Consumers don’t just enjoy video — they expect it. It’s by far the preferred way to consume content on almost every platform. Video also significantly influences customer buying decisions, making it one of the best reliable digital marketing investments.
Of course, it’s not as simple as throwing out random videos and hoping something lands. Like any marketing effort, video should be guided by solid strategy. You must approach video with a well-laid plan if you want to maximize the return on your video investments.
Put simply: because people want it. Statistic after statistic shows an overwhelming consumer preference for video content.
- Videos are customers’ favorite type of content to see from brands on social media (Animoto, 2018)
- More than 50 percent of consumers want to see videos from brands (source)
- One-third of online activity is spent watching video (source)
- 85 percent of US internet audience watches videos online (source)
- Viewers retain more information from video than text (source)
This engagement directly translates into purchasing behavior. 90 percent of consumers say that video helps them make buying decisions, and of those, 64 percent say that seeing a video makes them more likely to make a purchase. Videos have proven to have reliable ROI. (Yes, that’s a lot of statistics, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. See more under “Video Marketing Engagement Statistics” here.)
Social media, of course, is the avenue most brands choose for their videos, and it’s where consumers spend the most time watching videos. The uses of video, however, are limitless. Videos can be used to enhance blog posts, native articles, web landing pages and emails (emails with videos receive more click-throughs). And thanks to ongoing technological innovation, high-quality videos have never been easier to produce and publish. In this golden age of online video, the most popular web platforms are all scrambling to be video-friendly.
Putting Video Into Action: How to Create a Video Marketing Strategy
Once you decide to make video an integral part of your overall marketing plan, it’s important to do it strategically. You might be tempted to start with a video and try to make it fit somewhere, but to maximize the ROI from your efforts, you need to make a plan first. Here are some questions to guide you:
- What’s the goal? What do you hope to get out of your video campaign? Are you trying to collect leads? Are you hoping to simply increase brand engagement and awareness? Consider both your short-term and long-term goals for your videos. A short-term goal of building an audience could support the long-term goal of increasing brand recognition.
- How will your videos benefit viewers? In exchange for their time, viewers will expect something of value — usually information or entertainment. Yes, you are promoting your brand, but people won’t watch an ad unless they get something out of it.
- How will you measure the success of your videos? Your KPI should stem from goals you identified in question No. 1. If you are trying to collect leads, how many leads must a video generate in order to be worth the investment? If you’re trying to increase engagement, which metrics will you measure (comments, views, shares, etc.), and what are your numbers?
- What is your budget and how can you maximize it? As you consider where you can cut expenses, go back to the purpose of the video and the benefit it provides to viewers. Anything that doesn’t directly support those two things is an area that can potentially be trimmed.
- What are you ultimately selling? For example, if you are providing a service, a video showcasing your brand can replace a written “about me” section. If you are selling a product, a video demonstration is a great way to show consumers how it works and provide a panoramic display.
Your answers to those questions will guide your decisions on things like when and where to upload your videos, how often to upload new content, and the length and content of your videos. Don’t stop there, though — be sure to create a specific plan for each platform. If you plan to use your videos on social media — and you definitely should — it’s important to tailor your video to the channel. Each has its strengths, challenges and audience expectations. A video that is successful on one channel might not perform well on another.
Here are some video tips for each of the main social platforms:
- Facebook: Though the site allows long video uploads, most Facebook users will watch for less than a minute before scrolling on, so focus on short clips. Adding captions can boost views, since 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound. You can create an ongoing story with Facebook’s Seasons and Episodes features.
- Instagram: Videos appearing in Instagram’s main feed should maximize space by using a 1:1 aspect ratio, while Story videos are typically vertically oriented. Keep your videos under 60 seconds. Adding a swipe-through link is an easy way to turn views into site traffic.
- Twitter: When sized correctly, videos can be up to several minutes long on Twitter, but quicker clips (30 seconds or less) perform best. In fact, even GIFs are a good option. Remember, this is a platform for bite-sized content.
- LinkedIn: Again, consider your audience. LinkedIn users tend to dedicate more time and energy to the content they create and share, so this is a great place for long-form content. Videos uploaded directly to LinkedIn tend to perform better than videos linked from third-party platforms.
- YouTube: Because YouTube viewers are so diverse, the length of your video is much less important than how quickly it grabs viewers’ attention (ideally, within the first three seconds). When a video is successful, follow it up with similar content to encourage viewers to keep coming back.
Once you produce the videos and begin integrating them into your strategy, make sure to monitor the performance of each video by tracking the KPIs you established beforehand. Do your views consistently drop off around the same time marker? Are your videos performing much better on YouTube than on Instagram? Use your findings to inform future campaigns.
Consumers’ over-the-top enthusiasm for video makes it an essential medium, but it doesn’t automatically guarantee results. You have to deploy videos purposefully, track meticulously and use real-world numbers to guide your decisions. With the right know-how and a solid strategy, though, you should be well-equipped to successfully leverage video as a powerful marketing tool.