ComScore just released July 2013 online usage numbers, and the statistics are staggering. Last month alone, 187 million Americans watched 48 billion online videos (and only 40% of them were ads). With this kind of reach in mind, it's no surprise that smart brands are leveraging video as a marketing asset. But where does one begin?
Before we examine the different types of videos you might create, let's start with the first decision you'll have to make: determining your goals.
What Do You Want To Accomplish?
In order to intelligently select a medium and create a video, you need to determine what exactly you'd like to get out of your videos.
And don't say "Get views", because that's clear.
Instead, identify measurable goals like:
- Increasing social media reach
- Driving social engagement
- Boosting time spent on your site and social profiles
- Improving conversions on landing pages
- Increasing lead generation, etc.
With a goal in mind, you can more easily determine which platform will best suit your needs and what kind of video you should create.
What Platform Will You Use?
If you keep up with social media and digital marketing news, you know there are a plethora of platforms available for video creation and hosting. Here's a quick rundown of the major players:
- YouTube: The industry giant!
YouTube is owned by Google and boasts an incredbile unique monthly user count of over 1 Billion. You can upload videos to YouTube, modify them using their editor tools, embed them on your site, and share them on social media. YouTube also features analytics to assess your video's performance.
- Vimeo: YouTube's hipster cousin.
Vimeo lingers under 100 million unique monthly users, and serves a different audience than YouTube. Vimeo's advanced editing tools and Video School are geared around fostering the birth of unique and creative content, and their guidelines place strict limitations on using the platform for promotional purposes.
- Wistia: The business alternative.
Although slightly less recognized, Wistia is growing in popularity as a tool for businesses charging into the video market. Wistia removes the social aspect of traditional video sites, and is instead solely intended for housing your video projects. You can embed Wistia videos on your website, alter them using their Labs features, and generally maintain more control over your content then you would in YouTube or Vimeo. Wistia also offers advanced analytics and the ability to gate your content for lead generation.
- Vine: The micro video platform.
Vine was purchased by Twitter before it was even launched in 2012, and now boasts over 40 million users, according to Mashable. Unlike traditional video, Vine limits uploads to 6 seconds, which are recorded with the tap of a finger on your phone screen. Thus, the video does not have to be continuous and could actually be hundreds of single shots spliced together.
- Instagram Video: Facebook's response to Vine.
Facebook has a long standing history of replicating popular features started on other social networks, and Instagram video continues the tradition. Hot on the tail of Vine's rapid success, Facebook released Instagram video in June 2013 and boasted over 5 million video uploads within the first 24 hours. Instagram video offers the same features as it's photo editor, and allows for 15-second videos in the same tap-to-record format as Vine.
Feeling informed? Great, because now it's time to decide how you'll tackle your video strategy.
How Will You Do It?
With a goal in mind and a platform selected, you're ready to execute the strategy. Although I can't emcompass all possible scenarios in one blog post, I've put together a few of the most common and addressed how you can meet your goals.
- Goal: Boost eCommerce Sales Conversions
Add product videos to your eCommerce site, and give users a unique look at each item. Go beyond traditional shots of the product from different angles, and consider showing the item in a real life context (people running in your athletic shoes, people wearing your dress, children playing with your educational toy).
Home Depot is an example of a brand that does a great job of featuring engaging product videos on many of their appliance item pages:
For videos of this nature, your best bet is a solution like Wistia which allows you complete control over the content and share features. You can apply this same concept to landing pages, and use video to communciate the benefits and value users will get by converting on forms.
- Goal: Build Brand Credibility and Community
Give customers an inside look at your company to build your brand's identity. Avoid the cliche "This is Mark from Accounting and he enjoys hiking" format, and opt instead to create unexpected and fun videos that are easy to digest.
Check out this Instagram video we recently made for Savvy Panda which provides a look at our staff without being generic.
- Goal: Boost Engagement on Social Media
Spice up your Twitter account by incoporating Vine videos. Unlike Instagram, Vine videos can actually be shared directly in a Tweet, rather than just linked to. The Vine app itself hasn't been proven yet to lead to astronomical engagement or revenue potential for business, but it's synchronization with Twitter makes it a lucrative option.
Most brands use Vine videos (directly on the app or on Twitter) for engagement and branding purposes, but that's not to say you can't utilize your 6-seconds to demonstrate product features or make an announcement.
GE has a multitude of unique Vine videos posted on their Twitter that you can look to for inspiration.
- Goal: Grow Audience and Attract Potential Customers
If you want to engage and really drive interactions, consider using video to announce a content and encourage users to submit content, enter to win a prize, etc.
You could use a longer or short form video for this type of content, dependent upon how much you want to say and who you want to communicate with.
Many brands have attempted to use Vine for contests but none have seen major success yet, so I'm leaving this one open for you to set the standard!
What will you try first on video? There are truly limitless ways to participate, and there is major opportunity at hand for brands willing to put in the work. Let me know how you'll approach video in the comments!
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035734296@N01/6724144489