Because the combination of immersive visual and audio stimulation is such a persuasive means of communicating key brand messages, it isn’t surprising that retailers are keen to get brand messages out using this platform. Global brands collectively spent more than $90 billion on video advertising and that figure is set to increase to $102.8 billion within the next five years.
But what is the best way to use video as a way to build brand recognition?
How can video help my business?
Recent research suggests that approximately one third of shoppers will make a purchase after viewing a video advert. It is a fact that video advertising generates sales conversions. Indeed, online marketing giants Amazon and Ebay both suggest to their sellers that adding a video can boost sales – in many cases up to 35% of total sales.
Research has shown that because video engages multiple senses, it is one of the most effective means of advertising. This is because many people like to use all of their senses when learning about something new. Additionally, people can just listen to a video and still learn and retain what the key messages are. Equally, people can just watch a video and, again they will still be able to learn and retain the key messages that are being conveyed. Because of this capacity to reach to multiple users who learn in different ways, a video can be used to do what is known as “adding value” for prospective customers. This is where a brand creates an informative video with tips and information that viewers will find interesting or helpful, regardless of whether they buy a product or not. The rationale from the brand’s point of view is that, even if a viewer doesn’t make a purchase they may share the video, react to it or make a personal recommendation to a friend about its content. Moreover, in delivering value “for free” to prospective customers a brand can build trust, engagement and recognition.
Another big advantage of video is that people share it on social media. 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram alone every day. Especially creative, novel or funny videos get shared even more frequently, and this is a very effective way to build brand recognition. Well-thought out video with interesting content that adds value to users is a highly effective method of advertising and viral video content will often represent thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds worth of advertising to a particular brand.
The growing power and impact of video is being fuelled by the fast growth of so called “OTT advertising”, which is otherwise known as over the top advertising. The term describes video content providers who sell access to streamed media over the internet. High profile examples include Netflix and Amazon. These businesses are growing because users see them as a better alternative to traditional satellite services, and the growth of OTT advertising is good news for video advertisers because video adverts on OTT services can’t be fast forwarded or skipped, nor can they be stopped using an ad blocker, like on most traditional satellite services.
The growing popularity of User-generated content (UGC) also explains how valuable video is to the modern-day advertiser. Research on how UGC is received by customers strongly suggests that customers place more trust in UGC compared to generic adverts, perhaps because they feel more of a connection to “average people” compared to slick advertisements containing models and influencers. Research has also suggested that shoppers view UGC as more authentic and trustworthy compared to other forms of advertisement. Short videos advertisements can be placed within UGC and the viewer has no option to skip the advert entirely (most will play at least some of the advert), so, like OTT advertising, the level of engagement for these types of adverts is high.
How to use video to advertise effectively
1. Make your video “mobile-friendly”
Recent research suggests that $90 billion dollars was spent on video advertising in 2018 and of that total, one third was spent on mobile video advertising. Moreover, because mobile devices account for more than 52% of global online traffic, not only are online advertisers making sure that their video adverts are optimised to be viewed on a mobile, they are actually shooting videos so that they are more suited to being viewed on a mobile phone. This is achieved through the creation of so-called vertical advertisements, and it is known as “mobile first content”, since the emphasis in its creation is for it to be viewed, first and foremost on a mobile device. Such is the popularity of vertical advertisement this type of advert is set to surpass Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds as the one of the most effective ways to promote user engagement.
2. Keep videos short
Research has shown that shorter videos are more persuasive and impactful compared to longer ones. Short videos do particularly well with mobile audiences, with one study suggesting that almost 90% of mobile users watch short videos of less than 30 seconds through until the end.
It makes sense that people’s attention will eventually wane when watching a video, particularly when they are viewing promotional content. As such, the messages to be conveyed in a video should be carefully planned, scripted and shot, so that an impactful message can be created using up as little of the viewers’ time as possible.
3. Plan for impact: make the first few seconds the most impactful
Studies show that the most important parts of any video will be the first few seconds. This is the key period of time when viewers decide to pay attention to the video or switch their attention elsewhere. This means that the whole point of the video- its key message should be communicated within the first 3 seconds, and it also means that people should be able to fully understand what they can expect from the whole video, within just 3 seconds.
Hardhitting visual content can be deployed to communicate key messages within this crucial period of time, afterall a picture tells a thousand words. Campaigns based on spoken content should be carefully scripted with key messages delivered succinctly, and in a way that the audience can relate to.
In general, video creators should try to avoid “slow build” techniques where the main point of the story is gradually revealed as the video continues.
4. Plan videos collaboratively before shooting
A lot of people will shoot videos ad hoc, without any planning or strategy, and this, for many, is a missed opportunity. When video advertisers plan their video ad content the end product tends to attract more attention and interactions on social media. One of the most important strands of video advertising planning is to plan the angle the video will adopt. Will it be funny? Will it attempt to evoke emotion or sympathy? Will the angle instead be informative and aim to provide useful information to product users (sometimes called explainer videos)? All of these questions need to be explored before a video can be successfully created, and having an angle and strategy chosen in advance will probably save time and dispense with the need for multiple takes or for long periods of shooting to get useful material.
Another good method of planning video content is to consider the audience the videographer wishes to connect with and aim to cater to their needs and preferences. A good example is if the main audience will be children and young people, creators should aim to keep language simple and avoid complicated storytelling. Concepts should be broken down and communicated in simple terms. Sets and casting should also reflect the target audience and actors, or models with whom typical members of the target audience will be able to connect with should be chosen.
5. Hire professional videographers
A brand should always consider hiring a professional videographer, and or a creative team to create their videos. With the growth of sites like People Per Hour and Fiverr, people with professional knowledge of video creation are easier to reach and more affordable. These professionals have access to professional software and tools that will improve the quality and impact of a video. A retailer on a tight budget could even consider shooting a video themselves and sending the final product to a professional to be “finished” before it is disseminated. Even this can make all the difference, as the professional will know how to maximise the impact of the video.
6. Hire influencers or actors
Videographers should consider the use of influencers and or professional actors. This can add impact and appeal to a video. Sometimes famous actors can be used to give the messages more reach, as a famous actor will already have a core of fans who are interested in what they have to say, and brands can “piggy-back” on this to increase their reach.
7. Consider people with disabilities, including visual or hearing impairments
Videos should be accessible, not just to able-bodied viewers but also to people who have sight, hearing and other impairments. Subtitles and closed captions are all very valuable features to include and these increase the reach of the video by catering to people with specific communication needs.
Videographers should also be sensitive to people for whom flashing imagery can cause problems for example autistic and epileptic viewers. Certain types of content should be accompanied with warnings or explanations.
8. Ensure videos are well-lit
It seems a trivial point, but, like images, videos should be well-lit to ensure maximum user engagement and to ensure that the content can be viewed on all of the different devices it may be downloaded on. Poorly lit videos, or videos with grainy images or “scratchy” sound are all less likely to be viewed to the end, or at all. Users might take the view that a poorly shot video reflects on the quality of the product advertised. It takes just a few minutes, even for an amateur videographer to research and understand how to shoot a well-lit video, and the payoff is usually considerable.
9. Post video to social media
Brands should always adopt a multi-platform approach to the dissemination of video, and as such post to as many social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as possible. Video should also be posted to the brand’s main website as integrating videos to websites and blog posts increases user engagement. Brands can use competitions on social media to encourage people to share the videos.
10. Search engines prefer video
Due to their focus on delivering quality, informative content to users, search engines tweak their algorithms to prioritise websites that contain lots of videos. Even promotional videos will therefore give brands a boost in terms of their SEO visibility.
11. Make use of “in-stream” ads
So-called “in-stream” ads are a very effective means of advertising. These are ads that run within another video. The video pauses briefly and 5-15 seconds of advertising video is played before the main video can be resumed. Otherwise, advertising videos can be inserted at the start of another video, but these must be watched before the main video can be viewed. These ads are non-skipable and due to their short duration, many of them are watched to the end. Facebook has a very successful system of in-stream” ads and has just introduced a premium in-stream ads service, which allows advertisers to place ads within the top performing videos on Facebook.
12. Include a call to action
Including a call to action within a video is a powerful technique that will help make any video more impactful. Whether a brand wants people to sign up to their new autumn catalogue, or sign up to their new loyalty program, the viewers should benefit from a short and informative message about what actions the makers of the video would like them to take. Calls to action should also explain how to take the desired action, for example a particular website address may be included in a call to action.
Research has shown that calls to action that provide a reason for the action are much more successful than calls to action that don’t provide any reasons. A simple reason like “please share our video so that our animal shelter can get more donations and do more to help animals” can make all the difference to a successful video advertising campaign.
Videos can include multiple calls to action however a video should always end with a call to action.
13. Include subtitles and closed captions
Many videos are viewed without the sound. As such video creators need to be prepared to communicate with people who don’t want to hear sound when they view a video. Subtitles or closed captions are a great way to cater to the needs of people who do not enable sound.
Otherwise video creators should bear in mind that not all people will hear the audio, so they should consider how much of the message can be conveyed using visual imagery only.
14. Aim to provoke a debate and invite comments
Videos should engage the audience and aim to prompt further interactions from viewers, and the video content should always prompt or invite further comments and debate, where possible. Viewers could be asked to engage with other viewers, or they could be asked to share the video with family and friends.
When creating a video, it is a good idea to consider the language requirements of the targeted audience. Many assume that English is the only language their video should be available in, but this approach will often alienate a large portion of the targeted audience who would be more willing to watch a video if it was available in their native language. Anyone creating a video for promotional purposes should consider creating voiceovers or separate videos for different languages. Some e-commerce platforms allow users to use multilingual features including automatic translation and toolkits for video translation.
Using video effectively to increase brand recognition
Video is very widely used now as a means of conveying key brand messages, but as we have seen discussed some videos are more impactful than others. As such videographers should carefully consider and plan the script, timing and overall content to be used in any video created for promotional purposes.
People who download and view video don’t want to be inconvenienced so video messages should be short, pithy and powerful. Creators of video should be mindful that people can switch off a video mid-stream or mute the volume so not all “views” registered are of equal value. To this end, audiences should be engaged with interesting and relevant material.
Mobile “friendly” videos are particularly impactful because of the sheer numbers of people downloading video on their devices. Furthermore, mobile is one of the fastest growing platforms for the dissemination of videos.