A video component in marketing campaigns can help drive engagement and so generate positive ROI.
But producing high-quality video content is prohibitive for many brands that might lack the bandwidth or resources to create the right kind of video that fits their image and goals.
Stock video footage can help, offering a wide variety of high-quality content types to help companies with messaging, sales, and other initiatives.
Stock footage is used extensively in a variety of formats. It's included in presentations and ads, and also in content that is intended to become viral or is targeted toward social media fans or followers.
Video content is compelling, and stock video footage can be an effective way to draw attention to a brand. To generate an audience, video footage needs to visually engage viewers and provide them with meaningful information. If it doesn't offer some value (whether information or entertainment), then you need to look at an alternative.
Here are some best-practices for brands that want to get the most out of stock video:
- First impressions matter. An exciting book cover will pull in readers, and an engaging video frame poster can do the same. You need to entice viewers to press the play button.
- Be original. Consider using hand-drawn or stop motion animations to convey a warmer brand image and introduce a sense of fun and whimsy to the content. Live motion or futuristic 3D renderings can appear cold and flat.
- Embrace the element of surprise. Footage can have impact when used in place of a still image. The viewer can be surprised by unexpected movement.
- Don't set videos to auto-play, especially if they have sound. You want the viewer to be in control of playing the video; otherwise, it might seem forced or interruptive. There are sometimes exceptions if you need it to auto-play for accessibility reasons, but the overall rule is to avoid it.
- Keep it short and simple. Attention spans continue to shrink and no one is going to sit through a two- or three-minute video. You want to quickly engage the viewer, keep them captivated, and then close with the action you want them to take.
- Use HD resolution to present crisp videos. You should also select optimized video that is bandwidth-friendly, which is especially important for users accessing the content via mobile.
- Combining your own video content with stock video has to be seamless in order to avoid any disconnect. You can supplement it with your own professionally done graphics or footage to make it look more authentic. Think of stock footage as an enhancement to your own content.
- What about costs? Typical stock video costs between $10 and $35, with the upper range at $150 for certain content. This low price provides brands with a cost-efficient way to present professional video content. Going with a bargain basement price might mean the stock company is skirting licensing rules, so be sure you go with an established company.
- Work on the script. A good video should tell a story, with a clear and clever introduction, the main story or product benefits in the middle, and a convincing closing. Develop a succinct and engaging script that matches your visuals. If you're pulling video from multiple sources, then make sure the script flows and the overall tone isn't muddled.
- Avoid the cliché. We've all seen "handshake" stock videos, or classroom scenes where people are paying rapt attention. Stay away from that type of video, because they can portray your brand as amateurish and bland. Select contemporary content that goes with your brand's overall look and audience.
- Any models used in the video should be relatable to your audience and their age. Don't try to reach teens with stock footage of 40-year-olds from 2001. You also need to watch the models' body language and speaking styles to be sure they portray the right messaging.
How to Find the Right Stock Footage
You always want to keep the audience in mind. It's their opinions and ultimate actions that really matter, so videos should be chosen based on their needs. Consider the messaging you want, coupled with what the audience wants to see, and then focus on authenticity and building a personal connection.
Work only with companies that distribute content for licensing, not just for viewing. You want to be sure you choose stock footage firms that have proven records of not only offering quality and diverse content but also having all of the proper model releases and other information on file. You don't want the stink of a lawsuit hanging over your brand because you improperly used stock video footage. The best companies have bulletproof licensing standards.
The key things to look for are quality, relevancy, diversity, and price. Providers of stock video can help you coordinate branding by offering images with the same models or settings found in your videos. This is especially important for marketing collateral where you need to present a consistent image.
Used properly, quality licensed stock video footage allows companies to offer a more dynamic presence without prohibitive expense.