There’s a lot of hype around video content right now and it will get even bigger in the near future. We have platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Periscope that are pushing video content towards the user more than ever – not to mention YouTube which, of course, is humongous (second largest search engine).
These days, all digital marketing trends favor video content and it makes perfect sense for marketers to start putting more videos out there.
Consider a few recent stats on video:
- Over half a billion people watch videos on Facebook every day.
- 45% of people view an hour or more of video content on Facebook or YouTube each week.
- Within 4 years, video traffic will be 80% of all consumer traffic on the web.
- YouTube has more than one billion users who watch 500 million hours of video daily.
- More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.
But what if you go through the hustle of the entire video production process – writing the script, finding a location to film in, buying or renting cameras and lighting, editing the video, getting the audio right – and then when you launch your video nothing happens? You prepare for handling an avalanche of orders, traffic, subscribers or whatever you are after, but instead ………. <crickets>
Well if that’s the case, this article should be right up your alley.
Here are the top 5 reasons why your videos are not performing as well as you expect them to.
#1 – Your Video Is Not Creative
Being creative is really hard. There’s absolutely no study or research available that you can use as guideline or best practice of how to be creative, because creativity is very subjective and contextual. You either have it or you don’t.
Generally speaking, people like to watch something that they can relate to and that grabs their attention right away. That’s why it helps to have a bit of a storyline to your marketing video or at least touch on a topic which can emotionally engage your audience. People remember things better when they're engaged, and the most effective way to engage an audience is with storytelling.
Why? As Templar puts it:Stories make us experience information, as opposed to just consuming it. Click To Tweet
Here’s a good example of getting creative with something as boring as a back to school campaign:
Tesco really nailed it with this back-to-school video because it grabs your attention right from the very start. They’ve put a lot of work into the script and the whole storyline relates to the buyer. The script sounds like a dinner conversation you might have with your kids, something that many parents (who will be the buyers in this case) will relate to.
In the early stages of your video campaign, you should just be getting everything that’s in your head onto paper. Simply let your creativity do the job for you and stop overthinking things! You can edit, add and tighten things up later.
Even though there are no strict rules to follow when it comes to being creative, here are some guidelines that will help you out:
- Create something that you would enjoy watching
- Your script should be funny or emotional…or both
- Come up with new words or phrases that could make a great tagline (how does “what’s up brochacho” sound for an intro?)
Squatty Potty's “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop” video is probably one of the best sales videos ever created. Even though this is essentially just a plastic foot stool, this creative video turns it into a must-have for any household.
First and foremost, this video grabs your attention right from the very start by using humor (quite shocking humor, I’d say!). Through an awesome storyline, catchy visuals and opening line, and a healthy dose of poop jokes, it just keeps you hooked until the very end.
In fact, Mark McMaster, Global Brand & Video Go-to-Market Strategy at YouTube, shared in his “Cutting Through the Content Clutter: Engaging Video Content Marketing” presentation earlier this year that they did an internal study over at Google and found that about:70% of the effectiveness of a video campaign’s performance will depend on how good the creative is. Click To Tweet
So you definitely want to put the majority of your time and effort into the creative aspects of your video marketing. With the creativity, nothing else matters.
#2 – Your Video Looks Rubbish
Many of the videos produced for today’s campaigns look like they were shot and cut 10 years ago.
If you want to inspire trust in your customers, you must have professionally produced and edited videos.
This is more on the technical side of things, but it is just as important since it will basically determine how your content will look.
With the gadgets and technology that are available nowadays, there should be no excuse for producing average videos. There are 16-year-old vloggers who put out better-looking videos than most startups and small business owners. And they do it by using nothing but a GoPro or an entry-level DSLR. So what’s your excuse?
If you have the budget, hire a video production company or get a freelance videographer for a couple of hours and have them shoot the video for you. They have the equipment and the know-how. Most of the times this will actually save you money because you will end up using more of your time on the things that come easily to you, such as content creation tasks or your business’s core activity.
However, if you are just starting out and you don’t have the capital to hire a video production company, there are still ways to produce awesome-looking videos by yourself. Here are a handful of tips on how to shoot better videos.
Pretty much any camera that shoots in Full HD (1080p) or above will do the job, so don’t stress too much about it. Even an iPhone or high-end Android phone will work just as well if you know what you are doing.
But if you want to get some of those close-up shots with really shallow depth-of-field, you will need to get a DSLR camera, which allows you to use different lenses depending on the type of shots you want to take.
The Nikon D3300 is a great starter camera for videography and the kit lenses will do just fine. However, if you don’t use zoom and you want excellent perspective without any distortion, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G or Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 are great lenses.
That will probably be the most that you’ll need in terms of a camera.
Poor lighting can make a video look grainy and amateurish even if you are using a good camera. If you are filming indoors you will need to either shoot in a room with big windows that have plenty of natural light, or you will need to use some studio lights.
If you're shooting outdoors, on the other hand, you'll want to avoid super bright natural light. I know that sounds a little bit counterintuitive, but most consumer-grade and semi-professional cameras have the tendency to overexpose when there’s a lot of light going into the lenses (or the sensor, to be more specific).
So what you want to do is either film in a place with some shade or film early in the morning or just before sunset. When the sun is really close to the horizon, the natural light, shadows and sky will look epic on camera.
Ideally, if you are a beginner, you want to avoid moving the camera too much, as with handheld shots. Unless you're Woody Allen's cameraman, shaky footage looks really amateurish and will put off the viewers. That’s why we always recommend using a tripod which is a cheap and quick fix to this issue.
If you do need to move the camera around, do it in a slow and controlled manner by holding it with both hands and keep your arms really close to your body. This will limit the amount of shakiness to the point where you can stabilize the footage later on in the video editing process.
Move the camera slowly and try to get those cinematic-looking movements. Filming stuff from a lower angle rather than at eye level is a quick trick to make things in your video more impressive.
Here’s how a video made only out of free stock footage looks. Not too bad considering it didn’t require any filming!
Once you are finished filming, don’t think you are done, though. Video editing is the final stage of the video production process and usually it is more time consuming than the filming itself. Depending on the resources available, you can decide to outsource it to a video editing company.
That’s pretty much it to start with. Follow these guidelines above and you should come up with good-looking videos.
Learn More: 7 SEO Tools for Better YouTube Marketing
#3 – Your Video Is Not Optimized for Each Platform
Taking the same video and shoving it onto all platforms is not going to work. Each platform has its own specifics. Or better said, each platform has its own kind of audience.
What do I mean by that? Most of the time, the same person has a YouTube account, a Facebook account, an Instagram account, and so on. So it’s basically the same person, having the same interests, the same passions, the same beliefs, but just using different credentials across different platforms.
Why spend money to produce two or three times as many videos for basically the same person watching them on different platforms?
Well, it might end up being the same person watching your videos across a variety of platforms, but they will be in a different mood or have a different search intent depending on which one they are on.
YouTube works really well for informational type of videos. YouTube works just like a search engine and people go on this social network to look for answers to specific questions, especially for “how to” type of videos.
Facebook is a whole different deal. People go there just to kill time and maybe watch something funny that distracts them from work or other daily activities.
After lack of creativity, this is the second reason why video marketing campaigns are not performing as well as they could. Many marketers are not optimizing videos for the platform they are using:
Looking at video campaigns across 2016, YouTube found that just 38% of videos were optimized for the platform and had a coordinated creative approach, but 44% of all campaigns were not optimized for the platform at all.
This looks like bad news, but if you are the kind of person who likes to look at the glass as being half full, this also means that your video campaigns could perform much better than the competition right now.
So next time you plan on running campaigns across different platforms, take the time to at least handle the video editing aspects in a slightly different way. Maybe change up the pace, the soundtrack, the copy pull-outs. It doesn’t have to be a 100% totally different video, but just cut it differently enough so that it is better optimized for the platform you plan on using.
#4 – Your Video Has a Poor Call to Action
Can you believe that after putting so much focus into showcasing their services, company profile or customer testimonials, many marketers forget to include a clear call to action in their video? What is the purpose of your campaign? Do you want to capture e-mail addresses, sell products or get feedback on something?
That’s the first question you need to ask yourself before you even start working on the script of your video marketing campaign. Have a goal in mind for that campaign and make the call to action crystal clear for your viewers.
First and foremost, don’t rely solely on standard CTA tools offered by YouTube, for example. Annotation or end cards are OK to use, but a verbal call to action or an animated copy overlay which reinforces your verbal CTA will have a higher impact on your audience.
On top of that, end cards will only be visible at the very end of the video. Research shows that 44% of viewers will abandon a video after the 60-second mark. So long to your call to action end card, right?
So why wait until the end of the video when there’s almost no one watching to place your call to action? Instead, place your CTA at the beginning of the video, right before the intro while the viewership rates are still high.
At the end of this video (from about 3:15 on) by real estate company Halstead, they add a simple verbal call to action which tells the viewer exactly what to do next, without being pushy or aggressive at all.
Another approach that works great is the “IF – THEN” statement, as in: if you are struggling with a particular problem and you want to get rid of it, then click there to buy. Again, the Squatty Potty video ad is a great example that uses this technique.
If your call to action doesn’t fit naturally in the first part of your video and you absolutely need to place it at the end, then by all means, try to hold onto your viewers. Offering various incentives to encourage them to watch until the end is a great trick.
Brian Dean of Backlinko does a great job at this in many of his YouTube videos. He would say something like Here’s an example of how your link should look. I’ll explain why the placement of your link is so important for SEO in a minute. And then keep going with the video before telling his viewers what’s so important about link placement.
Now that’s a smart way of boosting your audience retention.
Learn More: How To Create CTAs that Actually Cause Action
#5 – Your Video Doesn't Have Text Overlays
85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. And probably the same goes for Instagram. If your video is just some guy in a suit speaking at the camera for two minutes straight, then I’m sorry to break it to you, but your campaign is pretty much screwed.
The combination of visual elements and text has been proven to be more effective at grabbing users' attention than just video and audio, just video or just text. Maybe that’s because 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.
Depending on the style and tempo of your video, you can add anything from cinematic-looking text or titles to something more upbeat like kinetic-typography or various text pop-ups and animation that is flashy, fun to watch and reinforces or complements your message nicely.
Here is a cool video from Play Media that relies on text only to transmit the message:
If you are into video editing, Adobe's After Effects is a great piece of software for creating that kind of text (or any kind of video animation and special effects, for that matter). Captions will work too if you want to keep things really simple.
Over to You
I challenge you to step up your video marketing game and start implementing at least a couple of the tips outlined above right now. And before we close this up, let me underscore once more how important the creative aspect of the whole video marketing process is. Nailing that down before moving forward is half the battle.