Creating quality video content still isn’t within all companies’ capability but, says Steve Rotter, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Brightcove, it should be. In an in-depth interview, he talks to Figaro Digital about the current state of video marketing
Making predictions about digital marketing is a notoriously tricky business, but here’s one we can be reasonably certain of: the future will be dominated by video. By 2017, according to Cisco, 69 per cent of all internet traffic will be video and you’d be hard pushed now to find a brand or business not exploring – or at least thinking about – the medium’s potential. Yet there remains a gap between aspiration and execution. Or, to put it another way, not everyone’s getting it right.
Retooling the team
“Any organisation thinking seriously now about their marketing is asking how they can do more with video,” says Steve Rotter, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Brightcove. “And the answer centres on three major changes within an organisation. The first is the team. Organisations are retooling their staffing to incorporate video into their core offering. I sat on a panel recently with a major global bank and a Fortune 500 tech company. Both their VPs had come from media companies and were hired to bring in some video DNA. Video isn’t something the average software or tech company has at the heart of their competency, but it needs to be. Video is becoming the language of the internet.
“The second is having the tools and the technologies to make video work. As companies evolve they start asking, ‘How do we do this at scale?’ It’s not dissimilar to what we saw with web publishing 10 or 15 years ago when you started seeing the growth of enterprise class content management systems. Ultimately, marketers don’t have the time to think about the nuts and bolts of making this work.”
Thirdly, says Rotter, organisations need constantly to be thinking about the NBA or ‘next best action’.
“Content now is your first sales call,” he says. “It’s often the first experience a customer has with a brand. Marketers must think about what they want the next step to be. If organisations just want to drive channel-surfing then the NBA is leading people to a video portal where there’s content to snack on. Waitrose TV do this well. In other cases you might be thinking about shoppable content – Debenhams do that really well and their goal is driving a specific conversion. There’s also an approach which is a hybrid of those two. We see this one with banks. Let’s say you’re trying to select a credit card. The first video is a short teaser promoting, let’s say, customer service. There are options based on a question designed to find out what sort of customer you are. Click on the scenario that fits and you’re taken down a guided-selling path towards a conversion in much the same way as if you had a person interacting with you. That’s a good example of video driving conversion.”
Sink or swim with search
These, of course, are instances in which consumers have already made the decision to engage with a business. But what about a user who’s simply dived into Google and is swimming around in search of relevant product information? How can video reel them in?
“The significance of video for SEO is huge,” says Rotter, “When a web crawler looks at a page and recognises video it assigns that page more weight. There’s some research by Marketing Sherpa which says sites with video attract two to three times as many visitors and a 157 per cent increase in organic traffic, compared to those without video. You can make a leapfrog gain simply by putting video on your site. Any page without it is underperforming by the nature of its design.”
Every marketer worth their salt knows that roughly eight hours of new footage is added to YouTube every minute and that the rate of uploads doubled between 2011 and 2013. That’s great news for YouTube and Google, of course. But how can brands begin to achieve cut-through in such a crowded space?
“The first mistake marketers make,” says Rotter, “is to think that YouTube is the only place for your content to exist. Video needs to exist on your own site. YouTube is not this single, isolated destination for your brand’s video content. It’s a destination. Just like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Think about it – what’s Google’s goal, when it comes to audiences? To keep them for as long as possible and sell them ads. Google’s goal is not to represent your brand in the best light possible. Nor is it to get people who watch your video to sign up and serve them your email address. Google is there to serve ads and marketers can lose sight of that. Your content also needs to have value. I know that sounds clichéd, but marketers often rush to create content without thinking about the creative extension or how it speaks to their audience. Content needs to resonate.”
Easy to say, of course. But what does relevant, resonant content in this context involve? Rotter cites Ann Handley at Marketing Profs’ equation: innovative content = useful x enjoyable x inspired.
“The reason Ann formulates it that way,” says Rotter, “is because if any of those elements is zero, your results will be poor. You can’t just be useful or enjoyable but not inspired. To cut through, your content needs to be all of those. That means thinking about personas, where people are in the buying cycle and matching content to all those stages. Lots of companies make the mistake of thinking, ‘This video in which we’ve invested a lot of money has to tell the entire story of our company from beginning to end and take into account all possible use-cases. If someone watches to end, they might then get something useful.’
Fast forward to the figures
As with any digital sector, the final proof of video’s value is in the figures. How does Rotter assess success in this sector?
“Our recommendation is to start with an objective in mind: what do you want to achieve with this content? Measurement isn’t too difficult if that’s where you start. In fact, I think that if you have difficultly measuring, you probably don’t have that good a strategy. If you know you want someone to watch a video and then sign up for the company newsletter you have a pretty good metric to measure against: how many people watched this and signed up for the newsletter? The metric is born naturally out of the strategy. Video is just a piece of content that helps accelerate the steps towards that outcome.
“But video analytics also give you a lot more than regular web analytics. If someone’s on a website and they click on a company’s homepage, then as a marketer you don’t know what they looked at. Maybe they went off for a coffee and didn’t look at anything. All you know is that they came, spent some time there and then left. Video provides detailed metrics: someone clicked on the ‘play’ button. They rewound at 45 seconds and watched a certain bit again. That tells you a lot.”
And now, with the arrival of apps such as Snapchat and Vine, the range of platforms for video content is extending again. Does Rotter see these new social channels as significant?
“They’re certainly new touch-points to think about,” he says. “But what this all adds up to is a movement away from static to rich content. Five seconds of video beats any static image. Going forward, static alone is not going to cut it as a medium.”
Article by Jon Fortgang