Video is in. Close the polls, send home the jurors, there is no more discussion to be had. Through YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram, it’s clear that video is playing a much larger part in people’s lives than it has in previous years. According to a Pew Research Center study, as many as 8 in 10 adults are watching videos, with as many as one-third posting original videos to the popular services listed.
So what does this mean for you? Simple. Video is reaching more people than ever, becoming a part of the conversation through ubiquity of mobile devices with recording and playback capabilities. This is a conversation you want to be a part of. But what to say? Let’s take a look at some of the trends that put video over the top in 2013.
As mentioned, the prevalence of mobile devices in our everyday lives is a huge motivator for the shift. iPhones and Androids have developed to the point where even high-definition video can be captured and quickly uploaded with little challenge. In addition, larger screens and higher resolutions have made video playback a breeze for everyday users. Necessarily, this has demographic implications.
The Pew study mentioned above has shown that a large percentage of those viewing and creating videos are 18-29 year-old, college educated persons of an average household income of $75,000. This means that the video generation is young, intelligent, and wealthy, and this should play a part in the creation of your own video content. To a large degree, the identity of this demographic is heavily predicated on what media they share and products they purchase. This kind of formation of identity around sharing and consumption means that marketing efforts shared through video have a real opportunity to create a positive association with brands.
And marketers are taking note. According to a study from Reel SEO, as many as 93% of marketers are using video in their marketing campaigns, with as many as 82% reporting a positive impact from their content. With this combination of accessibility to videos and recording tools to create videos in the palm of consumer hands, video has become an unavoidably powerful part of the marketing practice.
But knowing that video is important is only half the battle. The other half is knowing what to post. Since corporate slideshows and banal office tours aren’t likely to resonate with these young viewers, we again tap into Pew’s knowledge for a little direction. According to the study, the top spots for video views go to comedy, educational, and how-to videos. In each instance, the content provides some kind of recognizable value to the viewer.
Comedic videos have been “viral” since the days of America’s Funniest Home Videos some hundred years ago. However, the prevalence of this trend is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, production of purposely humorous content can result in the perception that the work is forced. Funny is a moving target, one might even say “you know it when you see it”, and for that reason should not be overly emphasized if the magic just isn’t there. On the other hand, successful, humorous marketing efforts can have an enormous impact on sales. The Dollar Shave Club, for example, became a benchmark for viral marketing success with their introductory video. Tread lightly and remember, don’t force funny.
Educational videos tap into the value of the Internet as a fount of information. College educated viewers are hungry viewers, looking for knowledge that enriches their lives. Consider the expertise your organization has to offer and pass that knowledge (provided it’s not confidential of course) on to your customers. Real, substantial, and valuable content can build a strong brand perception that will pay dividends.
How-to videos round out the list for the same reason as educational videos. These days, we are more likely to Google directions to our destination than consult an actual map due to the simple fact that the Internet makes useful information as accessible as humanly possible. Again, capitalizing on your unique expertise and passing that on to your viewers delivers real value in a way that establishes positive brand association and teaches the world something in the process.
For better or worse, the phrase “I share, therefore, I am” has penetrated the consciousness of our society. Marketers must observe this truth when constructing video content or spin their wheels in the process. With so many eyes on the Internet and social media dominating available channels for distribution, as well as providing potential for “viewer + 1”, sharing has become an essential part of any good marketing plan.
In this arena, much work has been done to identify what helps contents get shared. According to a study at the Content Marketing Institute, interactive videos that span platforms receive more views. Videos that possess characteristics with which people want associated are more likely to be shared on social networks. Additionally, series of videos are more likely to increase engagement as viewers become invested in the series.
With all these things taken into consideration, the prevailing trends of video are simple: more personal, more interactive, and more. Videos are becoming a part of everyday lives and, for that reason, should enrich life, with topics arising as a direct response to customer wants. Interactive videos increase the staying power of content through audience engagement. Finally, videos are simply increasing in number as the available playback and recording devices proliferate. All things considered, it would be, well, silly, not to make video a part of your marketing strategy.
So rely on the experts here. More people are watching more video and taking more of their own video. Entertaining, enriching, and instructional content tops the list and businesses should lean on their intellectual assets when delivering content to hungry, young viewers. Developing a social media strategy and getting those videos out in the world will pay dividends in the long-run. You may never be as popular as Grumpy Cat, but at least you can capture a piece of this nascent Internet movement.