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15 July 2019 / Opinion

Video keeps evolving, don't get distracted

Joel Turner

We've recently made use of Google Earth Studio, a new tool that transforms Google Earth’s 3D satellite imagery into animations. We’re working behind the scenes to utilise it for some of our clients, after testing the tool’s capabilities by creating a cityscape of our hometown, Leeds.

Putting our initial excitement around the launch of Earth Studio aside, it made us think: does it always make sense to be an early adopter of new video formats?

The statistics are always compelling as online video consumption grows exponentially, making the medium irresistible for digital marketers. But when considering your video strategy, how do you make sense of changing formats and technology?

When deciding if it is right for you to adopt a new tool or technology, it’s vital to assess what is going to work for your brand and audience. It’s likely that not every new entry to the market is right for you.

People love video because it’s easy to consume, so much so that Cisco predicts video will be 82% of all online traffic by 2022. The average human brain processes videos 60,000 times faster than text. And since visual learners make up about 65% of the population, marketers can connect and communicate more quickly through video.

In reaching this growing audience, it’s all too easy to be seduced by the latest innovations in video formats or technology; 360, live formats (such as Facebook live) and portrait have all launched in various guises in the past few years. While early adoption will likely cause a stir, depending on your industry, effective use can be hard to achieve.

We think this is for one simple reason. And that thinking will give you pause for thought if you’re currently wrestling with a question like: “Is Facebook or Instagram Live the best platform for your next campaign?”

Purpose is everything

Video doesn’t sit alone in being shaped by novelty. Media and advertising technology companies are constantly looking at how they can originate new products or features as they chase a greater share of brands’ advertising budgets.

In this heady climate, it’s easy to forget the purpose for using video in the first place and to not think holistically about your strategy. Video can play a vital role in every stage of the conversion funnel online; from acquisition through to conversion. There is a place and time for every type of video. But vitally, the format is secondary.

Considering the purpose of video content and the role it fulfils for your audience in specific contexts is of primary importance.

The right video, at the right time

Be it adverts or explainers, when the right type of video is married with a considered execution, the correct format and solid approach to distribution – the results can be remarkable. Understanding the requirement for video is primary: What are you aiming to achieve? Who is the content aimed at? Where will it reside?

With that decision squared away; format, execution, and distribution all come into play. In the same way you can’t just build a website and expect visitors to visit, video content aimed at acquisition needs to be supported by a promotional budget. YouTube is a graveyard of corporate videos that have only received a handful of views.

Utilising programmatic video advertising using outstream or social, creating an animated or video commercial has many benefits. Aimed at brand building and acquisition, these campaigns work well because the format is so often misused.

We’ve seen some strong results from video creative produced for programmatic campaigns over the past 18 months. Building out a display campaign around video creative that is adapted to varying formats cuts through the noise of TV adverts adapted for display.

A recent campaign we produced for our client Mobiles.co.uk across the peak Black Friday and Christmas period delivered a 17% increase in traffic, with a 27% reduction in CPA from display.

Explain and persuade

So, how can video shape customer behaviour beyond acquisition? Once on-site educational and explainer videos can have a powerful impact on customer behaviour.

Relatively low-budget to create, these types of video also build trust in your brand, product or service, as well as helping push people to convert by aiding understanding and providing reassurance.

Below are two examples of explain and educational and explainer videos we have produced for Zuto and Dignity Funerals respectively:

Zuto: Test Drive Tips

Dignity: What to do when someone dies?

According to Google, 70% of millennials watch YouTube videos to learn how to do something new, with over 50% of internet users looked for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store or buying online.

Perhaps most tellingly, a Forbes study described how 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions and 64% say that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy.

A recent video we produced for Anglian Home Improvements bore out this trend, with a 24% increase in conversions recorded for user journey that incorporated landing pages with the video. This video sought to teach consumers the uPVC manufacturing process, showcasing and explaining their manufacturing process whilst reinforcing their brand heritage.

Prior to the point of conversion, there is compelling evidence to show how user engagement increases with pages containing video content.

As user engagement metrics become increasingly important to Google’s understanding of whether a search result answers a user’s query, video can play a key role in boosting the ‘stickiness’ of your content.

The final edit

We’ve touched on two video types, but there are of course many more – each with their own specific use-case. Product videos showcase how your products or services work, customer testimonials can deliver all-important social proof and company story videos can bring brands to life.

But vitally, the strategy and purpose behind your video is just as important as the format. If a new technology aligns with your aims and objectives, then embrace it – but don’t be beholden to using it. New formats are a great opportunity if they allow you stronger ROI or to connect with a larger or different audience.

They can also stimulate different creative approaches, which might be impactful – but will they offer sustained results?

As is often the case in marketing; tactics without strategy is never likely to be fully successful. Online video’s promise is inescapable. Taking a step back and building out your strategy is key to harnessing that promise for your brand.