The digital age is among us. And without a doubt, it’s changing how we consume content. Specifically, the digital age has breathed new life into how we consume video. Gone are the days when video was only something that could be watched on a television screen from our La-Z-Boy or in a movie theater with popcorn (and Red Vines) in hand. Now, we can watch video on our computers, smartphones, mobile devices, and even larger-than-life digital billboards. No longer are we restricted by location, like being within eyesight of the family room television, nor are we restricted by time, like that dictated by the movie theater schedule. The digital age is revolutionizing the meaning of location and time by enabling us to consume video wherever we want and whenever we want it.

This level of flexibility is opening the door to more digital video content being created—and viewed. According to Nielsen, digital video viewing among adult audiences has more than doubled—from 13 minutes per day in 2012 to 27 minutes per day in 2014. That means that nearly 2% of people’s days are spent doing nothing else than watching video online. Marketers, take note. If video is not already a part of your digital marketing strategy, now’s the time to jump on board and grab ahold of some of that 2%. It’s clear your potential customers want to watch video, so, I say, give it to them!

As a content marketer, there’s nothing more important to me than producing quality content that is engaging and inspiring and overall supports my marketing team’s demand generation efforts. This is my M.O. Therefore the content I produce must not only be of high quality, but it must also be varied in medium in order to appeal to a wide range of tastes. Enter, video. With the rapid rise in the popularity of video (Cisco predicts that nearly 80% of internet traffic will be video-based by 2018—less than three years from now!), it’s a no-brainer that your marketing strategy should—no, no…MUST—include video content. Simply put, your company cannot afford not to produce video content. It’s the way of the future, so there’s no time like the present to get a jumpstart! Let’s explore…

It’s no secret that video production is more intricate and time-consuming of a process than producing content in other forms. With that being said, marketers have to make sure that they’re getting their money’s worth: generating quality leads and securing solid ROI. So, what’s the best way to ensure that the results you’re getting match the efforts you’re putting in? The answer is to incorporate video into your company’s marketing automation platform. With nearly 70% of businesses using (or currently implementing) a marketing automation platform, according to the Aberdeen Group’s State of Marketing Automation 2014: Processes that Produce, video and marketing automation can go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly. (Side note: If your company has yet to jump aboard the marketing automation train, that’s a whole other discussion! Bottom line: Do it.)

By incorporating video into your marketing automation efforts, you will be able to gauge buyer interest and market to individual prospects tailored to their particular level of interest. How? Marketing automation allows you to view the detailed video-watching behaviors of your prospects, collect these insights in the form of data, and then make sense of the data. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t! Seriously—you can track which videos your leads have watched, how far through the video they watched, and whether they replayed certain parts of the video.

In capturing these unique pieces of data, marketing automation further enables you to score these leads based on your assessment of their readiness to buy. Video must be a part of your lead scoring strategy, otherwise data collected from your leads’ video-watching will not be incorporated into their overall scores based on all their interactions with your content and website. This may backfire in that the leads may be considered lower quality (or higher quality) than they really are. Therefore, if you want to get the most accurate assessment of your leads’ potential to convert (you do), it’s imperative to score your leads based not just on downloads of readable content, but also on their video-watching behaviors. It’s all content and it’s all telling of your prospect’s intentions when it comes to your product.

Moreover, if you’re going to produce video content in the first place, then you must marry it with your marketing automation strategy in order to obtain the highest possible return on investment. It’s that simple.

Interested in learning some tips and tricks on getting the most out of the coupling of your video content and marketing automation platform? Download the all new ebook, How to Use Video Content and Marketing Automation to Better Engage, Qualify, and Convert Your Buyers, a joint venture of Marketo and Vidyard.

Sesame Mish