From grainy live feeds of cops chasing speeding cars on the old TV sets of the ’90s to everything imaginable under the sun beaming at us from our HD/AMOLED smartphone displays in the 21st century. Video has been with us for a long time but has got sharper, smarter and more personalized!
It was only a matter of time before it impacted content marketing in a big way and it has done so to the extent that Gary Vaynerchuk calls it the “single most important strategy in content marketing” today.
In order to understand the importance of video marketing, it is helpful to first turn our attention to the role the video plays in the lives of smartphone users, the Millennials and the internet-using population in general. In short, how it impacts our target audience.
Everybody loves video
Think of everything that you do on the internet on any given day and then think of the number of videos you watch over that period.
It could be a video of any kind – cat videos, cute puppies waking up their owners, the review of the new MacBook 2016 or that of a horrifying car crash.
So much of what we consume for information or entertainment purposes revolves around this medium. It is little wonder then that it continues to soar in popularity.
Popularity is one thing, however. Numbers drive home the sheer insanity of this demand. Videos have always been around but the proliferation and ubiquity of smartphones and high internet speeds have made them the preferred mode of gaining information for many of us.
YouTube alone attracts more than a billion viewers each month. Users upload more than 300 hours’ worth of content every minute!
The correspondent rise in the popularity and use of social media has only further enhanced the reach of YouTube videos.
Big media companies have also started pushing out video clips along with news reports. The idea is to give consumers greater information in lesser time – which is made possible by the interactive nature of the video. It is much more impactful to present a 2-minute video of a flood to drive home the horror of the incident instead of just writing about it.
Thanks to the combination of factors, the video is now irresistible to users, and therefore, to marketers.
Mobile + video = unprecedented potential
50 percent of YouTube viewers arrive on the channel to watch videos via their mobile devices. Video content watched over mobile leads to greater engagement, one study by Google found. This also prompts users to share brand content in greater numbers than they would if they saw those videos on TV or desktop.
Facebook adding new video features
As the leading social network on the planet, Facebook was quick to spot the increasing preference of users to share YouTube videos as well as the dull and annoying way this was being executed on the platform. It, therefore, introduced new features that made embedding YouTube videos easier for people and also did away with autoplay on News Feeds.
Native uploading of videos helped users share the content they wanted while also fueling the popularity of the format in the process. One case study found that natively uploading YouTube videos on Facebook leads to a much bigger number of views than only displaying those videos on YouTube.
Facebook is also a very business-friendly platform. For content marketers, the message is clear. Create engaging content in the form of videos, include prominent CTAs, upload it on social networks (as well as on YouTube) and sit back and track the greater engagement the video content generates.
BuzzFeed is an excellent example of a company that has fully tapped into the potential of the video. But it has also been the beneficiary of a concurrent rise in the use and popularity of social platforms. Not only do its videos generate billions of views, a vast majority of these are “generated by off-site properties,” in particular Snapchat and Facebook.
Introduction of new video-centric tools like Periscope
With Twitter’s Periscope, a live-stream mobile app, users can hold personal broadcasts on the go, unfettered by time or location. All you need is internet access (and a few people to join in.)
For small businesses, especially solo entrepreneurs, this presents a great opportunity to create a presence in their niche as well as build brand awareness/authority.
Hold discussions, answer questions or propose to help users around a topic area of your expertise. It’s a bit like a webinar, only niftier and more interactive.
Video is more than just a trend
The smartphone has become an intimate part of our lives. In many cases, our day routine revolves around the content we consume on the internet as much as what we do for a living. The ability to share this content has led to a surge in demand for greater amount of shareable content – whether that content is text-based or audio-visual in nature.
Businesses that look at the overall picture here – the omnipresence of the internet, the role it plays in the daily lives of our target audience, the devices that are driving this engagement, and the content that is making it possible – will be able to see the irreversible trend towards easily consumable and shareable content. Videos are a handy fit here.
The numbers presented in this post should ram home the point that any content marketing strategy can benefit from a video boost. How to make that happen is a topic for another day. But for now, suffice it to say that if you have been indifferent to the potential of the video, it’s time to change that and make this engaging medium work for you.