It’s predicted that 80 percent of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2019.
Think about that — that’s a lot of video content.
In our series Digital Marketing is Interwoven, we have covered how a variety of trends impact content marketers. For example, we recently examined how video is a social media trend. But video is clearly not just a trend.
So, we wanted to focus on video as a medium for content marketing. The numbers clearly show how important this conversation is.
There’s another reason we’re taking this approach. Research shows that consumers are more likely to watch and share videos that are humorous, educational or related to a social cause. Other research says customer testimonials, tutorial videos and demos perform best. Emotional, inspirational, explainer, how-to and behind-the-scenes videos also do well.
Do you get the sense that there are a lot of different research findings out there?
While certain types of videos perform better than others on average, generalizing what will work best for your brand and audience doesn’t work at all.
As with all content marketing, what works for you will depend on a variety of factors — starting with the conversion funnel.
Create a Video Strategy for Stages in the Conversion Funnel
Rather than focus on what research shows is the most popular type of video, create a strategy based on your different audiences and where they are in the conversion funnel.
In the initial stage, your target audience is becoming aware of a problem or opportunity, but they are not yet familiar with your brand.
Unsurprisingly, the best awareness videos are those that get noticed. You are not yet seeking conversions at this stage, so it’s OK to focus on videos that just entertain. Watch time and shares are good success metrics to consider.
It should go without saying, but it’s vital that these videos are well-branded, even if they are not promotional. Many videos are deemed successful for their humor or entertainment value even though no one associates them with their brand.
If you are creating a video to introduce your company, limit it to between 30 and 60 seconds. Consumers are willing to watch longer videos if they help with purchase decisions or offer entertainment, news or educational content, but more on video length later.
Now your audience is actively looking for solutions to their problem, or for an opportunity. At this stage, offer practical value. Prove that you are an expert and show how you can help them solve that problem.
The best videos at this stage are tutorials, explainer videos, how-tos and webinars. In addition to view time and shares, engagement is a helpful metric. Consider whether viewers clicked on a link in the video to learn more, for example.
Your audience has chosen how they want to approach their problem or opportunity. They know what they are looking for, and they are narrowing down their options to make a decision.
Your audience needs to know why they should choose you over a competitor, so give them reasons with case studies, testimonials and demos. You can also use videos that show your authority, such as expert interviews.
Several studies — such as this one from Pixability — also show that cause-related content can help with conversion and retention.
Once you have the conversion, you also want to keep your target audience coming back. Their social media connections will see if they engage with your content, thus making them ambassadors for your brand.
Live and behind-the-scenes videos best serve this purpose. You can also consider employee testimonials to showcase your company culture.
Video platform Wistia offers more details about video content at each stage in the conversion funnel, including metrics and examples of videos at each.
Live and Personalized? No Brainer. Branded Series? Maybe.
As you create your video marketing strategy, there are three types of videos worth considering.
Personalize the Experience
The average retention rate of personalized videos is 35 percent higher than non-personalized videos, according to Vidyard. So, it’s no surprise that 70 percent of video professionals surveyed by HapYak said they are doing some degree of personalization.
Marketers today can offer customers more relevant, personalized and actionable content paths at all stages of the lifecycle, says HapYak VP of Marketing Lisa Clark.
For example, in 2016 Lancôme adapted a product launch video strategy to target six distinct groups. As a result, 32 different messages achieved an 80 percent view-through rate. They also received more than 12,000 requests for samples.
Guy Atzmon at video marketing platform SundaySky believes that personalized video is only starting to live up to its potential.
“Imagine the possibilities: Facebook unveils a new feature to users through a personalized video that educates them on how to use it based on their most likely application, as determined by previous behaviors. Or a user logs into Facebook for the first time after a hiatus from the site, triggering Facebook to deliver a personalized video recapping what he or she has missed.”
- Google tools let you deliver personalized messages based on historical data and live insights. For example, Groupon has used data to target “people who frequently visit salons,” “live event enthusiasts” and “department store shoppers.”
- Vidyard offers a guide on personalized videos at scale.
Live Videos Will Live On
People devote more attention to live video. On average, viewers will spend three times as much time watching a live video as they would a similar prerecorded video.
Consider behind-the-scenes tours, interviews, event coverage and product reveals. Content should encourage engagement — you can do this by using a Q&A format, for example. You should also consider whether to make your content available after the live event or keep it exclusive to those who watched in real time.
There are a few tools that can make shooting, publishing and promoting live video easier:
- Crowdcast allows you to stream on multiple social platforms at the same time.
- BeLive lets you brand your live streams or shows on Facebook.
- Lightstream makes it easy to overlay pictures, audio-video clips and design elements.
Branded Video Series: Here to Stay?
Some brands have created branded video series, and rightfully so: 64 percent of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos, according to Tubular Insights.
Research by Contently, however, questions whether branded video series will become a reliable marketing tool. They found that trailers had five times more views than the average episode in a series, suggesting that initial enthusiasm may not trickle down to results.
We are curious to see whether branded series continue as a trend. At the moment, we see it primarily working for brands with established audiences and big budgets.
- Don’t start every video in a series with the same sequence, says Peter Gerard, formerly of Vimeo.
- Extract pieces of the story so audiences dig deeper, says Cramer, a global brand experience agency. For example “if your video’s character is shown playing a video game, release that game. If your character is referencing a study, release that study.”
- Layer your characters across your marketing assets, “from ads to emails, posters to signage, voicemail greetings to downloadable ringtones.” Cramer adds that your audiences have a relationship with your characters when video is done right, so keep them around.
Best Practices in Video Design
As humans collectively, our patience is dwindling.
Animoto says the ideal video length is up to one minute, with viewing figures falling off dramatically after that point — especially on mobile.
While the ideal length varies by channel and objective, here are some interesting data points that HubSpot’s Clifford Chi found:
- Instagram’s most-commented videos tend to be about 26 seconds long.
- Twitter’s #VideoOfTheDay tends to be 43 seconds long.
- Facebook users will spend up to 1 minute watching a video.
- YouTube users will stay engaged for about 2 minutes (but get your call to action in early, says Trepoint founder and CEO Bill Carmody, who recommends slotting at CTA at the 30-second mark).
Snapchat publishes its own best practices for marketers and advertisers. This platform above all others will test your ability to be concise. The company recommends keeping ads shorter than 6 seconds, and to get your branding in before the 2-second mark.
Live video is the exception to these rules. Facebook Live’s captivation times are reportedly 20 minutes on average, according to Falcon.io.
Finally, keep in mind that Ideal length also depends on the type of video. As we mentioned earlier, consumers will spend more time on educational content than a brand introduction, for example.
- Keep your introductory text crisp. Buzzsumo found that the best Facebook videos had short introductory text, with a median of 61 characters.
- Catch attention and get to the point immediately. Gerard’s post, mentioned above, offers great examples of brands doing this well.
- Video tech company Vydia recommends creating a “trailer” for channels like Instagram if your videos are longer than 30 seconds. Include a call-to-action within the video or description prompting users to watch the full video.
Designing for video isn’t just about length. For example, square (1:1 aspect ratio) and vertical (9:16) videos are overtaking the conventional horizontal videos (16:9) thanks to mobile. In fact, people are 67 percent more likely to watch the full length of a square-oriented video than they are to watch a horizontal one.
Finally, we’ll leave you with a few bonus tips for designing video content:
- Switching to new frames and animating your graphics is a great way to keep your audience engaged, adds Vydia.
- Many viewers don’t have autoplay features turned on, so custom thumbnails are important. Shareablee found that their best videos displayed the top four images from the video and in a grid.
- Viewers watch 85 of Facebook videos without sound, so adding captions is a must. This also helps with SEO.