Engaging Your Audience with Video

Online video streaming is growing at an unprecedented rate, especially on mobile devices. YouTube's mobile ad sales tripled in six months. Instagram, the number-one photo-sharing app, recently integrated video to compete with popular video sites such as YouTube and Vine. Organizations from all types of industries are realizing the power of video. Advertisers leverage video to better engage consumers with brands, and sports broadcasters rely on it to appeal to a wider fan base.

Strategy Analytics recently reported that video accounted for 1.5 exabytes of data in 2012 and shows the greatest growth forecast for mobile data services. Video streaming is predicted to be the leading driver of the 300 percent increase in mobile data traffic forecast by 2017. As brands plan their video engagement strategies, many lack the bandwidth to stream high-quality content and the knowledge to engage users effectively. Not all video is created equal. Streaming media can vary in terms of quality, and there are often common problems that companies run into, such as interrupted connectivity and incorrectly formatted video content.

Dynamic streaming can help companies eliminate these common problems and optimize content for the right audiences. Dynamic video delivery detects hundreds of attributes specific to a particular user's device and delivers video in the corrected device format. It streams fast—without interruptions or delays—because of the dynamic advantage. It creates greater engagement with the user because it is targeted to his or her device and its location. Brands can customize and deliver video in real time and stream it to any device, including mobile tablets, game consoles, and set-top boxes.

A recent study by Internet Retailer revealed that if a consumer watches a video demo of a product, he or she is 85 percent more likely to buy the product. That's incredible incentive for businesses to invest in video engagement strategies and mobile video ads.

Keep the following pointers in mind for making your next video engaging:

Engage users on the go. Engage with the right audience when and where they are most likely to purchase. Leveraging geo-location technology to target users at a hyperlocal level maximizes responsiveness through the purchase funnel.

Tell a story. Relevant stories about your brand will make it more real and accessible to consumers. Marketers should capitalize on the content that consumers are currently interacting with to tell a story that makes it personal. Mobile device data tells marketers a lot about consumers—what games they play, magazines they read, where they shop, etc. By analyzing this data, marketers not only ensure they are reaching the most relevant audience, but they can also adjust content to make it more personal.

British Airways recently released a video that, although it's a commercial, feels like a short story. The video is five minutes long and tells the heartfelt story of a son's surprise visit to his "mum" after spending years in another country. The airline could take this a step further by placing this video on Web sites about travel or mom blogs. Videos that tell a relevant story will resonate well with consumers and can inspire them if the themes echo the content they are already engaging with on their mobile devices.

Don't forget to socialize. When brands create video content, the hope is always that it will go viral in a positive way. Brands that integrate and publicize their social presence alongside video content will increase the chances of this happening. Consumers listen to their friends and value their opinions more than brands that are trying to sell them something. As consumers share content on social networks, it will drive more clicks and views of the video. To integrate social media, brands should have a social sharing plug-in alongside the video so users can easily click on their favorite social site's icon to share content. Additionally, the video can end with a question and a hashtagged phrase so consumers can continue the conversation on social networks. In the case of British Airways, the video could have ended with a question such as, "When was the last time you visited mum? #visitmum." This would have encouraged further brand interaction and helped drive even more views.

The way your audience consumes content has evolved dramatically. Now, consumers expect HD-quality content delivered to them no matter where they are, not just in front of a TV. Businesses that understand this newfound expectation will foster valuable customer relationships. When delivered dynamically, video can be a powerful tool for any industry or organization to engage with their target audience in a very meaningful way. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth at least a billion.

Martin Hayward is the director of marketing at Mirror Image, where he is responsible for developing and executing a marketing strategy for the company's edge computing applications, streaming media, and content delivery solutions. Prior to joining Mirror Image, he was the director of marketing for Telelogic, where he managed a marketing department that supported worldwide software products and services for the telecommunications industry.

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