Why online video is the future of content marketing
Video is taking content marketing by storm, but you'll have to do more than just make one to realise its full potential
Video is everywhere. Small businesses who ignore it 'do so at their peril'. Photograph: Robert Gray/Getty Images
If it were five years in the future, would you be reading this article or would you be watching it? As online video continues its inimitable rise, it's an interesting question to ponder.
By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco. Video-on-demand traffic alone will have almost trebled. Leafing through a swathe of statistics on the subject, I'm hard pressed to find any indicator that doesn't suggest rapid growth.
With online video quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, small businesses that fail to include it in their internet marketing strategies will do so at their peril.
Video is the future of content marketing. That is, if it's not the here and now. VideoRobot Review shows more than half of companies are already making use of the medium – a figure that's predicted to rise as more and more realise the possibilities. Nielsen claims 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future. It's not difficult to see why.
When it comes to potential reach, video is peerless. YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month – that's more than any other channel, apart from Facebook. One in three Britons view at least one online video a week – that's a weekly audience of more than 20 million people in the UK alone. Video can give you access to all this. Video done well can give you a slice of it. What other form of content can do the same?
The success stories of videos that have gone viral are legend. A recent campaign from Volkswagen, for example, saw a trio of its videos viewed a combined 155 million times. If such numbers seem out of reach for companies without 12-figure revenue streams, they at least demonstrate video's inherent shareability. Engage viewers and they will share the video with others. They will spend longer on your website and more time interacting with your brand. For any social media campaign, any SEO exercise, video is without doubt one of the best tools in the kit.
It is naturally engaging and, in an age of information overload, it's vital for small businesses to offer content that is easy to digest; if not, consumers will simply move on. Video does this very well. If a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million, so say Forrester's researchers. Little wonder then that Axonn Research found seven in 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.
But is video really possible for small businesses? Absolutely. Production costs have fallen significantly in recent years and you no longer need to be a technical whiz to work out how to use it. Apps such as Twitter's Vine, with its six-second maximum clip length, have dramatically increased the opportunity for businesses on a limited budget to get stuck in. Nevertheless, if you're to realise a decent return on your investment, you will need to bear the following in mind.
Always consider the audience you are trying to reach and ensure the video is relevant to them. If it's not the most appropriate means of getting your message across, you are probably wasting your time.
Do not neglect social media and be sure to promote across multiple channels. If you want to fully realise video's potential, you must make it easy for users to find and share it. Don't neglect mobile either. Ooyala has claimed a tenth of all video plays happen on mobiles and tablets, and it's an increasingly important segment, with mobile phones holding 41% more share of video consumption at the end of June 2013 than at the start of that year.
Finally, be creative, not only with the videos themselves but in the campaign strategy you build around them. As my head of marketing likes to say, creativity wins over the cost of production every time. Get that bit right and video won't just be the future of content marketing, it'll be the future of content marketing for you.
Remember when you were in school and you took every opportunity to get free food? (Okay, maybe you still do this, I won’t judge). But at the family potluck, you’d pile your plate so high, your aunts and uncles might’ve questioned whether or not you’d eaten for the past 3 weeks.
And when you came back home for the holidays, your hands were always in the cookie jar.
Chances are, if you’re in marketing at a small business, you’ve got your hands in all sorts of jars. From product marketing to content creation, social posts to event presence, you name it: MyNAMS Profit Planners and Business Accelerators Review.
So why would you want to try and add video to your plate, too?
There are 17 good reasons why. But do keep in mind that if your plate is already full, adding more to it isn’t necessarily going to make for a better dinner. You’ll probably just end up with rogue mushrooms rolling around on the dining room floor.
In other words, you’ll have to learn to prioritize.
Pick things to focus your time on that are going to generate awareness, educate your customers to prime them for your offering, build demand, create shorter sales cycles, promote a free trial, etc.
Once you’ve prioritized, then it’s time to shift some things out and add video in. Why? For the following 17 reasons.
1. Get on the second largest search engine in the world
If you didn’t know, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. So you better be there when your potential buyers are searching. The greatest opportunity here is educational-style videos, especially since “how-to” searches are up 70% year over year in 2016.
2. Rank higher in search
While YouTube is the second largest search engine, Google is the first. Adding video to your website can increase your search rankings on Google (and others like Bing and Yahoo) significantly. The truth is, adding a video to your website actually makes a first page Google result 50x more likely.
3. Increase the understanding of your product
Sometimes products can be complex, especially when you try and describe what your product or service does in only a few sentences on your home page. Lucky for you, viewers’ understanding of a company’s product tends to increase by 74% when they watch video instead of read text.
If you don’t have one yet, a product overview video of what your offering is and the problem it solves is near the top of our list for recommended videos to start with, so you should create one of those!
4. Offer your consumers the medium they want
Today’s consumers spend more time consuming digital video than on social media: 1 hour and 55 minutes per day versus 1 hour and 44 minutes. On top of that, 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, according to eMarketer.
Without a doubt, video is your audience’s medium of choice.
5. Boost email click-throughs
Including the word “video” in the subject lines of your emails can increase open rates by 7-13%. Plus, including the video splash screen in the actual email itself can increase click-through rates by 2x.
I feel it’s important to note here that including video in email is normally more about placing the splash screen in the email body as an image and not embedding the actual video. This is because most email clients don’t actually support inline playing of the video.
Instead, use the image that looks like a splashscreen and link out to the player on a separate page. You can even set the player to autoplay for the fewest clicks!
6. Build stronger brand affiliation and connection
Watching a video provides both audio and visual stimulation. The mere activation of both of these areas of the brain means that viewers are more engaged and therefore naturally develop stronger affiliation and interest in the content they’re consuming. As a small business striving for that brand recognition and so dependent on loyal customers that keep coming back for more, this is crucial.
7. Capitalize on the low barrier to entry
I know, I know. You probably thought that the barriers were high, not low for video marketing. A lot of small businesses (or businesses in general, actually) think that there are high costs associated with video and a long list of equipment that just makes getting into the video marketing space so tricky. I’m here to tell you that that’s a myth. Chances are, you have a 1080px camera in your pocket or on your desk right now. Or maybe you’re even reading this post on it. All you really need to get started is this camera and some basic editing software … even something like iMovie can be all the muscle you need to get started. So play with the big kids — you’re already all set up to do so!
8. Show up more in social feeds
Social feeds (Facebook and Instagram, specifically) do a great job of showing only content that people want to see. And it’s getting harder and harder to show up there as a business. But that’s also why more and more video posts are showing up in people’s newsfeeds and why, if you create video for social, you’ll be more likely to end up there, too.
9. Create more low-touch education options
You don’t have a big team … even outside of marketing. So the more you can encourage your audience to educate themselves and help themselves throughout the purchase journey, the better — and the more efficient your sales process will be.
Video can help with this.
If you don’t have a sales team and your transaction happens online, then the faster that will happen, too!