But Is Video the Right Choice?
By Jeff Breckenridge, Senior Digital Designer and Claudia Dattilo, Media Connections Planning Director, with Marsha Hall, Senior Counselor
If you rely on YouTube videos for everything from woodworking and lawn care to recipes and stain removal, you’re not alone. Today, U.S. adults invest a whopping 5.5 hours daily watching video content, according to eMarketer. And, the trend will only continue, with Cisco predicting video will represent 80 percent of world Internet traffic by 2019.
Based on these predictions, it’s no wonder companies and organizations are anxious to allocate budgets to create video. After all, everyone’s doing it – so it must be right.
Video vs. other tactics
Despite video’s burgeoning popularity, the medium may not represent the best tactic for companies to reach objectives. Marketing communications teams must ask the following questions:
- Is video is the best medium to reach the target audience?
- Is the story highly visual?
- Does the audience generally seek information and entertainment via video?
A YouTube video, for example, may seem an effective tool to educate contractors about a new lighting system that boosts worker safety while slashing operating costs. The question is whether contractors generally seek this type of information on YouTube. If not, a white paper or case study may prove more effective.
The right strategy can cut costs
Once you determine video is the best tactic to reach objectives, the next step is to gather the brightest and most interested team members to develop a strategy and plan of action. Encourage input as you discuss objectives and brainstorm the best approach to reach the target audience.
When client Donate Life Ohio decided to create YouTube videos, the primary objective was to encourage as many Ohio adults as possible to register as organ donors. Team members developed a strategy to showcase organ recipient athletes who would compete in the upcoming Transplant Games of America to confirm that organ recipients of all ages can indeed lead active lives after a transplant.
Developing a strategy early in the video production process increases efficiency and may help reduce costs. While video is generally considered a big-ticket item, the right strategy may result in a production that costs $8,000 versus $40,000.
A series of Cardinal Health RN videos sought to spark engagement across the Cardinal Health community during National Nurses Week. The strategy was to feature nurse testimonials during our client’s two-week “True Life of a Nurse” campaign.
Six videos featured nurses sharing their feelings and relatable moments, with the Fahlgren Mortine team filming the productions in a broom closet using an iPhone. The productions were not only fun and interesting but they met Cardinal Health’s objectives. They also generated buzz and reaped many likes and shares on Facebook.
Analyzing the audience
Identifying the audience should go hand in hand with developing the strategy.
Who is the ideal customer? Who do you want the video to captivate or motivate?
You will want to consider audience demographics, including audience members’ age and gender. Where do audience members live and work?
The Donate Life Ohio videos mentioned earlier target healthy adults living within Ohio. Cardinal Health’s “True Life of a Nurse” videos targeted registered nurses.
When considering the audience, always analyze audience members’ behaviors, beliefs and lifestyles. What brands do they prefer and how do they select and interact with various brands? Videos targeted to millennials, for example, are likely to incorporate sought-after content such as social media feeds, store locators and product try-ons in response to audience members’ specific needs and interests.
The right platform
YouTube is the largest video sharing website, with nearly 5 billion people viewing video on the site each day. Besides its incredible reach, YouTube offers perks such as built-in SEO so viewers can find your videos. And, because Google owns YouTube, videos are often ranked in search results.
While YouTube and Vimeo were created for video viewing, channels such as Facebook and Instagram are placing greater emphasis on video, with videos being one of Facebook’s most shared post styles by brand. Audiences also view video on channels such as Snapchat, YouNow, Meerkat, Hulu, Bamboo and Periscope, the latter for live video.
Many companies and organizations are also creating video to post on their own websites.
An engaging message
The video message will creatively engage the target audience with your content. Most videos have one primary message but may include two or three messages if the production has a broader purpose.
Create a message that will appear important and resonate with your target audience as audience members ultimately decide whether or not to view the production. Viewers are unlikely to watch the video in its entirety – if at all, if the product does not meet their interests, needs or expectations.
You must also decide when and where to communicate the brand as part of the message. The brand must appear early in a 15-second video but may emerge later in a long form video that utilizes storytelling to emotionally connect with the audience.
Placing the brand later in the production presents the possibility that the viewer may miss the brand entirely if he or she does not watch the entire video.
You must decide what you want to measure early in the video development process. What’s important – view count, play time, engagement or social comments? Do you want the audience to watch the video in its entirety, view it and comment, or share it? Perhaps you want viewers to watch the video and take action such as clicking to a website. Tools are available to measure various video parameters.
Video is popular because it helps audiences consume information in an engaging manner, often within a relatively short period of time. It may also entertain.
Video productions, however, do not have to be expensive to be effective. By developing a strong strategy early in the planning process, you may be able to produce an inexpensive video that is highly effective and connects with the audience.
Jeff authored “All Videos are Not Created Equal: 6 Steps to Developing Effective Video Strategy,” which was recently published in PR News’ Video Guidebook. Claudia also provided her and expertise.
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Image Source: Unsplash, Laura Lee Moreau