It’s time for a little marketing-myth busting.

Fact: Video is the most persuasive form of content.

Myth: Video marketing is incredibly costly, especially if you want to see a high ROI.

Small businesses operating online are turning to all kinds of content marketing strategies and media types to give their brand a boost, hoping to stand out in the minds of their potential customers.

These smart businesses are the ones that already know that 46.8% of the global population accesses the Internet and, by 2021, this figure is expected to grow to 53.7%. Every single day, Google sees 3.5 billion searches — and one-third of this online activity is spent watching video. Every second, 17,000 hours of video content will cross global IP networks by 2021.

So there’s only one question left hanging in the balance:

If you’re not using video marketing, are you even marketing, bro?

The Role of Video Marketing

Video marketing is the use of online video to promote products, services, and brands. It’s an incredibly lucrative and effective way to stay profitable, experience business growth, build relationships and actually serve your customers.

According to Ad News, ad spend on digital video is set to grow by 15% in 2017, reaching $6.18 billion. That is 54% of total media budgets.

So why is video marketing edging out things like TV spend, now eating up only one-fifth of total ad spend?

Democratic and accessible

Set up a smartphone, a mini tripod, and record video. Then, edit it and smooth out the audio and add a couple of branded graphics.

Voila! Your first branded video.

It’s actually that easy to shoot and set up your own video series — whether it’s for your business, online community or as a way to interact with your audience.

Thanks to video features on social networks, it’s now easier than ever to become a top content producer — regardless of technical skills or even budget.

Mobile devices rule the day

Online actions are increasingly being performed on mobile devices. And this means that, no matter where someone is — whether in line at the grocery store or waiting for a friend — they’re increasingly pulling out their mobile phones and viewing videos online.

Over half of video content is viewed on mobile. And more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day.

Mass distribution

The connection between social networks, audience/user presence, and video marketing shows up through distribution.

In other words, 85% of the U.S. Internet audience watches videos online and they’re doing so on platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, as well as Facebook and YouTube.

As easy as it is to create and shoot videos, it’s just as easy to share and distribute these videos in a format poised to reach millions of users at once. 92% of mobile video viewers are already sharing.

Proven engagement

Would video marketers — or businesses using video marketing — even be using the medium if it weren’t useful? Marketers are seeing big returns from video, far past simple views or likes.

  • 51% of marketing professionals say that video is the content type that has the best ROI
  • 64% of consumers commit to a purchase after viewing branded social videos
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined
  • And marketers who rely on video have experienced a revenue growth rate that is 49% faster than non-video users

A word of advice, however: Instagram limits videos to about 60 seconds. Snapchat’s videos disappear. Facebook videos have autoplay with no sound. These limitations mean businesses have to adapt their content to the platform.

For engagement, each platform has its own set of best practices and strategies that work. In general, however, videos that hit the 2-minute markget the most engagement.

Video Marketing and Inbound Sales

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to a 10% retention when reading that same message in text.

The gap is staggering, not least because it means that using video marketing means that you believe in a different kind of sales strategy: That of inbound marketing. 

Push marketing is inherently adversarial and is so-called because of its penchant to “push” messages on to its users and audiences. From targeted banner ads following consumers around online to ad spend on Adwords campaigns, “outbound” marketing is all about distributing the message and pushing the product.

But video marketing, when done right, is a content type that, like blogging or eBooks, help educate, inform and pull the potential customer along a funnel or the buyer’s journey of awareness. Case in point: blog posts incorporating video attracts three times as many inbound links as those without.

Inbound marketing, according to Brian Halligan, the CEO, and co-founder of HubSpot, focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product. This means that they’re more interested in aligning content with customer’s interests so that, over time, they can convert and close a sale.

And videos can do just that.

Video Marketing Best Practices

Each platform has its own limitations — and these limitations mean that marketers must use each platform in its own specific ways, gearing content to the way audiences will expect to view them, and using different platforms for different goals.

Before getting into Facebook and Youtube-specific practices, let’s take a look at how you can optimize videos in general, for the best levels of engagement and searchability.

Formatting

Your video content should be filmed at 16:9 aspect ratio. You should also keep the duration of the video less than five minutes (ideally, as we saw above, at two minutes). Consider inserting a CTA at the 30-second mark.

Use multiple platforms…not links

No matter which platforms you use, stick to native video. In other words, don’t make the mistake of uploading a video to one platform and simply sharing the link across other platforms. This is a form of “outbound” or “push” marketing. It simply feels spammy and as though you don’t care about your specific audiences on that social network platforms.

Instead, use native video and post directly to the platform wherever possible. Focusing on platform-specific video also allows you to access a range of analytics tools that will tell you how your content is doing and who your audiences are that are watching.

This information is absolutely integral to informing and refining the rest of your video marketing and inbound strategy.

Video SEO

You wouldn’t leave a blog post or a web page without SEO best practices, would you?

Well, videos work the same. Video SEO requires that you use descriptive words for your video. Make sure to use your focus keyword in the first half of the title.

You also want to do some keyword research and incorporate these related terms in your description. Lastly, consider organizing your videos into playlists and use search-friendly themes to do so.

Facebook and YouTube-Specific Video Marketing Tips

Facebook and YouTube both support videos. Obviously, Facebook has other content types and is primarily a social network. Meanwhile, YouTube is made precisely for videos with the comment section inadvertently becoming a space for community and social commenting.

Facebook

Think about how your users are viewing Facebook videos and when they’re most likely to log on to Facebook in the first place.

Usually, it’s on-the-go, while waiting in line. Facebook is where people go to procrastinate, check in, catch up, or update themselves on the news and goings-on of the day. This means that their usage is mostly mobile and mobile entails smaller screens than desktop. It also means there’s a pressure on time and attention — it’s likely that users are checking while in the middle of other activities.

Another thing to note is how Facebook ends up playing videos. For example, videos appear in people’s News Feeds and when they autoplay, the sound is usually off.

Keeping the peculiarities of this platform in mind then, along with the aforementioned fact that, when using video marketing, posting to nativeplatforms is a best practice, Facebook requires a certain kind of video.

Use large bold text and graphics to make sure the visuals explain themselves. Make sure to add subtitles regardless because Facebook videos start off with no audio. And since these videos are a part of the scrolling activity in the News Feed, you only have a couple of seconds to make that first impression and capture their attention.

YouTube

YouTube viewers have a specific intent to view. Even if they’re watching on mobile, they’re present on the platform because they want to watch. That means you don’t have to convince them to stop and watch in an endless scroll. You only have to convince them to click and stay the whole way through.

YouTube is the place to set up a series of videos, via a channel. You can use the description box for extra added links and expect it to be read. Videos can be informative, educational and entertaining. They don’t only have to be “viral”, in the way that Facebook’s grab for attention is.

In order to really capitalize off YouTube video marketing, make sure to use its functionality to its full. This means including call-to-action overlays, links, auto end screens, and shopping cards. You’ll also want to make sure that your cover pictures match your business’s branding.

Compel and Sell: A Funnel-Specific Video Marketing Strategy

So how do you combine the power of inbound marketing and video content?

Dennis Yu, CTO of Blitzmetrics, has come up with a useful strategy that involves taking the traditional funnel levels of “Awareness, Engagement, and Conversion” and maps three sets of videos at each stage.

The point of the videos at each stage is to build a relationship over time, the very hallmark of inbound marketing. It also helps educate the reader about brand value, starting with awareness, moving on to encouraging social engagement and, at last, videos driven to convert the sale.

Known as the “3×3 video grid strategy“, this strategy has an added benefit: placed together, they end up storytelling the brand or business, helping audiences and potential customers come to an authentic understanding of the personalities, stories, and values behind the brand.

It’s at this point that marketers will throw in a snazzy stat or two, sort oblique a carrot-or-the-stick incentive to adopt video marketing. It’ll sound something like, “By 2020, video traffic is going to hit 98% market saturation — is your business poised to operate in the 98%?”

Instead, we want to leave you with a useful morsel of food for thought:

Video touches the imagination and entrances a viewer with a combination of visuals, emotions, and storytelling. There’s nothing quite like the medium and nothing converts quite as effectively, forming that emotional connection.

And getting started with video can be as accessible as a smartphone and Facebook Live.

So, what are you waiting for?

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