Videos are powerful because they can have a strong emotional effect on viewers. It’s no secret that funny, shocking, amazing, and inspirational videos do particularly well online. Video is the ideal tool for experiential marketing giving viewers the chance to experience something alongside the onscreen actors and to consider how they would feel or act in that situation. It also helps to show off a brand’s personality, tone and communication style.
Video content is a necessary part of the digital marketing mix. Dr James McQuivey famously exaggerated that, “Video is worth 1.8 million words” but exaggeration or not, video is more engaging than any other form of content.
- Video on social media generates 1 200% more shares than text and images combined (WordStream, 2017).
- Companies using video have 41% more web traffic from search and video can cause a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines (Brightcove, 2016).
- Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more. (Wordstream, 2017).
- Businesses using video grow revenue 49% faster year-on-year than those that don’t use it (WordStream, 2017).
- 59% of company decision makers prefer to watch a video than read an article about a product (Forbes, 2017).
Many people are still under the misconception that online videos are expensive and difficult to produce. That’s not necessarily the case. While the most popular videos are professionally produced - for example, the Despacito music video has accrued around 4 billion views - the many millions of successful home video bloggers (vloggers) and marketers prove that low-cost videos can still make an impact.
Unlike content made for TV, web video content can be filmed at a much lower cost and quality, using readily available home video equipment. Affordable high-quality cameras have made quality content production a reality for everyone. Viewers don’t necessarily expect a super-slick offering (though even this is possible with some basic video editing software). To get started with making video marketing content, you will need:
A camera: Depending on what you can afford, this can range from a simple webcam or your mobile phone’s camera to a (top-of-the-line) professional camera, though there are many excellent mid-range options available at a low price.
A microphone: While some cameras have a built-in microphone, its worthwhile investing in a proper mic to ensure that you capture better sound quality as builtin microphones tend to catch a lot of background noise at the expense of the main audio.
Video editing software: You will need a software package to cut, edit and finish your video; there are a wide range of options, including free built-in software (Movie Maker for Windows and iMovie for Mac) and professional video editing suites (such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe After Effects), which can be more costly. YouTube also offers an online video editing tool, and you can take a look at some of the available apps like Filmmaker Pro, ProMovie Recorder, and Adobe Premiere Clip.
There are many useful, free resources and tutorials on creating videos online, www.wikihow.com is a good place to start looking.
Video content versus video ads
Video marketing covers two approaches.
1. Video content: These are videos made to entertain, inform, share updates or otherwise enlighten or delight the viewer. Much like syndicated articles or blog posts, these are usually not directly promotional, but instead provide shareable content that gives value to the viewer. Some examples of video content include:
- How-to guides, tutorials, and explainer videos
- Conference talks
- Video presentations where video should be used to:
- Inspire, move people and connect with them emotionally
- Educate in a fun, informative, and entertaining way
- Reveal the unexpected
- Valuable industry updates
Think about it now, if your company or brand wanted to create content videos, what format and approach would you use?
- Educational lectures
- Product reviews and advice
2. Video ads: These are simply adverts that are filmed and formatted for online use. These can be existing TV commercials that are shared online, or custom ads made specifically for the web. Statistics about video consumption make a compelling argument for the latter over the former. We’ll cover a range of options for posting your video ads below, in the section on paid video promotion.
Is it possible to go viral?
The Holy Grail of video marketing and, in fact, any marketing on the web, is word of mouth - having a piece of content ‘go viral’. This means that the content spreads from person to person through the web at a very high rate, attracting an exponentially growing audience as it gains popularity. The key to this viral effect is social media, where each user is connected to a wide network of others and can easily share content with their friends. Because this is a trusted social referral, it’s more likely that they will view and share it themselves, if it’s good enough.
Nobody quite knows the secret recipe for getting content to go viral, and quite possibly there isn’t one; the sheer variety and scope of viral videos shows that almost anything might catch the interest of the Internet on the right day. This means that it’s very difficult to craft a video in order to make it go viral. Instead, focus on making great content that you and your audience will love and that speaks to their wants and needs and then, if you’re lucky and your stars align just right, your video might go viral.
- Address a currently trending topic. Find something that users are already excited about or interested in, and see how you can contribute meaningfully to the conversation. For example, make your own edited version of a viral video.
- Make it enticing. Craft the video’s description, title and thumbnail so that they draw attention.
- Make it remarkable. Whether it’s funny, astonishing, scary, shocking or informational, your content has to have value for your viewers and it has to give them social capital for spreading it.
- Make it unique. The Internet loves new, fresh, crazy ideas so don’t rehash somebody else’s success or stick to a formula. Be truly creative and inventive.
- Make it shareable. Include the tools and incentives to make your video easy to share; consider social media chiclets, video cards, encouraging comments and more.
- Make it short. With very few exceptions, successful viral videos tend to be short, impactful clips. Users have short attention spans. You lose around 30% of your audience in the first two minutes, with a sharp drop off between 2 and 6 minutes, so make sure you get the message across quickly (Wistia, 2016).