By Aisling McCarthy

Why video marketing?

HubSpot has dubbed 2017 “the year of video marketing”. With the ability to stand out on social media, videos give consumers a quick overview of a product without overwhelming them with text. In a matter of seconds, a consumer can get the information needed about a business, through video.

Online video is an ideal channel for marketers to use, as adverts are specifically targeted to a particular audience. Online video also offers consumers the opportunity the converse directly with advertisers, as well as to gain feedback from other users.

Mike Kelly, MD of Digital Ambro’s, tells media update that 78% of online video users trust peer reviews, while only 14% trust adverts.

“Online video is discoverable and available on-demand, so no more flicking through TV channels hoping to discover something you may be interested in.”

Kelly says that 85% of people would rather watch a web video than to read the rest of the text on a page. They further assert that if a consumer enjoys the video, they are 97% more willing to buy the product.

MD of World Wide Worx, Arthur Goldstuck, says that the growth of YouTube is testament to the success of video and that Facebook is going to reap the same rewards as it becomes more video friendly.

“Our research shows that YouTube is one of the most popular Online entertainment destinations in South Africa. More than 8 million people use it, and that number is growing fast. If that's not viable, you should shut down every newspaper in the country.”

Marketers find video so appealing because of its analytics capabilities, says Duo Marketing director, Judith Middleton.

“You know, within a day or two, whether your video has been effective [or not] because Google Analytics will tell you who is watching, what the engagement layer is like. If it’s not working, the immediacy of a chance can happen within a few hours - you can create a new video. The analysis on the various approaches is very useful for marketing professionals, as they navigate the world of analytics and see where the traction is coming from.”

She tells media update that videos help to increase brand visibility.

“[Video] really does help brands become a lot more visible, a lot more present and a lot more engaged two-way. People are starting to see video as the new digital asset that really does prove return on investment.”

Mobile is the way forward

Judith Middleton, director of Duo Marketing, says that mobile is huge in South Africa.

“South Africa is being built for the mobile, which means that it is accessible and even though our data prices are quite high – a lot of people are accessing this through Wi-Fi, LANs and fibre networks, rather than on their own cellphone contracts.”

In an article by Brian Peters on Buffer Social, he says that mobile content consumption is increasing rapidly.

“Facebook alone has 1.09 billion mobile daily active users (a 22% increase a year over), and more than 92% of Facebook users access it via mobile.”

Peters goes on to explain that square videos outperform landscape videos in both views and engagement, owing to its suitability for social platforms. In certain cases, square videos had 30-35% higher views and 80-100% more engagement that its landscape counterparts.

In South Africa, the majority of consumers will watch video content online, via a mobile device.

Ericsson’s ConsumerLab Report says that online video consumption in South Africa will grow by 55% per year until 2019, suggesting that brands should capitalise on the growing reach and engagement value that video can provide.

Is video marketing the right fit for your business?

Goldstuck tells media update that video marketing is not necessarily the best option for all products and, like any other marketing strategy, needs to fit the brand.

“If you are able to put across a compelling message visually, both video and images can be a good fit. Even then, it's all about the execution.”

Middleton says that video can be good option for brands with complex products and that it is far easier to understand it with visuals than reading a press announcement.

“We’ve found video often humanises brands – so sometimes in a very clinical environment like tech or financial, products sometimes can be a little intimidating. When you see the innovator or you see the brand become a little bit more humanised with people who are real and every day, the impact and the call to action is often a lot higher.”

Difficult-to-explain products and services can be the best fit for video marketing, Kelly says.

“Video is a no-brainer for those products or services which are difficult to explain with words alone – and, if you use it properly, it will explain your passion and expertise in your field. We all have a story to tell and video marketing is an effective and persuasive way to educate consumers.”

Tips to successful video marketing

Goldstuck says that capturing the audience from the start is imperative.

“You are likely to lose your viewer in the first 20 seconds, if not less, so be prepared to waste your investment if a big chunk of it doesn't go into catching people's attention from the start.”

He goes on to say that the quality of the video can say a lot about the business.

“Production quality is critical in differentiating the professional or the skilled from the amateur and the chancer.”

Although production is important, Middleton says that content will always be the most important part of what separates a good video from an average one.

“YouTube is not expecting us to do full-blown explainer corporate videos, they want immediacy, they want efficient, they want quality and they want engagement. This can come from an interview where you film someone in a parking lot after a conference and say, ‘what are the key take-outs from this conference?’”

She says it is important to remember that video should not replace other parts of a marketing strategy, but merely form part of a broader strategy.

“Video is just another tool in a video marketing strategy and we mustn’t be over-reliant on video as a single strategy.”

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Video and digital marketing are inextricably linked. Read more about the importance of digital in our article, Video and digital advertising: Seeing is believing.