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January 19, 2015

Do I Need A Video? 5 Questions To Ask For Your Next Campaign

As you may have guessed, we’re big believers in the power of video. It’s compelling, sharable, and most importantly trackable. 82% of B2B marketers reported success with video marketing initiatives. What’s not to love?

Much like any medium, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Not every campaign needs a video, and to help you decide when it’s worth pressing record, here’s a few questions to ask about your campaign:

1. Are You Explaining A Complex Topic?

One of the reasons video is so powerful is based on scientific fact – the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text, so using video to convey complex ideas is a no-brainer. Pun intended.

This is especially powerful for video infographics. Take this video explaining how the Stuxnet computer virus worked:

Did you watch it all the way through? How much do you know now that you didn’t know before the video started? All that in 3 minutes!

The same principle applies to explaining your product, or service. If you can get the message across in a few lines of text, working this into a video may be overkill. But with a more complex product, keep in mind that you can fit a lot of information into a short video by showing rather than telling, so take advantage of this power while you have the chance.

2. Do You Want To Introduce Your Topic To a Wide Audience?

One of the amazing things about video is that it’s infinitely shareable. Facebook has expanded their video presence dramatically, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. If you are looking to introduce your concept to a wide audience, video is a great way to do it.

Volvo applied this concept with their Epic Split video:

While the video is designed to promote the incredible stabilization of Volvo trucks, it’s designed to appeal to a massive audience. Even if you have no use whatsoever for a transport truck, you can’t help but want to share it.

While you may not have the budget for Jean Claude Van Damme, you can still make something interesting about your product that appeals to a wide audience. Take GE for example!

The only drawback with this concept? Virality. And the fact that it’s very hard to get a ton of interest in your wide-audience video unless the content and concept is spot-on. If your product or service is very niche based, building a video and hoping it goes viral isn’t a winning strategy. That said, there’s still options for using video to engage your niche…

3. Do you want to hyper target your message?

This may seem contradictory to the last question, but narrowcasting is another great way to use video to get your message to the right audience. Would your message fall flat on anyone but your intended audience? Create video that appeals to your specific buyer profiles, and tell them how you solve their problem.

Taulia does a great job of this with their Superhero series:

If you aren’t in procurement, you might find this video funny, but it’s probably not going to resonate with you. If you are, however, this content tells you exactly how Taulia solves your problem, and makes you better at your job.

As with rule number 2, it’s always possible to miss the mark in audience, and both of these concepts are easy to get wrong. Before you decide to record a video, make sure you’ve put some thought into who you’re recording it for, and why. Will your video resonate with your audience – whether it’s wide or small? If your customers won’t click play on your video, chances are your prospects won’t either.

4. Do you have the proper resources to make it work for this campaign?

Taking a break from the content aspects, one thing that you’ll need to touch on is budget. While producing a hilarious video to back up your next whitepaper may seem like an easy way to raise awareness, if you don’t have the resources – in time, equipment, and resources – it may do you more harm than good. The internet is littered with videos that didn’t live up to their intended targets, either because of lack of preparation, or because the team tried to produce it in-house and didn’t have the right equipment to pull it off.

We could list any one of hundreds of bad videos here, but that’s just mean. Think back to the last marketing video you saw on YouTube that made you cringe. Or laugh, in a bad way.

Ask yourself if it’s worth producing a quick video to back up this whitepaper, or if moving those resources into announcing your next product update with a polished, high-quality production might be a better choice.

5. Can you measure the results?

Every successful marketing campaign hinges on whether it achieves the right results. If your goal is to drive people to your pricing page, make sure your video has a way to do this. If your video is designed to raise awareness about your upcoming event, make sure people can sign up for your mailing list to stay in the loop.

Some companies spend upwards of $20,000 to produce a video, and end up leaving it to rot on their YouTube channel. Before you press record, make sure your video has a place in your campaign, tangible goals around viewership, and opportunity for your viewers to take a next step. Not sure how to make this happen? Learn more about where a Video Marketing Platform fits into your marketing stack.

Video Works (almost) Everywhere

These questions are great guidelines for deciding whether or not a video is right for your campaign, but don’t forget to experiment every now and then. We dressed our CFO up as a pirate to see if we could appeal to prospects for end-of-the-year budget:

85% of people who clicked play on this video watched it until the end, which is great! Not a single person actually filled our call-to-action. That’s not so great.

On the surface, this may sound like a failure, but we learned some important lessons from it that we’ve applied to future videos.  Don’t be afraid to try something new – appeal to a new audience, develop a video for mass consumption, or turn a short whitepaper into an even shorter video. Not every campaign needs a video, but – much like our CFO –  you may find gold in unexpected places.

Jon Spenceley

Jon Spenceley

Jon is the former Content and Social Media Manager at Vidyard, and is passionate about helping companies get the most out of their video. In his spare time, Jon's an amateur longboarder, distiller-in-training, and is a sucker for breakfast foods.

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