Marketers have understood for a while that video has tons of potential to engage customers, but technical limitations and unfamiliarity with the medium have limited how effectively most companies have integrated it into their overall strategy. That’s about to change. Video will assume greater prominence for marketers in 2016 thanks to several factors:
1) Internet speed/mobile data plans: Faster broadband, widespread free Wi-Fi and cheaper data plans make watching videos less challenging, whether in or out of home, on TVs, desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
2) Social/mobile viewing sites: Consumption of social and mobile video has exploded over the last couple of years:
- YouTube viewing hours are up 60 percent over 2014
- Facebook video grew 94 percent from 2013 to 2014, with 50 percent of U.S. Facebook users watching at least one video a day
- Mobile accounts for more than half of all YouTube video views, while mobile viewer hours have increased 100% since 2014.
3) Simpler video production: The popularity of amateur videos featuring everything from piano-playing cats to GoPro daredevils indicates that consumers will accept videos that focus more on content than slick production values. Also, mobile technology has evolved to the point that smartphones can capture video that approximates or matches video-camera quality.
For marketers, these factors present a golden opportunity to use video to add value to the customer experience. And the potential is there to not only build engagement but also to drive revenue: According to Invodo, consumers who watch videos while shopping online are 1.9 times more likely to buy than non-viewers.
Two Examples of Brands Incorporating Video in the Customer Journey
Video can add value at any point along the customer journey – here are examples of two brands that are using video at opposite ends of buyer path:
Reduce returns: A U.S. sports retailer promotes video in a post-purchase email series to show online ski-boot buyers how to fit their new boots correctly. This program has helped significantly reduce unnecessary returns and customer-service contacts.
Welcome newcomers: A U.K. sports retailer's welcome email links to video interviews with the CEO and customers to explain its flash-sale ordering and fulfillment system.
These videos answer questions and reduce uncertainties about the buying process. Although helpful, text and images would not bring the story and value proposition to life as powerfully as these interviews.
Taking a Strategic Approach to Video
Integrating video into your customer journey communications strategy across channels can cut costs, increase customer satisfaction and move prospects closer to purchasing. Here are three strategic questions to ask in 2016 to help take your video marketing efforts up a notch:
1) What purpose will video serve? Your videos don't live in a vacuum, so think about ways you might use video in your marketing — bringing a blog post to life, explaining how to use a product or service, promoting an upcoming event and more.
2) How can video improve the customer journey? Examine your customers’ journey and look for opportunities to leverage video content. At what points in the journey can video effectively create interest, solve buyer problems or drive brand preference and engagement?
3) How will we measure success? Depending on your goals, simply tracking YouTube video views may not tell you much. Consider other ways you might tie video to your broader objectives, such as measuring leads generated via video, reductions in calls to your call center, and increases in upgrades to your "enterprise" product.
Wide distribution, booming consumption and low entry barriers make video an ever-more-important marketing channel in 2016. If you’re interested in enhancing your use of this medium, please check out my video below for more tips on incorporating video into you marketing mix:
For more on the top digital marketing trends of 2016, please check out our white paper, “10 Key Marketing Trends for 2016 and Ideas for Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences.”
1) Webiner: “Tips for Incorporating Video into Your Digital Marketing Efforts”
2) Infographic: “The State of Video Marketing”
3) White Paper: “Customer Journey Maps and Buyer Personas: A Modern Tool Kit for Marketers”