Web 2.0 has facilitated a dramatic change in the way that organizations and businesses communicate with customers and other stakeholders. One of the fastest growing communication tools resulting from this change is online video.
In this digital world where people express themselves in 140 characters or less, video is becoming a preferred way to communicate. Cisco estimates that by 2018, 84% of Internet traffic will be video.
That’s because video is one of the most efficient ways of getting a message across. According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. While this seems hard to believe, his statement is the result of a simple formula based on the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Clearly, video can deliver complex messages in an engaging way through the combined use of sight and sound.
Who is Using Video?
Even though it has been in existence for just 10 years, YouTube has over a billion users. They watch more than four billion videos each day. YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches a month and is now the second largest search engine behind Google which handles 100 billion searches per month. And while some YouTube viewers can’t get enough cute baby and funny pet videos, there are many more who are looking for information. It is possible to find a video on just about anything on You Tube.
The organizations and businesses that are using video are as diverse as the viewers themselves. Advance Auto Parts, a provider of quality car parts, truck parts, advice and accessories uses online videos as “how to” guides for customers that self install their auto parts. Advance Auto follows a disciplined strategy that produces videos tailored to provide the right information at the right time for the right customer. The emphasis is on serving the customer rather than being self serving. Using this approach, they have experienced an increase in conversion rates (sales).
In his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR David Meerman Scott cites the example of Mary McNeight. She is the owner of Seattle based Service Dog Academy, a provider of private training sessions for service and pet dogs. The Service Dog Academy website features instructional videos McNeight produced with an inexpensive video camera and software on her Macbook. These educational videos generate high search engine rankings. By Ms. McNeight’s own admission she went “…from barely having any students to getting anywhere from 20-40 emails per day requesting my services and advice…”Her first instructional video “Best Dog Food Puzzle: The Kongsicle” is on the Service Dog Academy website and their branded YouTube channel. The Service Dog Academy You Tube channel has nearly 1,000 subscribers and over 95,000 views since 2010. Like Advance Auto, Service Dog Academy videos are more about helping customers than direct promotion.
Light Speed, is a Connecticut based eLearning and Multimedia development firm. Carlton O’Neal, Managing Partner said, “We saw the potential of leveraging the power of video many years ago and made a conscious decision to transition away from consulting, facilitator led training and development to eLearning and multimedia.
Light Speed’s video marketing, has enabled them to secure numerous appointment with senior leaders of major corporations by asking, “What if we can show you everything you need to know about Light Speed in 90 seconds and be out of your office in under 15 minutes?” Time after time, this approach has led to business for this cutting edge firm. O’Neal says, “We are true believers in using video in our marketing and promotional mix.”
What is being done with video?
Videos can be posted on several different platforms, 24/7 at little or no cost. In their 2014 State of Video in the Enterprise Report, Kaltura found that a majority of businesses use video for customer training (65%) and customer webinars (60%). Videos are also increasingly being found on company websites, in email campaigns and on social media.
Website: Videos can help generate high search engine rankings for websites. That’s why a website should be one of the first places to post videos. You have the flexibility to post videos anywhere on your site – home page or landing pages. Research shows that adding video content to a text heavy web page can increase customer engagement. Mist Media reports that the average consumers spend 88% more time on a website with video. Diode Digital found that 60% of viewers will watch video on a website before reading any text. A landing page with a video gets up to 800% more conversions than a page without a video. (Source: Orion21).
Email: More marketers are using videos in emails to improve the performance of their campaigns. Incorporating videos into email marketing campaigns can increase open and click through rates dramatically. Research shows that emails with video have a 5.6% higher open rate and a 96.4% higher click-through rate.
Why is video a better option?
Video is a better option because of lower costs, more control and human nature.
Many business owners and executives mistakenly believe that video content is an expensive option. However, their beliefs are based on the old paradigm where highly polished corporate video took months to produce and cost thousands of dollars. Today however marketers have low and no cost options of creating or curating video content. Do it yourselfers can use smartphones to produce low cost videos that are stunning. While it is true that high quality multimedia video can be fairly expensive, animated Power Point presentations, white board animation and flash animation offer ways to create affordable video content at significantly lower costs than a television commercial.
For those that are less daring and creative, curation of video content is a viable alternative. Content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information on a particular topic. Basically, you are sharing content produced by someone else on your own digital mediums and platforms. Essentially when you share the content of others you are endorsing them. It is therefore a good idea to make sure that their views are consistent with yours. Also, it is a good idea to give credit to those whose content you have shared.
Unlike TV ads, businesses have complete control over when, where and how long a video stays on and where it is seen. Companies can also control costs by selecting lower cost options or even by deciding to share the video of others, an even lower cost option.
People Are Rational and Emotional
As with any marketing solution, a clear understanding of targeted audiences is a key prerequisite. When determining the appropriate mix of video and text content to use in digital marketing, keep in mind that people are both rational and emotional in their decision making. Video and text content combined can accommodate both sides of the human mind.
While studies show that people are more likely to remember a video, there is ample evidence that people are more intellectually involved when reading text. Video content can engage the consumer who is at the top of sales funnel deciding whether to buy. This is an ideal opportunity to connect with prospects on an emotional level. As the prospect progresses along the sales funnel the intellectual side kicks in and they are more likely to read text content.
The use of video for marketing will only increase in the next few years. The data supports this increased use. It is a proven viable communications alternative that offers benefits in terms of lower costs, control and customer engagement. Savvy businesses can jump start their results by adding video to their marketing.