In 2016, Facebook reported that every day, users watch more than 100 million hours of video on the social platform every day.
Let me repeat that: 100 million hours every day!
By 2019, it’s been predicted that 80% of online traffic will come from video.
If videos are not a part of your digital marketing strategy, it may be time to revisit your strategy. Videos are a powerful form of communication today, and they can serve as a truly compelling and engaging way to tell your brand story.
Photo by Jakob Owens
As you think about how you might be able to incorporate video — or better incorporate it — into your overall digital marketing strategy, consider these five tips.
1 - Have a clear focus
Just like an article or a text-based promotion, before you can make a video, you need to have a plan. Think about why you’re making the video in the purpose. What is the goal? Who is the audience? What do you want the video to encourage people to do?
In planning out your video, you may decide that you have more content then fits in one video. That’s OK. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with creating multiple videos. Many times, that’s a better strategy than trying to cram too much information in a single video.
You may also realize that the message you want to deliver is different depending on what audience you’re communicating with. That’s OK, too. That’s actually a situation I’ve been working on with the Kaplan Institute for Innovation at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). IIT wanted a video that showed the progress of a construction project on campus. What started as one video, though, quickly turned into three, because IIT had three distinct audiences it wanted to share the update with: current students, donors and prospective students.
For the current students, IIT knows that they are already invested in the community, so there’s not as much need for a “sell.” There doesn’t need to be as much of a hook to the video. Similarly, donors have a stake in the university, so it would not be surprising for them to already know about the project and be curious about any progress updates.
Prospective students, on the other hand, need a hook. They are trying to determine whether IIT is the right place for them, so they quickly need to be convinced of the impact of this construction and how they will be impacted by it.
2 - Keep it short
Sure, lots of people are watching lots of videos online. But many times, they are not watching long, drawn out videos. We don’t have long attention spans, particularly younger generations. Audiences today, and particularly younger audiences, want their content in bite-size chunks.
On social media, you don’t want to have a video that’s more than 2 minutes long. If you’re posting on Instagram, you can’t even have it that long; your video can only be 1 minute in length.
I’m doing some video work with Lumiere Children’s Therapy in Chicago, and they are a great example of someone who took time to develop a plan, and determine a strategy that worked for their organization.
Lumiere knew they wanted to offer a series of tips for parents that would highlight different skills for children to learn. Rather than make one longer video with the different advice, Lumiere decided to do a series of nine marketing videos — each with only one tip, and each being no more than 90 seconds.
3 - Choose your platform
The plan for Lumiere’s videos is to take them and create a series of Facebook ads that highlight each tip.
Where your video lives is an important question to consider, and there are different implications depending on your decision — some more challenging than others. Are you going to upload your video directly to YouTube? How about Twitter or Instagram? Will it be housed on YouTube?
Once you decide what platform you’re using, there are other considerations to make. Instagram, for example, allows you to upload horizontal videos, but because of the square format of Instagram’s presentation, that video will appear small. In that case, if Instagram is your primary platform for a video, you may want to actually shoot the video as a square.
Similarly, if you’re uploading a video directly to Facebook, you likely will want to include subtitles. Up to 85% of videos played on Facebook are played without sound. If someone isn’t listening to your video, you need to make sure they still get the message.
4 - Be yourself
I’ve found that a lot of times, marketing videos come off as professional, but cold or disconnected as well. On the flip side, I’ve seen plenty of brand videos that are anything but professional.
Each organization’s culture is different, so this varies by business, but in general, you want to find a happy place between those two ends of a spectrum. The best way to do that is to be yourself. If you let your employees show up to work in shorts and flip-flops, don’t force them to wear suits in a marketing video.
I was excited to create a handful of short “header videos” for the recently redesigned Duo website — these videos appear behind or in tandem with the top piece of content on a page — and it really was an interesting experience. There were several instances where we had really cool videos that highlighted the scenery and attractions of Chicago, but they really had nothing to do with what Duo does. They were visually compelling and attention-grabbing, but as we continued to look at them, we realized they just felt off. They didn’t make any sense with the content we were displaying on the page.
For example, it wouldn’t make sense to use the video with the boat on the Chicago River on our “Back-end Development” page. It was best to use it on the “About” page because Chicago is part of who we are. It’s part of our story.
Be authentic and be yourself in your video, and your viewer will be able to tell.
5 - Use “tricks” to keep viewer’s attention
Tricks may not be the best word, but a great thing to do with video is use different methods of presentation to keep people’s attention.
So for example, you can incorporate animations or graphics to help add to a story. You can use B-Roll to show additional visuals while someone is talking.
The thing to remember is you want to make sure you keep your audience’s attention. If you have a clip of someone talking for two straight minutes, you want to come up with something to display other than two straight minutes of that person talking. If you don’t have B-Roll or graphics to use, one “trick” I like implementing is using two cameras to do the recording. One camera can be more zoomed in than the other, and it can be set at a different angle. That way, you can switch back and forth between cameras in your final presentation. It’s a small “trick,” but it can make a big difference.
Want to learn more about videos and digital marketing strategies? Give Duo a call at 312.529.3000, or send an email, and we’d love to talk.