What to Watch: The Rise of Online Videos
They can make you laugh out loud, cry, smile, scream, wince or wonder. When it comes to provoking emotions nothing beats a good video. When boredom creeps in we no longer flick through the TV channels, instead we rely on videos posted on social media sites to help feed our hunger for entertainment. This social snacking on videos has helped influence the content, length and purpose of things posted and shared online. When I’m with my mates the question ‘Have you seen this?’ will often pop up as one of them proceeds to show me some outrageous video on their phone. Sometimes I’ll get a URL on a WhatsApp group before I even get a hello! Our brains love images. Did you know we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text?
The status ‘Having a great time at Niagara falls’ is nowhere near as interesting as a photo or video of the real thing. People upload about 250 million photos to Facebook every day and Twitter has become more visual, with photos and videos saturating the 140 character limit. When it comes to potential reach, video is unrivalled. YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month, that’s more than any other channel apart from Facebook. For advertisers and marketers the potential for earned media and free exposure is highly substantial. For a brand a video that goes viral and gets millions of views on YouTube means that a brand has earned millions of impressions that it didn’t have to pay for.
Haha..You must WATCH THIS!
As a viewer you will often judge a video on YouTube by how many watches it’s had, even if it’s just another clip of an overweight American dancing in his bedroom, you will still be tempted to watch it if it’s had thousands of views. Whilst views are important, watch time has been a significant metric on YouTube for some time, and now Facebook has updated its own video ranking algorithm to factor in whether a user has watched a video, and for how long. This extra feedback on video content alongside shares, comments and likes will determine how video content is presented to a user in their own News Feed. So if you don’t want any more videos of animals being cute and funny stop watching them! Users who love watching videos can expect to see more of this type of content and users who don’t engage as much will see less.
This change means that digital marketers need to create content suitable for both YouTube and Facebook users. In order for it to be viewed and shared it needs to be entertaining, unique, compelling or informative for potential customers to give it the time of day. Back in 2006 Unruly launched the Viral Video Chart which ranks videos on the amount of times the content has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and in the blogosphere (blogging world). Ranking videos by the number of shares rather than views, the chart quickly established itself as the definitive source of video sharing data around the world. Whether a video pulls at your heart strings or reveals a shocking fact it’s the spark of emotion that gets videos shared and liked. Advertisers and businesses no matter how big or small need to consider the viewer’s emotions when making video content. The video should communicate a clear and compelling call to action that inspires the viewer to purchase, subscribe, visit the website or simply share the video they just watched. Engage viewers and they will spend longer on your website and more time interacting with your brand. A video shared on social media can help companies tell stories that create engagement, build a fan base and importantly nurture brand loyalty and long term relationships with customers. Positive emotion inspires trust and loyalty so it makes sense for Advertisers and Marketing companies to try and capitalise on human nature.
Useful video demos can really bring a product to life and help explain or portray the benefits better than a picture can. This helps to gain the customers trust. Video demos have helped keep thousands of men’s pride intact when they’ve laughed off their partner’s plea to keep those futile instructions. If you want to buy a fast new car a brochure full of pictures and features can give you an idea of the cars beauty. But a video showing the cars speed and agility in action will have a much bigger impact and maybe persuade you to book a test drive.
Online video is prominent today and is the future of content marketing. You don’t need to be a big company with a big budget, small businesses can utilise video effectively too. Production costs have fallen considerably over the years and smart effective Apps such as Twitters Vine mean you no longer need to be technical whiz to work out how to use it. The battle for engagement, customers and profit is fierce. For any social media campaign, any SEO exercise, video is without doubt the best weapon in a company’s digital armoury. It can spark emotion making it naturally engaging and, in an age of information overload, its key for small businesses to offer content that is easy to digest and relevant to the target audience. If you don’t grab the consumers attention they will slip through your fingers and find something else that does.
Hopefully written blogs will still be acceptable in a few years’ time and you won’t have to watch a video of me nervously reading from a bit of paper trying to act normal in front of the camera. But with the inimitable rise of online video, maybe someday in the future kids will only be concerned with what to watch and will forget how to read.