Using web video has become one of the fastest growing digital tools available to marketers - up 37% year-on-year in the UK.
Of course, when we think web video marketing, we naturally think of YouTube and YouTube are keen for you to advertise within You Tube through new approaches such as Video Targeting and Promoted Videos for You Tube.
But the idea behind this post is to look at other options for using video too. In particular, it has proved to be very effective in raising conversion rates for all types of company. For example, see how eretailers are using video for merchandising.
So, In this post, I present a guide of steps towards developing a strategy to using video for marketing.
Step 1. Evaluate your market opportunity
Video now makes up a quarter of all web traffic and is expected to boom to 90% in the next 3 years (Cisco 2009).
Consumers are now watching online video almost as often as they are using search engines, making it a medium that cannot be ignored. It can be much cheaper than many alternatives such as TV advertising to develop and launch a campaign.
So what is the reason for this increase in the use of online video? Firstly, is the availability and increasing speeds of broadband. Secondly, the rapid explosion of user-generated content sites such as YouTube has been incredible. Based on these types of sites alone it is no wonder that online video has become such a huge priority in many marketing budgets. There has also been a noted increase in the use of streamed video from existing TV providers which allows viewers to catch up with their favourite TV shows online. Due to the increase in the above mentioned sites, the number of consumers watching videos online has rapidly increased in a very short space of time.
Step 2. Determine the video needs of your online audience
The behaviour of individuals surfing the internet is changing, where previously people may have been interested in watching funny videos, they are now surfing to learn how to do things, searching for video reviews of new products and more.
The online audience today love watching videos and they are receptive to video content on websites, landing pages, search results pages and there is a trust between users when videos are shared on social media sites. Videos can communicate key pieces of information about products/services in short space of time leaving key messages in memorable way in consumers minds which makes this a very powerful tool for Marketers.
It is important to get insights into your online audience using Customer Insight Tools to research what keywords are popular and relevant to you. You may be familiar with the Google External keywords tool where you can type in a keyword and view the actual demand and variation of that keyword in previous months, there is now a YouTube keyword tool https://ads.youtube.com/keyword_tool which is worth a look to gain further insights.
Step 3. Define how video supports your goals and your online value proposition
Don't just create some videos and tick the tickbox "online video - done". Think through all the different ways video can support and add value to your brand online throughout the customer lifecycle and through different parts of your site.
Ask yourself whether your main aim is to use video to generate leads or are you using it to support sales of specific products explaining how they can be used. Alternatively maybe you are using video create longer term engagement and build community.
Here are some examples from one site where video is integrated throughout the site and throughout the lifecycle:
- Creating awareness of need - this home page video explains a category a visitor may be unfamiliar with
- Lead generation - video integrated with an e-book - on a landing page
- Product categories and product description - mainly static imagery - could integrate video from community better
- Building community - video used to encourage participation in community
But remember that only some of you website viewers may respond better to an audio visual experience than standard text and images/graphics.
So you need to provide a balance - summaries or transcripts of videos can help here.
Step 4. Create video
You have are several ways of creating videos from doing it yourself to employing video production/marketing companies. Actually producing a video has become straight forward and affordable with the availability of hardware devices from mobile phones, digital cameras to semi-professional cameras as well as the introduction of easy to use video editing software which includes screen casts to movie maker applications on Windows/Mac. Some software packages and devices now allow you to publish your videos directly online straight after recording "€“ imagine producing quick video bites at the speed of twittering"€¦
There are lots of new and creative models emerging, for example there is un-boxing videos which are generating a huge number of views, where users film themselves taking their latest gadget out of the box and setting it up "€“ this is excellent as within a couple of minutes you can see if the product is worth buying, how to set something up, get it working and access key features "€“ better than reading a user manual if you have already got bought the product.
A new video model "€“ If You Can Type, You Can Make Movies...
Another type of site I have come across is text-to-movie, the only skill you need is to type text. You have complete control access to sound, characters, scenes, movements "€“ check out this video below:
I created this mockup in 15 minutes! Try it out, have fun!
Optimising your video for Search
As you already know search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing have videos appearing in their search results as they want to provide their viewers with quality relevant content. For marketers this is another opportunity to help achieve a higher rank on the search engines for natural (organic) results.
If exceptionally entertaining, useful or even offensive your videos should also generate backlinks to help with SEO, although simple embeds will not generally help.
To generate the best traffic you should focus in on build your rankings with keyword targeted videos. To spread your videos on the internet, you can upload your video to a video sharing website like YouTube which you only have to do once. The brilliant part of this is that you only do this once and you then have a link for which you can embed your video easily onto multiple websites - your blog, landing pages, your social media sites (like Facebook) generating a lots of traffic.
All the standard optimisation techniques apply, make sure you fill out the title, description and tags for your video with your keywords present as well making sure you add your name in the tags for branding yourself to build your exposure.
I also recommend you take a look at Reel SEO - a specialist site advising on SEO techniques for video marketing.
Step 5. Setup tracking
If you're using You Tube, this now has great a great Insights built into it. If you have a brand channel you can access information on it's performance through YouTube-Google Analytics integration. If you're hosting your own videos then you can integrate Google Analytics Event tracking to record number of plays and impact on conversion and sales.
Step 6. Syndicate and share
You Tube is far from the only video site to consider - Google Videos, Metacafe, Video Jug and the rising number of videos sites also need to be considered.
Many recommend the Tube Mogul One Load syndication and tracking system to help here.
The fact is that online video drives sales. It does this in two ways; firstly by driving traffic directly back to your site through links and secondly, by increasing awareness of your product and improving the likelihood of consumers searching for it via search engines.
The bottom line is that video engages the end user in a much more effective way helping to drive traffic back to you and your products at a much lower cost. Online video is here and it"€™s only going to get bigger. Stop your customers from hibernating or shutting down on your site....video really sells...where do you stand?