Online video is no longer just a means for people to fulfill their entertainment needs. The medium has evolved into an inimitable source for consumers to gather information about a brand or service in an effort to make a wise purchasing decision. And, many experts are saying that video will become a dominant force in the content marketing sphere over the next few years, as content consumption continues to shift. In fact, the Cisco Visual Networking Index reports that video will account for 79 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2018.
Quite frankly, video makes sense for marketers. It is a naturally engaging tool that delivers content in a visually appealing and easily digestible fashion, and is unrivaled when it comes to potential marketing reach. Consider the following statistics:
• More than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube – that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth.
• Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day.
• More than 100 million people watch Vines across the web each month.
It’s evident that integrating video content into the marketing mix is more important than ever before. If you are not taking advantage of this visual marketing tactic to capture the attention of a target audience, deliver a brand message in an impactful way, and ultimately boost sales, you are missing the boat. The good news is that there is no better time than the present to start using video in your marketing efforts.
Starting from scratch
Despite the fact that video has already proven an effective marketing tool for businesses, both big and small, many marketers are still hesitant to invest in video production. Some think that producing a quality video requires a mountainous budget, while others just aren’t sure where to begin. The truth is that creating a video doesn’t have to be an expensive, daunting task. Production costs have significantly declined, and there are many online tools available to help marketers working with a limited budget. Here are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to create a video from scratch:
Nail down on a specific direction: Approach video with a definitive plan as you would any other marketing campaign. Start by determining the overall direction of the video. For example, do you want to attract new customers by sharing impactful customer testimonials? Is the goal to inform your audience about new services or current promotions? Or, do you want to educate your viewers by sharing valuable information, such as seasonal pest-proofing tips or ways to protect against mosquito bites?
Determine the goals: Once you nail down a specific direction for the video, the next step is deciding how to measure the video’s success. There are many different metrics to consider, such as the number of views, how often the video is shared, and how many leads it generates. Make sure all parties involved are on the same page with the overall goal of the video before the cameras start rolling.
Keep it short: People love video, but they tend to become disinterested pretty quickly, which would explain why apps like Twitter’s Vine and Snapchat are widely popular among Millennials. If you are creating an informational video, it is best to keep it under two minutes in length. In fact, studies show that engagement drops off after as little as 30 seconds, especially if the audience is unfamiliar with the brand.
Include a call-to-action: Two minutes is undeniably a short amount of time to get multiple points across in a video, so try to stick to one specific call-to-action. After people are done watching the video, do you want them to visit your website for more information or call to schedule an inspection? Make sure the take-away message is clear and concise.
Creating a video is only the first step. Next up is finding a permanent home for the video and then promoting it to the masses. Fortunately, a huge amount of money or time is not required to market a video across the web.
Host the video: There are a handful of different hosting sites, such as YouTube, Vimeo and Brightcove, that allow users to upload their video, generate an embed code and post it on their own websites. While these platforms are all good options, housing a video in an on-site content management system is the best bet because it gives marketers complete control over the content and ads surrounding the video.
Post it on YouTube: If you decide to host a video on your own website, make sure you still post it to a brand channel on YouTube. The platform allows users to customize the title, description and keywords of a video – all of which are crucial to helping people find content.
Share it with existing contacts: Taking advantage of existing relationships is one if the easiest way to promote video content, or all content for that matter. Include a link to the new video in your monthly e-newsletter, or send an email blast to a list of current customers.
Tap relevant social media networks: Cross-promote the video on your company’s social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Video, in general, outperforms all other content on these platforms in terms of reach and engagement. If a video is uploaded to Facebook, make sure to insert the video file directly into the post, instead of including a link to watch the video on an external website or YouTube. According to Ad Parlor, videos uploaded directly to Facebook garner 30 percent more views and provide a better viewing experience for the end user. Facebook also allows users to add a call-to-action overlay, inviting viewers to visit an outside website where they can discover additional content, sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase.
Invest in video advertising: Paid media is a critical part of effective video content marketing, and a great way to get audiovisual content in front of the right audience. Both Facebook and YouTube offer video advertising options that are worth considering.
• Facebook advertising: In recent months, Facebook has seen a shift toward visual content on the platform, especially with video. In fact, the number of video posts per person has increased 94 percent in just one year. The Facebook video advertising platform allows advertisers to target real people based on their interests, behaviors, age, gender and location. The video ads look like regular posts in the newsfeed, so they tend to generate solid engagement results.
• YouTube advertising: Each month, more than 1 billion people seek out video content on YouTube. Advertising on this powerful platform can help to drive video shares, new channel subscriptions and create additional opportunities to communicate with consumers. YouTube advertising campaigns are managed from Google AdWords, an easy-to-use platform. Advertisers can choose whether the ads appear before videos play, beside videos playing or in search results. Targeting is similar to Facebook advertising in the sense that advertisers can customize their target audiences by topic, keywords and demographics.
Video is here to stay
If you think video is just another trend that will fade out in a few years, think again. Consumers are exhausted by traditional media methods, and video offers a new way for them to gather engaging, educational, informative and impactful content.