Video marketing has come a long way. And here at Comms Axis (you all know by now that we love content that moves!) we got thinking about big stuff coming up in 2015 and saw an opportunity for some video marketing trends to be shared.
Naturally, we got talking with our favourite animated video tool, GoAnimate, and one thing led to another. Gary Lipkowitz, COO, and I had a kick-about and brainstorm about all things video marketing and what the future holds…and turned some of this into an animated video of us and Lilach talking about it!
It was a lot of fun and, yes, they are our voices and the video was done using GoAnimate!! We did actually manage to talk relative sense in the end and have captured the key trends that we discussed in the below post. Big thanks to Gary for his time and fantastic insights…I’m still the better footballer though.
What’s so special about video, Gary?
Sometimes people seem to look at video like some kind of magic ring. It’s been so difficult, time-consuming and expensive to get a video made, that people treat it like their “precious”.
In some ways, video is special. 76% of marketers plan to add video to their sites. 51.9% of those marketers cite video as the medium with the best ROI. Shoppers who view video are 1.81x more likely to purchase. Online video now reaches 60% of the US population.
But hey, nails hold houses together. We live in houses. So that’s pretty special to me. But we don’t put nails on a pedestal. Hammers drive the nails. Don’t see them up on a pedestal either. And beginning in 2015, that’s how we should view videos. Not as our “precious.” But as just another (very valuable) tool in our toolbox.
What will drive that change in perception?
1. Videos will be easy and inexpensive to make. The cloud strikes again. Companies like GoAnimate provide easy-to-use animated video creation tools in the cloud. Need advanced editing? WeVideo. Hosting, distribution and analytics (more on this below) – try Wistia, Vidyard, Vidcaster, Vzaar, or UK newcomer Nideo.
Staring at a blank screen and don’t even know where to start as far as generating an idea for your video? It’s a content marketing world. Nearly all the companies on the list above have tutorials and guides available to get you past those first hurdles.
2. Videos will be easy and inexpensive to edit, update, iterate and customise. In the past, videos were so hard to make they were considered an untouchable deliverable. “DON’T TOUCH THE VIDEO! YOU MIGHT BREAK IT!”
Think of your videos as living documents that you continually edit to keep up with your marketing focus.
Are you publishing a video as a valuable piece of content on your site? What if it’s failing? What if you see viewership falling off at a certain point? What if you notice viewers getting stuck at a certain point and going back a few times? What if they’re ignoring the CTA? Do you cry? Or fix it? In 2015, it will be the latter.
Launching a campaign where you’re using video as ad creative or to reduce bounce on a landing page? Why not make a few versions and A/B test? Are there many different segments to your target audience? Why not customise the video for each segment? Adopt a paradigm of having a “core video” which is then customised into 5 or 500 or 5000 versions to support your marketing efforts.
- When you’re running text-based SEM campaigns, do you use customise the creative for each campaign? Ad group? Keyword? Why would you NOT do that with video?
- When you’re running display campaigns, do you make multiple versions of the creative? Test? Optimise? Refresh after a few weeks or months to re-capture the audience’s eye? Why would you NOT do that with video?
In 2015, doing so will be easy, inexpensive and ‘the norm’.
3. Videos will be highly interactive. They already should be interactive. But collectively, we’re barely scratching the surface. The hosting companies mentioned above offer all kinds of goodies for marketers. Buttons and CTAs of all stripes. Email gates and lead capture forms. Integration with popular CRM and marketing automation platforms. Not using one of those hosting companies? Stuck with a generic video player? No problem. Viewbix offers interactive marketing apps that can be laid into any video player.
Are you working with long-form content, and hoping to better manage and measure your audience’s journey? Companies like Hapyak and Vinja offer features such as annotation, chapter markers, and even shareable deep-links that land a viewer at a specific point inside a video.
4. And yet – seemingly paradoxically – Videos will become the ultimate “guided tour” medium. For example, of the 500 infographics you’ve seen this week, how many were too big and didn’t display well on your screen? Exactly. Even with a well-sized one … how much of the content did you really notice during your quick “pan and scan”? Of that small %, how much did you actually remember? A tour guide would have helped you engage you with the content.
Coming back to the infographic. You (in your role as video producer/tour guide) can control the pace (fast or slow) and resulting data density. Objects can enter and exit slowly or quickly. While on screen, they can be in constant motion … or static. They can come on screen piece-by-piece in a sustained build … or already built. Images can seemingly be hand-drawn and erased off, or fade in and fade out, or appear and disappear via any other creative choice. Some points can command more screen time. Other points less. It’s not just about what’s your objective for the video. You can manage objectives within the video on a moment-by-moment basis.
We’re not done. You can (literally) spell things out using text on screen … or not. You can explain key points with a voiceover … or not. You can have a character on screen pointing at data … or not. You can use sound effects to accentuate certain data. You can impact the tone (and the pace) with music.
Embrace the medium. Crave results. To say you’re producing content for the screen is true – but shortsighted. You’re producing to encode content in the brain of the viewer. That involves grabbing their attention, holding their attention, then taking advantage of that “defences down” moment to reach inside their head and press “save.” What you say (your content) is obviously central to your marketing gameplan – but ultimately worthless if it falls on deaf ears. How you say it (your command of the medium) is the #1 predictor of your success.
5. Video metrics will evolve quickly for the better. Remember way back when we spoke about how many “hits” a website got? That’s how we will quickly feel about counting the number of “plays” a video gets. The tools are already there. It’s up to us as marketers to correctly measure what matters to us.
“Plays” only measures the number of times a video began playing (presumably from the start, but not always thanks to deep links). But what are we most interested in?
- Time spent viewing. How much of their attention did we earn?
- Completed views tell us when users were exposed to all the content, and were at least engaged enough to finish the video.
- Drop-off rates tell us the failure rate on completed views.
- Maps that show where in the video drop-off occurred are helpful in planning iterations and optimisations to the video. Again – if your video is failing, it’s not a death sentence. The problem is completely correctable.
- We should also be interested in the percentage of who viewed the CTA, which may be at the end, but may also be at multiple locations in the video. CTR on the CTA is obviously critical. Here, we’re primarily speaking of CTAs located inside the video, with the full awareness that videos are often supported by pages with additional content and page-based CTAs.
Which brings us to our post-script.
PS: Your video needs to be able to standalone.
If your video is done well, it will travel. It will be shared. It will be embedded in multiple locations. It will be viewed on multiple devices. You can’t count on your surrounding page being there. You should definitely have a primary page on which your video lives, but ensure your video can do its job if / when it is viewed elsewhere.
Readers who read a lot of these video marketing prediction pieces are now scratching their heads. “This idiot didn’t say ‘mobile’”. Why?
There’s no specific reason. Mobile is certainly a huge story for video marketing in 2014 and 2015. According to a 2014 Business Insider report more than 50 million people in the US watch videos on their smartphone. But it’s a subset of the story.
The larger story is that you don’t know where or how your video will be viewed. It could be in the living room, on a PC, on a tablet, on a phone or, by the end of 2015, on a wearable device. This variety impacts the screen, the bandwidth, the video resolution, the viewing environment, the level of concentration or distraction experienced by the viewer, the background noise, the glare on the screen, whether the screen is bouncing around as the morning train goes over a rough stretch of track … We produce these “babies” then send them into the world and have no idea where they go.
What can we control? Note: the following suggestions are not 2015-specific.
- Get to the point. Speed of engagement gives you a chance to earn more viewing time.
- Get to the point again. This is the engine of sustained engagement. Have points. Make them.
- Command the medium. Direct the audience to notice and retain your key points.
- Deploy CTAs early and often. You may earn 30 seconds of attention in a 2-minute video. If there’s only one CTA at the end, you lose. But what if the viewer was convinced, in a rush and ready to click after 10 seconds? Give yourself a chance to win.
- Have a bandwidth and device-aware distribution platform in place.
- Ensure the video can stand-alone.
We hope you enjoyed the video, and also learned from Gary’s video marketing trends and insights for 2015. Please do leave a comment and share this post!
Dan Purvis is passionate about the philosophy behind Comms Axis: we bring content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences.
We pride ourselves on delivering tangible business value and ROI alongside excellent customer service. We work with a broad range of clients and industries, from B2B to B2C, from technology to cosmetics, from start-ups / SoHos to pan-European and global brands.