A Content Marketer’s Guide to Understanding Web Video

These days, content marketers are eagerly catching on to the web video trend. In March 2013, 85% of U.S. Internet users viewed online video, and video ads accounted for 25% of all videos viewed. By June of the same year, the total number of videos viewed online reached 44 billion.

But before you jump on the bandwagon, it’s important to know just why web videos work and to understand the intrinsic value they can bring to your company.

Benefits of Creating Web Videos

  1. There’s unlimited demand for video content. People are hungry for what’s new, funny or innovative; they’re searching for the next best thing. That’s why sites like Reddit get over 4 billion page views per month and why BuzzFeed Video received a staggering 110 million views in November 2013. The numbers speak for themselves: By creating web video, you can exponentially increase engagement with your existing consumers and attract new visitors.
  2. Higher conversion rates. Consider President Obama’s appearance on Funny Or Die’s web series “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis. After posting, the video went viral almost immediately, generating 11 million views and a 40% traffic increase for Healthcare.gov, compared to the day before. In fact, studies have shown that even if viewers do not watch a product video, having the option available helps to build trust with a consumer, leading to higher conversion rates and sales.
  3. Web video is easily produced, cost-effective content. You don’t need a huge budget to buy fancy camera equipment or TV airtime. Great web videos are filmed on smartphones every day; all you need is some creativity and strong execution. Check out “Magic Beard,” a stop-motion viral video that was shot entirely on an iPhone.

Sharing Web Videos

Now that you know the benefits of making web videos, here are a couple tips to help you make your video sharable:

  1. Offer the inside scoop. Giving your audience access to exclusive content, such as a sneak peek of a new product, is a handy way to get people to share your content. University of Pennsylvania marketing professor Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, says that when an audience is given access to exclusive content, it gives them “social currency.” They are more likely to share the content with their friends because it makes them look like they are “in the know.”
  2. Make it easy to share. Is there a strong call to action for your viewers to follow through near the end of the video—such as a link to additional content or a clickable button to purchase your product? Additionally, does your video motivate viewers with a high-energy emotion such as excitement or anger? According to Berger, viewers who feel high-energy emotions (e.g. excitement, surprise or anger) after watching a video, are more likely to share content than viewers who feel low energy emotions (like sadness or calmness). Invisible Children’s documentary “Kony 2012”, Berger explains, is a ready example. One of the most-shared web videos of all time, Kony 2012 motivated viewers to action by sparking outrage at Kony’s egregious criminal activity—thereby creating a desire to promote awareness to trigger social change.

What are your favorite examples of branded web videos? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Alex Herring

Keep reading in Strategy