When MTV went on the air in 1981, the Buggles’ classic song ("Video Killed the Radio Star") sounded more like a death knell for traditional musical artists than a one-hit wonder. This prescient and poppy tune told it like it was: the future is now, and if you aren’t on-board, you’re going to be left behind.
For marketers, especially those who’ve witnessed the rise and fall of multiple media platforms over the years, it can be tough to know what trends are a flash in the pan, and which ones have true staying power. However, since the time of silent films, video has captivated our collective attention. It has provided us with an escape from the more mundane aspects of our lives, but it has also acted as a mirror, reflecting our universal human experience.
Today, video is pervasive. It provides entertainment, education and connection. And when it comes to marketing, video is one of the most reliable ways to build your brand and build relationships with your audience. Video wields enormous power in our current market — ignore it or use it haphazardly at your peril. Use it correctly, and see how it can shift the tides in your brand’s favor.
Let’s take a journey through the ins and outs of video marketing, starting with the behemoth that is YouTube.
Revving the YouTube Engine
When it comes to marketing, you already know how important search engine optimization (SEO) can be. Often, when we think of SEO, we envision Google, the powerhouse search engine that changed the way we use the internet. And while competitors have come and gone over the years, there haven’t been any traditional search engines that could rival Google.
Until YouTube. Launched in 2005, YouTube was a paradigm shifter. Immediately, internet users flocked to the video platform to find the content they craved. It didn’t take long for Google to take notice, and the company snapped up the rights to YouTube in 2006. Since then, YouTube has become the world’s second largest search engine.
If your brand isn’t yet using YouTube, here are a few facts that might change your perspective:
100 billion users flock to YouTube every month
YouTube content reaches more users between the ages of 18-34 than any cable network
Every month, 6 billion hours of content are viewed
So, how do you maximize your brand’s potential on YouTube? To get to the nitty-gritty of YouTube optimization, check out this guide. But for a quick start, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Avoid Premature Uploading: Make sure your video’s content is ready to roll before sending it out into the abyss. You want your title, thumbnail, description and tagging to be clear, error-free, and supportive of your brand.
Keep Calm and Post On: It used to be that video production was relegated to big brands with bigger budgets. That meant that content looked like a million (or more) bucks, but it was shared sporadically. Now, marketers have the power to create video content literally in the palms of their hands. With this power comes a responsibility — in order to best leverage your content, you have to keep it coming. Post frequently and post regularly to keep your brand in front of your audience.
Take Your Time: Back in the olden days (in tech time, that’s 5-10 years), traditional wisdom held that content had to be delivered lightning-fast, in order to align with audiences’ dwindling attention span. Now, we’re seeing a shift in consumer behavior — videos longer than 5 minutes are actually performing better than shorter videos. So if you’ve got a lot to say… go ahead and say it. Your audience is watching.
Your 2020 Video Marketing Outlook
The year is still young, and that means there’s still plenty of time to build your video marketing strategy. But to do that, you need to know the trends that are influencing the industry right now. Here are some ways you can embrace the future of video:
Or horizontal. Or square. While traditional video dimensions are still the accepted norm, social platforms are looking to expand their video offerings by increasing dimensions and formats. Even YouTube, long the bastion of traditional horizontal video, now supports vertical formatting.
Silent video viewing is on the rise across platforms, allowing users new opportunities to engage with content. In the waiting room at the doctor’s office? Sure. Dull PTO meeting? Why not? Viewers can now watch to their heart’s content without disturbing those around them. But that means your videos need to be maximized for silent viewing. Make sure your transcripts are clear and concise, and consider offering content that doesn’t rely so heavily on narrative.
As we said above, cell phones give us the power to create video content like never before. This, combined with a shift in audience preferences allows brands to create authentic footage that builds connections and influences brand perception. Platforms like Instagram Stories gives brands the chance to offer behind-the-scenes or day-in-the-life content that feel genuine and intriguing to viewers.
Interactive video gives viewers a personal, custom experience. Right now, only about 2% of marketers are using this as a video marketing tool, but of those who do, more than 80% call it a success. Interactive videos give users a choice, and sometimes request access to their social accounts to build an immersive and highly personal interaction.
3D and 360° video are next-level experiences that are growing along with the use of AR and VR equipment and platforms. This kind of content is highly engaging and boasts great conversion rates, but the costs associated with it make it still mostly accessible only to the biggest brands.
Demo and how-to videos will continue to rise in popularity, creating one of the most functional, useful and engaging forms of video marketing content out there. If your brand does product demos or is planning to release new service lines, video content could be the best way to reach your audience… and convert them.
Over 60% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it, so making videos easily shoppable will only help that number soar. Shopability and searchability will grow throughout 2020, meaning that if your brand’s videos are easy to find and easy to act on, you’re more likely to get the engagement you want.
The brands that are leading the way in YouTube and video marketing are the examples you need to follow. We’ve compiled some of the best to give you an idea of how it’s done.
Only 2 percent of women describe themselves as beautiful. Beauty brand Dove sought a way to help all women see themselves… the way others see them. This three-minute video features a forensic sketch artist asking women to describe themselves, before asking someone else to describe them. The two drawings he produces are vastly different… and they show that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.
This controversial campaign came in the wake of the “Me Too” movement, and challenged notions of toxic masculinity, encouraging men to shake off the “boys will be boys” excuses of the past and act as allies to women, and overall good people. Some people were vocal opponents of the campaign, but it went on to garner nearly 12 million views on YouTube in its first three days.
Google “Year in Search” Campaign
If the owner of YouTube can’t get video marketing right, who can? So it’s probably no surprise to see Google’s video campaign, now heading into its 10th year, on this list. The Year in Search campaign has been running since 2010, reflecting our lives back at us in a way that is moving, inspiring, and utterly human. By using authentic footage searched and uploaded throughout the year, Google gives us a very personal lens through which to view our shared experience.
These were just a few of our favorites. For even more examples of brands with top notch video channels, check out this HubSpot rundown.
It’s a video-eats-radio-star world out there, but if your brand is agile, adept and on top of the trends, you can ride the video wave to marketing success. If this all sounds great, but you still don’t know where to get started, read our blog on creating effective video content… even on a budget.
And once you’re ready to take your video marketing strategy to the next level, our Content Experts are here to help you craft custom solutions that offer real-world return for your business.