Have you started to leverage video content to build your brand, promote your products and reach new customers?
If not, then it’s time to take video content seriously and start thinking about how to integrate it into your online marketing strategy.
That’s the purpose of this article…to bring you completely up to speed on the state of video marketing and to teach you how to start leveraging this powerful content / channel to seriously grow your business.
According to the Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing report, companies are focusing their efforts on marketing channels and strategies such as corporate websites, SEO and SEM, landing pages, email marketing, social media advertising, blogging, and video marketing.
According to the report…
35 percent of marketers are already using video marketing, with another 29 percent either piloting video marketing programs or planning to use video marketing within the next 12 months. Among more than 5,000 global marketers surveyed for this report, 61 percent say that video is very effective or effective as a marketing strategy for their businesses.
Video marketing isn’t new.
In fact, some argue that the first viral video was a short film released back in 1995, titled “Jesus vs. Santa”. This video was passed around on VHS until it was eventually posted online, where it captured the attention of Comedy Central and launched the careers of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, whom you probably know as the creators of South Park. Since these early days, video has evolved substantially and is rapidly gaining speed as one of the most effective ways to reach your audience in the multi-device world.
The fast-growing popularity of video content led to the rise of a multitude of social video platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Vine, Vimeo, Snapchat and Instagram. By using these platforms, you’re reaching a wider audience than ever before by creating engaging, easily shareable content. The rest of this guide explains how you can tap into the power of video marketing to reach a larger audience than ever before.
As smartphones and tablets saturated the market, it became easier for audiences to consume video content whenever and wherever they are. Consumers began turning to video content for everything from fashion and beauty advice to researching products before they buy, such as viewing unboxing videos or product demonstrations.
The impact of video marketing is huge for businesses that capitalize on the power of video to reach their audience. Consider these statistics to understand just how prominent online video has become in the daily lives of consumers:
Not only are consumers exposed more to online video content than ever before, but it has a substantial impact on them:
Convinced that video marketing is a powerful tool for reaching target consumers?
Let’s take a look at the individual video platforms that can help you launch a successful video marketing campaign.
There’s no question that the creation of YouTube in 2005 (by three former PayPal employees) marked a pivotal moment in the history of video marketing, providing a user-friendly platform for sharing digital video content with audiences around the world.
In 2014, YouTube became the second largest search engine in the world, with more than 300 hours of content uploaded every minute and more than one billion monthly users who watch more than six billion hours of video each month.
YouTube reaches more adults between the ages of 18 and 34 than any cable network, making it a viable marketing channel for any business targeting the valuable 18 to 34 demographic.
While young adults are more likely to watch music and comedy video content, adults over 50 tend to watch news and educational content. Both age demographics watch how-to videos on YouTube.
YouTube now has a Trends Dashboard that showcases the most popular content, and Google Trends lists the top 200 videos on YouTube, as well.
But what types of video content are the most popular on YouTube, and what types of businesses stand to reap the most benefits from a YouTube marketing strategy?
While comedic content like funny animals and prank videos are among the most popular types of videos on YouTube, how-to videos, tutorials, and consumer buying advice all rank solidly in the top five most popular types of videos. Views of unboxing videos, or videos of consumers un-packaging and demonstrating products, grew 57 percent from 2013 to 2014.
As far as industries that benefit from YouTube marketing, the rule of the day seems to be that anything and everything goes, as consumers search for everything from beauty tips to popular music and video games.
As the “Jesus vs. Santa” example illustrates, video has the power to launch entire careers. There are countless examples of YouTube celebrities – everyday people who have risen to fame by creating original video content and building huge followings on YouTube and other video channels.
Bethany Mota, for instance, has more than 8.5 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. Mota started her YouTube channel in 2009 and, as a result of her rising YouTube fame, landed an opportunity designing fashion collections for Aéropostale.
One example of a tremendously successful YouTube campaign is Clean & Clear’s “See the Real Me” campaign, which includes a series of 26 YouTube videos, each earning hundreds of thousands to nearly four million views. The “See the Real Me” campaign is described as “a global journey to reach out to the most acne-prone consumer segment – the teenagers, and has been encouraging them to be comfortable in their own skin.” Targeting the highly desired teen demographic, which happens to be among the most prominent user demographics on YouTube, it was no mistake that Clean & Clear chose YouTube as a marketing platform for this campaign.
Facebook boasts nearly 1.4 billion monthly active users, with 72 percent of online adults visiting the social platform at least once per month. Video isn’t Facebook’s primary offering, but video content has become a staple of the Facebook news feed in recent years. Now, users can upload native video content directly to Facebook, without using YouTube video links to share their videos with fans and followers. Marketers can also tag other users in videos, add calls-to-action, and even pin videos to the top of brand pages on Facebook.
In September 2014, video on Facebook became a very real competitor for YouTube, reaching one billion video views daily. In order to highlight popular videos and promote sharing, Facebook now shows the number of views a video has received at the bottom of the post, along with other metrics such as unique video views, the average viewing duration, and audience retention (the number of people who view a video to 95 percent of its full length or more).
In addition to these useful features and the appeal of being able to consume video content within an already widely used social networking platform, Facebook is showing stronger growth compared to YouTube.
As of September 2014, Facebook’s unique video viewers still lagged behind YouTube, with 103 million unique video viewers versus YouTube’s 157 million. But Facebook is rapidly gaining ground. Between May and June of 2014, Facebook’s video audience grew by 27 percent, while YouTube’s audience grew just 5 percent in the same time frame.
Birchbox is one company embracing all that video has to offer on Facebook, using a combination of native videos (which takes advantage of Facebook’s auto-play feature) and linked YouTube videos on the company’s Facebook brand page. Birchbox taps into the power of video by featuring fun announcement videos, how-to videos, and monthly videos highlighting the Birchbox staff’s favorite beauty products of the month. Birchbox Facebook videos often receive 16,000 or more views, with several videos accumulating more than 20,000 to 40,000 views.
Founded by a group of filmmakers in 2004, Vimeo differs substantially from its primary rival, YouTube, by placing the emphasis on the quality of video content, rather than the audience.
Vimeo has more than 35 million registered members, but reaches a global audience exceeding 170 million viewers monthly. In 2013, Vimeo launched Vimeo On Demand, “an open direct-distribution platform that enables creators to sell work on their own terms by choosing their price, viewing format, and geographical availability while retaining full ownership of their work.”
Vimeo caters to industry professionals who demand high-quality content, often attracting indie filmmakers who don’t want to compete against the silliness of some of the videos, such as dancing cats, which tend to dominate YouTube. As Vimeo’s content creators tend to be more qualified, professional or quasi-professional filmmakers and videographers, some say that Vimeo is to video platforms what LinkedIn is to social networks, with a more professional edge.
One of the biggest advantages of running your videos on Vimeo, compared to YouTube, is that Vimeo does not run advertisements on any uploaded video content. Vimeo is not free for business users; VimeoPro plans are $17 per month or $199 per year, offering the ability to add up to 20 GB per week of HD video content and a fully customizable, embeddable HD video player. This is the tradeoff for the ad-free format: While your viewers won’t be distracted with ads, the platform earns revenue by charging content creators.
Several major brands use Vimeo to showcase their most creative advertisements and tell powerful stories, such as The Lincoln Motor Company. Nike also has a presence on Vimeo, with its Nike Snowboarding initiative.
According to the Nike Snowboarding channel on Vimeo, “By blending the voices of our athletes with Nike’s rich history of technological innovation, we plan to enrich and elevate snowboarding in a way that only Nike can.” Vimeo is also a prominent platform for advertising and production agencies, such as Nexus Productions, to show off their creative work, as well as companies like Red Giant, which creates “tools, films and training to enrich the community of filmmakers and motion designers.”
Vimeo ups the ante for marketers, providing a platform that emphasizes quality over quantity and powerful, engaging stories over quirky, attention-grabbing video clips. The higher quality bar on Vimeo makes it a useful platform for creatives and B2B marketers.
Founded in June 2012, Vine was acquired by Twitter in October 2012, just before the app’s official public launch. In October 2014, Vine announced that users were playing more than one billion “loops” every day. As of January 2015, Vine’s second anniversary, the platform was seeing 1.5 billion daily loops. More than 100 million people watch Vine videos each month.
Vine’s rapid rise to fame and fortune can be attributed in part to its acquisition by Twitter, giving the platform a critical foot-in-the-door with an already-engaged user base. Vine is now being used for hyper-local news; for instance, the Vine video of the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing explosion that went viral online.
Vine is also used by musicians to share snippets of songs, by consumers and companies alike showcasing hardware hacks, and of course the always-popular blooper-style videos.
It’s the looping functionality that sets Vine apart from other video platforms. Due to the short nature of Vines – just six seconds – the platform’s founders worried that Vines felt anti-climactic, so they tweaked the code to make the short videos play on a continuous loop.
Vine, like its parent company Twitter, supports hash-tagging, making videos easily searchable by users. These features combined make Vine videos highly shareable.
Vine videos, on one hand, are easy to create thanks to their short length. On the other hand, some marketers find it challenging to create engaging video concepts that share valuable messages in just six seconds. Both created and shared through a mobile app, however, the casual nature of Vine videos alleviates some of the pressure from creating full-length, professional video content.
According to Search Engine Journal, the top five industry leaders on Vine are:
In 2013, Dunkin’ Donuts released the first television commercial created completely on Vine during the ESPN Monday Night Football pregame show. The commercial featured a team of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups facing off against a team of milkshakes. Dunkin’ Donuts kept the momentum going by releasing three additional commercials created with Vine during the Super Bowl. Not only was the campaign a huge hit, but it was cited as a possible game-changer in the world of advertising.
Instagram, founded in March 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, is a free photo-sharing app that allows users to take and share photos and videos with followers. Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion, and the platform now has more than 300 million users worldwide. An average of 70 million photos are shared daily on Instagram, with more than 2.5 billion daily “likes.” Overall, more than 30 billion photos have been shared on Instagram.
Instagram announced Video on Instagram in 2013, a feature that adds video recording, editing, filtering, and sharing capabilities to the platform. In contrast to Vine’s six-second endless looping videos, Instagram videos are a maximum of 15 seconds in length, and they do not loop. But they are easily shareable, as Instagram heavily emphasizes social sharing functionality. The platform also supports tags for sharing content, making videos and photos more easily discoverable by other users.
Instagram receives about 15 times more engagement than Facebook, making it a useful tool for engaging with audiences and brand advocates. Users spend an average of 257 minutes on Instagram every month, providing ample opportunities for marketers to increase reach and boost brand awareness by showcasing photos of the goings-on at company headquarters and behind-the-scenes peeks at product launches and video shoots, among a multitude of other creative uses for the platform.
While Instagram is easy to use and provides a permanent, branded content feed for engaging users, it does require a consistent time investment to get results. Posting content daily – sometimes several times each day – along with responding to comments and interacting with followers who engage with your content can be time-consuming.
However, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social apps, particularly among the 18 to 29 and younger demographics.
“…more than half (53 percent) of 18-to-29-year-old Internet users are on Instagram.”
Starbucks is one of the most prominent brands on Instagram, winning points with its consumer base by curating user-generated content, such as photos posted by customers of their morning lattes. But it’s not just photos that make Starbucks stand out; several of the company’s 15-second video spots have been recognized as the best-performing branded videos by AdWeek and other outlets. Instagram’s usability, coupled with its massive and engaged audience and the highly shareable nature of its content, make the photo- and video-sharing platform among the most popular and effective video marketing platforms for brands.
A rather stark contrast to Vimeo, Snapchat focuses on the other end of the spectrum: short, informal video clips. Founded by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in 2011, the social messaging app allows users to send photos or short video clips (lasting no more than 10 seconds), along with drawings and text markups, to a select group of recipients. Originally a platform for sharing images only, Snapchat added Video Snaps to the mix in December 2012.
The standout feature of Snapchat is that messages, known as “snaps,” are viewable for just one to 10 seconds after a recipient opens them. Once all recipients have opened a snap or 30 days have passed – whichever comes first – the snap is also deleted from Snapchat’s servers.
Snapchat experienced rapid and widespread user acquisition, which caught the attention of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who offered $3 billion to purchase the company in 2013. Snapchat’s founders turned down the offer.
As of January 2015, Snapchat boasts 100 million active users and is the fastest-growing social app. From one-on-one messaging to live video chat, as well as a “My Stories” feature that was introduced in 2013, Snapchat offers multiple use cases. Brands in particular are taking advantage of the My Stories feature, which links together multiple snaps over a 24-hour period.
“This feature alone is driving more than 1 billion views a day and has become the ‘go-to’ for brands emphasizing a one-to-many strategy on the platform versus one-to-one messaging,” explains iMedia Connection. “Our Story” is a crowd-sourced version of “My Stories,” aggregating content from multiple users tied to location-based events.
Snapchat is designed for sharing short content that caters to short attention spans, so keep your content casual and fun. Because snaps disappear within one to 10 seconds after being viewed, Snapchat content isn’t as shareable compared to some of the other video platforms. However, it is worth noting that many Snapchat users have taken to grabbing screenshots of snaps as a way to preserve them indefinitely. Screenshots capture images or a single still from a video, but won’t preserve entire video snaps.
Snapchat is a viable marketing channel for any business targeting the younger demographics:
Taco Bell used Snapchat to introduce its Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, with a short, six-minute movie that was filmed and posted within 24 hours on Snapchat. This campaign was one of the first Snapchat Stories, which included a scene from the MTV Movie Awards red carpet. Snapchat was also a prominent marketing platform for brands during the 2015 Super Bowl.
Snapchat is making waves in the world of video marketing with features that cater specifically to brands, such as sponsored posts and Snapchat Discover, which gives users a new way to explore stories from various editorial teams.
Video marketing, like any marketing campaign, takes time, effort, and consistency to achieve results.
While some brands will hit a home run and experience incredible success from their first video, for most, it takes some fine-tuning to find the right voice and platforms for reaching your target audience.
Most video platforms offer some form of built-in analytics that shows how many views your videos have received, in addition to comments, likes, and shares, depending on the specific features and capabilities of each platform. Google Analytics is also a valuable tool for measuring the success of your video marketing campaigns.
In general, successful video marketing campaigns are ones that receives robust engagement and generates awareness for your brand. The specifics, of course, depend on the campaign-specific goals you set for each campaign, such as targeting a certain threshold of views or shares.
Video marketing is taking the world of digital marketing by storm, blending the offline and online worlds by bringing a traditional television format to desktop and mobile devices.
Whether you choose to showcase your most creative work on a platform like Vimeo or YouTube, or opt for engaging younger audiences with short and fun video clips on platforms like Snapchat, Vine, or Instagram, video marketing holds vast potential for brands who want to reach new audiences or engage their fans in a more personal way.
Producing a successful video campaign can put a fledgling business on the map or catapult established companies to the ranks of Starbucks and Nike. It’s all dependent on your goals, your approach, and your ongoing dedication. With the right mix, video marketing can produce impressive results for any business.
Ready to step up your video marketing game?