Wondering how to take online video to the next level? How do you make it an integral part of your strategy? Justin Schauble of New District Media and I recently spoke at an American Marketing Association, Washington, DC Chapter event where we broke down the key components to executing a successful online video marketing strategy.
Let’s start with some stats. According to Hubspot, nearly 75% of all web traffic is video. 55% of people watch online video every day, and in 2016, amounted to more than 500 million hours. Those are some incredible numbers, and they’re only increasing each year. We see so many organizations look at video as an afterthought in their marketing strategies, when really, it should be at the forefront.
Video has a lot going for it in the online space:
- YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine (behind Google)
- It’s mobile friendly: More and more people are watching video on their smartphones.
- It’s shareable: Social media platforms make sharing video incredibly simple.
- It builds trust: It creates a connection between your brand and the viewer.
What Makes a Successful Online Marketing Video
Justin and I often bring up the following points when we're speaking with clients in the early stages of planning marketing videos. They help frame the conversation and define a direction.
- Define success: What is your objective? You need have an endgame in mind and have a plan for how to get there.
- Video = brand awareness: Keeping your brand as part of the conversation among your audience is what it’s all about. You want your audience to always be engaged with your brand.
- Story is king: Have a clear message. Know what you want to say and how that fits into your campaign or overall brand strategy.
- Understand your Audience: You must know who you want to reach. Know their habits. When and where are they most likely to watch your videos? Understanding how they like to engage with your brand provides great insight into how to reach them.
- Be authentic: You have to stay true to the fabric of your brand. If there’s a certain aspect of your brand that really resonates with people, embrace it, and be open to new directions it can take you.
Planning Your Next Online Video
Once you've decided you have a need for online video, it's time to figure out how you're going to move forward. Consider these points during the planning process.
- Does it need to be video? Sometimes it doesn’t. Not every marketing push needs video. Knowing when and when not to use video will help you save money and put those dollars toward more effective opportunities.
- Define your audience(s): Who are they? Do you have multiple audiences? Consider targeting each audience differently. The “one size fits all” approach doesn’t always work.
- Creative Approach: Do you know what you want, or are you looking to an outside firm for creative advice? There are lots of solutions, such as testimonials, web spots, explainers, direct-to-camera, animations, scripted, doc-style, etc.
- Online video should never exist alone: Think about it…you usually don’t just post a video with no explanation. There should always be more information that surrounds it, such as a call to action, social media posts, or tags for searches. Crafting the short messages that complement your video will help drive conversions.
- Focus on distribution: Getting your video seen by your audience is the most important step. Shares, likes, and audience engagement leads to conversions. Tailor your video to the appropriate distribution channels. For example, a video destined for your website might not work as well on social media. Consider several versions designed for each channel.
Budgeting For Your Next Online Video
It’s no secret that cost is the biggest factor when deciding to move ahead with an online marketing video. Here’s a few tips on how to control costs.
- Internal or external: Are you producing the video in-house or working with a video production company or agency? Both have advantages and disadvantages. Producing a piece in-house may save you direct costs, but the time and employee resources necessary to put a video together add up quickly. External agencies can be expensive, but there’s less pull on employee resources. Consider which is best for you.
- Be realistic: Have a sense of what you can get for your budget. Talk with potential vendors to help plan for video needs. Pulling a number out of the air can often lead to unrealistic expectations and frustrations.
- Budget Season: Speaking of planning, account for online video marketing costs during your company’s budgeting season. If the money is already allocated, then it’s part of your strategy and that’s where you want to be. If it’s not, then producing video might be harder since it wasn’t part of the plan.
- “Gotcha” Cost Drivers:
Creative: If your budget is tight, consider coming up with an approach yourself.
Reviews and revisions: Making multiple revisions takes time and labor so try to avoid re-arranging deck chairs.
Quick turnarounds & rushes: Don’t expect last minute changes or projects that need to be completed yesterday to come cheap.
- Controlling Costs:
Write the script or messaging yourself. You probably know the content the best, so writing the script can save creative dollars. Even writing the first draft and having an external company refine it will save you money.
Provide assets to use, such as existing brand graphics, photos, or video. If you’ve got content that’ll work, use it!
Once you settle on creative approach, stick to it. Abruptly changing direction mid project can lead to costly changes.
Using online video successfully requires a significant commitment from all stakeholders. The results might not be immediately apparent, but having content that is distributed on a regular basis and is authentic to your brand will not only drive loyalty, but continued engagement and ROI.