It’s 2017. And for businesses, this means that video marketing is increasingly becoming a question of ‘when’, not a question of ‘if’.
While the production of marketing videos are currently being led by those in the high tech and manufacturing industries, businesses in other industries are also beginning to see the need for having a comprehensive video marketing strategy.
According to one study by Vidyard, businesses now produce 18 videos per month. 85% of the sampled businesses have in-house video production capabilities.
The emergence of these trends are not without good reasons. Videos yield a higher ROI than static image ads and text ads, and quality video content doesn’t always require lots of money to create.
Want to start making marketing videos? Keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of 7 video marketing tactics to get you on your way.
1. Focus on creating value, not sales
So, you’re thinking: The purpose of making videos is so that I can boost my sales, right?
Yes. But before you think about sales, you need to think about value. Time is precious. None of your customers have the altruism to sit around watching a video that merely plugs your latest products.
Secondly, marketing messages can settle and solidify into a brand’s image over time. Certainly, Huggies wouldn’t want to be perceived as the diapers brand that alienates men. Why risk it?
Have you ever come across salespeople who would engage you with personal stories? Instead of hard selling, they create common ground with you first.
This is a viable strategy for videos as well. As the saying goes, facts tell, but stories sell. And there’s no better way to tell a captivating story then with video.
Singapore Airlines’ latest in-flight safety video is an example of great storytelling. In-flight safety videos are one of those things everyone thinks they can just skip. But throw in beautiful sights, soothing sound effects, a pretty poster girl, and straightaway you get a video that is worth watching for its aesthetic merits alone. Nobody’s going to watch it and think, “oh, Singapore Airlines is trying to sell me a seat!”
It’s really a case of two birds, one stone. Not only does the video publicise the airline, it also introduces the attractions of Singapore. The primary purpose of refreshing viewers on standard flight safety procedures is also fulfilled. (So that’s three birds, one stone, to be more exact!)
To increase the potency of your story, why not try using an innovative video format?
And yes, we know that VR and AR video technology is still way out of reach for most individuals. What about trying Facebook Live? Or interactive videos, like the one below created by Warner Bros?
Afterall, Facebook algorithms still favor live videos. Take up rate of interactive videos among marketers is also pretty low. Which is good news, because viewers stay attentive to these formats longer.
Remember, digital technology goes obsolete fast. There’s no better time to explore new digital innovations than now!
Takeaway: The first step to creating a winning video marketing strategy is to get people to watch your videos. Keep your viewers watching with valuable content and a compelling format.
2. Go in with a bang
On social media, things move quickly.
Most people have a rough idea that short-form videos perform better than long-form videos on social media. But less would know about the incredible discrepancy in viewer retention rate (the percentage of viewers who complete the video) between the two, or that the average retention rate for videos is a miserable 37%.
Viewer engagement drops off steeply in the beginning parts of videos – especially so for videos that are longer in length.
The opening of a video matters. A lot. Research tells us that our attention span is now at 8 seconds – an all-time low – all thanks to digitization and social media.
Hence, for many social media users, even 2 minutes may be deemed too long. Just think about how many times you skipped a video because the cover image failed to pique your interest!
The implications are clear. Strive to make an impact from the get-go, and take hold of whatever remaining time you have.
Make an impression. Why not try playing on visual metaphors?
But there are always exceptions to the rule.
While viewer rate tends to drop off towards the end of a video, engagement tends to go up. Those who stay till the end are likely interested viewers, and are thus more likely to convert.
So, a high drop off rate is not always a bad thing. If you make it clear from the beginning that your video is meant for a niche viewer group, then viewers who don’t fit into this group can click away immediately.
Those who remain watching, then, are likely to be the ones who are genuinely interested in your content. Tailor your content to the specific needs of these people. That’s how you create a win-win-win situation for all parties!
Takeaway: Starting right is important. Front-load your video with the most essential information. Always remember to keep the needs of your target audience in mind.
3. Make sure your video includes a CTA
Surprisingly, many marketing videos lack a clear call-to-action (CTA), despite it being one of the most essential elements to marketing.
For small businesses in particular, there is no point to making great videos if they leave your viewers clueless as to what they’re supposed to do next.
YouTubers, for instance, remind their viewers to click on the ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’ buttons all the time. Other CTAs you might want to use include ‘follow us on Facebook’, ‘visit our website’, or ‘click here to watch another video’. You can even pose a question to get viewers to join the conversation. See Gary Vaynerchuk’s post-roll video CTAs for inspiration:
Gary Vaynerchuk ends this video with a question, and plenty of clickable CTAs to get viewers to stay on his channel.
This leads us to the next question: where should you put your CTAs – before your video starts (pre-roll), during your video (mid-roll), or after your video (post-roll)?
A study by Wistia summarises the main strengths and weaknesses associated with each option: Pre-roll CTAs are seen by all viewers, but will likely be ignored (or worse, frowned upon) by first-time viewers. Mid-roll CTAs catch viewers at their most attentive, but may disrupt the natural flow of the video. Finally, post-roll CTAs will only be seen by those who watch till the end. But since these people are engaged viewers, they are also more likely to take action.
Wistia’s study finds post-roll CTAs to be overwhelmingly popular. But interestingly, mid-roll CTAs get the highest conversion rate.
While post-roll CTAs are the most popular, mid-roll CTAs get the highest rate of engagement. .
There are many places within a video where you can place your mid-roll CTA. But don’t just throw it in randomly. Place it in a natural break, where you transition from one block of content to the next.
Consider the YouTube channel FitnessBlender: While their fitness videos don’t currently have mid-roll CTAs, they do have mid-roll advertisements. Longer advertisements mean longer breaks for panting viewers, which means they are less likely to get skipped. A great thing for both viewers and advertisers!
Takeaway: Direct your viewers’ behaviour with CTAs. Make clear what it is that they should do next.
4. Know your audience well.
Presumptions are the bane of successful marketing.
Were they wrong? Well, not entirely. But by having preconceptions, these marketing campaigns were upended by detractors.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. But a lesson that needs to be learned nonetheless. We know now that modern dads don’t take well to gender stereotypes, and that mixing social media automation with user generated content can be disastrous.
In any case, these marketing mistakes serve as a good reminder for businesses to listen more, and assume less.
Dads nowadays are not the parental disasters Huggies makes them out to be.
For smaller businesses, videos can be used as a tool for gaining insight into your viewers’ behaviours and preferences.
To start off, it would be worthwhile to subscribe to a performance analysis tool, such as those provided by Wistia, Brightcove and Vidyard. 35% of businesses are already using intermediate or advanced analytic tools to help measure video performance.
These tools are invaluable for generating insights into your viewers. They help you pinpoint the most and least engaging parts of your video, allow you to undertake A/B testing to optimize for different marketing goals, and let you see how your videos facilitate movement along a larger marketing funnel.
You will also get a sense of your viewers’ profile and their interests, which are important for sharpening your targeting strategy in the long run.
Takeaway: Don’t assume things about your consumers. Find out what they like!
5. Know your platform well
Knowing your platform well is part and parcel of knowing your audience well.
That’s because people have different expectations on different platforms. Subsequently, they react differently to the same message.
It’s never a good strategy to force feed the same content onto different platforms. This applies to videos.
On Instagram, for instance, square videos still trump landscape videos. That’s because they take up more on-screen real estate than the latter.
The optimal video length for each social media platform is also different. The same person who watches a 90 second video on Facebook may not have the patience for a 30 second video on Instagram.
On mobile platforms in general, you would want to have subtitles ready, because most people have their phones on mute. Choose the most striking screencap as your cover image, or spend time creating one. It takes effort to stand out on the busy feed environment.
On your website’s landing page, it’s a good strategy to place your introductory video right at the top. Keep the content balanced – not too general, nor too specific, so that viewers get an idea of what you do without getting put off by extraneous details. Post-roll CTAs perform better in this context because it gives the uninitiated viewer a chance to understand your business, before deciding whether to act.
A final note on social media platforms: Posts on social media generally have a short lifespan.
Facebook posts, for instance, reach 75% of their total engagement within the first 5 hours. Post reach fares even worse: 75% of your audience sees your post within the first 2 hours of posting, after which it simply fizzles out into background noise.
By extension, Wisemetrics’ findings also mean that your posting time is crucial, since there’s only a short window of time for people to see a post. You can figure out when to post by looking at the times when most of your followers are online!
You probably know that the lifespan of a social media post is short. But did you know it could be this short?
One thing is clear: As texts and images get increasingly squeezed out, video marketing will keep coming to the fore.
All the more reason to use videos – not because they’re going to boost your marketing results, but because you’re going to lose out if you don’t!
Takeaway: Marketing is a data-driven science. And the science commands you to treat each social media platform differently.
6. Tap on the right emotions
It’s a well-endorsed piece of opinion that people don’t just share information. People also share emotions.
Think of it as an implicit seal of approval: When your friends “share” a piece of viral content with you, it’s because they think you will relate to it.
Studies done on this topic support the hypothesis. In a study conducted on New York Times articles published over a three-month period, Jonah Berger, professor and viral marketing expert, found that one of the factors driving virality is physiological arousal. Arousal, in turn, is often caused by positive emotions like awe and interest.
Berger’s study was conducted on text articles. Arguably, these findings also apply to videos, with the exception being that videos allow for more shades of meaning.
Think, for instance, of visual metaphors, subtle facial expressions, and puns. These don’t translate well in text. Why not try expressing them in video?
Another thing that doesn’t translate well in text is risqué content. But beware: overly sexualized content may face backlash.
Finally, remember that social media allows information to spread organically. So next time you’re creating a marketing video, ask yourself this: Is this a video that I would feel good about sharing with my friends? A ‘yes’ answer in this regard would be preferable.
Takeaway: Some emotions are more popular with the crowd then others. But remember to match the tone of your video with your business offerings.
7. Last but not least, think of your video as an all-rounded star, not a one-trick pony
While tales of viral success may give the impression that video marketing aims at making one-hit wonders, this cannot be further from the truth.
To begin with, majority of the videos do not go viral. For every successful viral marketing campaign, there are easily thousands others that fade into obscurity.
Furthermore, virality may not always be good news for you business. Do you want to pin your brand image down to a single video? Do you have the resources to deal with the surge in interest?
Remember how we were just talking about the emotions that lead to virality? Joy and awe spreads fast. But nothing spreads faster than anger. Better have that contingency plan ready, just in case your video goes viral for all the wrong reasons!
Lastly, the more viral a video gets, the less relevant it becomes. This is because viral videos attract a massive amount of viewers that have no intentions to convert.
So, a viral video might make your business an overnight star. But stars have to think about how they can maintain their stardom too. A single viral video is not going to serve all your marketing needs. Like all other content marketing strategies, developing a successful video strategy requires commitment and consistency.
Do you have a one-hit wonder? Consider revisiting your content from time to time.
To this end, creating videos that are consistent in nature will be more rewarding in the long run.
This doesn’t mean that you should be pestering your customers with a new video every few days. Nor does it mean that you should repeat yourself every chance you get.
A consistent video marketing strategy simply means that you maintain a uniform tone and centralised underlying message. It means staying relevant to the needs of your customers at different stages of the buying cycle, and addressing their concerns at each stage.
Start by drafting a systematic, long term plan. Knowing how they all come together to serve a particular marketing goal will prevent you from putting all your attention on a single video.
Looking into the future
Consider this: videos will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2021. As video technology continues to grow in sophistication,videos will only become increasingly relevant to business marketing.
To stand out – no, stay alive – in the future landscape of internet marketing, businesses have to find ways to adapt videos to serve their marketing needs. Video marketing need not be expensive, or hard. Innovative and low-cost examples abound. Your task now is to find the strategy that truly serves your needs well!