Video moves us. No other medium can elicit an emotional response quite like video.
Consider iconic moments in sports, history, or even television. I still get chills watching "Miracle on Ice," I feel heavyhearted reliving the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and I can always count on a good laugh from The Office.
It's no wonder brands and companies of all sizes are experimenting with video now more than ever.
What matters for marketers, though, is understanding how to use video in engaging ways for your company. Let's review the five key questions to ask yourself before starting a video marketing campaign.
1. What is the purpose of the campaign?
It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often someone says "let's do a video," and the vision for it does not match the reality of the final product. Or the enthusiasm for the project gradually wanes as the objective and creative vision shift.
Video is not difficult, but it is different from other forms of communication, such as email and blog posts. With those, drafts can be deleted and revised as you consider the content in real time. For video, there is little room to think in the moment, unless you are Spielberg. Up front, you need to be certain of the purpose and the goal.
Here are some high-level types of video to consider:
- Awareness: promotes the company brand, product or service, so prospects with a need are aware that your company has a solution
- Engagement: used by Marketing or Sales in the pursuit of prospects
- Retention: used by account management or customer success to retain customers and boost satisfaction
- Product: demonstrates product capabilities
- Support: helps prospects and customers to onboard with a service or offers solutions to minimize customer support requests
2. What is the content of the video?
Like any other form of content, video must be relevant to its target audience. For example, it may not make sense to send C-level executives a support video, unless you are certain those executives are also the users of your product.
Consider the story your video will tell. What is the beginning, middle, and end? What key messages do you want your audience to take away? Storyboard the video, so the narrative is clear.
Also, it is important to maintain authenticity. If a person is speaking in your video, do not provide a script. High-level talking points will do, enabling them to communicate key messages in their own style and to come across as more genuine.
Of course, maintaining your audience's attention is important as well. Your marketing video should probably be less than a minute long. We've experimented with several durations, some as short as 20 seconds and others that stretch beyond five minutes. Product or support videos may require more time, but for marketing-oriented videos, shorter is better.
3. What should the production quality be?
The answer is, "It depends." Consider the best option for your audience—DIY or professional production.
Modern mobile phone cameras are adequate for shooting very short clips (less than 20 seconds). We see success with this format when promoting a webinar or sharing a quick message to stop by our booth at a tradeshow. We also send company updates using this approach, and find information shared by video rather than email is much more engaging and measurable; of course, these videos are just for internal consumption, so we can get away with an unpolished quality.
Your choices are clear: Hire an outside party, or bring the production in-house. Each option has its pros and cons, and your decision depends on the investment you are willing and able to make with video, as well as the purpose you are fulfilling. (My colleague James Hamar, multimedia producer at Brightcove, shares four factors to consider when debating between hiring an agency or bringing video production in-house.)
4. Where should I distribute my video?
Congratulations! You shot and produced your video. Now where do you publish it? Your website, YouTube? If it is an awareness-oriented video, the answer is simply "yes" to both. A blended distribution strategy lets you capitalize on the benefits of YouTube's audience, especially when it's combined with the control and analytics that an online video platform can provide.
Also consider relevant social channels. If you are confident your target audience is watching videos via social, narrow it down to the most applicable channels and publish video there, too. Just make sure the video content matches the social network's audience and environment. (For example, post short videos on Twitter to be more effective, since quick, sound bites align with its style.)
5. What should I measure once the video campaign is live?
Like email metrics (e.g., opens, clickthrough rates), video has its own metrics that provide a performance update. Key metrics to keep top of mind are...
- Impressions are the number of opportunities someone has for watching the video.
- Views are the number of times someone watches a video.
- Play rate is a measure of how engaging your video is (calculate by dividing views by impressions).
- Engagement rate is a signal of when viewership drops off.
Engagement rate is especially important. This metric breaks up your video into 100 equal segments; if 80 segments are watched, for example, the engagement rate is 80%. If a video is 60 seconds long, an 80% engagement rate means it was watched up to the 48-second mark.
This detailed metric can signal when viewers are dropping off, allowing you to make adjustments. For example, if the engagement rate is 80%, the video could be too long, the content might not be matching viewers' interests, or the video simply isn't engaging enough to maintain attention.
* * *
Video campaigns have a lot in common with traditional digital marketing campaigns, so don't be intimidated. To organize your video campaign, ask yourself the above-outlined five questions before you start. You'll be able to produce quality content, build an engaged audience, and measure the results.
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