The Importance of Video for Branding and Marketing
by Taylor Slattery | December 16, 2019
Video is quickly becoming the most powerful tool at the disposal of the modern marketer. Statistics show that video is the format most preferred by today’s consumer. Americans spend an average of 8.5 hours per week watching videos online across various platforms. YouTube alone accounts for more than 1 billion hours of viewing each day, with mobile views increasing by 100% every year. In addition to entertainment, viewers are increasingly turning to video for instruction as well. When presented with the choice between text and video, 72% of people will choose video. With online schools as well as more general instructional sites like Lynda and Skillshare on the rise, this number is sure to increase.
400 million people watch stories on Instagram every day and video ads are the leading means of generating new leads and conversions on social media. As it turns out, when content is engaging, people don’t mind watching ads in Instagram stories. In surveys conducted by MarketingLand, 62% of people reported interest in a product after seeing it in a story and 50% said that they’ve made purchases after seeing similar stories in the past. In addition, viewers are 95% more likely to remember a call to action heard in a video over one they have read. Google’s algorithm also tends to rank video content more favorably. For marketers, video offers the greatest ROI.
These habits have not gone unnoticed. For the past few years, marketers and content creators alike have been focusing their efforts on video. The constant influx of new content fueled by the need to stake a claim in the digital frontier has had a profound impact on the way we interact with media. Content now has a window of only 2.7 seconds to captivate an audience before they decide to click away. Attention spans are now shorter than ever, and continually shrinking with no end in sight. We’ve developed this behavior as a defense mechanism against the increasingly intrusive advertising tactics we’re subjected to online. In turn, the companies responsible for these ads demand their further optimization and social networks find new more intrusive ways of serving them to us, causing the viewer to adjust their defenses and further eroding both our trust and our attention spans.
Perhaps part of the appeal to videos is that they can be consumed passively. Rather than tracking down articles or searching through books for the information we’re after, videos present information in a neat convenient package allowing us to relax and let the information come to us. It may be the case that at the hands of sites like YouTube, society is becoming lazier, but on the flip side of the coin, information is power and access to the internet grants an individual with unlimited educational and career opportunities.
So now that we’ve covered some of the good and the bad when it comes to the current state of online video, let’s take a look at how we can join in and hopefully help to change things for the better.
Consumer’s trust is at an all-time low. We’re paying for the sins of relentless and shady advertising practices and we have lost ground to make up for. So how can we utilize the powerful tool that is video to mend this divide? As I mentioned before, people like to learn via video, so let’s use videos to teach them and rebuild trust.
Audiences are tired of being sold to. We can smell an ad from a mile away. They’re intrusive and one-sided, they take our time and ask for our money. That’s why we need to take a different approach to content creation. Rather than asking favors of our audience, let’s offer them access to our knowledge-base and earn their trust. People buy products and use services to improve their lives and become a better version of themselves. In any given field, the consumer-base is comprised of people who are eager to learn. By demonstrating our expertise in this field, we can establish ourselves as an authority and people will trust our opinions and recommendations. This is why it’s not uncommon for YouTubers who create make-up tutorials to later launch successful make-up brands, or for former athletes to become coaches. Through generosity we can build trust and increase the likelihood of our generosity being reciprocated when we offer a product or service, but the focus should be on offering value rather than selling.
Instructional content might take the form of explainer videos that teach potential customers about your product or service. You can treat them like a tutorial and use them as an opportunity to address any questions you anticipate your customers to have. Explainer videos like these are great at resolving any reservations and helping to push potential buyers towards making a purchase. Videos can’t just be about your product though, so it’s important to find other ways of ingratiating yourself to a community.
Because modern attention spans are so small, audiences are unlikely to watch a boring video, so our story-telling ability is important. We only have a few seconds to capture our audience’s attention, but the story is how we’ll keep it. Traditional marketing formats like presenting a problem, agitating the problem to elicit an emotional response in the viewer, and then offering a solution lend themselves well to video formats as they have a story-like structure that’s easy to follow. Videos present an opportunity to strike a strong emotional chord with viewers in a way that is difficult with text and photos alone. Doing so can make customers identify with your story and establish a strong personal connection.
Making videos doesn’t require a large budget. Infographics and simple animations using only text and photographs can easily be created using the programs found in the Adobe Creative Suite. Stock sites like Storyblocks and Unsplash have a wide range of high-quality photos and videos to give your project a professional feel. B-reel can be a great way of helping to establish a mood and communicate a brand culture that people can readily identify with. Video presents great opportunities in reach and engagement but to avoid irreversible damage to our attention spans and capacity for trust it’s important to change our approach towards using them.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.