In the last month, which of the following have you done?
- Patted yourself on the back after successfully DIY-ing a home repair with the help of a YouTube fix-it genius
- Drooled while watching one of those snack-sized, sped-up cooking videos on Tasty or Tastemade
- Zoned out while binge-watching Stranger Things, the last season of Mr. Robot, or five-year-old episodes of Property Brothers
- Watched a live stream of an award show, a sporting event, or a news event
- Paused while scrolling through your Facebook feed because an auto-play video was just straight-up mesmerizing
- Spent your Saturday morning scrolling through Snapchat or Instagram catching up on your friends’ Friday adventures
- Laughed at an adorable animal video
If you answered yes to any of the above, congratulations! You’ve contributed to the continually rising ubiquity of online video, which includes something like 4 billion daily Facebook video views, 10 billion daily Snapchat video views, and roughly 100 million monthly unique U.S. YouTube viewers (i.e., 1/3 of the U.S. population).
Video is unavoidable in our daily digital interactions, yet many content professionals are daunted by the idea of including video in content planning. What’s stopping you from adding video to your content strategy?
Video is an investment and risk for any content professional. It can be difficult to do well and requires extensive collaboration, scripts, lighting, talent, and transcription files. Unlike digital text content or images, video is difficult to change once it’s been launched. If marketers create unsuccessful video, then it’s unlikely that your organization will invest in video marketing again.
With all of these drawbacks, why take the risk? Because video content is infinitely rewarding and can be more impactful than text-based content marketing, with incremental rewards, even if the video doesn’t “go viral.”
Below are a few reasons – besides audience numbers – why you should be thinking about incorporating video into your content strategy.
1.People process video 60,000 times faster than text content.
Think of the popular UX book “Don’t Make Me Work”: video content is easier to process than text content, and your audience doesn’t have to work as hard to process the information.
2. We live in a video-friendly culture.
Video isn’t new. For the past century, we’ve been entertained and informed by movies, newsreels, sitcoms, and commercials. Online video is what we’re culturally used to consuming: audiences in the U.S. spend more time viewing digital video content than in other countries.
If you prefer reading, you will likely still prefer reading text content to watching video content. But, as with TV viewers, far more people casually watch online video than scan and read casually, especially now that many videos are created without sound for easy consumption without headphones.
3. Once you’re connected with a brand or news website’s video, it’s likely that you’ll continue watching their content.
According to a Mediashift study of news websites, video viewers spend 3.6x more time with content than text readers. Video viewers are more loyal and more engaged than casual text readers.
4. Pages with embedded video perform better in organic search results than similar pages without video.
Among Nina Hale, Inc. clients, pages with embedded video are more likely to be indexed in search results quickly and promoted as sitelinks than similar pages without video. Although videos themselves do not appear in search results as frequently as they did in 2013, embedded videos indicate to search engines that your brand is developing quality content, contributing to overall expertise, authority, and trust – and more search equity overall.
5. Creating a positive brand connection is easier with video.
Think about how often you’ve teared up at a commercial versus the number of times you’ve gotten misty eyed at a piece of branded text content marketing: videos prompt an emotional connection. Mirror neurons create empathetic reactions when we watch other people do things in real life – and that empathy extends to a lesser extent in online video.
And while you can try to bring your audience to tears, it’s far easier to build an empathetic connection with positive emotions. Happiness- or laughter-inducing videos are more likely to be shared – especially since users tend to share content that spreads good feelings.
6. Videos are multi-purpose… beyond commercials.
Traditional marketing and advertising tends to look at video content and see a 15- or 30-second awareness commercial, but branded video can speak to users through all phases of the consumer journey. Here are some examples:
- A choose-your-own-adventure-style interactive video drove awareness through engagement with Clif bar, with nearly 2 million views in over a year – and more than half of those making it to the 7-minute mark.
- General Electric has operated a successful YouTube channel for years, focusing on education about GE’s products and services, with the end goal of recruiting top talent.
- Lowe’s and Home Depot have made their mark in the home improvement space with snackable how-to videos geared toward users who have already purchased a product.
Great digital video serves a purpose for users throughout their digital journey. Think about someone in the consideration stage: they don’t need an awareness-focused commercial about the product or service because they are already aware. Instead, a user in the consideration phase would need to see a creative presentation of product spec content, view a customer testimonial that conveys the product’s value, or know that your brand provides content to support customers after purchase – providing how-to information that showcases how the product fits into their lives.
Throughout the consumer journey, video can:
- Build brand affinity
- Convey social and monetary value
- Provide troubleshooting and customer service
- Supplement recruiting
- Develop brand advocates through testimonials and storytelling
7. Barriers to producing quality video are becoming smaller and smaller.
The old adage that you can pick two of the following three – good, fast, or cheap – still applies to digital video. Shooting all of your video with minimal experience and a smartphone may not be the best way to maximize your investment in video, but spending more time in the pre-production phase can help save money on video production. The time that content strategists normally spend planning can dramatically reduce video costs by ensuring content producers are aligned on goals and purpose before the video is created.
8. With the right research, one video can be endlessly repurposed.
Embedded video, social video, and pre-roll videos may all have different specs and separate purposes in the consumer journey. If content strategists know exactly how the video will be used, including details on channels, campaigns, and planned paid promotion, one video shoot can gather assets that will work on Facebook, YouTube, and website pages.
Before you know it, video won’t be a big experiment or a huge risk. In a few years, creating videos will be a normal part of your content strategy, engaging audiences throughout the consumer journey.