In today’s multi-channel, multi-platform world, customer journeys are continually evolving – largely thanks to the move to a predominantly digital space. With previous studies indicating that nearly 70 per cent of the research and evaluation behind a sale now takes place online, marketers are looking to an increasing array of tools to build truly personalised digital conversations with their customers.
One of the most effective and meaningful ways to connect with customers online, video has become a core growth area for today’s digital marketers as they recognise its potential use along the purchase path. But how many have explored the full breadth of its use?
As some of the most forward thinking brands are finding out, there is a place for video at every stage of the customer journey, and combining video with other marketing tools can increase its impact exponentially. So how can video serve each stage and what does this look like in practice?
STAGE ONE: Awareness
In a digital world powered by Google and its competitors, video has become an absolute necessity for the health and discoverability of a brand’s website.
According to Cisco, by 2019 video will account for 80 per cent of all search traffic. Meanwhile Forrester reported that web pages with video are 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking. When you consider that only the most avid of researchers venture beyond the first results page, the importance of this is clear.
Not only does video have a better chance of first page Google search results than other marketing assets, but the click rate for video assets is also higher.
Leading weather forecasting company AccuWeather knows only too well the power of video to accelerate digital growth and awareness. Earlier this year, the company announced a record-breaking increase in video views on its website thanks to its newly developed video-centric site feature, the AccuWeather.com Video Wall. In 2015, video views grew more than 300 per cent over the prior year as more and more consumers worldwide visited the site to watch breaking updates, local forecasts, on-the-scene coverage, and user-generated content.
STAGE TWO: Consideration & conversion
Once viewers are on your site, you want to keep them there exploring content that leads them through the customer journey from engagement to conversion, and beyond. Video, which has been shown to increase time on-site by over 100 per cent, is a great way to do this, allowing brands to interactively introduce themselves and showcase their true personality. Other strengths of video content are its ability to touch viewers on an emotional level, or to explain complicated information quickly and easily.
Global analytics leader, SAS has long been using video to communicate its brand to customers. Data analytics is not the easiest subject with which to create an emotional attachment, but video offers a great storytelling mechanism to humanise its solutions – talking about what can be done with data, rather than how to collect it. A recent SAS video documented how its data analysis had been used by the International Organization for Migration to support relief efforts after the Nepal earthquake – helping to identify, source and distribute resources to 45,000 displaced families.
Not only does video keep people on your site for longer periods of time, but we’ve found that it converts viewers at double the rate of non-video sites.
Recognising video’s potential to more effectively convey the look and feel of its nine different brands, international hotel and resort company Starwood Resorts uses videos to give prospective customers a tour of each of its properties, highlighting the individual experience and offerings of a particular location, and allowing them to see exactly what they could expect. By cleverly placing the videos next to the reservations modules, the brand has found that sites with video deliver double the bookings and double the spend as those without.
STAGE THREE: Loyalty & advocacy
Before digital, the customer journey used to end after conversion. But we know it’s easier to upsell and resell to existing customers than create net new customers. This is where video’s strength as a customer retention tool comes into play.
Post-sale, marketers must continue to engage customers to ensure they will renew, add services, and ultimately become a loyal fan that recommends products and the company to others. Key to this is the ability to track customer activity and know how and when to follow up.
Online video gives marketers more meaningful and trackable analytics than many other asset formats, offering macro-level data such as impressions, total views, play rates, device types, operating systems, and referral systems. Video also gives deep micro-level analytics such as engagement rates that let you know how engaged your audience is with the content. A low engagement rate, for example, means the audience abandoned without consuming much content, and a high engagement rate lets you know the content matched the viewer need and most of the video was watched.
When rich video analytics are fed into a marketing automation platform, they give you a good definition of the individual viewer and what to send that person to get them to shout about your brand, and kick start a new buying cycle. Proof of this, travel company Grand Circle has been able to drive 70 per cent of its business through return customers and referrals thanks to its use of video to create a personalized experience for customers based on their viewing history.
Here at Brightcove we like to say that ‘video moves’. It moves people emotionally, connecting with them on a much deeper level to ensure a brand’s content and messaging resonates and inspires action. But most importantly for marketers looking to accelerate the sales cycle, video moves business.
It brings people to your site, keeps them there and helps convert. Its offers an effective thought leadership platform so that people can get to know what your brand stands for. It explains complicated content or products easily through the combination of auditory and visual, and it tells you how successful your content has been and when to therefore reengage with your customers.
As anyone in the business will tell you, we never know where consumer demand is going to go next. What we do know however is that video can and will continue to accelerate the customer journey, whatever path it follows. So isn’t it about time you explored its use a little more?