Today, consumers can be served personalised video ads that greet them by name and perhaps direct them to a local promotional offer in their area — or thank them for their patronage, based on loyalty scheme data linked to their mobile number.

From an occasional budget item slotted in when the CMO felt the need to freshen up the firm's corporate image, reports that 94% of marketers now find video marketing is a key element in their marketing strategy.

So how did the rise of video in marketing come about? Well, firstly over 80% of global Internet traffic is now tied to video content. The runaway popularity of such social media platforms as TikTok that are entirely video-based is largely responsible for the fact that by the end of this year, there will be 1.9 billion online video users, predicts.

In addition, the social media powers that be have been heavily pushing video for years, almost without us noticing. Look at how Facebook and Instagram have capitalised on the fear of missing out anything audiovisual by removing social media stories after 24 hours. This encourages much more consumer interaction with video content.

There is also the inescapable fact that teenagers and young adults now search the web in a way that's alien to the rest of us who grew up on Google. A sizable and growing proportion of consumers today prefer learning about new products and services via video.

Teens today believe that they can do anything as long as there is an explainer video somewhere on YouTube. Text-based articles, infographics, or other means of explanation will soon be consigned to the dustbin of marketing history. Well, to some degree at least.

Marketers must become cognisant of the fact that video platforms like YouTube are the search engines of now and without a video-led presence on these platforms, it's as serious as not showing up on Google search results. In fact, your audience might not even be looking for you on traditional search engines at all. So what to do?

Video is where brands are grabbing the consumer's attention. However, with consumers inundated with hundreds of marketing messages a day, it's more important than ever that video marketing connects with consumers in meaningful ways that pivot on the personal.

Sponsored video content that is timely, relevant and targeted enough to be considered as 'edutainment' programming is being designed specifically for YouTube by a growing number of video production firms. And the trend towards such boutique producers of video programming is growing in South Africa too.

Specialised local producers of commercial video content know that the future of video marketing requires that brands make meaningful connections with consumers across all screens and wherever they are.

The trend towards personalised video — complete with highly-relevant content aimed directly at a particular consumer — will make for a very interesting 2021 as brands deploy more creative digital campaigns interwoven with more trusted messaging.

In particular, bite-sized and short-form commercial video will increasingly gain traction in 2021. We've already seen Twitter innovating with six-second video ads.

Video — personalised video — is now absolutely crucial to make your brand visible, to reach out to audiences and to ensure your own firm is not itself consigned to the dustbin of marketing history.

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