The new king of the social media realm – video – is settling well on its throne while static content takes a backseat. No wonder then, that given their increasing popularity, most businesses today are viewing videos as marketing gold. Consequently, video has become the format of choice for sharing personalised content between peers as well between brands and their consumers.
We knew video had arrived the day Snapchat sign-ups skyrocketed to 10 billion video views per day and Instagram and Facebook followed suit (rather shamelessly) in launching their video features. So why is video winning hearts locally and internationally? The answer is simple: storytelling sells.
Today, video inspires, motivates and eventually sells. “They [marketers] are seeing a 200 to 300% increase in click-through rates when a video is embedded in an email; higher Google rankings (53%) and a six-fold improvement in recall, engagement, likelihood of product purchase and shareability,” Huffington Post reports.
The big question is: What are the key factors to keep in mind when rolling out videos? What will make your audience – who have low attention spans – hit the share button?
In my humble opinion, here are some dos and don’ts that can make or break the fate of your video.
Keep it short and sweet. The average attention span of audiences is now estimated to be less than eight and a half seconds! If you’re all too familiar with that tinge of disappointment when you’re showing a video to a friend and they tap your phone to check the time left, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Remember the basic rule of grammar? The shorter the sentence the more impactful and coherent it is. Apply the same rule to your videos.
Respect cultural relevance. While the love for cats, dogs and baby videos is universal, it is essential for marketers to set the foundation of their campaign by researching the way their potential market thinks, decodes and processes information. The cultural context, which includes the social, political, physical and economic makeup of your consumers, can help brands understand and cater to the needs and expectations of their audience. Online marketers have started to recognise the importance of this cultural connection by strongly advocating localisation and customisation.
Compelling storytelling. Here’s a fun fact: The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text! Now think about the last video you shared on your timeline. It reached out to you on some level, didn’t it? Be it testimonials, fictitious content, stories of everyday heroes (minus the awful costumes), interviews or documentaries, if your videos have strong narratives that resonate with your viewers, they will strike one of their emotional chords.
Bring back subtitles. Termed as ‘The Silent Revolution’ by creatives, silent videos on Facebook have made a comeback; thanks to the ever-evolving consumption patterns of audiences. Brands have finally accepted the fact that sometimes ads and videos are on auto-play and most users don’t tap for audio even if the visuals interest them. To cater to this behavioural pattern, more description-heavy, infographic-style and visually appealing videos with subtitles have ‘silently’ made their way into the social media mix.
Stick to one platform. Cross-platform strategising has become crucial for video syndication. Gone are the days when you could copy and paste one video on to all social media platforms. These days, it is important to understand that if the content is tailor-made for each platform, it will have a higher chance of engagement and turning buzz to business than one-size-fits-all marketing. Though YouTube has ruled the roost when it comes to videos, other platforms have joined the race for more eyeballs with their ‘Live Stories’ option for a truly personalised information-sharing experience, offering marketers a several options to choose from.
Don’t forget to personalise. The ‘Story’ option that started with Snapchat and is now available on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has upped the ante of personalised communication. At the same time, with 10 billion video views per day, (Facebook has eight billion according to Bloomberg) Snapchat remains significant for marketers as well. Therefore, brands can reach different audiences on these platforms. However, they have to tailor their content accordingly and remember that the more customised their content is, the higher the chances are of reaching their target audience.
Ultimately, most brands – even the ‘not-so-experimental’ ones – are now utilising video to further personalise the consumer journey and reach the right audience through relevant touch points. This helps them bring a ‘human touch’ to their brand and create better rapport with their target audience, which eventually leads to conversions, loyalty and a premium customer experience. From soul-stirring stories to plausible testimonials to feature-rich demos, videos are revolutionising the way consumers interact with branded content and giving marketers what they have always wanted: higher conversion rates.
Taniya Hasan is Head of Content, Digitz.