Capturing people’s attention and retaining it, while standing out from the crowd, is significant for a video to make the right impact on audiences. Marketers should use this tool wisely for audience engagement.
“Wait a minute! Wait. I’m having a thought. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I’m gonna have a thought. It’s coming…. It’s gone.” —Big Boy Caprice, Dick Tracy, Touchstone Pictures, 1990
If you think the broadcast industry is in a state of disruption with linear TV folks trying to figure out how they’re going to compete with the organizations that were born digital and online, it’s a magnitude 6 earthquake for chief marketing officers.
Posts in the leading social media, ads that magically follow you around the Web, and tweets may work, but in our overcommunicated environment, they just aren’t memorable or actionable. Taking a hint from the M&E industry, marketing is beginning to see that video isn’t just for the huge-budget organization. In fact, there’s a broad range of video opportunities—long, short, and really short form—that can help them reach and build a relationship with prospects and customers.
With content coming at people from every direction, companies need material that will stand out from the crowd and come alive to all of the customer’s senses. According to a recent HubSpot report, it works. Video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. Also, 92% of mobile video consumers share videos.
It makes sense, since:
- Cisco projects that video will be more than 90% of Web traffic this year.
- Marketing profs note that adding a video to marketing emails boosts click-through rates by 200–300%.
- Landing page videos can increase conversion rates by 80%.
- eMarketer noted 90% of customers said product videos helped with their purchasing decisions.
- HubSpot found that 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month.
- YouTube reported mobile video consumption is growing 200% per year.
- Facebook video streaming has increased by 94% and audience viewership of 2.8 billion monthly.87% of online marketers are using video in their digital marketing.
- Half of all time spent online is dedicated to watching videos.
- Video ads account for more than 45% of all online ad spending.
- 75% of company decision-makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog.
- A Forrester Research analyst estimates that a minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.
Interestingly enough, CRN International found that three-quarters of US marketers said the quality of their advertising and their ability to produce effective videos was good or excellent. However, for their overall business sector, four in 10 said competitive creativeness was falling short. Both groups could be right because there is a difference in the content approach, depending on whether it focuses on the marketing objects or the videos that consumers want/need. Video has a direct impact on the search results consumers receive, and the most prominently featured videos have always produced the best results. The key is to make them inviting to the viewer.
There’s no shortage of content in the digital world and increasingly, there is no shortage of video. The key is to capture people’s attention and retain them. But creating the right acceptance and the right impact isn’t easy. And if you want people to share your video content—and who knows, even make it go viral—there are certain parameters you have to consider when “talking” to today’s visually sophisticated consumer.
As Mary Meeker has pointed out in her globally followed Internet Trends report, people don’t implement ad blockers because they don’t like ads… they do it because they don’t like dumb ads. The key for monetizing marketing efforts is to produce ads and documentaries that appeal to people. All too often, that isn’t easy when they are overweighted with technical points, features, and self–serving presentations. When that happens, people use their ad blockers, or they simply click away.
Informative, entertaining creative content is the most effective. It educates, inspires, increases brand awareness and convinces consumers better than 1,000,000-plus words do! Video is becoming increasingly important because it:
- Promotes brand recall—80% of people surveyed could recall the video they saw a month ago.
- Boosts site SEO—75% of respondents say they visited the website after a video and conversion rate doubled.
- Works well on all devices, including phones, when produced properly.
- Sight and sound strengthen the company/product message.
- 2% of people who view a good video share it with others, according to Simply Measured.
And there are more stats…everywhere!
Sure, Apple highlights beautiful ads showing ordinary folks shooting insanely great stuff; and cripes, we all have 4K cameras on our phones! But what they don’t tell you is that they reviewed thousands of videos to find four that worked, and then spent days/weeks producing that 30- to 60-second ad.
Having a camera and even access to a powerful Mac, Adobe’s Premiere, and Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve doesn’t make you a filmmaker, shooter, or production/audio expert. Sure, there are a lot of things you can do by yourself, including taking out your own appendix, just as Dr. Leonid Rogozov did in Antarctica in 1961, but sometimes letting someone else do the job is safer.
Leveraging their expertise and experience, filmmakers like the three highlighted below have taken a creative approach to generating interest and sales without requiring big Hollywood budgets.
Jim Courtright, owner of Big Thinking by the Hour, has been producing promotional and marketing content for more than 10 years, and his clients have always told him his approach was effective for them. But when he started watching the available content on his smartphone, most of what he saw was TV ads that were just shrunk to fit on the phone’s small screen. He knew good filmmakers could do better if the content was produced specifically for the smartphone screen and would be more effective than pre–roll ads.
A few years ago, Courtright set out on a one–man crusade to change marketing’s thinking. He redesigned his website to show how brands could get in sync with the audience’s viewing habits. He helped one of his earliest clients, Alexis Reiff, to successfully attract retailers and consumers for her Heel Swaps. “When you produce an informational or educational piece for the screen everyone carries with them, you have to catch their interest quickly, educate/inform them, and close quickly,” he explained.”It’s a challenge to get your message across in 6 to 10 seconds, but if you don’t get them involved with the complete message quickly, Gen Zers and millennials will leave in the blink of an eye.”
A number of leading advertisers have already moved to the six-second ad on YouTube as well as on Tubi and Pluto. They are finding them to be extremely effective. At Cannes, guests said the six-second rule was becoming the standard because it matches younger folks’ attention span.
What Courtright likes about the niche he’s carved out in the Chicago area is that the approach works for people with both big and small budgets. Done on a minimal budget, the fast–forward fashion video has attracted tens of thousands of views on Ms. Reiff’s social media site and opened retail outlets across the country. Since then, Courtright has produced thousands of brand videos for firms.
“The content not only works for firms,” he added, “but when people want to see work, I can simply plug in my USB SSD and show them videos that are similar to the project they want produced. “Ask me what I do,” he grinned, “and if there’s a USB slot handy, I can entertain you for hours.”
When you say Texas, you have to think of beef.
Recently, Andrew Lee of Ralph Smyth Entertainment in Austin, Texas squeezed in a special project for the Texas Beef Council. Featuring local personality Jess Pryles and her Hardcore Carnivore brand shirts, a six–part series of branded cooking videos was produced for the Council’s social media channels. In the first 24 hours after posting the second segment in the series, the Council told Lee the segment had already racked up over 500,000 views, 2.3K reactions, 696 shares, and 297 comments.
Now that’s the kind of response management wants to see for every video they put online! Because the project had to be done quickly, smoothly, professionally, and accurately, the Smyth team used Adobe Premiere for the post work, keeping all their raw and production content on Lee’s personal OWC Mercury Elite Pro. “Storage is perhaps the one thing we’re most particular about,” Lee said. “We’ve stuck with one provider since we did ‘Intramural,’ which was picked up by MGM and renamed ‘Balls Out.’ Content like that, you don’t want to—really can’t afford to—lose.”
While marketing has found video to be an efficient and effective way to promote concepts and products, nothing beats experiencing them firsthand.
The creative director at Cream VR in Toronto said that is probably why marketing teams were the first to see the advantages of virtual reality in promoting their products. Citing their project for Lexus, he said the video series was designed for both social media viewing as well as for people visiting the dealership where they could put on an HMD and “visit” locations in Canada and the Southwest US.
With the videos posted on YouTube, visitors can control the screen at full 360 degrees to see everything as they are “driving” along as well as when they get out of the Lexus and enjoy the scenery. “With VR, we were able to both tell a story and give the viewer the ability to look around inside and outside the cars, maximizing the experience,” he said. “Our biggest challenge, though, was to give the viewer the feeling of being a part of the driving experience without causing any damage to the vehicle. Lexus was a little touchy about getting the car back in the same condition we got it… without nicks or scratches.”
Because they were shooting at multiple locations and on a tight budget, getting it right—and keeping it—was important to the Cream crew. The theme for the Lexus series was innovation; so, in the Arizona segment, they featured a solar engineer at a massive solar power plant shooting in temperatures of 110 degrees. “You definitely didn’t want to have to go back and put your body through that kind of torture, especially when you’re used to Toronto weather,” he added.
Capturing content with our four–camera VR rig in tandem with a traditional film crew shooting on several 4K cinema cameras and a drone created terabytes of content, daily. Back at their studio, they quickly stitched and post-produced the Lexus series for distribution to the company’s dealerships and posted them online.
Lexus had been an early adopter of VR as a medium and made a strong play producing many VR spots. Some have been more showroom-oriented with “sit in the car and experience it” kind of stuff. Others include content like the “Invisible” series with Lexus sponsorship. In this case, they went for a documentary-style VR piece that combined the experience of driving a Lexus with factual entertainment, which Cream did so well.
The host of the series was Les Stroud (aka “Survivorman”), from the TV show that was originally produced by Cream. Good marketing video content that is produced with the audience in mind produces results you can see, results you can measure.
Forrester’s analyst may have erred on the conservative side when he said a minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words. Especially when you can see the results on the company’s bottom line!
Big Boy Caprice didn’t pull any punches when he said, “You’re right. When you’re right, you’re right, and you are right.”