Published in May-Jun 2012
No longer seen as an emerging trend, online videos are becoming a mainstream way for businesses to engage with customers, overcome short attention spans, build brand awareness, portray a human element, offer entertainment and drive SEO. Research also suggests that content-based videos are watched more than ads or promotional videos, because users like to watch videos to either learn something or be entertained. If you would like your business to market with web videos, here is a quick primer on the basics.
According to comScore
Visitors spend an average 75% more time on websites with video.
- 85% of consumers go online first before making a purchase. This number rises in the younger demographics.
According to eMarketer
60% of respondents in a Forbes survey said they would watch video prior to reading text on the same webpage and 22% said they generally liked watching video more than browsing text when reviewing business information.
- 65% executives visit a vendor’s website after viewing a work-related online video.
YouTube holds about 40% of the online video audience every month.
- 94 of AdAge’s Top 100 advertisers run ad campaigns on YouTube and the Google Display Network.
The above statistics help position online videos as a key area of differentiation for your business in 2012. How effectively you take advantage of video in your marketing mix depends on how clear your vision is regarding the purpose and goal of your videos.
ComScore’s research suggests that the top 100 companies of the world are placing video on their websites in the following manner:
- 79% of businesses place web videos deep into their websites, three
clicks or more away from their home page.
- 44% use contextual video, i.e. videos tied in directly to the content of the website.
- 58% offer a full-fledged video channel as opposed to a corporate TV channel.
- 32% display video ads for products.
Ways to incorporate video content into your marketing mix
Introductory videos: One of the easiest ways to get started with video content is to feature your company’s introduction on your website. The objective is to provide a quick overview of your core business and/or introduce the people who run the business. Take the example of dropbox.com – as soon as they put up a video describing their service on their home page, customers immediately understood the service. Introductory videos are typically short (under one minute) and may be simple (talking heads) or flashy (TV ad style).
Examples of content for an introductory video include, company introduction, team profiles, promotional content, behind the scenes footage and a company tour.
The main objective behind introductory videos is to build awareness (of your company or main products) and humanise the company by presenting the people behind it. When done right they can significantly increase a company’s ‘likeability factor’.
Conversion videos: They are narrowly focused on one objective only; to get your website visitors to convert and perform an action defined by you. These videos are typically used for lead generation and to build your email list and are at the forefront of your sales cycle. They typically contain a strong call to action at the end signifying what specific action they want viewers to take after watching. This action could simply be to ‘sign up for your newsletter’ or could be more direct; encouraging customers ‘to buy now’.
Examples of conversion videos include, product demos, product reviews and testimonials.
Intuit’s GoPayment card reader service makes excellent use of customer video testimonials at gopayment.com/videos. And ice.com provides 30-second quick product demos of all its jewellery products.
Educational videos: These are typically embedded deeper into your website and offer more in-depth information about what you do, how you serve customers, your products and service offerings, your help guides, etc. These videos are typically authoritative, clear and highly focused.
Examples of educational video content include, FAQ videos, technical videos, help guides, tutorials, how-to videos and animations.
To view some excellent educational videos check out websites like webmd.com or zappos.com.
The best ways to use educational videos is to have them highly optimised for search because most users will be accessing these videos via search engines. For example, if you buy a Sony DSLR camera and need help with macro photography you would typically search for keywords such as ‘Sony DSLR macro photography. Imagine your delight when you find an educational video that exactly solves your problem.
Event-based videos: They can be great for generating newsworthy content to place on your own site or source out to news networks. They also present you as a key player in your industry and help establish your expert status within your niche. You can make videos of events by capturing speakers, interviewing attendees and compiling regular PowerPoint presentations.
Examples of event-based videos include, industry events, interviews and PowerPoint video presentations.
Events-based videos can be promoted on your website, embedded in a blog post or a newsletter or submitted to a local news channel as part of a community outreach programme.
Viral videos: They typically reside off-site (i.e. not on your website) and are primarily used to attract traffic and build awareness of your brand name. Most often generated by users of your content (think CNN iReport), these can also be produced in-house to great quirky effect (think Blendtec). An important point to remember when making this kind of video is that its virality (or otherwise) is decided by the viewers, not you. The best your company can do is to ensure that your videos are entertaining and ‘share worthy’ in order for them to go viral.
Examples of viral video content include, user-generated video content and humorous/ witty/original videos.
Five myths about online video
1 Video is expensive: When most organisations think about web videos they still imagine advertising firms and activation agencies. But you may find that you are able to produce inexpensive videos either in-house or by hiring a content marketing agency specialising in online videos. Such an agency would typically have marketers, scriptwriters, cameramen and editors on-board for a fast turnaround of your online videos in sync with your marketing strategy. In this way, online videos will cost much less than a full-fledged TVC or print campaign and the best part is that since you own your videos, you can choose to promote them over and over again without recurring costs.
2 Video requires professional models and actors: While you may need professionals for certain kinds, most online videos are informal and focus on keeping it real. It’s best to use someone passionate about your company and its products to represent your organisation because what attracts customers is the passion, positive body language and enthusiasm displayed on screen. People can spot a fake demeanour a mile away!
3 Video needs massive amounts of bandwidth: In the days of YouTube and Vimeo, you don’t need to host videos on your website. However, if you are worried about sending customers away from your website or social network, there are plenty of low-cost video hosting solutions in the market. You can also run a dedicated YouTube channel and choose what related content viewers can see after watching your video.
4 Video needs special equipment: A simple talking head video can be made with a digital camera. If you want to go for a very rough look, you can even use a phone camera or webcam. I would recommend, however, that you invest in good microphones for a quality audio experience. Even if you deliberately make a grainy video, no one will watch it if they can’t hear properly.
If you can shoot in natural lighting, then you don’t need to invest in studio lights. Hence the cost may simply boil down to two main areas: the camera and mics along with editing software.
5 Video always needs a script: While I normally advise my clients to have at least a general idea about what the content of the video will be, not all video needs to be rigidly scripted. Depending on its purpose and use, you can use bullet points, cue cards and extempore speakers. For example, for an interview-based video, I typically make a list of questions but adjust them according to the interviewee’s answer. For a training video, however, you will probably need a more comprehensive script.
Ten benefits of online videos
1 They present a human, intimate side to your business.
2 They hold your viewer’s attention longer than text.
3 They are easy to share, embed, forward, link to.
4 They have a built-in social element which makes them perfect for sharing on social sites.
5 They give you access to more customers (those not interested in reading text).
6 They depict your company as progressive and forward thinking.
7 They make your ideas sound real and tangible.
8 They drive more traffic to your site as videos rank better on search engines.
9 They drive recurring traffic to your site as people watch good videos repeatedly.
10 They can be watched and shared via mobiles and tablet devices, thus increasing viewership.
To recap, you definitely want to use online videos as part of your promotional strategy if your business wants to meet one or more of the following objectives: attract customers, encourage customers to buy your product/service and explain your product’s usage once customers have bought it.
2012 is the year when online video marketing is exploding and businesses are reaping its benefits. Don’t be left behind in what could be your single most effective marketing component yet.
Salma Jafri is the founder and CEO,