With the prominence of video content on social media platforms and search engines continuing to grow, having a video marketing strategy for your business has never been more important. That’s why we’ve created a free video marketing guide to help you get started on your video journey, or simply have a refresher.
By 2020, video will account for 82% of all internet traffic, according to Cisco. And it’s easy to see why.
The combination of visual and audio content has long been compelling to people, as we saw with the groundbreaking inventions of film and television. Television is still, today, the most effective way to advertise, and certainly one of the most expensive. Online video can be powerful too, but is, like television, pricey when compared to banner ads, and audio ads.
As a medium, it takes more time to produce video than any other kind of online marketing. Therefore, to ensure you get the best value, a video marketing strategy is required.
Today, we’ll look at what you need to know to put a video strategy together. And we’ll provide tips to make it both robust enough and agile enough to use in the short, medium and long-term.
1. Articulate your goals
Step one is to articulate why you’re attempting to use video marketing as a part of your marketing mix. Setting video goals, objectives, and KPIs is fundamental to creating an efficient video marketing strategy. It will help you justify the resources you need, and allow you to clearly see how well video marketing is contributing to your broader marketing goals.
A recent study from Ascend2 found that businesses commonly use video marketing to:
- Educate customers
- Build brand awareness
- Drive engagement
- Increase leads
- Improve conversion
- Build a community
- Send traffic to their website
These goals may work as nothing more than inspiration for you, or may well be some of the things you want to replicate for your strategy. Whichever way you go, use the SMART technique – making things specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound – to set your goals and KPIs for each of these objectives. Do the best you can to make them both ambitious, yet realistic. But be sure to give yourself the freedom to adjust them as time goes on if they show themselves to no longer be valuable parts of your strategy, or are simply no longer achievable.
2. Be aware of trends, and beware trends
A lot of video trends are a flash in the pan, but some stick around. So, what should you do?
If you were to go all-in on every video marketing trend, you would be switching up your video stack constantly for little value in return. Trends, by definition, come and go, so include an allowance of time and resources for experimentation so that you can try trends and new ideas for size, and see if they show value before making them a permanent part of your strategy.
Here are some trends that have grown in 2019:
Although Facebook Live was overhyped, live streaming has proven valuable to a lot of brands. The in-the-moment nature of the format captures people’s attention by establishing a sense of urgency. Live video also feels more intimate as it’s typically more off the cuff. Most platforms that offer live streaming will also provide viewers the ability to comment live, and interact with the streamer in a unique way which can increase overall user engagement for your brand.
While users on social media sites like Facebook prefer short videos, YouTube viewers are watching videos that are longer. In fact, it’s something that YouTube’s algorithm is favoring, as it means people are spending longer on the platform, and can therefore be shown more ads.
For Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, animated captions are a great way to catch the eye of users that are scrolling. As videos on these platforms autoplay on mute, these animations can provide context of what the video is about, and try and hook users in, getting them to activate the sound and watch the whole way through. You can also do this through closed captions, which you can set to be automatically activated on your videos while playing with the sound off. These provide subtitles, and need to be uploaded into each platform with your video content as a .srt file. This is also a good thing to include in all videos across platforms, as it provides a transcript that search engines like Google can crawl, picking up on keywords, and improving the chances that they’ll show up in search results.
Snapchat’s popularity has fluctuated, and Instagram’s much-hyped IGTV was a bit of a bust, but the “Stories” format continues to go from strength to strength. Viewers usually expect to see this content in and amongst that of their close friends and influencers, so it needs to feel personal and be designed to be watched alone (often with sound off). Stories can be more low-fi than the content you’d expect to see from brands within your Instagram stream, or YouTube and Facebook feeds. If done well, it’s a unique and intimate way to connect with your audience.
3. Which channels to use
Each of the video channels available can be used to target a slightly different audience, and requires a certain set of formats. Once you’ve figured out the audience that you’re trying to reach, and the style of video you want to create, it’s time to look for the right platform/s to be on.
YouTube is one of the best video platforms on the web. It can handle virtually any resolution or format you want to throw at it, including interactive 360 videos, and 4k resolution. It’s the place to upload if you’re happy to have your users be shown ads before or during your content. YouTube videos can be easily embedded on web pages. And, as YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web, succeeding on YouTube can have a big impact on your brand’s SEO.
It’s difficult to standout on Facebook at the best of times, and with more video content than ever being uploaded to the social network, decent exposure is getting harder. As a platform it can handle virtually any length of video (under 240 minutes), offers live streaming options, and can support the regular 16:9 video aspect ratio, as well as square or vertical videos. However, it can only handle 1080p or lower resolutions. Facebook videos autoplay in people’s feeds until users activate the sound. The feed is both a blessing and a curse, as it prompts passive discovery of your content, but, being in a feed full of content, rarely results in content longer than a few seconds being watched all the way through.
The star of the Instagram right now is its popular Stories format, which was mentioned earlier. The other option is IGTV which, after a rough launch, has broadened the formats of video it accepts (no longer exclusively vertical video). IGTV will accept up to 15 minute long videos when uploading from a mobile device, and 60 minutes when uploading from the web. Videos must be MP4 format. And they’ll now appear as autoplaying videos in people’s feeds when they’re released, and on your Instagram profile, although only the first 30 seconds will play, and then prompt users to watch the rest in the IGTV part of the app.
Twitter is similar to Facebook in that it can handle most formats and aspect ratios. However, it will only accept videos up to 30 seconds in length. You can get around this and upload videos up to 10 minutes long if you go through the ad platform (which is free unless you want to promote the video). Twitter videos autoplay, so consider the same kinds of things we’ve mentioned previously to stop scrolling users in their tracks. As a platform, Twitter is all about immediacy, so videos that are relevant to the current conversation will perform the best.
4. Building a video production workflow
Assuming this is your first time putting together a video marketing strategy, this will be the first time your business will be putting resources into video production, which can involve some serious investment depending on the type of content you’re wanting to create.
An efficient video workflow is important when it comes to defining what you need and estimating how long and how many resources it will take to get things created.
Now that you know your objectives, who you’re trying to reach, and what platforms you need to be on, it’s time to decide what video formats your videos will be in. Will you be creating a series of live streams, with just one person talking to the camera, and interacting with the audience? Is it an explainer video, requiring graphics, and animation? Each video format will require a different level of investment.
5. Measure and learn
Once the planning is done, and your videos have been created and uploaded, it’s time to measure and report on their performance, to conclude how they’re contributing to your strategy.
Here are the main video metrics to keep an eye on:
Platforms like Facebook, and YouTube place a lot of value on how long people watch your videos for. Pay attention to the structure of your content, and ensure you’re hooking people in efficiently at the beginning, and maintaining their attention throughout. Consider whether you need to provide them with incentives to keep watching in the future.
It’s the most vain of metrics, but it still counts. The algorithms of these sites pay attention to the amount of views a video has. Optimizing your videos correctly, sharing links to them on social media, in emails, and in newsletters can drive traffic to them, and help build momentum around them early on. The earlier you can give them exposure, the better, as each platform values relevant, and popular content.
Comments, likes, and shares indicate how your content has resonated with viewers. Reactions – good or bad – are better than no reactions at all. This doesn’t mean making your content unnecessarily extreme. But it does mean the content needs to be compelling enough to start a conversation around it.
Since this is video marketing, most of your videos – regardless of where you share them – will be linking, or driving people back to your website, or product page in some way. Measuring the click-through-rate – the amount of times a user has clicked on these links – is therefore an important metric to monitor.
You’ve measured your click-through-rate, now how many of those clicks converted into a sale. Whether it’s a product, or subscription you’re driving your audience to, using tools like Google Analytics, or Tableau, allows you to see where people have come to your product pages from, and how many of them made a purchase. This metric is key when calculating the direct ROI from your video content.
Formalize and refine
The most important point to make in light of all of these tips is that they make up a framework that can stay the same, or be adjusted at any time. Broadly, defining your objectives, finding your audience, determining your budget, building a process, and measuring and learning are the considerations that guide you creating your strategy. These will not change. But the specifics that come out of these broader requirements can and will. What “works” today in the rapidly changing field of video marketing, may not work tomorrow.
So, be aware of your goals, and be open to changing, and adjusting them when necessary. Don’t be afraid to apply your learnings when supported by data, and leave enough room for experimentation, especially if you’re interested in keeping up with new trends.
A sustainable video marketing strategy
These 5 steps are a guide to help you realise your business’ video marketing strategy. They should set you up to identify the specifics of it, and the broader goals of it, hopefully leaving you with something robust enough to get the resources you need and see success, and agile enough to take you long into the future. Mixed with your intelligence as a marketing professional, our video marketing guide should put you on the fast track to getting your video operation up and running, and seeing success, quickly.