Online video has become a key element in the arsenal of marketers, with 93 percent
claiming to have used video marketing in 2013, according to a survey of 600 professionals conducted by the Web Video Marketing Council.
Whether a marketer sells to consumers or businesses, online videos have found a
particular niche, not for branding but as “explainer” videos. Wayne Wall, CEO of video
marketing firm Flimp Media, says, “It could be cartoons, motion graphics, or taking
B-roll [supplemental/stock footage] and creating something that is really engaging and
Videos might take time to digest, but marketers are betting that the information goes
down easier with visuals, which can include simple motion graphics and a narrator
walking people through complicated information.
On the B2B side, UPS created a series of short videos based on popular search queries
and call center inquiries. James McDavid, a researcher at Forrester, likes the tactic. “Yes,
it’s a marketing tool, but it’s also tied to business objectives. They’re very targeted and
specific,” he says.
Videos can help explain services to customers during what Kelly Ford, SundaySky’s vice
president of marketing, calls “high-consideration touchpoints,” such as the onboarding
process for new customers. For a cable subscriber looking over his first bill, for example,
the provider can include a link where the subscriber can see a SmartVideo that will pull
in his name and exact bill information, giving a customized walk-through that reduces
calls to customer service and churn rates.
Also helping video marketing gain traction is the rise of user-generated content, which
dominates YouTube and has loosened standards for video.
In marketing, in particular, quantity can matter more than quality. Forty percent of
marketers in the Web Video Marketing Council survey created 11 to 50 videos in 2013.
Another 12 percent of respondents created more than 50 videos, and 13 percent created
more than 100 videos. Multiple videos have to be produced at lower price points to meet
budgets, though, the experts say.
Wall warns that “companies that skimp in that area are making a huge mistake.” He
estimates that most quality online videos cost between $2,000 and $25,000 apiece, which
can be affordable even in larger quantities.
Tricks like the “Ken Burns effect,” which pans across an image, can create immersive
experiences inexpensively, and Wall has seen the popularity of motion graphics increase.
More than half (56 percent) of respondents to the Web Video Marketing Council survey
used that kind of video content in 2013.
Videos also help with high-consideration purchases. McDavid singles out Mercedes as a
company that uses videos to push consumers closer to purchases. People who view
branding videos will be guided to more granular videos that help explain certain features
of their car choices. “They’re smart about how they link videos together,” McDavid says.
Videos can also serve as a scalable way for champions of a company’s product to spread the word. “If you’re in sales, selling a big complicated thing like software, you can tell
two, three, four different people within an organization, but then you need buy-in for
twenty more,” Wall says. “You need to have the ability to put video in the hands of your
champions so those people can be brought on board.”
With online video so prevalent, McDavid is already turning his attention to adoption of
video on the go. “Mobile video is going to be an area of growth in the next couple years.
As people consume more content on mobile devices, there will be a need to optimize
content for mobile devices,” he says.