Consumer behaviors often dictate marketing trends. Thus, as audiences gravitate toward video on both mobile and desktop platforms, companies are quickly reconfiguring their content strategies to focus on this visual medium. For many organizations, video has even begun to replace the written word, shifting from supplemental afterthought to primary real estate, as visualization actively boosts engagement.Here, we speak with Rich Blackwell, creative lead at Metia, to examine how companies currently employ video and what they must do to increase content consumption in this evolving environment:
1to1 Media: When and why will video begin to replace the top-of-page headline?
Rich Blackwell: Video has already started to replace top-of-page headers for brands across the Web. We've already seen a decline in effectiveness for static hero sliders, and video offers a rich alternative. Video--just like email, websites, and brochures--is a vehicle for content. There is no better real estate to set the tone for your content than the hero space on your homepage. An additional benefit of video is that it can be much more efficient than copy. Further, consumers are more accepting of video content than, say, white papers, where they can over analyze word choice. Video lets you show customers, rather than merely tell them, why your product or service is worth paying attention to.
1to1: How will video help bring beauty and storytelling back to the Web?
RB: Remember when every website was built on Flash? The downside was that sites took forever to load and customers had to deal with cumbersome plugins and software updates. The upside was that the Web was full of movement, beauty, and artful expression. We've had a few years of somewhat static Web experiences, and in the meantime, the technology needed to produce video has dramatically improved and is more accessible than ever before. Video is finally easy enough to produce, edit, and publish, allowing marketers to experiment with it more easily. People like video. By 2017, Invodo predicts that 74 percent of Internet traffic will originate from video consumption. In recent years, top brands have gone from housing just a few dozen YouTube videos to as many as 10,000 videos uploaded in a single year. It only makes sense to pull video onto the website, and it makes just as much sense to make sure that the video is thoughtful and visually pleasing.
1to1: How will video revolutionize the visualization of Big Data and infographics overall?
RB: Data visualization and infographics have been in high demand for a few years. One reason that data visualization has been so popular is that it pulls together facts to tell a story, and there's no better storytelling media than video. When you put those stories in motion, it's not just informative, but it's entertaining, as well. And when it comes to data, there's more of it now than ever before. People need help processing what all these data points mean in relation to each other, and the best help comes in the form of video.
1to1: When embracing these online and mobile video trends, what are some best practices all brands must adhere to?
RB: Test your content. Distribute variations of video content to learn how your audience responds to them. Request and address feedback. Test content for length, style, distribution channel, and messaging. Marketers must understand what kind of outcome from their video strategy will most likely benefit their business. Videos can build brand awareness, drive sales, and increase Web traffic. Video can help customers navigate through the sales funnel with ease. Tailor content, style, and calls to action to line up with the outcome that's needed from a video.
Consider the content ecosystem. Whether video is being incorporated into social media channels, or embedded into email and websites, it requires strategic placement. How does this video support other content, such as white papers, presentations, contests, and events?
Audio quality matters even more than video quality. Make sure voices are easily heard and understood. Consider localizing content if the audience speaks multiple languages.
Avoid the 'talking head.' If a video is comprised of interviews, consider using the narrator as a voiceover or breaking up the interviews with visuals and graphics. It's better to tell a story than to read one.
Keep it short ( Don't worry about capturing every detail. Use video to simply set the stage for your other content. Keep the file size small so that it loads quickly and is mobile-friendly.
Despite the many advantages of video for content marketing, some marketers don't get the engagement they need. One small, but powerful, change that improves the effectiveness of most videos is to add or improve the call to action. Your video is telling your story and a call to action helps the viewer move through the sales funnel.
1to1: What does the future hold for the further evolution of video?
RB: On a tactical level, video will continue to be easier to create, and SEO for video will continue to improve. What's more exciting right now is the impact of the Internet of Things and advancements like Microsoft's Hololens or Oculus Rift. Video has the real potential to be an extension of the user, just as social media avatars have been. Using video for conversations between brands and their customers in a scalable fashion is on the horizon and is particularly exciting.
The best performing videos are those that are part of a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes the content needs of the customer. The challenge that most marketers face when deploying video content is not the effort to get it produced and edited; it's the critical step of understanding the audience, where they consume content, and what they need to see. It's easy to create content, but it's harder to create good content that works. Analyze, test, and course correct to fine tune your video marketing approach. With projections of video usage only increasing, how a brand's online video content is perceived will be an important issue in 2015.