Video content is dominating the world of marketing, and continues to surge in popularity. From in-depth tutorials to product reviews and video ads, video content outperforms text-based content in almost every way:
- Users spend up to 88% more time on websites containing video content.
- Short videos of no more than two minutes in length earn the highest engagement rates.
- Video content generates more social media shares than images and text combined.
Marketers are increasingly turning to video as their medium of choice. But building brand awareness and cultivating qualified leads takes more than learning how to create a video. It demands patient, accurate marketing research and a strategic marketing plan that makes the most of this exciting format.
1. Get the presentation right
There is a difference between going to a movie theater to see the latest blockbuster hit and streaming it directly into your bedroom. While you can’t go to the theater in your pajamas, you get a far more immersive experience from the 72-foot wide IMAX screen and the six-channel surround sound audio system. The lights dim and everyone is silent – it’s almost a mythical experience.
Your video content works the same way.
Every piece of content you make should be optimized for the context in which viewers will engage with it. That often means taking control of the way in which your content is presented.
Video marketers often make the mistake of over-relying on free video hosting platforms like YouTube. You cannot control your video’s presentation nor the context in which it appears (next to other videos) on YouTube. You also can’t establish a sales funnel or give users something more useful than a comments section – in short, your presentation is deeply limited.
Whether you plan on embedding video links into emails, sharing them on social media, or even buying an advertising spot at a national theater chain, there are dozens of context-appropriate conversion opportunities you could be capitalizing on. Identify them and make sure your approach guides viewers towards them.
2. Align your content with your marketing strategy
Every video serves a purpose. That purpose does not necessarily have to be explicit – although the majority of them are – but if your video’s purpose is to get viewers to do something, you want to align that something with the goals of a larger marketing strategy.
The secret of video marketing is that no video stands on its own. Even the biggest viral hits, with millions of page views, can’t sell products and services on their own. Behind every successful marketing video is a broader context, and a mechanism for turning page views into sales.
This is where it pays to implement the Four Ps of Marketing:
- Product: Your product (or service) should be the focus point of your overall marketing strategy. That doesn’t mean it has to play a central role in your marketing video content, however. The story you’re telling is ultimately about helping people in some way – your product is just part of how that happens.
- Price: Your price point plays a large role setting viewers’ expectations. A DIY accessory brand will get more out of a low-budget marketing video than a luxury watch manufacturer that wants to compete with Rolex. In general, the overall production quality of your video will impact whether customers view you as a bargain or premium brand.
- Promotion: Video content is promotional content. In order to be successful, it must benefit from an optimized marketing system that enables you to conduct research, qualify leads, and ultimately inform your sales team. Choosing the right video hosting platform for your video marketing campaign is a key component of this.
- Place: The final aspect of marketing to take into consideration is your viewer’s actual environment. People at work have different priorities and attention spans than people at home, or in the car. Your calls to action should be placed with this context in mind.
3. Add a great call to action
A well-placed, well-executed call to action can make a huge difference in your video marketing strategy’s success. Although the concept is simple, the art of making a great call to action is a subtle one.
Call to action placement might be the single most important thing to consider for this important marketing element.
While the overwhelming majority of video marketers place their calls to action at the end of their video, research indicates that mid-roll calls to action – placed right in the middle of the video content – outperforms every other option, on average.
A good call to action has to be connected to the story the content tells. If you are announcing a new feature, placing a mid-roll call to action can capitalize on viewers’ excitement at its peak – waiting until the end of the video might cost you conversions.
The next most important aspect to consider is the form of the call to action itself. Texts, images, and HTML are the by far the most popular options.
- Text-based calls to action are usually small, clickable messages shown to audiences during a video. Clicking directly on the text brings the viewer onto a new page.
- Image-based calls to action operate in a similar way to text-based ones, except that an image pops up instead of a text box. This can improve the visibility and tone of the message.
- Scripted calls to action are based on snippets of code that allow for fully customizable website behaviors. An HTML-based call to action can accommodate website design elements while matching the page’s existing layout.
While an HTML-based call to action offers unprecedented versatility, it is an advanced option that requires development expertise to deploy. Between text and image-based calls to action, images tend to result in higher conversion rates.
You have already taken the time to think about what you want your video to inspire viewers to do. Your call to action is the tool that asks them to do it.
4. Start gathering data
Marketing is a cyclic process, and every campaign you run should inform the campaigns that follow it. When you create a video showing customers how to use the product they just bought, it should provide you with data on what customers who bought those products care about.
Social media marketing ads have championed the use of audience retargeting software (like Facebook Pixel) to track user interactions with advertisers’ web pages and show them targeted content that matches their position in the sales funnel. First-time users are shown awareness-oriented content, while users who have already read a handful of blog posts will get consideration-oriented content, qualifying leads all the way to the closing sale.
The most popular video hosting platforms do not offer this functionality to their users. YouTube gathers and uses this data, but does not share it with content creators. Choosing a video platform that offers pixel-like marketing analytics is key to integrated video marketing research into your larger marketing strategy.
5. Inform the marketing cycle
Gathering data does not immediately lead to insight. That requires performing a detailed analysis and discovering trends in the ways that people interact with your video content.
There are many ways that user engagement data can inform the video marketing cycle. Here are some examples:
1. Users in a specific region are consistently skipping to a specific part of your video:
This might mean that there is a hidden gem of high-value content in your video, but that the earlier content does not connect with part of your audience. You could use this insight to create a regionally-specific video that only addresses that particular topic, increasing engagement and traffic in the process.
2. Users in a particular demographic group are engaging with your content more than others:
User segmentation lets you study your audience based on statistically relevant factors like age, location, or even education or income level. The more you learn about your audience, the more focused your marketing efforts can be. If you find a particular group of people engaging with your content more than others, you may be able to improve marketing performance by reaching out to that group directly.
3. Users on a particular device or operating system are dropping off after a few seconds:
Even if your IT experts promise that your website is “mobile-friendly”, your actual video content may not be. This can happen due to technical issues between operating systems and displays, or it can simply mean that you haven’t optimized your content correctly. For instance, if your video contains a large amount of small text, mobile users are virtually guaranteed to look elsewhere.
Final thoughts and takeaways
Whenever you create content, place a call to action, or tell potential customers to purchase a certain product or service, you have to measure that initiative’s success in order to improve it. You have to pick a video hosting platform that empowers brands to leverage user data to generate insights to make this happen.