Video’s Great, But Having a Strategy is Better

If you think you are ready to explore online video campaigns, you’re not alone. Everyone believes it’s an advertising vehicle that users will respond to. Reinforcing statistics about the format’s effectiveness and its ability to grab users’ attention make this marketing forum extremely attractive. However before broaching video, make sure it makes sense in grand advertising scheme of things. I cannot overstress the importance of developing a strategic plan for an online video campaign, and here is why:

The online marketing space is driven by fads. Decisions to employ advertising mediums like social networks, microblogs, and online video are oftentimes sparked by what other brands are doing — not necessarily what’s right for an individual company. While it’s certainly important to be aware of the competition, brands must take their own clientele, brand, resources, and business plan into account when planning an online marketing campaign.

I still come across video campaigns that seem like they were created just for the sake of using online video. This can be a great disservice to advertisers because as users turn to this format more frequently, they will start to turn a blind eye to irrelevant ads. It doesn’t matter if video components are being posted on an aggregator or used in an on-page ad; marketers must scrutinize an online video as they would any other marketing component, and make sure that it complements other online and offline efforts.

What a Strategy Should Look Like

A coherent, cohesive strategy pulls together business objectives and marketing capabilities to create a campaign that means something to users. There is no cookie-cutter strategy for online video. But every campaign needs a strategy if it is to be successful. A well thought out plan of attack will drive creative direction, supporting SEO (define) efforts and overall direction of the video content.

Some Challenges

Marketers must decide several things before embarking on a campaign. Some variables include video length, forums used, how to relate to users, tone of voice, and so on. These smaller decisions come together to reinforce a brand’s online personality. An important aspect of a video strategy is to keep it user-centric as opposed to focusing on a product. Above all, advertisers should take extra steps to ensure that the message fits the medium. Do not use video when another format will do.

Once it’s decided that video is the appropriate advertising route, marketers must think like users (not advertisers) when determining a video’s length, where it makes the most sense to place ads, and which users should be targeted. Creating video campaigns isn’t an inexpensive undertaking, so taking these extra steps during the planning phases will appease viewers and help increase a clients’ return on investment. Another reason that online video plans must be well thought out is that the content can be used in other non-promotional formats like video case studies.

Conclusions

It’s no surprise that advertisers have jumped on the online video bandwagon. Video ads can be effective, trackable, attention grabbing, and something new and different. Especially if it is used in combination with other marketing formats, online video can be a major player in a multiplatform campaign. What’s exciting is that there’s still room for improvement too. Only a small percentage of online users have turned to online video in lieu of traditional, offline outlets. eMarketer reports that just 11 percent of the online video audience watches fewer programs on the TV and 10 percent frequent the movies less often because they watch videos online. These percentages will continue to increase as publishers and advertisers experiment with the optimal way to approach the medium. Additionally on the marketing side and as the industry refines video metrics and analytics framework, advertisers will continue to accumulate user information to help serve ever more relevant ads.

In the end, video is great, but strategy is better.

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