In the early 2000s it was a running gag that as mobile phones became more technologically advanced they would continue to get smaller and smaller in size until the user would be holding nothing more than speck of plastic.
Of course, we now know that this joke, and many phone companies, failed to see the coming wave that began with the iPhone and continues to crest in 2017.
Since doing away with keyboards in favor of more screen real estate in 2007, the physical design that’s behind all of the tools we use to go online has one clear priority: visual content, and more specifically, video content. So instead of getting smaller, mobile devices, namely screens, have gotten bigger.
Given that the tools we use are designed with video at top of mind, it makes sense that our marketing efforts should try to leverage video to communicate our message. In broad strokes here is what we know:
- YouTube has over 1 billion monthly users, or about a third of all people on the internet - YouTube
- 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it - Animoto
And for agencies working in a B2B environment, things get even more interesting:
- 91% of businesses say they plan to increase or maintain their spending on video in 2016 - Wyzowl
- 70% of local businesses were satisfied with the performance of their online video marketing - LSA
- 75% of business executives watch work related videos at least weekly - Forbes
This blog will describe the current state and the trending future of video marketing within five categories online. After addressing the state of the union, I’ll provide actionable steps for you to start winning in each category, all without having to go to film school (like I did).
And hey, what would a blog about video be without a video? Check out some moving picture content I made below for a quick rundown of the most important stats from the blog.
1. Social is made for video marketing
I like to think of social media as an opportunity for a business to show a little more personality than might be possible or appropriate on their website. The way a business presents itself through its posts, interactions, likes and follows can often times tell me so much more about the business than an “about” section on a website. But why is that?
A huge factor is the ability to use visual media, especially video, to breathe vibrancy into what otherwise could be a pretty stale representation.
As a fun exercise I took a company that is well known for their bombastic and spectacular visual content (Old Spice) and photoshopped out all the visual content from their twitter page.
Yikes! This looks so boring and outdated. I encourage you to check out what their twitter page normally looks like to see visuals cranked up to 11!
But to get the absolute most out of your efforts, it’s important to know what’s trending right now. Here are two types of video content for social that I think could work well for small business.
- Live-streaming - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all make it easy for a business to share its most exciting and special moments with its audience in real time. This particular form of video content is great for offering “insider access”.
- Storytelling - Almost all big social media platforms have built in tools to help you create visual stories and post them temporarily. Businesses that take advantage are reaping the rewards. Plus because of the brevity of the content, there is room for experimentation, creativity and humour.
Actionable Step: Start experimenting with the basic video making tools provided through social media platforms and post temporarily. For example, use “boomerang” to shoot a video for Instagram and upload it as “my story”. Use the process to get comfortable with how simple and easy sharing videos on social platforms is.
2. Using video marketing on your website
If creating video for social gives a business personality, having video present on a website gives the business an air of professionalism. Interestingly, it can often be the same video content (context is everything). The stats more than back this up.
- Including video on a landing page (like this one) can increase conversions by 80% - Eyeview
- People spent on average 2.6x more time on pages with video than without - Wistia
- 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions - Invodo
With the effectiveness of video clearly demonstrated, here are two ways to get it done and examples of websites doing it right in 2017.
Embedding video into your homepage
Shameless self promotion, but we actually do it for our homepage and I think we do a great job of it. What Vendasta does can be hard to explain, but a video allows us to communicate that information quickly. For businesses that also exist in industries that can’t be described in a sentence, a “welcome” video could be the ticket.
Integrate video into the background of the web-design
This is more prevalent in creative industries, but I would push businesses to think outside the box and maybe start a trend amongst their competition. Just be careful, the wrong video can end up being a distraction from your message.
If you’re offering web services, building in a video option for your clients is a great way to boost the effectiveness of their website and build client trust.
Check out these two sites are embedding video in a really effective way.
Actionable Step: If you provide web services like design and hosting, take a closer look at what your options are for integrating video into your client’s products. Is it possible to have video backgrounds? What about just embedding a video on the homepage?
If you answer no to one or both of these questions, I would encourage you to consider expanding your offerings. For my money, WordPress offers the most options in terms of allowing video integration into websites.
3. Video marketing is great for SEO
I started and re-started writing this part of the blog a few times. I’ve read that video is good for SEO so that makes me an expert, right?? I wish. Fortunately, a real life SEO super hero works in the next room from me, so I spoke to him and here’s what he told me.
Why Video is great for SEO from Vendasta’s SEO expert Jubaer
- At the most fundamental level, video content is in step with what’s essentially Google’s main goal. Deliver highly relevant content that enhances the user’s experience online. As a result, when Google sees video, it rewards the page that hosts it.
- Video enhances your sites metrics around page sessions and bounce rate, both of which help significantly towards SEO.
- Video makes your content more shareable, and shares lead to backlinks—the backbone of increasing your rank.
Just a brief thought on this, too often it feels like SEO priorities and creative ideas have trouble finding alignment. Lean too far one way and your content loses its soul, lean too far the other and you're left with no audience. Learning that video can have a big impact on SEO warms my content strategy heart!
Actionable Step: If your clients are planning on getting started with video, get them to start a YouTube channel. This will get them the quick win of the backlink for their website in the channel description. Plus additional backlinks with every video they post by adding their URL in the video description.
4. Video marketing in email campaigns
Email campaigns are sort of like elevator pitches in the online space. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a elevator with someone willing to listen, you’ve got very limited time to sell them on your idea.
Fortunately, using video in your emails not only increases your ability to find an interested party, but it also buys you more time to tell your story. According to Invodo, just using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and clickthrough rates by 65%. Even more impressively, Forrester recently released findings suggesting that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million written words!
But with all that power in mind, perhaps what’s most exciting for email campaigns is how information in video is retained by the viewer. Studies have shown retention can be improved by as much as 95% compared to 10% when reading it in text (Insivia).
Actionable Step: Look at your previous email campaigns, and choose the ones that may have missed the mark. Translate the copy from the email into script format. Describe how the message would sound and look if it were produced for video in as much detail as possible. Would it be a talking head? Would it be a voice-over with a photo slide-show?
This brief exercise will hopefully demonstrate how easy the process of shaping your messages for video can be. Again, we don’t need the next masterpiece—the goal is to realize how achievable solid video messaging can be.
5. Video marketing content
We know that a strong content strategy is, amongst other things, great for SEO. We’ve also talked about how video can be huge value for SEO. So it feels like building a content strategy around producing video content is a match made in SERP ranking heaven.
What’s even cooler is that the biggest trend for 2017 and into the future seems to be developing video content around simply being helpful (so much less stressful than being funny and clever).
In fact, 48% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps provide instructional video content, and 73% of consumers say that regularly getting useful information from an advertiser is the most important attribute when selecting a brand (ThinkwithGoogle).
This can take many forms, but my favorite is making easy-to-follow how to videos that give the business a chance to showcase expertise and gain consumer trust.
Actionable Step: Work towards answering these questions:
- What are the most visually interesting aspects of the business?
- List which aspects of the business are most challenging to showcase in writing?
- What does the business do that’s most helpful to its customers? (This is likely not simply what the business sells). For example, the most helpful thing a business selling formal menswear could be teaching the customs of formal dress. Ie, how to tie a full windsor, or set your pocket square.
By getting specific answers to these questions, a direction for video content strategy will begin to reveal itself.
Putting it all together
The honest truth is that sometimes marketing can feel a little bit like you're trying to trick the user or tilt Google in your favour. That doesn’t mean you have nefarious intentions, it’s just that these are the rules of the game we play.
Video feels like a breath of fresh air that works for both user and marketer in a completely transparent way. People watch it because it’s the type of content they prefer. Google likes it because people like it. Marketers like it because people and Google like it (can I get an amen!).
If you are marketing online solutions, not including video in what you do is a real missed opportunity. Fortunately, along with the growing trend of customers craving video content so to have the options for production expanded. So no matter how you want to enter the video game, there is a great option for you.