Fair warning: I’m probably going to sound biased in this post. As HMA’s Video Designer, of course I’m going to see the immense value of online video in any marketing plan. But what actually makes me sound so hyperbolic when talking about video is the real facts about just how big a deal online video really is in 2014. My post today will include information from sources Ginny Marvin & JLB Media.

Online video is sort of a big…no, massive deal

Let me start out by dropping some impressive facts on you. Online video consumption increased by a whopping 38% between May 2011 and May 2012. That’s just one year. That’s already saying a lot, but let’s further escalate how big the capacity for viewership really is. How’s this: last year, in 2013, there were over 73 million mobile video viewers. Those are just mobile devices. To compare, the US has about 103 million subscribers of cable and satellite TV combined. In fact, 44% of online video in Q4 2012 was watched on a mobile device, up from just 19% in Q4 2011. Obviously, there’s a gigantic audience with a personal video/advertising device in their pocket, on them at all times. And that’s a great thing, if only videos served as effective methods to sell, you say. Turns out, it’s one of the most effective ways to advertise. Over the last five years, brands using online video have seen lifts of 20-40% in incremental buying over other ad forms. Whether you know it or not, you need video.

How to use it in your marketing plan

There’s not a very specific answer that works for every business looking for ways to leverage video into their marketing wheelhouse. There are, however, a couple general ones.

  • Content. Make real, valuable content. Everyone’s eyes seem to glaze over upon seeing this bullet point, as they’ve heard it a thousand times. Yet, time and time again, they produce an obvious, heavy-handed advertisement for online posting. That’s not valuable, it’s not entertaining, and, no, it’s not going to “go viral.” You have to give free information, show the value of a product or service without explicitly saying “THIS HAS VALUE,” and make sure you’re not simply preaching to an audience. No one goes out of their way to watch a dry advertisement that offers nothing to them!
  • Make it shorter. The studies show that the sweet spot for length of content is 90 seconds. Does that mean that Citizen Kane would be an even better masterpiece if we cut the fat and trimmed it down to a little over a minute long? Absolutely not. But web content is a different world than past mediums, and you need to recognize that. Trying to cram too much content into a video for the web cuts down on viewership within the first 8 seconds, due to the user seeing the ridiculous length of the video (and “ridiculous” could be as short at 2:40)! There are absolutely exceptions to the 90-second rule, but the key is to be succinct and cut the video down to the most bite-sized portion that you can.

Ok, we have a great video. Now what?

So you’ve found yourself with a great, succinct video that’s super entertaining/informative/full of cats? You must have worked with that video designer at HMA (had to get a plug in there).  So, now you want to reach your audience and share this video with the world. Depending on your budget, our wizards here at Howard Miller Associates will offer many solutions in order to get a client’s video where it needs to be. Like, did you know that 10 times more video views come from Facebook as opposed to Twitter? There’s a good reason for this, as the audiences interact with media very differently. Thankfully, our people know all this. A great option for raw advertisement these days is utilize YouTube’s TrueView In-Stream ads. These are the advertisements that play before or in the middle of a video on YouTube. This is a great way to leverage your brand using content the user has already searched. If they want to see a certain music video, your 15- or 30-second ad may play before it. 76% of pre-roll (before-video) ads are viewed to completion! Mid-roll ads that play in the middle of a video? Their completion rate is a whopping 88%. At one point, Cisco spent $15K over the course of eight days for TrueView ads. They gathered over 126,000 views in that time. Obviously, all eyes are on video. And advertising is a whole new world thanks to services like this, getting your content right in front of your viewer, on whatever device they may be using to access media.

In conclusion, video is awesome.

Not only is video one of, if not the, most engaging forms of mass media currently, it’s also highly effective and trackable these days. It’s easy to see where views are coming from, sharing it across the world on countless networks is very simple, and it’s cheaper than ever to produce. Good storytelling is more important than ever and quality of content is huge. Make sure to turn to a knowledgeable agency with a dedicated expert (like HMA) to add copious amounts of video to your marketing plan. The data backs up the simple fact: plenty of quality video is an absolute necessity in 2014.

For more data on online video consumption, read this Marketing Land article and Visual.ly infographic.