November 24, 2015

Are You Optimizing Online Video to Create Brand Awareness-And Generate Sales?

A truly captivating marketing campaign today includes video—video that draws an emotional response from your audience and puts your brand in a positive light. Written content may be your workhorse, but a moving picture is worth a thousand—or so—words. Not that the two deliverables need to be distinquished from one another. As a matter of fact, using them in tandem as part of an integrated content marketing strategy is your company’s best bet for heightened brand awareness and customer engagement.

But you probably already know this all too well, as 96 percent of B2B marketers leverage video content, according to results from a survey conducted by The Web Video Marketing Council and Flimp Media. The survey report, titled “2015 B2B Video Content Marketing Survey Results,” shows that marketers are using video for sales and marketing, including branding, lead generation and paid online advertising, to name just a few areas. Best of all are the outcomes: Some 73 percent of respondents (more than 350 B2B marketing, agency and management professionals) say that video has positively impacted overall marketing results.

This affirmation is diminished a bit, though, by the largely immeasurable goal of increasing brand awareness, which is what most of the respondents (80 percent) say they are using video to achieve. To this point, sales results comparatively were not given as favorable a review by respondents, with only 56 percent of them reporting that sales have been positively impacted by using video.

The survey found that most brands deploy videos for online marketing—embedding them on Web pages or blogs, sharing them via YouTube, and posting them on social networks. Since these are largely brand-enhancement applications, it does stand to reason that measuring ROI was cited as the most common challenge by survey respondents.

This inability to accurately measure ROI is making companies hesitant to make greater investments in video. In fact, 44 percent of respondents cited measuring the ROI of their video marketing investments as their biggest challenge to online video marketing. Indeed, the survey revealed that 50 percent of companies have either decreased (7 percent) or kept the same (43 percent) video-related budgets in 2015. And those budgets, for the most part, were pretty meager in the first place. Of those companies that have annual budgets for video production or marketing, 30 percent have fewer than $10,000 allocated for this line item; 36 percent have no budget for video at all.

So, how can you best leverage video to get your brand seen and heard while also ensuring ROI? This will be a prerequisite for the decision makers holding the purse strings. The survey shows that video campaign metrics most commonly tracked are total video starts (84 percent), average viewing time (59 percent) and watch to completion (58 percent).

While findings show that video can be effective as a stand-alone marketing tool, it’s also great to integrate video into social, email and blogging strategies to provide consumers with a multimedia experience—remembering always that content is king.

With that in mind, a best practice for video marketing is to ensure that video is loaded with killer brand messaging. Here are some best practices as cited by Kristin Kovner, former VP of Marketing Strategy at AOL, on ClickZ:

  • Whatever channel you use to distribute your video, make sure the conversation doesn’t stop there. The best integrated content marketing strategies will drive viewers to access more information on your website. Do this by including a relevant link in both the video itself as well as in its description. And don’t be afraid to push your product, e.g., encourage viewers to pre-order via a hotspot within the video.
  • Make sure the topic of your video is something your key targets would want to watch. Ask yourself, for instance, if it will shed light on a problem relevant to potential customers. This is paramount to the success of your video. And be sure to focus on your brand story—not your product. Flesh out your topic with data, examples and a strong narrative. Enact your expertise in sharing new ways to approach the problem. If you need help developing a story or message, a third-party content strategy vendor can be your salvation.
  • Be entertaining! You can even be funny. Though you want to avoid thinly veiled product pitches, do mention your brand where it makes sense—like how it can make your customers’ lives easier. A strong “explainer” video can be a very effective B2B marketing tool, as it may help customers feel more confident about making a purchase.

Now you just need to choose the delivery channel(s) for your video. According to the survey, B2B companies are most commonly embedding videos on Web pages or blogs (83 percent), with a majority sharing them via YouTube (69 percent) and social networks (64 percent). And about half of respondents use video in email marketing and newsletters, generating 65 percent positive results.

The survey report concludes with an admonishment to marketers to use video in a “focused, measurable way to improve lead generation and sales engagement results.” If your company lacks the in-house expertise required to either produce or market videos, seek the assistance of a third-party video production expert to ensure your video messages are relevant, entertaining and delivered effectively.

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