When was the last time you watched an online video? If you’re like me, it was probably today.
We’re not alone; 55 per cent of people watch online videos every day and that percentage keeps growing. I love video; as a visual learner I find it a much easier way to digest information. Studies have shown that viewers retain 95% of a message when it is delivered in a video, compared to only 10 per cent when it’s read as text.
The medium is growing so fast that a report by Cisco predicted by 2022, 82 per cent of global internet traffic will be video. And it's no longer about video created purely for entertainment. It’s also increasingly becoming an integral part of an organisation’s digital marketing mix with businesses including it as part of their content strategy. In a survey by Wyzowl, 92 per cent of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their marketing and communication strategy. This is up from 78 per cent in 2015.
Why is video so popular?
Video is extremely versatile, multi-faceted and can deliver content in a variety of different ways. Done well, it’s engaging, entertaining and a highly effective way of communicating that’s easy to consume.
Our video marketing agency, SHERPA, has found video increasingly easy to produce. Now, almost anyone can afford reasonable equipment. But that doesn’t mean everyone can tell an interesting story or engage an audience.
That, to me, is important. It’s not always about big budgets but the key is understanding your target audience, the message you are trying to deliver and its outcomes before considering the most relevant type of video content.
Once you’ve done that, there are a variety of different formats your video can take depending on the message you are trying to deliver and the what you want your viewer to get from it. Here are some of the most popular video formats, where to use them and why they work.
Popular video marketing formats and when to use them
Over the years there have been so many great marketing campaigns, far too many to mention here. Thankfully there are plenty of great resources that have curated some of the best TV commercials.
A TV campaign was always seen as the pinnacle of advertising but only for those that had the big budgets. This is no longer the case. A good idea doesn’t need a big budget and with a plethora of channels to distribute on it’s easier than ever to find your audience.
Here are two examples of work we’ve completed recently for our clients.
Wine Victoria: This is one of a series of videos we created promoting Victoria and its five ‘must visit’ hero wine regions.
Wine Victoria – Pinot Coast from SHERPA on Vimeo.
Boost Juice: Our video agency, SHERPA, has worked with Boost Juice on a few of their most recent campaigns.
Boost 'Celebish' - Hero from SHERPA on Vimeo.
When to use it: As part of a bigger promotional activity across TV or digital to engage your audience and inspire. It’s great for brand awareness or a product launch.
2. Content series
A recent video marketing trend sees brands creating their own engaging content web series shaped using the same techniques as our favourite bingeable TV shows. This means likeable characters, a story arc and a narrative through line where the brand is secondary to the content. This is less interruptive and leans into the shift in the relationship between customers and brands.
A great example of this, with an incredibly high budget, was The Marriott Hotel chain short film series The Two Bellmen. The first episode alone has more than five million views on YouTube.
When to use it: To engage, inspire and entertain an audience primarily through your owned media channels. It's great for brand awareness and interest.
3. How-to videos
We’ve all been there. How do I make a…? How do I change…? A problem arises and we turn to the internet to get the answer. Around 65 per cent of people use YouTube to help them fix something, and 54 per cent use it to help them solve a problem. And if it’s your brand that is answering this question it’s going to significantly improve brand sentiment.
When planning your video strategy, think of the role your business can play in the day-to-day lives of your target audience. Give the consumer a better understanding of the services or product you are offering and be important in the moments that count.
Here’s some cocktail inspiration we created for Dan Murphy’s.
When to use it: To solve a problem, answer a question or be useful.
4. Product demonstrations
HubSpot reports that 72 per cent of customers would rather learn about a product or service with video, so why wouldn’t you deliver the benefits of your product this way? It’s also now the number one content type used by marketing teams to sell products.
It gives your audience full visibility on how the product looks or functions, without the pushy sales approach.
Here’s an example produced by Mercedes-Benz AU, taking you though the features of one of their vehicles.
When to use it: Across your owned channels. Make it easily searchable for when people are in research mode.
5. Personalised video
Personalisation in content marketing is nothing new and can take a variety of forms. A more generalised version would have your audience segmented into personas and the content you deliver to them making them feel like you understand them. This drives engagement and helps with acquisition. It really has an impact through a personal touch to specific customers. A report from Accenture shows that 91 per cent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations.
While it may be driven out of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, having a personalised experience makes you feel valued and drives loyalty. Over the years I’ve had some great experiences with personalised video such as Nike+ with my workout “achievement” (using the term loosely), my mobile phone provider sending me a video birthday message or Spotify reminding me, with their end-of-year wrap-up, how stuck in the past my music taste is. These all help deepen the relationship I have with those brands.
For anyone who uses Facebook I’m sure you’ll have had one of these personalised videos pop up in your feed.
When to use it: Personalised video has benefit in the sales pipeline and for customer loyalty.
6. 360-degree video
360-degree video experiences are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to fully immerse you in the moment. They create that ‘take me there’ moment, allowing you to transport yourself to a place or an event without leaving your device.
While the best way to experience this format is through a device such as Google Cardboard or an Oculus Rift headset, Facebook 360 makes it more accessible, only requiring a smartphone and movement.
You can visit a property without having to go to an open house, attend an event that would be otherwise unattainable or experience far-flung travel destinations without the need for a passport, like this example from Expedia.
When to use it: Great for product or location demonstrations, or ‘take me there’ experiences.
7. Live video
Live video is great for bringing an event, presentation or demonstration to as large an audience as possible. Mostly commonly hosted on YouTube or Facebook, live video is a great way to create a sense of community and also allows viewers to interact, for example, asking questions and getting answers in real time. Also, your audience love them. Viewers spend up to 8.1x longer with live video than they do with video-on-demand and 82 per cent prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
One I definitely spent too much time watching was the team at Buzzfeed trying to explode a watermelon with elastic bands.
To win at live video, make sure you have your technology set up and a strong internet connection, have a clear purpose and message, be authentic and, of course, remember to tell the audience when and where it’s happening.
Where to use it: Great for engaging an audience to demonstrate a product or service across the awareness and decision-making stage of the journey.
How do you know which video format is right?
First, review your content strategy or your video content marketing plan and ask some key questions:
- What’s the purpose of the content? - What’s the problem you are trying to solve for your audience? - Where does it fall in your marketing and sales process, from attracting new customers to delighting existing customers? - What action do you want from the viewer after watching? - Where will it be distributed and to who?
Video is an increasingly powerful medium giving you an opportunity to be creative, memorable and provide your audience with purposeful content. And 85% of consumers want to see more video content from brands. So, what’s stopping you?
Do you have plans to include video within your marketing mix but don’t know where to start or how to integrate it into your content strategy? Drop me a line at email@example.com – I’d love to discuss this with you.
Scott Elmslie, account director