As a journalist, I spend way too much of my day clicking around the internet — but one of the first things I do upon opening my laptop in the morning is turn the sound off.
“Video is the future of marketing,” I’ve heard over and over at every conference I’ve covered since 2014. But there’s another truth, one that doesn’t often come up in keynotes: video is often irrelevant, annoying, and impossible to escape.
According to Wyzowl, 63% of marketers currently use video as part of their marketing strategy. And for good reason — Google loves video. Businesses that include video in their strategy can increase their chances of turning up on the first page of Google SERPs by a factor of 53.
YouTube boasts around four billion video views per day, making it the second largest search engine after Google. Video traffic is also expected to boom in the coming months, with video traffic predicted to account for 75% of all mobile traffic by 2020.
So you should probably sink your entire budget into video, right?
Not so fast. Studies show that audiences have a love/hate relationship with video, and marketers need to be extra careful that they’re creating the video content audiences want, rather than producing video for video’s sake.
Some studies say audiences love video — and that nearly half people watch at least an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos per week
It’s no lie that most of us are watching more videos than ever before. A 10-second scroll through my Instagram feed turned up a video from a candle company of incense being lit, a baker adding tea party-inspired decorations to a cake, and shots of a pretty cute pair of Oxfords in different colors from different angles.
According to Wordstream, 45% of people watch Facebook or YouTube videos for more than an hour a week. And, overall, those videos seem to be pretty well received. 52% of marketing professionals worldwide say video is the content type with the best ROI.
So what’s the problem?
Other studies say audiences are annoyed by video — and that 85% of Facebook users watch video without sound
There’s a chance people don’t love your video as much as all these studies have led you to believe. It seems I’m not the only person who mutes my laptop and phone before venturing online.
Digiday reports that 85% of Facebook users are watching video without sound. What’s more, the overwhelming majority of consumers, 82%, say they have closed a webpage because of an autoplaying video.
And people seem to have a long memory for videos that interrupted their browsing, with 51% also reporting that they think less of a brand that uses autoplaying online video ads.
So, people like videos, but they don’t like videos? Pretty much.
Customers look for utility in video content
Turns out the average web viewer is pretty focused on their own interests and needs when consuming video. Which makes sense. Never once have I felt like helping a brand out by clicking on their ad. Marketers who are looking to make video should be concerned, first and foremost, with making useful video.
According to Accenture Interactive, 54% of consumers are relying on video to learn how to use a product. Focusing on the customer — what they might need to know about a product to get the best experience — is one way to make sure your video adds value.
Customers who are in the decision-making stages of their buyer’s journey are also looking for video that helps them better understand a product. In fact, 50% of internet users search for video related to a product or service before making a purchase.
It might be time to stop thinking in terms of “viral” videos
While video is increasingly becoming an essential part of most brands’ marketing strategies, experts agree that the expectations for what video and can can’t do might need to be re-evaluated.
In a recent webinar with ClickZ, Kurtis Thomas, manager of video marketing for OpenText, said it might be time to remove the word “viral” from our video vocabulary.
“Rather than shooting for the success reserved only for baby sharks and dogs reuniting with family members, it’s important to focus on your organizations real and tangible goals,” Thomas says. “Define what success means early on. Is your video mainly to help close a sale? If so, one million views are not nearly as important as one view from the right person. Having defined goals can inform your content, and can also give marketers and content creators a means of defining your own success.”
There’s no magic number for what your video to text-based content ratio should be. But asking the question, “How will our video content help our customer understand our brand?” might be the best place to start.