Video marketing is not a new concept. Commercial programming has existed since the dawn of television. But rather than simply being one of the tools a good marketer must possess, video is becoming the tool for reaching audiences. Within the constantly evolving media landscape, mastering video production is more important than ever.
Some brands and agencies are timid to enter the video space because they fear high production costs and a diminished return on their investment. It is true, a poorly executed campaign is expensive and even damaging for brands. So how can one be sure a video campaign will positively engage audiences?
A Problem-Solving Tool
Videos like all other marketing tools should solve a problem. Is the goal to educate consumers on an eco-friendly production process? Does the brand wish to align their product or service with a specific niche audience? Or is the goal to simply increase brand visibility in a crowded marketplace? First as video marketers, we must define what we hope to achieve throughout a campaign, then we can focus on the specific KPI’s that will determine our success.
The first measure of success for a video is simple. Are people watching the video? Flashy visuals and great copy are useless if the viewer is not compelled to press play. Social feeds are inundated with distractions. The way to cut through clutter and prompt users to hit that play button is by mining curiosity. By knowing audience’s interests, fears, and goals, marketers will begin to understand what peaks curiosity. Capitalize on this curiosity in various ways. On YouTube, an intriguing title and video thumbnail is necessary. On Facebook and Instagram, an immediate visual or thematic hook is crucial. No matter the platform or mining device, the goal is to prompt an emotional response and trigger engagement.
However, without knowing someone personally, it is impossible to craft such a response without extensive research and data analysis. After all, we are marketers. Before we sit in the director’s chair we must sift through the numbers. Too often analysts enter the picture late to evaluate the success of a campaign, whereas they should also be part of the early workflow. Untethered creativity is great if entertainment is the goal, but strategy is required to communicate an effective call to action.
By defining campaign goals as well as understanding the target audience and how to reach them, most of the upfront video strategy is complete. From here, effective storytelling should be the central focus. The human brain is addicted to good storytelling. Storytelling is powerful because it plants a viewer’s mind into an external environment and creates memories that will dictate future behavior. Few people watch an ad because they are genuinely curious about the product itself; therefore, the product must exist as a character within a larger narrative. Well-constructed story arcs will not only prompt the initial view, but also lead to higher video completion rates.
Pick the Right Style
When deciding on a visual and thematic style, remember that style can be thought of as a conversation with the audience. The most interesting and rewarding conversations happen when consumers feel like content is speaking directly to them. Tongue in cheek comedy or nostalgic visual components work only when there is a basic understanding between the producer and viewer. Successful campaigns often sacrifice the opportunity of reaching everyone in favor of serving a curated audience.
The final step in creating worthwhile content is avoiding a multitude of pitfalls. Clickbait titles may hook viewers initially, but viewership falls off quickly and ultimately harms a brand’s reputation. Repetitive use of slogans and logos cause viewer fatigue and cheapen the imperative message. Insensitivity toward the viewer’s time results in videos that are too long and self-sabotaging. In video marketing, as in life, the only constant is change. Perhaps most importantly, remain vigilant of media consumption patterns and align brand messaging with consumer priorities.