UPDATED! This post about the best types of video content that keeps people engaged has been updated for 2020.
In 2020, consumers are watching more video content than ever before.
Over the past few years, content marketing has undergone a huge transformation, and video has emerged front-and-center. Now, it’s arguably the most effective strategy you can use to connect with your audience. Especially in the age of mobile marketing, many smartphone users find engaging types of video content difficult to resist.
Take a look at these numbers:
- Each month, 85% of Internet users in the U.S. watch video content.
- By 2021, the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos (a 19% increase from 2019).
- 93% of companies claim they got a new customer because of their video content on social media
- 63% of businesses say that video gets the beset return on investment (ROI) on social media.
And yet, despite the obvious potential of video marketing, a lot of companies are still sitting on the sidelines. Many marketers believe that it's easier to produce blogs, case studies and even white papers. In comparison, the concept of regularly rolling out fresh, unique video content is a daunting prospect.
The truth is, video marketing isn’t as complex as it seems. It’s just about getting familiar with what video content people love to watch – and then offering more of that.
Which begs the question: What are the most engaging types of video content that viewers love to watch?
Here are 17 of the best video content ideas:
- Behind-the-Scenes/Company Culture
- Tutorial/How To
- Product Review
- Live Streaming
- Brand Film
- Video Emails
- User-Generated Content
- Personalized Video
In this article, we’ll explore these engaging types of video marketing, giving you the insights you need to build brand awareness, captivate customers and influence people to take action.
Blogs are great. Vlogs, or video blogs, are much better.
Most companies pump the brakes on video marketing after they splurge on a polished “brand introduction” video. Sure, it looks great on a landing page and does the rounds on social media, but when it fails to deliver a flood of new business, the appeal of video content wears off, along with the ROI.
What you need to realize is that not all video content has to be an Oscar-worthy production. Vlogs offer your brand a cost-effective platform to establish a unique brand voice and personable image that resonates with your target market.
It’s cheap and easy to shoot a short vlog, off-the-cuff, with nothing more than your smartphone or webcam, and maybe a basic script jotted down on the back of a napkin. This authentic approach gives your video content a relatable, human quality, instead of a super-slick, corporate production. Total cost? One cup of coffee.
One of the best types of video content for vlogging is the simple concept of sharing your day at work.
YouTube celebrities, athletes and influential entrepreneurs have been doing this for years. Why? Because it's incredibly powerful for building strong, transparent, lasting relationships with your audience.
Essentially, all you have to do is document your journey to success through your vlog, showing your followers what you do and how you do it. Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is a master at this, blasting out highly engaging video content to his legion of fans every day on his YouTube vlog DailyVee, as well as on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn:
If you need some more ideas for your vlog topics, check out the most-subscribed YouTube channels:
2) Behind-the-Scenes/Company Culture
Great brand storytelling can set a company apart from its competition, simultaneously motivating employees and captivating consumers. For this reason, one of the best types of video content you can use is a behind-the-scenes video that reveals your company culture:
These types of videos offer an immersive experience, pulling back the curtain on your business to allow customers and potential customers to forge a connection with your brand.
Viewers will put faces to the names of your team, including C-suite members. Your followers can see the design of your office, how you dress for work, what your personalities are like, and how your team interacts with each other.
You can create different types of culture videos, such as office pranks, brainstorming sessions or after-work events. Whichever route you go, remember that the goal is to demonstrate the character of your team and the environment of your workplace.
In essence, a behind-the-scenes video allows you to breathe life into your brand, humanizing it to appeal to viewers on a personal level.
One great example is the company culture video from Vistaprint. While there are plenty of unique ideas for culture videos now, this one, called “Vistaprint Work Environment – What We Do For Fun, is an excellent example of the traditional style done right:
Nowadays, with 85% of businesses using video marketing, you have to try harder to differentiate yourself from the crowd. The best way to truly stand out is through your personality, not through tired, overused tactics.
A company culture video is the easiest way to do that – plus it can be a lot of fun for your team!
Every week, Single Grain CEO Eric Siu interviews entrepreneurs and marketers on his weekly podcast, Growth Everywhere:
He creates both audio and video interviews:
Interview videos are perfect for building brand authority for a few reasons:
- They allow you to align your brand with a thought leader or an inspiring person.
- They help you establish authority with input from a respected voice.
- They give your audience an intimate 1-to-1 experience, where someone in your business or market space answers hard-hitting questions.
Like a vlog, a good interview should follow a set of guidelines, but it shouldn’t feel scripted. Your job, as the interviewer, is to keep the other person talking, gently guiding them to discuss hot topics, trends and, if possible, get them to reveal exclusive news or big secrets for the audience.
What's great about interview videos is that you can rapidly create a series with different guests, leveraging their knowledge to power your content marketing.
The more you do, the more credibility you gain through brand association. Furthermore, the interviewees may share the videos through their channels, amplifying the reach to drive more traffic your way.
Google+ may be dead, but its legacy lives on.
The search giant’s foray into social networking never quite got off the ground before its eventual closure in early 2019. However, the platform birthed Google Hangouts, which is a fantastic, user-friendly way to host webinars:
When it comes to offering actionable advice to and educating your viewers, webinars are one of the most valuable types of video content in modern marketing.
People attend virtual webinars as an easy way to learn from you and your guests about the topics that matter to them. Better yet, webinars are an excellent tool to promote with paid ads. You can use Facebook ads to drive sign-ups for your webinar, then leverage that traffic to generate more leads and, eventually, make more sales from your product or service. It’s a win-win!
If you’re new to the game, you can think of webinars as a free live event, which you set up with some simple calendar invites. Google Calendar is perfect for this, and you don’t need an elaborate script to run a webinar.
You can try out different types of video in your webinar, such as:
- Hosting an FAQ section to answer consumer queries.
- Reviewing a product with some existing customers.
- Doing a roundtable panel discussion with several gurus in your niche.
You don’t need to produce webinars that often to have an impact, either. Whereas vlogs are regular, possibly even daily, productions, you can generate a decent ROI with a weekly or monthly webinar.
There's nothing to lose, but a whole lot to gain! Do yourself a favor and spare six minutes to listen to this podcast on How to Run Automated Webinars.
What do you get when you take multiple types of video content and roll them together into a short but polished video clip? The answer is an event video:
It’s part webinar, part vlog, part promotional video. In the social media age, event videos are uber-popular, especially when it involves a sneak peek behind the scenes of a glitzy corporate event.
From short Vines to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, the through-the-keyhole impact of event videos plays with a powerful, emotive marketing technique: the fear of missing out. The FOMO phenomenon is a psychological trigger, in which people suffer anxiety when they feel excluded from social occasions, new experiences or important events.
With social media being such a big part of life now, 69% of millennials experience FOMO daily – if not hourly!
By creating exciting, exclusive event videos, you can bring the party to the people, reaching a massive audience that wish they were there. Done right, these little snippets can quickly foster brand recognition, helping people see your company as one with its finger on the pulse.
If you want to maximize the effect of event videos, trying shooting them live on social media (more on that below!):
In the last decade, TED Talks have surged in popularity to become a global platform with something for everyone. While there are many fantastic speakers and endless intriguing topics, the real reason behind the success is this:
TED offers speakers – and their business ventures – a global platform with a massive global reach.
A presentation takes the excitement of an event and combines it with the practical use of a webinar to create a compelling, highly-shareable video. When you think about it, most TED speakers are just men and women who want to increase their brand presence:
If they can do it, why not you?
One way that brands can leverage this format is by giving presentations at company events or small-scale networking events. This enables you to target a small but focused audience. Capture it on video and share it on your social channels to generate a buzz online.
7) Tutorial/How To
If you still need convincing that video content is the way to go, consider the concept of YouTube stars – people who rise from complete unknowns to fame and fortune, purely through the power of online videos. The millennial population was ahead of the curve on video marketing because they understood two crucial things:
- People love watching videos.
- People value actionable insights.
How else can you explain the incredible fame and fortune that many young women have attained with make-up tutorials on YouTube? One such star is Michelle Phan, who started with grainy tutorial videos before rising to a net worth of $50M:
Michelle knew her audience and understood what they valued. With free tutorials, she was able to build her own business on reputation alone.
An important lesson that big brands can learn here is that helpful content has to be more than just promotional tie-ins and soft selling. Consumers are smart enough to know when they’re being sold – especially millennials and Gen-Z!
So if you put out quality tutorials with a laser-focus on helping people, you earn their trust, which can lead to a sale down the line.
8) Product Review
A product review is among the most helpful types of video content, especially for consumers who are in the consideration phase of the customer journey.
Product review videos work best when you have already established some trust with your audience. By reviewing products, you can answer common questions, dispel doubts and show viewers the unique benefits that your product offers. This gives prospects all the information they need to make purchasing decisions.
This example by Nine Line is only 30 seconds long, but it gets the brand message and product benefits across loud and clear – without using a single word:
Some marketers may think that product review videos like this won’t work for their business, because they operate a B2B model that only has one product, like a SaaS company.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do product reviews of related products or services that aren’t in direct competition to you. For example, Peloton (an exercise equipment company) could review running shoes. By referring quality products that are compatible with your own, you enhance the customer experience of your products and services, effectively adding to customer satisfaction.
Blogs, presentations and product reviews are all excellent types of video content, but there’s a clever way to take each of them next-level: create video testimonials:
By putting the spotlight on an existing customer, you can show viewers just how happy your brand (and its products and services) make people.
The key here is to get real customers – don't hire actors from Fiverr! Instead, reach out to your satisfied customer base so that you can create genuine video testimonials. There may a little work in getting these testimonials, but you can encourage input by offering freebie gifts (did someone say one-month discount?) to anybody who records a video testimonial. You could even turn it into a fun competition to attract more entries.
If you’re stuck for questions for your testimonial videos, here are a few you can ask customers:
- What was your main concern about buying our product? No matter how “ready” your customers are to buy, they will always have some reservations. They may be concerned about the price, have doubts about whether your product will deliver results as promised or wonder if another product is a better fit for their specific situation.
- What results did you get after buying the product? Follow up the previous question by getting satisfied customers to explain their specific problem and how your product provided the solution. This tactic lets new leads hear about the benefits and results they can expect, which is highly persuasive content.
- What specific feature did you like most? Get happy customers to highlight their favorite features, as it usually comes with a story. This resonates better with new prospects than a simple list of their likes and dislikes. Remember that specific questions are more likely to unearth specific answers.
- What are 2-3 other “unexpected” benefits you got as a result of our product? You can use this question to reveal some unadvertised benefits that your customers receive from your product. Potential customers can see these perks as “bonuses,” which may be enough to sway them in favor of closing a deal.
Remember: 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations from a friend or family member.
The best way to persuade potential customers to buy is by asking your current customers to convince them. By hearing their answers to this question, you're more likely to tip over prospective customers who are on the fence.
If you’re keen to play around with one of the most fun types of video marketing, consider animated videos.
Animated videos are a fantastic way for small businesses on a budget to try video content, as you can create them on your laptop for next to nothing, even with freemium software.
For bigger brands, especially those with technical products, animation videos are a great way of breaking down complicated subjects and features into an easy-to-digest medium that anybody can understand, like this one from Cisco about phishing attempts:
Because of that reason, it’s no surprise that animated videos are most often used as explainer videos, which work well on a sales landing page.
Here's another great example from Ahrefs, which makes SEO mastery seem simple:
11) Live Streaming
Consider these live-stream stats:
- 47% of live streaming video viewers worldwide are streaming more live video compared with a year ago.
- 44% of people watch less live TV as a result of live streaming.
- Viewing hours of live video content rose 65% over the course of one year.
- Live streaming is predicted to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.
Whether it's breaking news headlines, a sports game or an exclusive announcement from someone influential, a live-stream video has a magnetic allure.
Once again, this comes down to FOMO. Live videos create suspense because we don't know what's going to happen next, and we often get the feeling that we're missing something if we don't tune in. It’s no surprise that Facebook is investing so much in building up Facebook Live:
- Studies show that live streams generate up to 10x more engagement than regular videos.
- Neil Patel states that live video broadcasts receive 600% more engagement than regular posts.
- Agorapulse reports that the reach of live videos on Facebook was 222% higher than their uploaded videos:
Another unique edge for this form of video marketing is that live videos allow real-time community interaction. Viewers can join the conversation as the video unfolds, and may even get acknowledged by the broadcaster, live on air. This environment satisfies the deep need humans have for instant gratification, making viewers feel as if they are at a live event.
This is why live-stream videos perform so well for businesses. You can use them to broadcast all sorts of video content, including:
- New product launches
- Live Q&A sessions
- A behind-the-scenes look at an event
When it comes to great live video, it’s hard to beat a bit of suspense! BuzzFeed ran a fun experiment to see how many rubber bands it would take to explode a watermelon: After 45 minutes, over 800,000 live viewers had tuned in for the nail-biting finish:
12) Brand Film
Who said video content has to be short?
Sure, many online users have short attention spans, but when it comes to video, there's a much broader scope for taking viewers on a journey. And there's no better way to do that than with a brand film. These long-form types of video content dive deep into your brand vision and values. You can get creative with brand storytelling and cinematic production to present your brand in a light that attracts your people.
Patagonia is one of the very best in the business at this, creating longer visual masterpieces that capture the essence of the adventurous, environmental brand:
Think about how you could use video content in this way to encapsulate your brand’s core values and attract a dedicated following.
13) Video Emails
Here’s something you might not realize:
Adding the word “video” to your email subject line can boost open rates by 19%.
Even in the most crowded inbox, a catchy subject line that mentions “video” is hard to ignore. That being said, once people open a video email, you don’t want to send them running with a lengthy production.
Follow these tips for great video emails:
- Keep it short: One or two minutes is all you need.
- Cut to the chase: After a brief intro, explain why you’re making contact with prospects, highlighting the benefits for them.
- Include a call-to-action: A strong CTA is essential, so make sure you elicit a response by asking them to give you a call or follow a link to a landing page.
With audience segmentation, you can create some evergreen email videos that you can re-use. For example, you may have some videos for new prospects, others for loyal customers, and another for advertising partners.
Virtual reality (VR) is booming, with projections estimating that the global revenue from the VR market will top $21.5B in 2020.
While we’re not quite at the point of offering a full-on VR experience through video content, 360° videos aren’t a bad alternative. These immersive-style videos use fisheye lenses to place users in the center of the action, allowing them to pan around the room with their smart device.
This video ad from Lexus takes the viewer on a “ride along with the heroes of ABC’s Quantico to explore its power and capability in this 360° experience”:
As live-stream videos continue to dominate, 360° video content is also sure to evolve. Therefore, it's a good move to get on board now, whether you cover the next industry event or just have fun exploring your office.
15) User-Generated Content
As mentioned above, inviting customers to contribute videos is a clever way of getting customer testimonials. But why stop there?
User-generated content is massive now, and you can leverage it in a variety of ways to drive traffic, gather leads and build brand loyalty. In fact, 60% of people say that UGC is the most authentic type of content (compared to just 20% for brand-generated content):
An excellent way of taking UGC to the next level is by partnering with an influencer. The video below is from Ryan’s Toys Review. This little boy may only be only 7 years old, but he was YouTube’s biggest earner in 2018, raking in a cool $22M from unboxing products:
Another idea is to run UGC contests, encouraging people to send in videos of themselves using your products. You can start a trending hashtag for the campaign to stir up more interest around your brand and products.
Just make sure to respond to fans who contribute or tag them in your posts to give credit where it’s due!
Speaking of contests, you can use video marketing to promote a giveaway or raffle on social media. All it takes is one or two short videos to drum up some interest.
If you have good prizes and an engaging video, a giveaway post can quickly be shared to spread brand awareness and attract more attention:
You can combine this with other types of video content, perhaps announcing the winners in a live-stream video or as part of an Instagram Stories series. With the latter, you can build suspense over several video clips, revealing the runners-up first, then announcing the big winners.
17) Personalized Video
Last but not least, we’ll conclude our rundown of the most engaging types of video content with an irresistible style of marketing: personalization.
Once upon a time, marketing was all about making the sale. Now, it’s all about the customer. Businesses need to show they not only understand their audience, but care about their audience’s needs and interests.
80% of online shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers a personalized experience.
So, how can you use personalization in video marketing? Take a look at this example from Barclays:
Barclays forges a connection by personalizing the video for each viewer. In this example, it is for Clare, and throughout the video, you see little instances of personalized marketing. The presenter mentions Clare by name, there is a personalized car license plate (CL4R3), and a plaque on the wall outside a house that reads “Clare's Cottage.”
Going the extra mile to show your customers that you care about their individual needs is an integral aspect of modern marketing. Personalization like this can work well with multiple types of video content, putting you on the road to success.
It's 2020, so if you’re still not using video content, your brand won’t just be missing out on massive opportunities to engage your audience, you'll also be losing serious ground to your competitors.
You now have a fantastic list of the 17 best types of video content that people love to watch:
- Behind-the-Scenes/Company Culture
- Tutorial/How To
- Product Review
- Live Streaming
- Brand Film
- Video Emails
- User-Generated Content
- Personalized Video
With a solid content marketing strategy that considers your brand, your audience and your goals, you can start creating video content that offers real value for your viewers. Ultimately, that’s what compels and converts.