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We all know from those late nights spent down the rabbit hole on YouTube that video is an engaging format. It is also growing at an unrelenting pace. YouTube have said that mobile video consumption rises 100% every year and an estimated 55% of people watch online videos every day.
It’s not all fluffy kittens and cute puppies either. If you get it right, the commercial potential in video marketing is staggering:
- 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
- Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.
- After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.
- Video in an email leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rates.
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
[Stats from: Forbes]
So why are some marketers so hesitant to invest in video? Put simply, it can be expensive and time-consuming. In a world evermore focussed on ROI, such a large investment in an untested arena can be daunting. The temptation can be to dip a toe, skimp on budget and treat video as an afterthought or a bolt-on.
However, to get the best ROI from video marketing you need to create an omnichannel strategy that puts video at its core. Enter the “video-first” strategy.
Ideation: Focus on linkable assets
A recent study by Search Engine Land found that 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. With that in mind, you really should be doing SEO already. If you’re doing it right, you should have a good understanding of the needs and desires that drive your target market – the keywords they use, the questions they have and the pain-points they want to address. Use that to steer your video creation. Go back to the personas you identified when you planned your SEO and create videos to educate them, entertain them or make their buying journey easier.
The benefits of doing this are two-fold. Firstly, you can use your existing datasets to come up with ideas, saving you time and resource. Secondly, by creating video content aimed at your SEO market, you can drive organic traffic to your website for relevant searches.
It’s also worth mentioning that because video is so engaging and shareable, you are likely to see indirect SEO benefits from social shares, natural backlink acquisition and improved user engagement on your website. You can therefore attribute a portion of the video production cost as SEO spend, making that initial investment a little easier to swallow. Video is also a great way to generate PR stories as publishers will be more likely to tell your story if you can give them video content to support it.
Testing: Targeted Digital Promotion
Now that you have created some great video content and it is driving inbound organic search traffic, it’s time to test the content on outbound channels. Focus on targeted paid YouTube, social and display advertising and track engagement.
By collecting segmented data on video views, engagement, shares and click-throughs, you can steer future video creation and refine your concepts and ideas. You might even be able to identify new segments!
As well as being an excellent way to reach new customers, this kind of advertising is an excellent way of building brand awareness. One pitfall many marketers fall into is not spending on branded PPC. Your video content will drive branded searches, so you need to invest in PPC for your brand name and close variations of it. Branded PPC is very cheap and very effective, especially on mobile where organic results are pushed further down the page.
Brand Creative: Taking Video Offline
Once you have tested your content across different segments, you can start to identify trends and scale up. While this can be done by bolstering your digital ad spend, it is often worth looking at offline channels in order to reach the widest possible audience.
TV advertising isn’t cheap, but if you’ve done your testing then a good media buying agency should be able to target your customers, often with surprising precision. It also doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think when you break it down to total reach.
Again, this kind of mass marketing is likely to drive brand interest, which will likely materialise as social engagement or branded search traffic. Dual-screening is a fact of life nowadays and if your commercial engages viewers, they will search for you on their mobile devices. Seamless storytelling and creative are all simply expected. The customer doesn’t care about “online”, “offline”, “mobile” or “social”, they just want to be immersed in your message and brand across all channels.
The beauty of video is that it engages and adds value at every step of the buying journey. For example, video business cards and brochures are sure to wow potential customers and convert leads to sales. Even more so if your creative follows through from TV and online. Video can also be used in experiential and out-of-home settings to create real-world touchpoints. It can even be used to improve aftercare, answer common customer service queries and promote after-sales, all while taking the pressure off your customer service and sales teams!
Community-Building: Social & Data Capture
This is something that is often overlooked but is so crucial to success. People engaging with video are not always going to be in buying mode. Rather than trying to interrupt their engagement with a heavy-handed sales pitch, it can be better to collect data so you can remarket to them in the future. Social community-building is an important element of this, as is segmented analytics.
Not only will this increase your chances of getting a sale further down the line, it will also feed your remarketing pipeline. In turn, that gives you the opportunity to build brand saliency and forge longer-term relationships, even with those customers who do buy straight away.
By this point, you’ve already created great content, tested it, scaled up your campaign and built communities around your brand. You’ve generated SEO improvements, driven cheap PPC traffic, improved brand awareness on a mass scale, grown your social following and built up your email marketing and remarketing lists. Your conversion rate, customer care and aftersales are all benefitting from that investment in video marketing.
All of a sudden, that ‘big spend’ doesn’t seem so big.
Now that you’ve seen the ROI and value that video can generate, you will probably have buy in from stakeholders. Just like SEO, video marketing definitely favours the brave. It is scalable and ROI can often grow exponentially. Take what you’ve learned, create more content, start to personalise content where possible and push your ad spends until you see diminishing returns. Find new touchpoints to build into your video-first strategy and keep innovating!