Media Matters: Why Video Marketing Can Be the Most Effective Digital Marketing Tool You Have

With planning, a single video project can supply enough original content for multiple platforms. 

September/October 2016

Years ago, video marketing was reserved for blue-chip consumer brands like Pepsi and Nike. But today, video is accessible to more businesses than ever. Why is that?

For starters, the cost of video equipment and editing software has fallen dramatically over time. In addition, agencies like Kernel, Time Warner Cable Media’s in-house creative agency, have data that enable them to target audiences very specifically using demographics, geo-targeting and other tools. “Our small business customers are often surprised at how cost-effective video is when they consider the number of people that they’re reaching,” says Belinda Gudmundsson, national creative director at Kernel.

Before cameras roll …

Come up with clear goals before you start on the creative process. Determine what you want to accomplish—raise awareness of your company, keep existing customers engaged with your business, convert a site visitor to a buyer and so on.

Most importantly, always keep your target audience top of mind. Sit down with your team and list the problems your clients have and how your company meets their needs. Don’t try to be everything to everybody, because you will end up with a homogenized message that doesn’t resonate with potential customers.

Script! Planning your video content

A promotional video gives you the opportunity to capture your organizational culture in a way that no other medium can. For example, videos that give your customers a behind-the-scenes view of your company “are really effective because you can see a brand’s personality coming through the people,” says Gudmundsson. “When you can identify with the people behind the brand, it humanizes the company and makes it feel more like a part of the community.”

“My motto is, ‘Make them laugh or make them cry and they’ll remember you,’” she says. Although your video doesn’t need to literally elicit tears or laughter, it should trigger an emotional response. Testimonials can be great vehicles to deliver emotion. If your bakery went all out to bake and decorate a wedding cake after the caterer dropped the first one, let the couple explain how you saved their big day.

If you are using a creative professional or agency, be open to concepts they suggest based on their experience and expertise, but don’t be afraid to speak up if their ideas don’t quite hit the mark.

Length should vary, depending on the platform

Getting right to the point and delivering your message is critical for creating successful video content. While a video that lasts for 5 minutes will work on sites like YouTube or Vimeo, short snippets of 15 seconds or less are best for platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Facebook would be appropriate for video content in the middle range of 30 or 60 seconds or so. TV spots, of course, come in 15-, 30- and 60-second increments. For face-to-face presentations and even on your website, a video can run 15 minutes or longer—as long as it is sufficiently instructional or entertaining.

One shoot serves many purposes

Because video is effective on so many platforms and so easy to distribute today, take advantage of the time, talent and equipment you have gathered when you shoot your promotional video to create additional content for other uses. To do that, though, you must plan ahead.

Your promotional video should be designed to have a long shelf life, compared to social media posts and newsletter content, but as you plan the video shoot, think of ways to deliver all or part of your message in short snippets, too. During your video shoot, look for unscripted moments, known as “b-roll” in the industry, that capture your company culture or a customer’s experience in a unique way. You can even make a “blooper” into a shareable short video—as long as it doesn’t undermine your overall message.

Additional short videos can be created during the editing process. For instance, you can repurpose the most powerful statements from a testimonial or your CEO’s key comments into a short video you can post on Facebook during periods where you have nothing newsy. Post even shorter snippets on Twitter or Instagram to drive viewers to the longer promotional video on your website.

Keep in mind that the success of a video campaign should not be predicated on it going viral, but on how well it engages the right customers for your business. 

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Just How Powerful Is Video?

The amount of video being produced has exploded in recent years, and people are watching more of it than ever, about 5.3 hours each day—42 minutes more than their daily intake in 2011, according to research firm eMarketer. And YouTube reports video consumption increases by 100% every year.

According to HubSpot, an inbound marketing software platform, businesses that used video on a landing page increased conversion by 80%. HubSpot also found that video in email leads to a 200% to 300% increase in click-through. found that videos get 50 times better organic page ranks in Google as compared to plain, static text.