The rapid advancement of technology has given birth to a new kind of consumer, according to Google: “Empowered by mobile, today’s consumers can get exactly what they want, instantly and effortlessly. As a result, they are more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever before.”
As the founder of a digital marketing company, I’ve learned that meeting consumers’ needs is necessary to stay competitive. Today, this means creating content that delivers more impact but takes less time to consume. One form of content — video — is therefore increasing in importance. When I began my journey as a video director in the early 2010s, nobody imagined that videos would become such a powerful marketing tool.
Videos are visual and emotional, which allows you to connect better with your target audience. They’re a strategic type of media that lets you communicate your brand story in a creative way, setting you apart from your competitors. This gives you an opportunity to make a good first impression, which can make your brand more memorable.
Although videos have long been used by brands, the evolving landscape of digital marketing has given us new uses for this medium. Here are some ways you can use video as an effective part of your digital marketing strategy.
1. Boost Your Social Media Engagement
A video, if executed well, can reach a large audience and generate a significant number of shares on social media. In my opinion, one of the best examples of a brand video that went viral is Dollar Shave Club’s 2012 ad. In the first three months after it was posted on YouTube, the video earned 4.75 million views — mostly thanks to social media shares, according to Entrepreneur — and to date, it has over 26 million views. The unique thing about this video’s massive reach is that it doesn’t involve outlandish plotlines or dramatic cinematography. It’s just effective brand storytelling that helped the brand raise awareness about its product’s unique selling points.
Another excellent example of a video that went viral is Poo-Pourri’s “Imagine Where You Can Go.” With this ad, the company found a very authentic and funny way to talk about a taboo subject and got more than 13 million views on YouTube.
I often encounter business owners who want to make videos just for the sake of going viral. But your ultimate goal should be to entice your target audience to engage with you. This means making videos that appeal to your market, regardless of whether or not they’ll go viral.
Think about some creative ways to attract the interest of your target audience. To define your target market, analyze the personal data of your current customers. Use analytics tools (e.g., Facebook Analytics), evaluate the target market of your competitors and, most importantly, test different types of ads before you publish any videos.
2. Improve Your Search Ranking
Google’s algorithm loves rich content — websites that contain a mix of text, photos and videos, for instance. In my experience, adding videos to your content can get your website a better position on search engine results pages (SERPs) or featured as a rich snippet, which can increase your visibility. And when more people share your videos, it helps you get more backlinks. Relevant backlinks are among the most important SEO ranking signals.
Videos also give people a reason to stay on your website longer. When they stop to watch a video on your page, your dwell time increases. And dwell time has the potential to influence your SERP ranking. Although Google has yet to confirm whether dwell time is a ranking factor, it does have SEO benefits. The search engine rewards content that is timely and relevant. And the longer a user stays on your page, the more likely it is that they found your content useful. This sends a signal to Google that your website is worth ranking.
Don’t forget about the SEO aspect of your videos themselves. Make them more search-friendly by optimizing the meta tags and transcript. Insert your targeted keywords in the title, description and transcript. Also, check the transcript for typos and grammatical errors. You want to leverage the caption feature as much as you can since web crawlers are still text-based.
3. Improve Your Website’s User Experience
I communicate to all of my clients the importance of using videos to improve website user experience. Videos are often the best choice for presenting complex, unfamiliar information to visitors. Consider creating video tutorials and manuals, for example, to show your customers how to use your products.
Keep your videos short to make them user-friendly. And to accommodate impatient consumers’ need for speed, make sure your videos load fast. Compress your video and convert it to HTML5-supported formats to decrease the loading time.
4. Enrich PPC Campaigns
Videos can make engaging ads for your pay-per-click campaigns. They appear on the Display Network, YouTube or on other sites. Those posted on partner sites, or out-stream ads, extend your reach beyond YouTube, allowing you to tap audiences in their online hangout spots.
Google has more video ad formats, including non-skippable in-stream ads and bumper ads. Social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, also let you post video ads.
The crucial element of PPC video ads is targeting. Choose a platform or website that matches your target market, business and the search intent of the user.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that online videos present a huge opportunity for businesses to get creative with attracting and pleasing their audiences. Regardless of where you choose to post your videos, make sure that your message is persuasive, useful and relevant for your target market.