iMedia Connection

9 ways to incorporate video into your ad plan

Jason Prescott

Video marketing has become one of the best promotional tools on the web. Well-executed videos can grab attention faster than any other advertising medium as videos continue to draw internet users in droves. Research by eMarketer shows 66.7 percent of the 147.5 million U.S. internet users watch video online monthly. By 2014, eMarketer estimates that number will rise to 77 percent of internet users (193.1 million people).

Online video has surged in popularity due to the rapid proliferation of broadband and video technology advances. This has resulted in the production of cost-effective, premium videos, a dramatic increase in traffic to video-sharing sites, and online video's acceptance into the mainstream. 

Consumers are receptive to video on websites, landing pages, search results pages, emails, and video-sharing sites because it is so engaging and self-explanatory. Video conveys information quickly and accurately, making it an excellent tool for marketers because consumers want to know more about the companies they deal with and the products/services they buy. Video is a very memorable medium. A study by The Wharton School of Business revealed that video improves comprehension and retention by 50 percent over a live presentation. Other studies have indicated that video speeds up buying decisions by 72 percent when compared to print. Therefore, company and product information communicated in videos can generate more leads and ecommerce sales.

The effectiveness of video advertising

It's well-known that video ads increase traffic and conversions. This has been documented by both online research firms as well as video solution providers. Here are a few key findings from some studies:

.Fox Networks and comScore (January 2010)

In March of this year, comScore found video generates higher lift than display ads in a study directly comparing the effectiveness of video and display.

When comparing the ad effectiveness of video vs. Flash companion banners, Dynamic Logic (2010) found that video is more effective than display when measuring brand lift.

Dynamic Logic (2004), in a classic brand awareness study based on more than 1,500 online ad campaigns from more than 1.7 million respondents, found that online video ads achieved greater branding with fewer impressions than all types of banner ads.    

Time and again, studies indicate video is an effective marketing tool that can be shared easier than any type of media. It's no wonder online video advertising has experienced robust growth since 2006.

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Growth of video ad dollars

The 2009 IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report (PDF) indicated digital video ad spending increased 39 percent to $1 billion in Q4 2009. In 2007, Forrester predicted U.S. online video advertising spending would reach $7.1 billion in 2012, with the retail/wholesale and travel/hospitality industries spending the most on video advertising.

The 2010 eMarketer study mentioned earlier states that spending on online video advertising will increase from $1.4 billion to $5.2 billion between 2008 and 2014. While video advertising is still a fraction of the total internet advertising spend (4 percent in 2009), video is on the rise as a web marketing medium.

Video marketing on the web

Online video has come a long way since the user-generated videos on YouTube. Video is being used in many new and different ways, such as professional video resumes and personal videos for dating. The use of marketing videos online is on the rise due to the interactive, mnemonic, and storytelling features of video. Let's review a sampling of the marketing uses of video.

Short corporate videos are a hot new format that can be used to promote your business with a little online branding. Research shows that people prefer to watch a video rather than read about your company online. This type of video is displayed on your site to capture the essence of your business, and it gives connecting with your customers, prospects, and stakeholders a personal touch.

These short videos are easy and economical to create and can increase your website response as much as four-fold. One source of excellent online video production is CorpShorts, which produces customized corporate videos. Another source is Spotzer, which offers affordable videos that can be tagged with a business name.

Video interactive banner ads can be used to extend TV campaigns onto the web. Television advertisers can transform their commercials into interactive ads through video advertising technologies like Veeple, Innovid iRolls, or Mixpo.

Veeple makes anything in a video clickable by adding clickable elements to static videos through overlays that make the ads interactive. Innovid iRolls add post-production interactive objects to pre-roll video ads, providing rollover functionality for special offers and sales info. Mixpo transforms a TV spot into an interactive "Xspot" ad by adding overlays that make the video interactive with clickable objects, a call-to-action, or links to the end of the conversion funnel.

Video hot spots allow consumers to scroll over a product in the video to view an ad, click a link with product detail information, or purchase the product directly. A caption with details about the item appears over the product when the user scrolls over the hot spot. This is an unobtrusive way for marketers to reach consumers watching videos of their own choosing. However, this requires product placement efforts.

Videos with buy buttons can be created with Adobe's new Creative Suite 5, which provides a user-friendly way to build these Flash-enabled applications and deploy them across multiple ecommerce and m-commerce platforms without having to work with software code. This product builds on the omnipresence of Flash across the web. 

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Video product reviews are often made by consumers for companies like ExpoTV. The consumer makes a video and earns cash for the product review; fees are minimal, likely resulting in honest reviews.

When consumers conduct research online, the videos serve as buying guides. Ecommerce sites have a lot to gain from consumers reviewing products and talking about the experience on video.  If posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, these videos can be particularly effective because of the level of trust people have in their friends. Expert reviewers can also make videos that talk about the product and explain its features and benefits. Product video reviews are engaging and save consumers time.

Personalized video is used for one-to-one communication with viewers by tailoring the pitch to match viewer interest. This is done by creating multiple ad variations, each intended to resonate with specific interests. Video clips are segmented, tagged, and categorized based on the ad campaign goals. Then, based on aggregated viewer data, the appropriate video clips are edited and presented in real time.

Personalized video delves into existing content, changing every frame of the video, making it relevant for targeted individuals on a one-to-one level. However, real-time personalization requires upfront work, such as tagging the content so technology can match content to the viewer. Personalized video campaigns can double click-through rates and achieve 50 percent more sales conversions than non-personalized video campaigns.

ClicFlic Interactive Videos provides advanced interactive video technology that allows marketers to create interactive videos that use buttons, forms, and back-end intelligence to deliver a uniquely tailored message for each viewer by uncovering needs and presenting relevant information based on the viewer's selections. No programming is required; marketers can create interactive videos by simply entering a script, uploading the video, and deploying their video ad.

Marketing technique videos are videos wherein a professional gives tips in his/her area of expertise relating to your product or service. For instance, if your product is golf clubs, you can have a golf expert talk about how to select the right clubs. If you sell software, you can have the expert explain how to use a new program. These videos are similar to training videos, but will have more appeal because of the expert's personality and experience.

Videos in email marketing are known to lift conversion rates. There are two ways to provide video in email: click-to-view, where the reader clicks a link to a website to view the video, and video in email, where the video plays in the email itself.

Email services provider GetResponse (PDF) reports more than 80 percent of SMB marketers plan to use video emails in 2010, and more than 90 percent of marketers currently using video emails report it delivers significant conversion rates. The most effective uses of video email are training courses, followed by product demos, product offers, customer testimonials, and branding, respectively. 

Videos on your website can be used to feature unique or hot products. The videos can be displayed on site product pages and will be picked up by search engines for display on search results pages, if optimized and tagged properly. These videos can be found by users researching the product in question.

It's important to use a hosted service with servers located throughout the world, and be sure to consider cross browser/OS/hardware compatibility when creating videos. It's easy to add video to your site using companies like Fliqz, Brightcove, and Sorenson Media.

Conclusion

If you're not using online video as a marketing tool, you could be shortchanging yourself as your competitors have likely already incorporated video in their marketing plans. Video consumption is destined to increase online and on mobile devices, so don't hesitate to consider how online video might help you sell more and improve your bottom line.

Jason Prescott is CEO of TopTenWholesale.com and Manufacturer.com.

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