Put Video to Work
If you’re ready to put your budget back to work with video content, this expert advice can help you make a real impact with your videos.
Change your mindset. Videos are not ads; they are content. It’s a simple but critical message to remember. “One of the misperceptions is that video is just another item on your marketing checklist,” says Jason Hsiao, co-founder and president of Animoto, an award-winning online video maker. “But it’s become a form of regular communication, in the same way that businesses emailing their audience, posting to their blog or posting to Twitter are forms of regular communication.”
Check your data. Many platforms offer analytics that track how long viewers are watching your videos, when they tend to drop off, whether viewers clicked on your call to action and more. Paying attention pays off. These stats can help you create more compelling videos to hit your goals—whether it’s website traffic, downloads or some other goal.
Be consistent. The average person in North America owned eight connected devices in 2016, and that number is expected to rise to 13 per person in 2021.
Just imagine what that means: A viewer might cast your video from their laptop to a smart TV while also interacting with a smartphone or tablet and glancing at their smartwatch. In fact, Xfinity estimates that around 70% of Americans interact with multiple screens simultaneously. In a couple of years, this situation will probably only intensify.
“Marketers have to be aware of how to convey their message and tell their story consistently and simultaneously across several platforms and devices so it’s not a total disconnect if their Twitter account is talking about something completely different than their TV advertising or YouTube videos,” says Bortone.
Quality wins. Audiences love live, off-the-cuff videos—when they are engaging, memorable and entertaining. But many marketers believe that they can skimp on quality in the name of “authenticity.” “There’s a belief that if you just make a video, people will watch it—so more and more marketers are creating more and more average or invisible content,” says Adamson. “The belief that ‘If I build it, people will come’ is not true.”
Video should not be thoughtless. Even live videos or extemporaneous recorded videos require sound planning, clever production and a team with the right skill set. It’s crucial that content marketers brainstorm, storyboard, practice and prepare just like with a preproduced video or written content.
You be you, B2B. It’s important to stay true to your brand and audience. That means marketers shouldn't try to compete on the B2C brands’ playing field. “People see the success of the DollarShaveClub.com videos where the founder walks through his factory talking, and they want to do the same thing,” says Adamson. “But they don’t have his personality. He’s funny and engaging, whereas most business leaders as spokespeople are pretty unengaging.”
The good news is, you don’t have to have your viewers rolling in the virtual aisles to create excitement and results. Let viral B2C videos be an inspiration for your videos, and adapt what they do well to your own content. For example, you might not be Old Spice, but you can bring that brand’s famously irreverent humor and creativity to your own videos, within your B2B brand personality. Play with the news, trends and jargon that resonate with your particular audience to bring a fresh feel to your video content.
Get textual. Hsiao points out that many people watch video without the sound on, so it makes sense to “cater to the sound-off experience,” as he puts it, with text in your videos. Text should complement your content without confusing viewers when they turn the sound back on.
Save the best for first. Decades of research show that viewers have short attention spans. That’s why Hsiao recommends keeping preproduced and recorded videos short and not making the audience wait for the best parts. “Content marketers are all thinking like Steven Spielberg; they’re all storytellers,” he says. “Well, the big difference is that you don’t have the luxury of your audience being in their seats at the end. It’s almost the exact opposite: You start with 100% of your audience, and then it only goes down.” Experts used to say that the first three to five seconds of the video were the most important, but Hsiao stresses that now, even the first second needs to grab attention.
You’ve got this, content marketers. Because you know how to grab attention from the first second—plus how to create engaging content and how to experiment with formats and platforms—you’ve got a head start on getting the most out of video’s new features.