Whether you work client or agency-side, there’s every chance you’ve dabbled in video marketing in recent years. The promised returns are hard to ignore. According to a recent survey, nearly half (44%) of all consumers watch at least five online videos per day – that equates to a whopping 66.5 minutes of engaging video content. What’s more, about 35% can be classed as heavy viewers – watching ten or more online videos every 24 hours.
And all this viewing time has big benefits for brands. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Recall is high too, with marketing messages remembered a staggering 95% of the time when absorbed via a video compared to 10% when read in text.
With this in mind it’s perhaps no surprise that marketers are turning to video to achieve their objectives. A recent LinkedIn study amongst B2B marketers revealed that 62% see video as the most important content format. As such, it’s receiving a bigger slice of the annual marketing budget. Investment in branded video content is increasing 27.5% year-on-year (WARC global ad trends report).
So, if video is set to feature in your 2019 marketing activity, what role will it play?
What are the smartest brands doing that you can learn from?
And what emerging video storytelling trends can you leverage to stay one-step ahead of the pack?
Here are the video marketing trends you need to know for your 2019 marketing plans…
More strategic use of video content
Whilst most brands recognise the strategic importance of engaging branded content, too many commercial YouTube channels resemble a random collection of tactical videos. Overly-eager to recreate on the latest viral sensation or follow a trending format, little prior thought is given to how video can help them to add value to the customer and achieve their marketing goals. Promising original formats are abandoned before they’ve had a chance to prove themselves and the weight of their focus (and budget) is spent on content creation rather than promotion.
Instead of chasing one big ‘viral’ video, we are seeing more brands switching to a recurring series of content. Social audiences are largely built up over time, meaning it pays to view your branded content as a whole, rather than a single video in isolation. Don’t panic if you don’t find your blockbuster content straight away. It can take time for a series to embed and find its audience.
We also predict more brands will take inspiration from multichannel networks (MCNs) and cluster content across their portfolios. Take Unilever and its 400 brands, for example. Their brands include Hellman’s, Flora and Bovril, with 2,000, 4,000, and 24 YouTube subscribers respectively. It’s perfectly conceivable that a single ‘recipe’ channel, featuring all those brands and more, would likely pay far greater dividends.
Many publishers are already starting to adopt this strategy. Condé Nast is creating a video network devoted entirely to women, whilst Wired, another Condé Nast title, has launched its first streaming channel for over-the-top (OTT) video environments such as Amazon Prime.
Looking ahead, 87% of B2B marketers say they intend to experiment even more with video. By investing in original formats you can own, such as the top-down cooking demos of Buzzfeed’s food-based sub-brand Tasty, NatWest’s Spotlight Sessions for SMEs, LEGO’s build challenges (below) and stop motion animation, and B&Q’s hugely popular DIY videos, brands can build building returnable series with accumulative brand impact.
And for brands and publications sitting on a potential TV show, the syndication market is extremely healthy. Content buyers now include OTT services in addition to your traditional broadcasters.
Uncovering internal presenting talent
Just as fly-on-the-wall documentaries have given an authentic insight into brands such as John Lewis, Iceland and EasyJet, one of the most effective ways to deliver a corporate video is to tap into the talent that’s already on the wage bill.
The growing part of the job for any modern executive is engagement with customers and colleagues. Faceless memos and press releases will no longer do if you’re truly going to win over hearts and minds. Video allows you to communicate in the most engaging way possible and cut through the polished but predictable corporate veneer.
Whether you’re immersing new hires in your company mission, values and culture or introducing your customer base to your latest product, media training of talent at all levels of your organisation has never been more important. Make sure your people are seen as well as heard.
The domination of mobile-first content
A staggering 96% of mobile consumption is now vertical. We hold our phones in portrait mode to complete most tasks, such as reading, typing and video chats, but content creators have been too wedded to old formats to change their ways. The 16:9 aspect ratio might be the default for video creators but it’s no longer consistent with viewing behaviour.
Pioneered by Snapchat, vertical videos are now also at the heart of Instagram and Facebook stories. Advertising is heading in the same direction too, with YouTube launching a vertical ad format. Pitched as an easy-to-create alternative to its standard ad products, early adopters of the format have reported impressive results. Ahead of YouTube’s official launch of the product, Hyundai tested it with ads for a new SUV model, the Kona, resulting in a 33% lift in brand awareness and a 12% lift in consideration compared to people who didn’t see the ad.
We predict 2019 will finally be the year brands adopt vertical videos en masse, tapping into a more conversational mode of engagement. If we chat to our friends and family in vertical mode, branded content needs to do the same if it wants to come across as more personal and respectful. The same video content can always be re-edited and re-purposed for TV or desktop viewing at a later date.
Telling your story without sound
Videos can no longer rely on sound alone to carry the narrative. Not only does it isolate the hearing impaired from your content but everybody is now watching more video without sound – 85% of videos viewed on Facebook are done so with sound turned off! Auto-play videos and on-the-go viewing habits mean your video content must also be accompanied with subtitles, captions and catchy video descriptions to quickly grab people’s attention and get the message across.
What originally presented a challenge to marketers is actually working in their favour. Skippable ad formats and sound-off defaults are forcing brands to cut to the chase. As they perfect their micro-messages this makes their media budgets work harder across more traditional media too.
Using video to enrich customer onboarding
You’ve won a new customer or initial trial user but that’s only half the battle. Without a successful onboarding strategy they might never use your service to its full potential and drift away. Acquiring a new customer can cost up to seven times more than retaining an existing customer, so whilst cost-conscious companies might be tempted to send a few automated emails and point people to a self-help resource or long tutorials, it’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.
A good onboarding experience with video at its core will see a user commit data, time and energy to your service almost immediately, meaning they’re far more likely to see its benefits faster too.
A study by Wyzowl revealed that 93% of businesses who use video believe that it has increased user understanding of their product or service. What’s more, 36% of businesses believe that they’ve received less support queries as a result!
We predict video funnels will soon start to infiltrate mainstream marketing, helping to drive customers from awareness to consideration and purchase, through to successful onboarding, leading to more engaged, loyal and, ultimately, valuable customers.
The drive to live video
It’s no secret that we’re big believers in the power of live video at Green Rock (read our top livestream tips!). Audiences and customers crave even closer connections to their favourite brands and creators, with livestream video the perfect way to deepen the relationship.
With video streaming expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2020 and live videos driving 10x interaction than their pre-recorded counterparts, brands and their content agencies will increasingly expect studios to provide the required connectivity and expertise as a standard component to their bookings. Unlike TOG Studios, too few do, adding an extra £2,000-£5,000 to the cost of producing video content. Live streaming to the world’s favourite platforms will soon shift from being a luxury to a necessity.
A watershed year for VR
Few people doubt the potential of virtual reality (VR) for storytelling and gaming, however, for many brands it remains just that: potential.
There’s now VR headsets for all budgets, from the $15 Google Cardboard to the HTC Vive at $799. Buy a video games console and its increasingly likely the bundle will include a VR headset. Sony recently announced that its PlayStation VR headset had reached three million systems sold. VR enthusiasts also buy multiple titles with 21.9 million PSVR games flying off the shelf, such as Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and Job Simulator.
Virtual reality is a storyteller’s dream come true. It has it all: adaptive narratives, heart-skipping realism, in-the-moment action. Even the UN are at it, exploring how VR can help make people relate to pressing humanitarian issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis and virtual reality travel apps are offering taster experiences before you book and immersive travel guides before you land. Experience Machu Picchu without the gruelling climb. Virtually visit a safari park or take in the Scottish Highlands. Or simply check out your hotel before you go. It’s never been easier to tick destinations off your bucket list.
Retailers too, are adding new dimensions to the shopping experience and easing purchasing decisions on big-ticket items with VR. The IKEA VR Experience (below), for example, combines 3D renderings with a VR headset, giving customers the ability to view its products in situ and customise its products. Meanwhile, department store John Lewis brought its Christmas campaign to life in-store by inviting families to bring a beloved character to life in “Monty’s Christmas” – a story about a young boy named Sam and the relationship with his best friend, Monty the Penguin.
If you decide immersive storytelling via VR is right for your brand, there are a number of developments you should be aware of. The very latest VR technology now allows virtual reality filmmakers edit, process, and deliver video at 8K resolution. Perhaps the most striking development is the ability to edit VR content while wearing an Oculus Rift headset. It lets users perform natural gestures and actions with their hands to move media, add editing effects, and create their own versions of a story. We’re still only scratching the surface of VR-powered storytelling as it promises to enliven and enrich presentations, product trials and sales pitches, events, tours and more.
Need a production partner to help make video work for you? Green Rock have been at the forefront of digital-first content creation and post-production since 2008. Get in touch today.