Online Video 101

A guide to the basics of using video as a marketing tool for your small business

Online Video 101

Online video is the way forward. More and more people are using video as a marketing tool and as a general communication tool. Social networking is enabling the sharing of video across platforms and let’s face it, people love sharing. This is enabling the potential for more people than we could previously have been able to imagine being able to see our videos.

There are a number of different ways that video can be incorporated to your business online. It might be that you want to use video on your own website to improve user experience and engagement. Maybe you want to create videos that you can use as a training tool. Finally, you might want to use video as a marketing tool to draw your target market to your own website.

Business Benefits of Online Video

The benefits of online video are extensive. Here are the 7 most significant benefits of online video:

1. SEO Advantages

Video is the fastest growing online content type. Some research suggests that a video is about 50 times more like to appear on the first page of search results than other content (however, bear in mind as the amount of video content increases the chances of your video ranking decrease). Video is therefore likely to increase your visibility in search engine results and the potential for click-throughs to your own website.

2. Accessibility

The growth in popularity of video can be explained by a few reasons, but one of the main reasons is the fact that people love to watch video. It is accessible and easier to take in than reading from a screen. You can show, rather than tell which is a lot more appealing to an audience which is familiar with watching TV and film. Video makes it possible for you to communicate in a few different ways at the same time, thereby accommodating different peoples learning and communication styles.

If you make a good video you are more likely to retain the attention of your viewers which is essential in the age of scarily short attention spans.

3. Emotional Engagement

Video enables you to tap into the emotions of your audience in a way unlike any other medium; you have music, speech, and the moving image at your disposal to provoke a particular emotional reaction. You can make your business more personable through your choice of who you place on the screen and the way that you choose to communicate your message. In turn, you can motivate your audience to act quickly. They are already sat at their computers watching your video and are therefore just a click or two away from your website and a potential sale.

4. Potential for Sharing

The potential for sharing is immense. If they like it, your audience can share your message instantly via various social networking platforms. The psychology of sharing is based on peoples relationships to each other and so it is important that your video not only taps into your customers relationship to your products, but also their relationships with the people in their lives. The scope for your video to reach more and more people is wider than ever before.

5. Affordability

Compared to other marketing options, online video is relatively low cost. It all depends on the scale of your project but you could potentially spend next to nothing by using a mobile phone and some free online resources to edit and distribute your video. You also have the option of using a production company and could produce a professional video for a few thousand pounds.

6. Brand Awareness and Reputation

Online video is an extremely powerful way to promote your brand and make yourself memorable. It provides an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and gain the trust of your target market. A side effect of your use of video is that it demonstrates that you are in line with the times which is extremely important if your competitors are using video too.

7. Fun Factor

The other great benefit for embarking on a video marketing strategy is the fun you will have in the process. The more fun you have with it, the more likely your audience are to be entertained.

Interesting Statistics

Here are some statistics which demonstrate the impact that online video is having on the culture of the Internet:

  • Between 2008 and 2011, visits to online video sites in the UK grew by 80%
  • In January 2012 34 million people watched approximately 60 billion minutes worth of online video (Source: comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR))
  • In the same month, males accounted for approximately 75% of the time spent watching online videos in the UK (Source: comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR))
  • 64% of the online video audience were exposed to a video advert in this same month (Source: comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR))
  • Music accounts for 33% of all searches which drive traffic towards video content websites. TV content accounts for 17% (Source: Experian Hitwise)
  • The average Internet user will make 18 visits per month to a video content website. (Source: Experian Hitwise)
  • By 2015, video traffic will more than quadruple, and the Internet will be two-thirds made up of video (Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index, June 2011)
  • 20% of online video viewers click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less (Visible Measures)

Examples of Online Video

You may have heard of the term ‘viral video’. A viral video is one that has become very popular very quickly as a result of a chain reaction of sharing across the Internet. Some people say that it is impossible to predict what videos will go viral but there are some common themes to viral videos that we can learn from to increase the chances of our videos being shared by more people.

Viral videos can range from the silliest of animations or videos uploaded by one person from their own home, to carefully executed corporate masterpieces… and everything in between.

Here are a couple of examples to demonstrate the scope of what can go viral:

Kazookeylele – Ukulele – The Final Countdown

Over 5 million views and this could have been made on a phone. It is highly doubtful this young man expected his video to be viewed so many times.

Evian Roller Babies (International Version)

This Evian advert has been seen over 170 million times worldwide. Its creation would have cost a significant amount.


Online video marketing can be relatively inexpensive when compared to other marketing options. However, it should still be approached in the same way as other marketing channels. It is important to have a video marketing strategy which outlines why you are doing it, what you are trying to achieve and how you will measure the success of your online video campaign. It is also important to revisit your strategy on a regular basis and evaluate the impact at each stage.

Here is a breakdown of what you might expect to pay to introduce different levels of online video marketing to your business:

  • £600-£1,000 will get you started with a web presenter type approach. Web presenters are a superb way to encourage immediate online engagement and sales conversions.
  • £3-5k would cover the cost of a more strategic approach to the inclusion of a web presenter on your website – depending on the scale and scope of your campaign.
  • £1-5k would afford you a longer green-screen “box” video with graphics. This style is useful if you need to explain more complex content on your website.
  • £5-£15k is would cover the cost of corporate style videos including on-location shoots and interviews. Again, this would depend on the scale and scope of your project.

How to start

If you are convinced that online video is what your business needs, then you need to know where to start. We are big advocates of having a comprehensive strategy as your starting point, so that you know what you are trying to achieve, what steps you need to take to get there, and how you will know when you have got there.

Your strategy should include the following processes:

Clarification of your goals: You need to set out what you are trying to achieve by introducing video into your marketing approach and what success will look like. It might be that success will be more unique visitors to your website, or it might be hard sales that you are looking for.

Pre-production: This is the stage within which you plan your video. This will save time and money. It might include story-boarding, script-writing and booking of venues and talent for your video.

Production: This is when you make your video. If you have planned well and have the right production company this should be a fun and efficient process.

Post-production: Everything you have shot during the production stage will need to be edited. You might want to add music and narration (voice-over).

Marketing and distribution: You should have planned how you are going to market and distribute your video from the outset. Now that your video is ready, you are going to want as many people as possible to see it. Your options include posting your video to online video platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. You may want to host your video on your own website solely.

Evaluation: After an initial launch of a video campaign it is important that you adopt an ROI (return on investment) approach so that you have a business case for using online video in future. Google Analytics is a great tool to help you measure the success of your websites/videos in relation to your conversion rate.

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