Over the past few years, online video has grown from a "nice to have" tool to a "must-have" for marketers. Today's consumers don't simply enjoy video; they expect it.
As the means of production, video delivery infrastructure and video viewing habits have evolved, the level of video watching online has soared. For example, MarketingProfs found that 181.4 million US Internet users watched more than 39.4 billion content videos on Google Sites. In any given month, 60% of the country watches online video.
Yes, these lofty stats are fueled more by entertainment than marketing videos, but as marketers, we are greatly interested in the habits and expectations of our customers. We need to deliver our information in a manner and in a medium in which it will be noticed, consumed, and appreciated.
Why do we feel video—particularly entertaining video—fits the bill?
Having video on a website's landing page makes it 53% more likely to show up on the first page of Google searches.
The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video than a website without one.
Email opt-outs can be reduced by as much as 75%.
Why Video Is Effective
Beyond matching user expectations, what makes video more effective? It's a faster path to engagement. People today are inundated with information 24/7/365 from 360°. Reading is slow. Reading requires more mental energy to visualize things. Video provides the quick fix. Video is like delivering story and visual style by IV instead of a pill.
Many companies contend that video is more effective because you can tell meaningful stories or make an emotional connection. While that is certainly true for TV and film, I';m not sure it applies to marketing videos. Most marketing videos are 2 minutes or shorter. What kind of emotional connection are you going to make? If you're raising funds for starving children, you have a chance. Beyond that, it's going to be difficult. Dollar Shave Club didn't get 10 million views because it made an emotional connection. The founder was funny and accessible, early in the video. In this case, "funny" is a subset of "engaging."
The key to success while managing the conception, scripting and production of your marketing videos is to engage your audience early. You are competing with mailboxes full of unread email, calls and texts from friends, push notifications from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram videos---and then there's everything that YouTube has to offer. Don't be shy. The meek shall inherit no leads.
Classic Examples of Engaging Videos
Humor, spectacle, and surprise are evergreen performers. Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" video, with 45.7 million views, satirizes commercials using male hunk stereotypes ... and is just plain silly.
Blendtec has produced a series of hilarious marketing videos to demonstrate the power of the company's blenders. The series introduced "Will It Blend?" into the Millennial lexicon, as a lab-coated spokesman shoves all manner of objects into a Blendtec to see whether they indeed will blend. The April 2010 successful attempt to blend an iPad has drawn nearly 16 million viewers.
Viewers reward receiving entertainment in advance. Melbourne Metro's "Dumb Ways to Die" public safety video waits until the 2:20 point of a 3:03 video to start delivering key messages, earning 50 million+ views.
Nevertheless, entertainment and humor can be difficult to execute. There's nothing wrong with presenting useful information clearly, concisely and sincerely—with just enough visual style to grab the audience's attention.
Master that and you can effectively incorporate video in your marketing outreach. These videos can introduce your product, company, or industry or explain complex topics. They can demonstrate your product or service, enhance your reputation and improve your SEO results.
Lower Budgets Through Online Resources
You won't need a huge budget. Cameras have gotten smaller and cheaper. Their light sensitivity has improved, reducing the need for lighting equipment. Online platforms have sprung up that enable the creation of both live and animated videos in the cloud. GoAnimate enables anyone to produce animated video clips with simple drag and drop tools. WeVideo provides a full set of cloud-based post-production tools. Sites such as Wistia and Vidyard provide hosting, analytics and smooth playback across multiple devices. Vidcaster specializes in helping businesses build a marketing-optimized site around their videos.
In today's video-obsessed world, getting started in video marketing is as easy as "Click, drag, action!" Over time, you will develop more experience and expertise that will allow you to fast-forward toward more ambitious video marketing goals.