(Why) Does Video Marketing Work?

October 13, 2015 | Wendell Willat | Articles, emotion studios news, Video Storytelling

Video marketing is the hottest term and trend online right now. And things get even hotter when talking about Facebook’s new 360 view and Virtual Realty. But can real, measurable results actually live up to this hurricane of hype? Summits, software, and sales teams have all suddenly shown up attempting to increase your video marketing budget. Every day a new Twitter headline promises higher open rates, brand retention, or more sales via online video marketing.

Okay, yes I too clicked on the whitepaper lead-gen link above. But hold on a sec,  us marketers get promised a new Holy Grail platform every few days. Someone has got to do their due diligence this time and cut through the noise and blowing our budgets. Let’s actually figure out the why this time before we go after the how so we can adjust based on our brand’s needs.

The Why of How Video Marketing Improves Your Brand’s Goals.

Creates the All-Important Emotional Experience – The cliche is that pictures are worth a thousand words. It turns out that moving pictures telling stories are worth much more than that. According to Forrester Research’s Dr. James McQuivey, “a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.” But why? Because, per a different study by neuroscientist Professor Paul Zak, telling a story through video taps into powerful neurochemicals that create the building blocks of a marketer’s best friend – true emotion. Cortisol, which focuses our attention on something important, and Oxytocin, which is involved in social bonding and feelings of trust. Thereby, telling a good story creates attention, trust, and empathy. These are the seeds of creating a true emotional connection. Emotional connection is the key to creating loyal customers.

What’s Old is New Again – The cinema, after all, has been around since George Meliés sent a rocket into the moon’s eye in the early 1900s (that’s like a million years in Internet time) and many of the lessons learned about cinematic storytelling over the years need to be applied to video marketing to ensure measurable success today. Just think about how you get lost in a good movie. Even though the medium dictates the story (e.g. big screen, Internet, mobile), you get lost because there’s a clear process and formula that filmmakers use to get that “lost” feeling. These include understanding story structure, emotional goals, quality lighting, autoplay, buffering, knowing your audience, good sound, knowing your medium, thinking visually, etc. In fact, if wondering whether quality affects viewership:

“The biometric results demonstrate conclusively that higher video resolution significantly increases engagement with digital advertising,” PlayCollective’s CEO J. Alison Bryant.

By ensuring quality production values, your customer will be able to engage more easily and more deeply with brand.

Mobile is Go(o)d – Of course, the mobile phone is ubiquitous. You may be reading this on one now. And that ubiquitousness is good news for your brand videos. By staying committed to quality and creative storytelling for when your target audience pulls out their 4G phones or tablets, your story will be seen in more places, more often. Keep these tips in mind for an emotional story that resonates on the small screen:

  • Show, don’t tell – most people keep the sound off on their devices, so engage your audience with great images.
  • Play with story structure – changing up a linear narrative can cause a viewer to ask, “what is going on here?” which causes them to want to know more, which leads to deeper engagement. If fact, studies show that when stories are edited non-linearly for mobile, viewers tend to watch longer than expected.  
  • Be responsive – yes, answer all comments, but also be sure to publish on multiple platforms. And when you do, be sure those platforms are design responsive.

If your content isn’t mobile ready it could not only lose your audience’s attention but Google search love too. Many believe that the latest Google search algorithm update may punish those whose site is not ready for mobile viewership.

Makes Customers Feel More Productive – By creating clear, engaging, visual stories on video, you will potentially save your viewer time while they consume more of your content. One of the biggest learnings from being a content marketer is that most people don’t actually read (if you’re still with us here, that’s pretty awesome, thanks)! But, by showing a video instead of writing lots of content, you’ll get deeper, faster engagement with more of your message getting through. Brevity will always be the soul of wit.

Must Have Goals and Measuring – No marketing campaign should be launched without clear goals, KPIs, target metrics, etc. Be clear in what you expect out of your campaign and have the right tools in place to measure those expectations. Just like any other marketing plan you create, the devil is in the details to make it work. Be sure to keep your focus on who your customer is, where they live online, what specifically does success look like, and most importantly: test before publishing that you have a quality visual story that elicits the right emotional response from your audience.

The bottom line is that people do business with people not businesses or products. As Mari Smith so perfectly puts it, all marketing is PtoP (People to People) Marketing, According to a recent Gallup study,

“businesses that optimize this (emotional) connection outperform competitors by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth.”

See another stat right there. But, by creating a quality video that reaches your target audience in the places they are online, you will psychologically foster the beginnings of an in-person and emotional experience. By learning from the results and then creating more quality videos, you can scale that experience.

Then, video marketing is well worth the time and cost investment based on your specific brand goals.

For reading all the way down, here’s a bonus Easter Egg of George Melies’ earlier, lesser known film – The Haunted Castle:

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