Show, don't tell. That is the simplest yet most powerful lesson a storyteller can learn. As marketers put more emphasis on content that tells a story, we need to remember that old writing adage—even though it's much easier said than done.

Fortunately, today's marketers are using video to put the emphasis on showing. Video is the perfect format for quickly grabbing busy audiences' attention. It enables strong storytelling in a short but memorable format that viewers can enjoy—and marketers can measure.

Grabbing the attention of potential customers is more important than ever in a world where buyers do most of their own research online before ever contacting a vendor. We have to cut through the noise and engage our prospects with content that entertains, inspires, and educates them about what we do and who we are, including the culture of our companies.

Facts tell, but stories sell, as they say. There is no better medium than video for storytelling.

Up until recently, most marketers have used video sparingly as a way to enhance their website, but very few have invested in it strategically as a way to improve the results of marketing and sales programs. That's about to change.

Here's what to expect from video marketing in 2015.

1. The play button will take center stage as the most compelling call to action on the Web

How do we know that audiences prefer video content over other formats? We have the data to prove it. Survey after survey supports it.

Some 65% of viewers watch more than three-quarters of a given video, according to Invodo. Any content marketer would be thrilled with that kind of readership for a piece of text. Moreover, more than 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium.

Video content is becoming a surefire way to increase click-through rates and digital conversions, and marketers are starting to take notice.

Simply put, the play button has become as the most compelling call to action on the Web.

2015 will be the year that video becomes an integrated part of email marketing, content marketing, social, SEO, and demand-generation programs, helping marketers improve their day-to-day results while increasing brand affinity and enhancing customer relationships.

2. Video analytics and attribution will take the lead

Data-driven marketing is all the rage, and new marketing technologies have made it possible to track the digital interactions of online audiences and measure the performance of marketing programs. This trend will continue in 2015 as marketers look to extract greater insights from their marketing systems to improve results.

As video becomes a more prominent part of the marketing mix, video analytics will become extremely important—and extremely valuable.

Modern video marketing platforms now offer the ability to track much more than just view counts. Marketers can gain insight into actual audience engagement and average drop-off rates for their videos, as well as how each video is contributing to lead generation and revenue.

The days of view counts being the ultimate measure of success will soon be gone, replaced by an understanding of who is watching each video asset and how video is actually contributing to marketing and sales goals.

3. Video will become a strategic tool for lead generation and qualification

Videos can easily become active lead-generation tools. Adding an email gate to the start of your video or a lead collection form to the end allows you to create new, well-qualified leads who are interested in your content. That information can now be tied directly to contact records in marketing automation and CRM systems, providing a qualified lead that can be tied back to actual engagement in your online content. Marketers are already starting to take advantage of this capability, and we'll see an uptick in usage in 2015.

But what's even more compelling is the use of video-viewing data to better score, segment, and qualify your leads.

By tracking video viewing activities of your prospects, you can gain better insight into who your hottest leads are and you can increase your conversion velocity. And as the importance of video marketing increases both for your website and your content marketing programs, tracking video interactions will be critical.

What's even more powerful is that you can now track how long an individual actually remains engaged in a video, enabling you to treat a lead who watches only 10 seconds differently from one who watches the video all the way to the end.

Only video offers a reliable means of tracking actual engagement with content, and 2015 is the year that marketers will start to use these insights to their advantage.

4. YouTube will be a complement, not the focus

YouTube is a great channel for distributing videos. It can help you expand your reach and attract new audiences. But it should not be the only place you distribute your content, nor should it be the hosting platform for videos embedded on your own website and across other social networks.

Though YouTube offers a very affordable solution for video hosting, it lacks the tools you need to make video an integrated part of your digital brand and content marketing programs, and it doesn't offer the data and tools you need to turn video assets into valuable marketing tools.

In 2015, more marketers will realize the importance of video as a part of their digital marketing and demand generation strategies, and they will come to understand that YouTube isn't the best way to optimize results.

5. Use of video analytics as part of marketing automation and CRM will increase

Although more than 70% of marketers report that video converts better than other content types, fewer than 10% are actually using video analytics to enhance lead qualification and customer insights. As more marketers use video to attract and engage their audiences, they'll quickly want to start collecting video analytics within their marketing automation and CRM platforms to turn data into results.

That step is critical to maximizing the value of video. It's what gives marketers the comprehensive insight into how prospects interact with the brand across multiple channels throughout the buying journey, and it also enables them to start reporting on video's impact on lead generation, pipeline development, and closed revenue.

And that's when marketers will know whether they've been doing too much telling and not enough showing.

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2015 Will Be the Year of Video Marketing

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image of Tyler Lessard

Tyler Lessard is co-author of The Visual Sale and a believer in the power of being helpful and human. As VP of marketing at Vidyard, Tyler was immersed in the worlds of video marketing, video selling, content marketing, and customer experience. He's been recognized by Demand Gen Report as the top B2B Buyer-Centric marketer and by Adobe as a Top 50 Fearless Marketer.