Video content is fast becoming one of the most valuable and flexible online marketing assets that any company can own.
Of course, video marketing isn’t a new concept. For years, companies have invested in corporate videos as powerful tools to inform, educate and entertain key stakeholders.
But in the last few years, web video has really taken off – first in the B2C world, and now increasingly in the B2B arena.
As consumers, our growing appetite for web video is astonishing. Just consider the following:
- Recent research from Cisco Systems suggests that online video currently represents 40% of all current consumer internet traffic. Cisco predicts that this will increase to 62% by 2015.
- YouTube recently announced it now receives 3 BILLION views per day. That’s the equivalent of nearly half the world’s population watching a YouTube video each day.
- According to www.comscore.com, there has been a 66% increase in the past year of end-consumers viewing video marketing content on mobile platforms across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
What’s interesting is that this is having a knock-on effect for business expectations of web video. As consumers, we’re actively seeking out online videos – they’re quick and easy to digest, more engaging to view and bring to life everything from products and places to people and experiences.
Is it any wonder that business audiences are now starting to expect just as much from corporate communications?
Company websites and blogs devoid of any web video risk looking out of touch very soon. Corporates which fail to consider the video potential of growing smartphone and tablet penetration could quickly find themselves left behind.
And that’s not to mention all the SEO benefits they could be missing out on. Did you know, for example, that Google, MSN, Yahoo, AOL and countless other Search Engines give priority to websites containing video content?
The fact is that corporate video now has more ways of being used than ever before. One video shoot today has the potential to generate multiple pieces of cost and time-effective content for months to come, seeded across numerous digital and social media channels.
Well produced web-videos add depth and professionalism to websites, blogs, Twitter profiles, Facebook pages, PR stories, emails, DM campaigns, sales pitches and much more.
A word of warning though. Just because it’s easy for anyone to shoot and upload their own video these days certainly doesn’t mean that approach will pay in the long run. Successful web video takes a lot more than a camcorder and a YouTube account.
With that in mind, here are a few key elements to bear in mind when making an effective web video:
- Purpose – If you don’t know what the strategic purpose of your video is then it is likely that you are going to miss the point and fill the gaps with unnecessary information that will have viewers clicking away.
- Story – The idea of a story arc, beginning, middle and end, does not just apply to fiction. Build the expectations of the viewer with a catchy opener, develop this and then end with something that encourages the viewer to stay on your site or click through for more. It is important to consider pace and allow your viewer to absorb the information you are presenting.
- Length – The internet is a busy place and people really don’t dedicate much time to each video they watch before moving on. Most people suggest a maximum of 3 minutes for a web video, often less. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s impossible to get a message across in this time. It forces you to think of purpose, story and pace. Cater to the habits of your audience and you’ll have much more success.
- Cinematography – The days we turned to the television for broadcast quality content and the internet for blurred, pixelated video caught on the off chance are behind us. With a web video you are creatively expressing your brand identity. To add production values to a video you need to consider the image as well as the content.
- Audio – We know it’s important, but often people focus so much on the moving image that this vital part of a production receives half-hearted attention. By having clear audio or narration you’ll make it easier for the viewer to digest the information. Music can develop tone and pace, and bind together the different elements in an edit. And make sure you don’t overlook copyright considerations.
- Graphics – It simply doesn’t cost thousands to produce quality graphics these days. Adding variety to a video with the use of motion graphics or a well designed ident can aid story, pace and make the video much more interesting and memorable.
- Trackability– For all this talk of broadcast standards and cinematography remember that there are amazing tools online to help you monitor and distribute your video. Learn from your monitoring. On popular video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo you can see when people click off your video, peak viewing ages and much more. Develop your video strategy as you gather this data.
- Shareability – Encourage sharing of your content, tweet the video to influential people and hashtag the keywords. Allow viewers to embed the video on their sites/blogs. If you make a small effort to push the video beyond your company and present clients it is quite likely that it will gather momentum and reach further than you would have imagined.
So whilst it is possible – and, let’s face it, fairly easy – to create cut-price web video, it’s important to remember that effective short films need crafting in more ways than one.
Even if you know what you want to say, where, when and how you say it could make all the difference to how your story is received.