Make Video the Star of Your Marketing Strategy

“Lights, camera, action” may be a popular cue in the Hollywood scene. But when it comes to the small business sector, marketers are all about the action—and that means using video to drive conversion.

When used effectively, video can guide consumers down the path to purchase. For instance, 73% of consumers are more likely to purchase after watching a video online, according to the “Online and Mobile Video Study” by video creation application Animoto.

Compared to text or still photos, video is better at contextualizing a product or helping a consumer identify with it, asserts Brad Jefferson, CEO and cofounder of Animoto. Jefferson cites Zappos as an example. The e-tailer produces videos featuring models wearing the clothes, shoes, and accessories that it sells. Zappos also produces video lookbooks in which consumers can click directly on a product featured in a video and be taken to that item’s product page for purchase.

“You get a real-world glimpse of how [a product] behaves not just on a shelf,” Jefferson says, “but [also] in real life.”

And marketers don’t need an Oscar to prove that their videos are effective–they can simply measure their performance. Here are four tangible ways video can benefit a brand.

The Traffic Generator: Videos can be a main motivator for driving consumers to a brand’s site. According to Cisco’s 2013 Visual Networking Index, consumer Internet video traffic will comprise 69% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017. Jefferson asserts that websites containing videos drive higher traffic from their search results than websites without videos. In fact, video search results have a 41% higher click-through rate than text results, according to a 2011 study by online marketing agency aimClear.

Another way to drive traffic is through video sharing. Humorous (94%), heartwarming (91%), and educational (89%) clips are the most shared forms of video content, according to Animoto’s study. And while some consumers may share on their own, others may need a bit of motivation. According to the study, 86% of consumers say they’re inclined to share a video if there’s an incentive, such as promotion or discount. Whatever their reasoning, marketers need to make sure that they facilitate the opportunity, especially given that 80% of the Animoto survey respondents say that they’re likely to share a video if there’s a “share” button included at the end of the video.

The Engagement Leader: From playing to sharing, there’s no denying that video is a key source of customer engagement. In fact, 77% of consumers view companies that create online videos as more engaged with customers, according to the study. However, Jefferson knows that the only way to determine how engaged consumers are with a brand is to measure. Site traffic, conversion rate, and time on site are all key metrics marketers can use to determine a video’s success.

But once a brand captures a consumer’s attention, it’s vital to keep it. Often that means marketers need to get to the point quickly; 83% of respondents prefer videos that are five minutes or less. Yet, even Jefferson says that this length can be too long, especially when it comes to watching a video on a smaller screen. For mobile videos, Jefferson recommends cutting the content down to somewhere between 15 seconds and one minute.

The Conversion Driver: The combination of site traffic and engagement from video can eventually lead a customer to purchase. Ninety-six percent of survey respondents say video is helpful when making online purchase decisions. So, marketers should give consumers the content they crave. According to the study, 64% of consumers say they watch product and service videos and another 64% say they watch humorous videos.

Jefferson discourages marketers from repeating content that already exists on their site. Instead, he encourages them to find a new angle, such as by creating a behind-the-scene video that shows the personality of a company’s team.

The Loyalty Builder: But the content doesn’t have to end after the cash register rings. Videos give consumers a reason to revisit a brand after they’ve already purchased. According to Animoto’s study, 93% of consumers consider video helpful for instructions post-purchase. In addition, 73% say companies that produce videos are more likely to gain repeat customers. The study also suggests that video can enhance a consumer’s brand perception. Fifty-eight percent of consumers consider companies that produce videos to be more trustworthy, according to the study, and 71% say that videos leave a positive impression about a company.

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