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Learn to think beyond the page

In 1995, YouTube launched as the first video-sharing website where users could upload, share, and view videos with a simple click of a mouse. In the beginning, marketers failed to recognize the potential of video as a marketing asset and they did not utilize the platform in a meaningful way. Slowly though, industry ears perked up when they realized popular videos could be monetized through overlay and display ads. This was just the beginning. Fast-forward 20 years, and the rise of video marketing has skyrocketed.

The use of video in marketing has evolved over time from personal marketing campaigns, to viral marketing, to the current age of social video marketing. Even from its humble beginnings, video has dramatically defined how brands communicate with the outside world and how marketing professionals tell their stories. Throughout 2016 and beyond, video will continue to be one of the most crucial tools for a brand's success. By 2017, it's projected that 74 percent of all internet traffic will be in the form of video -- a staggering majority. And a recent Nielsen survey reported that 64 percent of marketers believe video will continue to reign supreme.

The demand for video is driven by consumers' dwindling attention spans, a backlash against traditional advertising, and an increasing appetite for visually-stimulating content. Five years from now, one could safely assume consumers might not read articles like this at all -- they might be watching them instead.

Top brands like Lego, Nike, and Dove have pioneered video to engage consumers and potential buyers. Video enables brands to transcend through targeted, personalized, and engaging content. For example, Dove used video to defy traditional beauty standards and inspire self-esteem through the powerful #choosebeautiful video series. Lego, an original pioneer of content marketing, uses video to create small universes on branded microsites, enabling fans to watch their plastic characters come to life. And Nike, along with its #BetterForIt initiative, used video to promote fitness and inner-confidence through original short films. Professional sports teams like the NFL have also pioneered the use of video by using it to offer exclusive content, behind the scenes footage, and branded entertainment experiences. Recognizing the current landscape, one thing is for certain: a brand is no longer bound by the product it sells but instead defined by the ecosystem it creates around it. And video will be the primary tool helping brands broaden their horizons.

To accommodate the demand for video as a content marketing asset and for multimedia campaigns, many top advertising and marketing firms like 72andSunny and BBDO have equipped themselves with large in-house video production studios -- adding a whole new layer to the creative workforce.

Armed with in-house tech-savvy employees, modern marketing and advertising firms are now digital, agile, and looking for new ways to leverage the overwhelming number of information platforms available today to share video content with their audiences. This ranges from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; to legacy sites like YouTube and digital news sites like the New York Times. And, let's not forget the treasure trove of owned brand content in the form of microsites, apps, and blogs.

Video has changed the game, and the ability to think beyond the page and onto the screen is critical to marketers' success. As a bonus, marketers now have the ability to unlock treasure chests of insight about consumers, dramatically freeing up the creativity of companies and brands alike to adopt personalized and tailored strategies that resonate more deeply. Now and in the future, video will be the vehicle to deliver this new creative explosion to the masses.

In the coming years, we'll see more native video ads, greater use of live-streaming, more channel-specific content, and a rise in micro video content. For marketers, the key to survival rests in the ability to pioneer new ways to leverage the medium.

Video will remain an industry darling, and marketing and advertising firms will have to adapt their in-house capacity and business models to survive. From top to bottom, marketing and advertising firms will have to think strategically about how to overcome the challenges of working with video. They will need to overcome the hurdles of producing refreshing and creative content, utilizing appropriate distribution, and achieving positive conversion rates. Marketing and ad firms will also have to keep building robust workforces beyond a traditional scope. This means hiring sophisticated IT departments, production-pros, social media experts, and videographers to effectively exploit video to tell unique stories, reach new audiences, and ultimately boost sales. 

Though the ways in which it will evolve remain to be seen, video is here to stay. For all marketers, the key is recognizing the power that comes from a visual, moving image to say ahead of the curve.

Katie Staveley is VP of marketing at Signiant

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet. 

Katie is the head of world-wide marketing at Signiant, the market leader in accelerated file movement software.  She has over a decade of experience marketing B2B software and technology solutions. Prior to joining Signiant Ms. Staveley held...

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