Unless you’ve been living under a rock - or possibly, in Montana - you’re hearing about video marketing and, even more likely, you consume vast quantities of video online. In one sense it’s funny that video is now being hailed as the new thing in marketing, when it has been the choice of marketers since TV has existed. That is, if you had the budget.
And that’s one of the reasons that video marketing is exciting right now: it’s so damn accessible! The other reasons, which I’ll talk about below, are compelling as well. In fact, doing research for this article has convinced us that it needs to be a key part of our marketing plan in 2015, so look for that coming soon.
What is Video and How is it Different?
It’s important to start with a few points here. Many marketers getting into using video on their websites or via social media tend to treat it like the other content they’ve been creating: typically, blog posts. But video isn’t text (duh), and in fact is everything text isn’t.
Video is audio, visual and conceptual stimulation happening all at once. On one side, this seems to make it easier to engage viewers, on the other, it can be daunting to be engaging on all three levels. Video is NOT interchangeable with other formats automatically and differs in the following ways:
Easy to consume - very little effort required to digest compared to reading text or infographics
Difficult to scan - hopping around to a particular spot in a video is difficult, whereas on a well-structured blog post a simple scroll up and down will do it
Moves at its own pace - this is well suited for quick explanations or presentations, but not for more complex topics where viewers might need to pause to process information
So, is it ironic that I’m lauding the virtues of video marketing by writing about it? Not at all - this article is meant to be a skimmable guide and contains more stats than I’d recommend putting in a video.
Why Use Video in Marketing?
I’m not going to preach to you here. I don’t think I need to. The numbers will speak for themselves. This is what convinced me that Crosshatch Creative needs to start video marketing, and I’m betting it’ll do the same for you:
It’s not overly crowded (but it will be)
Online video is where blogging was a few years ago. Because there were fewer blogs posting less frequently, it was easy to get noticed and establish a following. This was so successful that the number of blogs increased by around 5x from 2006 - 2011 and now, going into 2015, has become saturated and it’s hard to get noticed. However, the early adopters like Techcrunch, Mashable, and Seth Godin are still enjoying popularity.
Now look at the current video stats, according to a study by the Web Video Marketing Council: 70% of marketers surveyed in 2013 planned to increase their spending on video. Video is going the way of blogging, and the earlier you adapt the more effective it will be.
Users consume mass quantities of video
You probably know this intuitively, because if you’re like me and almost anyone else, you watch video online regularly. Even so, the numbers reported are staggering: in December of 2013 188.2 million people watched 52.4 billion videos online. This is only expected to increase as video will make up 74% of all internet traffic by 2017.
Again, it will pay to get in early (or at least earlier).
Video provides an unmatched emotional connection with viewers
Any competent marketer knows that emotion sells. Dr. Donald Calne sums it up nicely:
“The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”
The emotional brain processes incoming sensory experience five times faster than our “reasonable” brain. Observing and reacting to our environment happens in our old brain and dates back to before our cognitive brain even developed; video takes advantage of this. Information absorbed via text arrives more slowly because it must pass through the cognitive brian. So the train looks like this:
It’s been shown time and again that people buy on emotions, and then justify with reason. Video intake matches that process. Videos with people are even better - our mirror neurons trigger empathy when watching others say, having a great time with your product. We feel like we’re having a great time, too.
Have you noticed how Coca Cola commercials say literally nothing about the product, and instead focus on pulling heartstrings with their product nearby? Also, it’s the most popular soft drink in the world (though the early use of cocaine as an ingredient might have helped).
This emotional theory manifests itself in real engagement. The following numbers comparing posts with video to those without are from the blog at Moz.com:
Time on page:
It Contributes to SEO
The number 2 most popular search engine in the world is YouTube, which as you know is owned by Google, the number 1 most popular search engine in the world. It stands to reason that content on YouTube will contribute to your overall search traffic. Because they are connected, your video on YouTube could rank in Google. This doesn’t necessarily mean you rank higher, but when you do rank it does attract the eye and will usually result in more clicks than a non-video result. Be careful though - for certain types of searches, it could decrease click-through-rates. Here we invoke the optimization mantra of “always be testing” - make sure it works for you. Here's an example screenshot for comparison:
Another study from Moz.com shows that posts with video receive more backlinks than other types of posts. As backlinks are a key factor that Google considers in search engine rankings, this is a big one.
YouTube and Vimeo also provide more ways to be found. Your video can appear in the related videos after another clip is done, or on the right side of the screen while another video is playing. I’ve talked to video marketers that claimed these related video listings were their main source of traffic and subscribers.
Ways to Use Video
I’m expecting by now you’re at least interested in seeing what video can do for you. Here are some ways video can humanize your brand and help generate leads that are ready to close.
We recently added product demonstration videos across a client’s ecommerce website. The effect, in the words of the client, is that “sales are starting to go crazy.” Crazy, but not surprising - 90% of buyers say that a product video helps them make a decision.
Similarly to showing products, service explanations help in the decision process, and they have the additional benefit of humanizing your brand and creating a face-to-face connection. Make sure you do them correctly, though - read Neil Patel’s post on how to create a video that will actually convert.
Boost Email Campaigns
First, if you don’t use email as part of your marketing, you’re missing out on the #1 most effective type of digital marketing. If you do, video can make your email marketing even more effective. According to the Invodo report linked to earlier, simply including the word “video” in your email subject line ups open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and decreases unsubscribes by 26%. That’s powerful stuff.
Frequent Tips or Advice
Explainer videos help customers who are closer to the end of the funnel. Videos providing consistent useful and/or entertaining content help fill the top of the funnel with subscribers and expands your reach to people not already coming to your website.
Lastly, video can provide a window into your company like no other medium. Short clips of your team working on projects, volunteering at events, or having a good time at a company party are all great ways to show this. I do list this last for a reason - if you’re just starting, the above uses will get you more direct bang for your buck.
Why aren’t more people doing this?
Perceived barriers to entry are probably about what you would expect, and possibly what you’re thinking to yourself right now:
37.2% say it’s cost
27.0% say it’s difficulty in creating quality content
There is no denying that there is additional cost, at the very least in terms of time and attention. However, given the benefits, any marketer looking to get ahead of the curve should find a way to get in the game. It doesn’t have to be so daunting.
Keys to Success
These are really not that different than any other type of marketing, but they bear repeating:
Start Small - even if you plan on ramping up, start small to work out any kinks and course-correct before increasing investment.
Start with services/product videos, which will get more mileage than videos made for your blog or feed as they’ll likely be in more trafficked areas of your site and be relevant for longer.
Be consistent - Choose a frequency of production you can stick with. I recommend doing this AFTER you have created, posted, and promoted your first video, and watched the results. Only then will you know the true effort required.
Make it entertaining! Even if you think you have bland products, you can make them fun. Example: A blender demonstration video sounds pretty boring, but Blendtec got creative and came up with this:
Enough reading, time to get started. If you have questions about integrating videos into your current marketing plan or website design, connect with us. Stay tuned for future posts by following on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.