If you don't use video as part of your marketing plan, I have one question for you: why not?
Incorporating video into your marketing campaign is a must if you're going to reach a large audience. YouTube is now the second largest search engine, just behind Google, and there are over 4 billion hours of video watched each month on YouTube. That's a huge audience who loves video, and if you're in marketing, you need to tap into that audience by adding video to your marketing plan.
There are other unique perks to using video as well, including personable branding, search engine optimization (SEO) benefits, and better user engagement. Let's break down how video can be used to leverage your brand's online presence.
Video creates a unique, simulated face-to-face experience for viewers. Text, images, and audio alone cannot communicate facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice in a symbiotic way like video can. All of this is very important for branding, as it allows companies to create a "human" side to their products/services. Creating a simulated face-to-face experience allows the viewer to get to know you, your company, and your service. This process creates trust and brand loyalty on behalf of the viewer.
High-quality, relevant videos can also indicate professionalism and brand quality. If a company is willing to commit time and resources to creating a great video, viewers will associate that business with a legitimate interest in providing great services and products.
One of the best examples of personable branding is Allstate Insurance Company's "Mayhem" series. This series features the same actor, Dean Winters, as the point of "mayhem" in our daily lives. The viewer gets to know the familiar face in the Mayhem series, and builds up brand trust and loyalty. These videos are relatable, humorous, and actionable:
There are two main SEO benefits to using video: link building and rich content signals.
Links are still the main metric used by search engines, like Google, to determine a page's "authority." Links to a page are seen as "votes" in favor of that page's credibility, popularity, and content quality. Search results (aka, when you Google something), then, are based on a page's "authority" and keyword relevancy (determined by how well your search words match keywords on a page).
Video is great for link building, because people love to share videos. For example, posts with video will attract almost three times more links than a plain text post, and posts with all three media types (video, images, and text) will attract almost six times more links than will plain text posts. If people are linking three times more often to pages with video, then your page "authority" can greatly improve from using video, and thus your search rankings will go up.
Rich Content Signals
Varied media types on a page show search engines that your page contains a variety of content, which suggests that a page is engaging and useful for users. Pages with both passive and active methods of engagement typically hold viewer attention for the longest period of time, and search engines choose to reward pages with "rich content signals" in order to provide relevant results to users.
Adding unique video to your site can consequently improve your overall search rankings, and therefore increase your traffic (results higher in the search engine results pages typically get more clicks). Embedding videos from YouTube can allow Google to monitor how many people are watching and engaging with videos on your site, and therefore better determine whether or not your website is a quality resource that users value.
A great example of a video that provided SEO benefits to its company is IdeasByNet's video for its iPhone Gravity-Defying Holder:
Lianne Froggatt, digital communications manager at IdeasByNet, said this of the company's video's success: "We gained over 50 links to the product page, alongside around 20 additional links to the blog post and home page. As well as the links we received from our outreach, we gained an additional 20-30 links as we were featured on high multiplier sites: Ubergizmo and Ohgizmo."
Improved User Engagement
Video as a medium allows a user very little freedom in terms of consumption; it's easy for readers to skim text and decide which sections are most relevant to them. However, video offers no "skimming" option; you either watch the video in its entirety, or it fails to hold your attention and you stop watching.
Additionally "watching" a video is a somewhat passive experience. When users watch a video, they are asking to be shown something, asking to be given content in an integrated, multi-disciplinary form, rather than digging through and exploring the meaning themselves.
Video is therefore a different way of engaging audiences, compared to image and text. The amount of information that can be displayed through one second of video vastly outnumbers the amount of information that can be read, so there are endless possibilities to attract the interest of qualified watchers.
If you aren't using video in your marketing plan, you need to. If you want to use video but don't know where to start, there are plenty of video marketing guides that can help you through the creation process and technical implementation of your marketing video.
Variety of Photos image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Adria Saracino is the head of outreach at Distilled, a creative online marketing agency. When not consulting on content strategy or leading her team of outreach warriors, you can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.
March 19, 2014