Video Marketing for the Web

Introduction – A Digital World

In a world of digital entertainment, from digital TV channels to web hosted content, browsers now have an invaluable source of knowledge at their finger tips, on demand.

Businesses are now realizing that the best way to source new products and services is through digital media, as it’s an instantaneous source of research. In fact figures suggest that over 90% of us use the internet to research products or services before we commit to buy – a growing percentage of this is from mobile technologies.

Online marketing spend has just tipped the scales and overtaken print. Something experts expected to happen but not quite this early, with the rise of online tools to make marketing your company quick and easy, and what is more important, cost effectively.

With this increase in online advertising brings competition. Competition in terms of companies dreaming up new and inventive ways to engage an audience, and with digital media, almost anything is possible.

The Search Engines

With a sharp increase in Google and Microsoft’s Adcenter search engine advertising, the cost of advertising is steadily increasing also, with the most popular keywords costing way above £5 ‘per click’ to your site. This may not seem much, but if you are generating clicks and no enquiries, it is an expensive and time wasted exercise.

So what else is available through digital media? Well, Apple have just launched a great service in the US called ‘iAD’, which enables an advertiser to promote their products and services directly to mobile technology, namely your iPhone or iPad, using the new HTML5 code. This code allows the browser to receive advertising in a number of exciting formats, from video through to animation. But, it’s not available here yet and if we do not see some similar competition, prices to advertise will be very high.

The YouTube Black Hole

Which leads me onto video. Video is often seen as expensive, time consuming and hard to get right. Most people will associate it with TV budgets, which fictitiously end up at six figures! But this is not the case. Video for web is growing at an incredible speed. Take YouTube for instance. Stats show that between 150,000 and 200,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. The UK being the 2nd highest at 6.9% of global uploads behind the US at 34.5%. It would take you over 400 years to view all the content on YouTube alone, but this proves a point, that video is the new boy in town. But (and there’s a huge ‘but’) this is not the case for businesses. Just because you upload a video to YouTube, doesn’t necessarily mean it will get viewed, and more importantly by the right audience. We regularly get clients who require us to produce a video for web, and when asking what they intend to do with it, they mention YouTube. Just think about those figures above regarding uploads per day and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that their video will get swallowed up with the other 150,000 or so others that were uploaded that day. In fact the most successful videos are associated with tags such as ‘sexy’, ‘funny’ and ‘music’. So is YouTube good for business, yes, but you need to have a great creative idea that’s going to capture an audience.

Going Viral

That moves me onto ‘viral’. Viral video has become a term used loosely for an online video. “We want a viral video” is something else we hear quite often. Now here’s the thing, something has to BECOME viral. If somebody passes your content from one person to another by way of a digital device, or talks about your content via the web, your content has become viral. But creating a successful viral campaign relies on a number of factors, and most of which hang around ‘hard work’ or ‘big budgets’. Most of you probably have a Facebook or Linked in account. You will have ‘friends’ or ‘contacts’, and like most people on Facebook, it seems to be a popularity contest to see who has the most ‘friends’. How many of you have received an invite from someone you knew back at school, but you never spoke to them then, so why should you now, and after 20 years? But here’s my point, your friends have 300 ‘friends’, they all have 300 ‘friends’ and so on. Soon you get into some pretty big numbers. Now, let’s say you get a video produced and you ask your 300 ‘friends’ to pass it on to their 300 ‘friends’ and you start to get something viral, and all it’s cost you is the production. This is great if you are selling most consumables, but what about ‘business to business’. Well, here it gets a little harder.

The Seed

There are companies out there that offer ‘viral seeding’. This basically means that they will guarantee that your video gets a certain amount of views. There are two types of seeding. Firstly, ‘Natural Seeding’, which is similar to what I described above using Facebook. The second is through Media Placement’. This you can do yourself or employ an agency or specialist in viral seeding. Let’s run through the options.

If you decide to do this yourself, you will need to identify the media your target audience is most likely to be using, negotiate media buying and driving all traffic through to the content thats to become viral. Furthermore, you can contract a ‘viral seeding company’. They will either offer you ‘Natural Seeding’, ‘Media Placement Seeding’ or both. Now here’s where you need to be careful. Contracting an agency to do any kind of marketing can have it’s risks. These are mainly based around an understanding of your offering and its target audience. Viral Seeding companies tend not to be industry specific and will therefore take on any job. This can be very costly and sometimes quite damaging to a brand. The third option is to contract a digital/advertising agency and make sure they have an understanding of you and your requirements. They will be able to offer you options one and two, but add to that a myriad of targeted media solutions that are quantifiable and results driven.

Get your customers talking to your prospects

Most companies now have a website, and most companies use the web to either sell their products and services or promote them. Video is a great way to engage an audience. What’s the single most powerful way of promoting your company? Through testimonials, people that have worked with you before and are happy to tell the world how great you are. Most companies source this form of marketing as soon as they get a happy client. They add to this a case study and publish them both on their site, along with other forms of collateral. Now I’m not saying that people don’t read these, but they need to be well written (unlike this article), short and to the point and most are not, meaning the person that reads them turns off after a short while. This is where video takes over. Video content is engaging. There’s an old saying that ‘people need to talk to people’, and its true. What you have written over 6 pages of A4, you can get across in less than a minute with minimal involvement from the browser. This can be hosted on your website and can have any number of call to actions. It is also very useful as a demonstration for your products. We talked about YouTube earlier, and this is full of demonstrations from how to turn on a vacuum cleaner to how to build a nuclear bunker.

Video and Online

Video is also used in online advertising. How many times have you visited a website to see a video MPU (Multi Positional Unit) running on the page. It grabs your attention almost immediately, and here’s where we start to see how this works for B2B.

Most businesses use the web to research information about their industry. Most of these will probably advertise in their print versions, with little knowledge of how many people have seen their advertisement, sure we have the ABC and PPA audits, but do the publishers know if John Smith has read his free circulated publication? No, but their vertical websites do and are perfect for video content. What’s better than running a video MPU on an industry specific website, where the browsers will be from a certain industry and in a work mind set whilst browsing. These sites even have ‘channels’, which are area’s broken up by subject, so for instance if you are selling accountancy software, you will find an ‘accountancy’ tab in most business sites, ensuring that your audience is most likely thinking about researching, upgrading or buying accountancy software. Now imagine if your video MPU, greeted them as they hit that page, a person talking to a person. Clever video marketing, is always about engagement. How do I engage my audience as quickly as possible and make them listen to what I have to say? What would make me watch and take notice? What would make me click on the video for more information? These are questions that a specialist marketing consultancy should talk through with you for any form of marketing, and this is the same with video for the web.

The PowerPoint Presentation – Yawn!

Video also replaces presentations. How many meetings have you been to, where you have either been presented to or had to present a 30 page PowerPoint presentation? Probably quite a few of you. How many of you switched off or noticed your client slowly die of boredom before your very eyes? This is where video is a great tool. It can run through any part of the offering, in stages, as a presentation, and can be interacted with by the sales person. It’s easy to view, it can be left with the client on a USB key, and hosted on your site. It can even be used at exhibitions and conferences.
Mix this format with some intelligent digital marketing and you have a marketing medium that not only delivers results, but is trackable, controllable and engaging.

Choosing a Video Production Company

With a sharp increase in video for web, comes a sharp increase in video production companies. Search the web?, type in ‘video for web’ in a search bar and see just how many companies there are available. Three years ago there were just a few of us, now every Tom, Dick and Harry who knows how to turn on a camera and use a cheap editing suite will convince you of their creativity and what’s more, just how little you need to spend. Now here’s the thing. You have spectrums. The expensive, the competitive and the super competitive. If you care about your brand, I would avoid a company that offers you a video for the price of a chocolate bar and a can of pop. I have been into companies and reshot work where they have fallen foul of the ‘too good to be true’ trap. At the other end of the scale you have the expensive video production companies. They will produce you something close to straight out of Hollywood, but will leave you very little budget to help market it, or you go straight down the middle and get TV and Film trained crews, directors and editors, who know all the tricks of the trade to get you a TV quality video for a snip of the price. The key here is to do your research and vet the company. All of which should have a showreel to display their work, but take a look at the individual pieces, as a cleverly put together showreel can mask a whole heap of bad work, by quick edits and foot tapping music. Listen to sound and framing. Look to see if the production made sense or whether the messaging has been blurred by the directors creative vision!

The Actors

To save on costs most companies, like yourselves will offer their staffs services for the video shoot rather than have the production company pay for talent. Normally there’s a budding actor or two flying around the office and normally he or she is the MD. “I’ll be fine” they say. “I’ve have presented to hundreds at seminars and conferences”. Let me tell you, that most melt once we turn on the light’s, camera’s and prompt them to ‘act’. Not only does this waste the crews time and the clients money, it also ends up looking bad. But, if you are to use staff, brief them well in advance. We have turned up to a shoot and the ‘actor’s have been told that same morning that they were starring in a video and had two hours to learn 40 lines of text! The client then wonders why the production looks a little false! For the sake of a few hundred pounds, we urge you to consider actors when shooting anything that involves people.

High Definition and Web Quality Video

Lastly I must point out a few things. Most people do not have the capability to view High Definition footage at work. So why pay more to have your production filmed in this format? Sure you are future proofing your video, but in most cases if you have a video produced for a product, service or even as a corporate message, these will soon become obsolete as your products and services develop. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if somebody does have the capability to view your content in HD, they will be more likely to respond because the only thing they will think about is ‘whats in it for them’ and your offering. HD is a great format for TV, but have you noticed that High Definition picks up even more information, and if that information is shot badly, it can exaggerate a mistake.

Now, whilst most people associate video with TV budgets, there are quite a few that think if a video is produced for web, it should be cheap. Well, let me tell you that its not. Shooting a video for web has the same process it would for a TV commercial, there are just different elements to consider, that can sometimes make the production harder to produce than TV. For example, let’s say you produce a video that carries drama or suspense, the footage is normally mixed with a soundscape. Let’s take a heartbeat for example. This will not be heard through a laptop or PC speaker, because of its low frequency, hence sapping the video of it’s affect straight away. Most work PC’s don’t even have sound, so most videos for web should be treated as a silent movie. Sure add the sound, but back it up with subtitles or at least make the storyline understandable to those that have no sound, so that you get maximum impact from your investment.

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