There’s nothing that better signifies the future of marketing than the online video. Just as television marketing became the most powerful marketing force of a generation, online video is reaching that point for the new generations. YouTube is so easy to use, video so easy to produce, that it’s a sure thing that brands will take advantage of the system. The only question is how to take advantage of it.
Reasons to Use Video
Video is a medium poised for a stellar breakout. Just glancing at YouTube shows a massive number of people watching an astonishing number of videos, many of which are produced by brands for marketing purposes. You can hardly visit a website these days without encountering an embedded YouTube video. It’s clearly an effective medium.
- Video usage is on the rise. In fact, since 2009, video use on the web has increased by 800 percent.
- It is estimated that within the next two years, over 50 percent of all web traffic will be video.
- Videos can be incredibly persuasive; customers are more and more frequently turning to videos to sway their decision for product purchases.
- Videos are increasingly easy to produce; you no longer need a professional studio and a $3,000 software suite running on a $5,000 computer. For that matter, the cameras necessary to produce video can be found for under $100 in most retail stores.
- It’s far easier to watch a video than it is to read a blog post. Plus, users will often spend more time watching a video – and being exposed to your content – than they will spend skimming a blog post.
- Access to video tutorials for using products is a huge factor for converting users to your products. It’s highly beneficial to let users know you have video instructions to answer their questions.
- You don’t need to produce ten minute long commercial epics; the prevalence of Instagram Video and Vines prove you can produce quality marketing material in under 30 seconds.
- Video is excellent for user engagement. Getting users to comment and favorite a video is easy, and subscribed users are exposed to more of your content on a regular basis.
Finally, consider some statistics from Digiday. Video is a largely untapped market, with only a quarter of all brands actually making use of the medium. Over 90 percent of mobile video viewers share the videos they watch. And of course, 76 percent of marketers plan to make use of video in the future, so if you want to put it to good use, you should get in ahead of the pack.
How to Make Use of Video for Marketing
Now that you’re fully convinced you should make use of YouTube in your marketing campaign, you can start to build that campaign. Don’t worry about jumping into the deep end; start off slow and work your way to the big leagues. Focus on quality and consistency, and your audience will swell.
Post Multiple Types of Video
YouTube is a varied and robust platform for all sorts of content. You can post regular videos showcasing individual products. You can post tutorials of your products in action. You can post fun interviews with your staff or with industry thought leaders. Almost anything can work as part of an overarching campaign, as long as it’s relevant and valuable; just like blog posts.
Strive for Maximum Quality
Nothing turns a viewer off from a video faster than poor editing, lackluster acting or low-res footage. It’s easy to create 1080p video for the web, and even if you’re not using full HD, you have no excuse to use video that looks like it was shot in the 90s. The hardest part is finding video stars with the charisma and enthusiasm necessary to really sell your product.
Bring Value Quickly
User interest drops off within 30 seconds of hitting play on a video. This is partially why Vine and the like are so successful. Their investment is minimal, so users can consume and consume endlessly. Even if you’re shooting videos 3, 5 or 10 minutes in length, you need those first 30 seconds to absolutely hook your viewer. Once they’re hooked, they’ll stick around.
Include a Call to Action
What are you getting out of a video? Do you want it to link to your subscribe page, a newsletter form, a social sharing button or a blog post? A simple screen at the end of your video with an annotation link to the page in question is highly effective.
Make Sure your Videos Align with your Other Ad Campaigns
Some of your videos should align themselves with your ongoing ad campaigns. Some can be stand-alone content produced for YouTube, but some advertising needs to tie in with the rest. It’s all about building a cohesive brand image throughout the web. Look at some of the most successful brands to use YouTube; you can expect to find the same sort of content in and out of video, on YouTube, on their site and on their social profiles.
Use a Personal, Human Face
An impersonal voice from the sky, a robovoice, turns users off. It’s easy to get a quality mic and a decent voice actor to narrate your content. It’s even better if you have a charismatic actor to portray your content. Beyond that, it’s beneficial to have writing and scripting that shows a human side to your business. Much like how social media exposes your business to a more personal front of your community, video allows you to visually explore that personality.
Engage Users with Video Submissions and User Content
Even though video is a one-sided activity – you produce, your users consume – you can still engage them. Asking them to comment and running ongoing discussions is one way. Another is to ask for user media submissions. Successful campaigns can include asking for photos you edit together to music for a video, or asking for video replies for a high-stakes contest.
Obviously, for any piece of content to see success, it needs to be exposed to as many people as possible. YouTube has the advantage of being the most used video hosting site, allowing you to embed their videos easily in all sorts of sites, from your blog to your social profiles. Customized thumbnails are perfect for Facebook and Google+ posts.
Consider an Ongoing Series
Don’t be afraid to create a themed video series and produce weekly updates. It gives your users something to look forward to, like a favorite television program. It doesn’t alienate users; in fact, if a video as part of a series takes off, chances are good that users seeing it will go back to watch previous episodes to catch up.
Make Use of Video SEO
SEO is important in video too. You can optimize the script for your blog, if you post transcripts. If you don’t, don’t worry about it. Optimize your title, description and tags. That, combined with optimized blurbs when sharing, should be more than enough.
As you can see, it’s not all that difficult to produce quality video content that benefits your overall marketing plan. In fact, most of the hard work is already done as part of your non-video marketing. Draw on the same research and resources to produce quality video in line with what your users expect. Just get to it now, before the gold rush truly begins.