make the most of social video,” Cantillon adds. “For example, you can add links to Instagram Stories when you have over 10,000 followers – useful for pushing specific products or services.”
Optimised and primed
From a tablet to a smart fridge, there’s seemingly no barrier to where audiences can get hold of videos today. As a result, businesses must hone their content to greet consumers on a variety of devices. But with 78.4% of digital video views coming from mobiles in 2018, that’s the best place to start, according to research firm eMarketer. “The mobile web and mobile apps are now an intrinsic part of everyday life, which has seen demand for video advertising surge while costs have been driven down,” explains Jason Barrett, UK sales director at NEXD, the ad creation company. He advises stripping videos down to be as light as possible in file size, allowing even the choppiest wi-fi and 4G connections to render clips for phones on the move. Also, make the most of external links and branding. “The post-click destination, usually a website, should be mobile optimised and, if possible, deep-link to the specific product, message or offer to increase the opportunity of customer conversion,” he adds.
Slow and steady
With so many social media sites, video-hosting platforms and streaming services out there, every outlet you’re not putting your mark on can feel like a missed opportunity. Well, although maximising exposure is a good thing, too many pages to juggle will mean struggling to maintain a consistent and high-quality image for your business. Just imagine the impression consumers get when they stumble upon a business’ LinkedIn page that hasn’t been updated for a month. “Simplicity is often the best approach, whether it’s in-video marketing or branding and advertising in general,” says Slade. “Don’t get too bogged down in deciding which channel you want to opt for.” Instead of approaching video marketing with a scattershot just to tick boxes, focus on what you can handle. “There are plenty of examples of brands that use just a single channel and are successful – think consumer goods companies and their use of Instagram influencers,” Slade reassures.
Looking at video marketing as one beast is the wrong attitude to have in this day and age. Instead, every cog in its machine should be oiled individually, providing the opportunity to capitalise on the many ways viewers can now consume content.