One of the coolest things about this industry that I think everyone should have an interest in, and which I mentioned briefly in my first post, is the staggering growth that is occurring. It seems as though almost daily our peers present us with something unique, creative, clever, or simply beautiful. And don’t fret if you don’t have a high-profile budget to back this, because even small budget videos can get shared and viewed so much that they lead to movie deals with Peter Jackson, gain international recognition, or the funding of a web series through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. The sheer numbers in today’s marketplace are simply astounding, but what is more astounding is the opportunity available. Let’s take a look at exactly how much opportunity awaits us.
By some accounts, video is the fastest growing section of online content, and “Consumers’ preferred social medium” as over half of all American and European consumers watch online video at least once a month. Another study suggest that over 85% of all US internet users have watched online videos. This is more than any one blog, music, photo, or photo sharing site! And these aren’t just silly drunk squirrel videos – nearly a quarter of all US and European consumers have watched a video produced by a company or a brand (obviously we all still watch those silly videos, but more on that later).
These numbers are nice, but let’s look beyond the videos. YouTube is commonly cited as the #2 search engine, just behind its good friend Google. Go ahead and search for something on Google – odds are within the first 4 or 5 results you’re going to have a video pop up. Why are videos popping up on our regular web searches? The obvious is that people are watching more videos than ever before, and search engines are catering to that. Empirically though, there is a significantly higher (40%) click-through rate on pages with video compared to those with only plain text, and, although a little outdated, another study in 2009 suggested that having a video on your website improves your SEO and is 50% more likely to land you at the top of Google searches. I would bet that number has increased dramatically in the 4 years since it was conducted.
Given a lovely little theory called Diffusion of Innovations (which states that as a technology or idea is created, it takes the shape of a standard bell-curve as it is adopted by the population) we can safely presume that as the majority catches up to the innovators people are not only putting more videos on their web pages, but they are watching more as well. That recent study by Forrester suggests that by 2017 over 90% of the online population will be watching videos regularly. OK, cool. So if people want video, let’s just put one on our website and get more traffic. Wrong.
Simply putting a video up probably won’t do much – we need some purpose and strategy. Video can be used for multiple goals (brand awareness, fan raising, friend raising, calls to action, reviews), targeted by audiences (locations, ages, other demographics), targeted at various points in the customer lifecycle (engagement, interaction, maintenance, retainment), and as a result encourages a level of interaction unseen in other traditional forms of media. So why would we want to squander this knowledge by doing it poorly? We don’t.
Let’s go back to my first several examples for a second. The people behind these things are talented, hard-working, creative, and lucky, but every one of these has something more important in common: they used the power of social media to market their product, project, or brand. They banked on these opportunities that are available to every one of us.
“Ok, guy who is writing,” you might be saying. “So if social networking such as Facebook shares or Twitter followers led to their success, then I just need to ramp up my social media and the same thing should happen for me. Right?” Yes and no. Yes – you should absolutely beef up your social media presence, and unfortunately, no – just like putting a video on your website won’t suddenly make you successful, getting a few followers or likes isn’t guaranteed to do a damn thing. Any successful video you can think of, from billion-dollar blockbusters like Avatar, to a heartfelt family reunion captured on a cellphone camera have another thing in common as well: they give their audience something.
This is the next part of the puzzle, and we’ll continue exploring it next time.