Part 1 of a series.
Should you include online video in your stable of marketing content? That’s like asking if you should have any marketing budget at all. The answer is a resounding yes.
Do an online search for “online video statistics and trends” and you’ll find all kinds of reports from numerous sources citing the continued explosive growth of online video viewership. Study after study also confirms that videos increase visitor engagement with websites, and conversion to purchase on retail sites. Video, done well, is a hugely compelling and persuasive communication medium, and absolutely the most efficient at communicating to an audience on multiple levels in a short amount of time.
In this post we’ll give you a brief overview of why online video is so powerful for marketing.
Quick Stats: Online Viewership, February 2012
According to comScore, the research group that tracks digital usage trends, in February 2012:
- 83.8% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
- That’s 179 million users, with an average of 21.75 hours viewed per month per user.
- The total U.S. audience engaged in more than 38 billion viewing sessions in February.(Source: comScore February 2012 U.S. Online Video Rankings)
Translation: We’re hooked on watching videos of all types and this continues to only increase.
Why we’re hooked on watching video.
Let’s face it: reading is work. Given the choice of reading descriptive product benefit copy or viewing a short video on a website, we’ll view the video almost every time. But avoiding work is only the start of why we like video so much:
- Video is Concentrated Communication. If a picture is worth 1000 words, a one-minute video is worth 1,440,000 words. You read that right. Each second of video is typically composed of 24 still frames. Multiply that by 60 seconds per minute and by 1000 words per still frame and that’s a lot of information that can be conveyed very quickly. Watching video can allow us to receive information much more efficiently than reading.
- Seeing is Believing. Reading a story about a product benefit is one thing. Actually seeing the product benefit in action removes all doubt. One very good example of this is Blendtec’s series of videos “Will It Blend” about the power of their blenders to blend pretty much anything. The videos convince like no set of words could. We’ll talk more about Blendtec in a moment.
- Video is emotional. A good story, compellingly shot and edited and paired with the right music, can make you laugh or bring tears to your eyes in matter of seconds. Laughing, as well as feeling suspense, drama, or inspiration – they’re all forms of entertainment. A video can provide that entertainment instantaneously. And we humans love to be entertained.
- Video is a shared experience. We are social creatures. We like to share things that entertain us with our family and friends and enjoy these things together. We’ve all heard countless stories of videos that go “viral” – videos that get shared and viewed by millions of people in a very short time (again, like Blendtec’s videos) – because they are entertaining and/or have emotional impact.
- Video entertains and informs. Generally, we watch videos for two reasons: to be entertained and to learn something. Video is highly effective at demonstrating how to do something – it’s the next best thing to actually being there. How-to video content is a great incentive for people to visit your website.
Success Story: Blendtec
Blendtec used to be a small, unknown company in Utah that produced arguably the most powerful blenders in the world. Not only can you blend any kind of food or ice with these blenders, but you can blend pretty much anything else with them – blocks of wood, appliances, rocks – you name it. To make the point, Blendtec launched a video series called “Will It Blend.” Featuring company president Tom Dickson in a lab coat and safety glasses in front of a counter in a small studio reminiscent of a cheesy talk show, with cheesy music too, each Will It Blend video episode shows Dickson improbably shoving items like a tape measure, fist full of cubic zirconium, light sticks, an Old Spice cologne bottle, an iPhone, and even an iPad into the blender on camera. In each video, right before our eyes, the Blendtec blender reduces the item in question to a small pile of dust in a matter of seconds, often with dramatic displays of sparks flying to further underscore all that power.
Not only were the videos highly effective at demonstrating the destructive power of the Blendtec blender, but the destruction of so many types of items you’d never put in a bender, including very pricy Apple electronic gadgets, was so absurdly entertaining that the videos went viral almost immediately. The iPhone episode alone had over 7 million views. Blendtec went from being completely unknown to being a household name in just months, and sales increased hundreds of percentage points in the first two years after the launch of the show.
Blendtec did a great job of producing highly entertaining videos on a very small budget. They also maximized exposure on the Internet, hosting videos on their own online TV channel, on their YouTube channel, and on their FaceBook page.
“But I don’t sell blenders.”
Most of us won’t score the kind of viral results that Blendtec has. Nor do we have to. Just adding video to your website, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn too will provide visitors to your sites with a much richer, more compelling experience than text or even still photos can provide.
Videos can help you tell your story in many ways:
- Commercials for brand building.
- Product demonstrations – seeing is believing; 1 minute is worth almost 1.5 million words.
- Customer testimonials – one of the most credible ways to tell your brand story.
- How-to videos – an essential part of your content marketing strategy.
- Video blogs.
- Entertainment that can be shared.
Benefits of online video:
- Interactive. Engages people with your brand.
- Communicates very efficiently.
- Keeps people on your site longer.
- Much more likely to be shared.
- Much more memorable.
- Increases (purchase) conversion rates.
- Better SEO results.
- Makes your social media more engaging and effective.
How to produce good marketing video is a subject unto itself. Stay tuned for our next blog post where we’ll share the basics of producing effective video that entertains and informs, and how to get it seen on the Internet.
Here’s to the Marketing Champion in all of us. See you in the next Marketer’s Blog post.