If video isn’t the present of content marketing and publishing, it’s certainly the future. On a consumer level, videos have become so prolific, they’re an expected part of daily life. Our modern phones have become video cameras, editors, and uploading devices. YouTube has more than 1 billion users every month, with roughly 100 hours of video getting uploaded to YouTube every minute. On a B2B level, 72% of B2B marketers are publishing video content to YouTube, and 76% are using video content marketing. (Information sourced from B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report.) Businesses are using video campaigns to successfully grow brand awareness, cultivate an audience, and promote their products and solutions.
Videos are invaluable when it comes to offering value: they can make a single topic digestible, and easier to understand. “Explainer” videos, for instance, provide an overview of a particular topic of interest. As a recent post in Digiday explains, these videos are helpful for someone who only has a minute to learn about a topic – like Ferguson or Ebola – and doesn’t have the time to read through a more comprehensive article on the subject. Conversely, videos also help publishers provide more information on a topic that couldn’t fit in the article page count. Of course, videos are classically used to entertain, engage, and keep readers on the page.
But for all its value, publishers still hold some anxiety towards initiating consistent video use, or in setting standards for using video along with text content. The anxiety stems from beliefs held about video since businesses started trying to use this medium. Among them are these 5 myths publishers believe, and that are holding them back from being able to use video effectively:
1. My readers know me as text and article-based content first.
You’re head is in the right place: you are appropriately thinking about what your audience expects from you and from your brand. Video won’t replace your readers’ expectation of high-quality content from your brand, or remove the need to publish relevant long form articles. Rather, video serves to support engagement with your written content by adding additional information, entertainment, or value. Consider that according to DigitalSherpa 80% of online visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will actually read content in its entirety. In our own research, we’ve discovered women are more likely than men to “skip ahead” and play a video before reading the content, but that both genders find video enhances their reading experience more than any other digital extra. Our research also revealed that video had the power to extend the amount of time readers spend in a digital publication by motivating readers to read articles they might have otherwise skipped.
Myth Debunked: By marrying your video and article content, you provide a seamless experience for your readers. You deliver the same great content they expect, but also capitalize on the added engagement video offers your audience.
2. Adding video components will require a heavy financial and resource investment.
Videos campaigns can be made to fit the budget, whether that’s high or low. It simply means you need to adjust your level of creativity. To get started on a shoestring budget, keep the focus on a good script and a good end-polish. The speech delivery can be done by one person, and if the topic is good and the writing compelling, the video will add value. To borrow a quote from this Digiday article on explainer videos, “‘A single host can really connect with an audience,’ said Will Pearson, president of Mental Floss… ‘It can feel like you’re sitting down with a smart professor, even if it’s a one-way conversation.’” Of course, a bigger budget helps. Having a studio that filters unwanted sounds and shifts in light, or adding interesting graphics and additional camera personalities will help your videos be more appealing, which will help your video campaign be more successful. Being able to outsource your video campaigns to professionals in the industry can also drive fresh ideas for new engagement with your content.
Myth Debunked: You don’t need to start by overspending on video; instead, start with a quality script about an important topic, and deliver the lines well. As interest in the video value-add grows, your budget can grow, too.
3. Light, entertaining videos get the most views.
Unless your publication pushes lighthearted articles, creating videos around the 10 best desserts or happiest looking dog breeds won’t speak to your audience. But if that’s all you see on your Facebook feed, don’t worry: you don’t have to have happy-go-lucky content to get great clicks on your video. Consider Upworthy, which built a strong audience around offering a range of videos, from hilariously entertaining comedies to gut-wrenching mini exposés.Their audience of 7,312,405 Facebook fans and 135,000 YouTube followers click on the range of videos, but always expect substantive content. In contrast, publisher Vox has 41,705 YouTube subscribers, yet their two-minute video on America’s child migrant crisis has garnered over 77,000 views. Vox focuses on delivering video content their readers want. As Melissa Bell, executive editor of Vox.com explains to Digiday, “Our top [explainer] videos are about war, earthquakes, Israel-Gaza, Ferguson, ISIS, so people are responding to the hard news subjects, which is consistent with what we’re seeing on Vox in general.” The audience is focused, and Vox sees more video views per expected audience member because of it.
Myth Debunked: While it seems pure entertainment videos get more shares, focusing on your specific audience helps your video perform well among your targeted viewers.
4. Auto-play is the only way to guarantee my video is viewed.
This little feature is especially tempting for your advertisers who want to make sure their ad videos – housed in your digital publications or website – are viewed. However, users notoriously hate it. Consider that your audience could be listening to music when they open the page with the video, or perusing your magazine while watching TV, or reading while they’re at work in a quiet office setting. It’s the burden of publishers to jealously guard the reader experience. An auto-play video is disruptive and could cause your readers to quickly bounce away from your content. This works to shred the readers’ faith in the content they can expect from the publisher if they follow a link to more content, and can damage any future video campaign efforts.
Myth Debunked: Forcing a video play on a reader is disruptive and can cause a reader to distrust a publisher’s content.
5. You can’t monetize video.
The myth here is that until you can promise advertisers predictable viewership, you can’t expect them to pay to either include their own video in their ads in your digital publication, or to support yours. Digital publishers have the advantage of being able to leverage the built-in audience of readers coming to your digital edition, rather than selling solely on social and web campaigns. Your audience is already a targeted, qualified group. The next step to building viewers is to do some testing to see which types of video drive demand for more, whether that’s interviews with writers, explainer videos, How Tos, motion graphic pieces, or another style. According to DigitalSherpa, 80% of internet users remember the video ads they watch online, and 22% of internet users visit the website named in a video ad they viewed. That’s strong incentive for an advertiser. Coupled with that is the long shelf-life of video. Provided the video isn’t strongly tied to current events, video can be brought out and reused in numerous situations over the years, which means any video sponsors or pre-video ads are viewed again and again.
Myth Debunked: Selling on your built-in audience in the controlled environment of your publication answers the question of expected viewership for advertisers.