3 Easy Steps to Get Sales with Video

24th November 2017

written by George Hughes

3 Easy Steps to Get Sales with Video

Video is dominating the digital marketing space at the moment and the statistics speak for themselves. According to Google nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store and video ads have an average click-through rate of 1.84% – the highest of all digital ad formats. (Business Insider). But what’s the best way to drive sales for your business with video?

When it come to sales, Google describes the consumer marketing journey in its own framework “See, Think, Do”. In short, these are the 3 phases a customer goes through before buying your product. First, it is awareness of your product or service. Next, they signal an intention to buy and finally, they buy.

Whether you are a B2C brand selling a consumer product or a B2B business selling a service, you need to create a funnel of interest and leads at the start of your consumer’s journey and then guide them through these 3 steps before asking for a sale. The best way to do this is with either an online advertising campaign, an email marketing campaign or a mix of both.

1. Inform

Run some general awareness video adverts on either Google, Youtube or Social Media. This is for the people that don’t know you and haven’t even heard of you. Get them familiar with your business through targeted video adverts. Identify your audience first, decide where the best place is to reach them, then create adverts that softly introduce you to them. Don’t try to strong-arm them with a sale at this point. Brands that use video marketing grow their year-over-year revenue 49% faster than brands that don’t. (Wirebuzz)

2. Educate

Often, your ideal customer doesn’t know they have a problem that you can solve so begin to educate them. Let them know about the value of your product and why it is a good fit for them. In their buyer journey, when they are in Google’s “Think” phase, they will be seeking out information before making a decision so this is a great time to educate them. In fact, searches related to “how to” on YouTube have grown 70% year on year. (Google) Either send videos to your prospects via email (if you’ve captured their information) or re-market to them via Google or Facebook pixel. As I’ve talked about in a previous blog, think about creating videos that focus on the problem rather than the product. For example, if long distance runner is having a problem with blisters and your product solves that, then create content that unpacks “why” blisters happen in the first place, then how your product helps.

3. Offer

Buyers love a deal so run a promotion and deliver the promotion in a video. Run these videos as either 15 second adverts to the same audience you have raised awareness with, re-market to your existing audience or email them directly. Remember to have a finite time-frame on your offer and a definitive cut off point. The video should have a very strong call-to-action so prospects know how to redeem the offer. And remember to keep your videos nice and short. Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds. (Insivia)

A recent survey by (Buffer) found that 73% of marketers said they’d create more video content if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget. But always consider that if you create a well-structured video marketing campaign just once, it’s much easier to then replicate it. It will be worth the time, resources and budget you may waste on less effective strategies.

If you want to talk to us about how to drive sales for your business using video then drop us a line at info@smallfilms.com

The word branded content gets banded around quite frequently but what does it actually mean? How does it specifically apply to video? And how can I use it to win more customers?

Wikipedia (always to be taken with a pinch of salt) defines Branded Content as “the practice of marketing via the creation of content that is funded or outright produced by an advertiser” as opposed to “content marketing” which “is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.” Surely then that’s different to advertising which Wiki describes as “Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea”?

Confused? You are not alone. I’ve sat through many talks with industry leaders who often find it hard to put their finger on the true definition of “branded content”. The lines between advertising and content marketing are often blurred, but one truth remains; branded content offers value to the audience but serves the brand that created it.

If you are interested in what counts as branded content and how to define it then here’s a series of examples from the Haagen Dazs Youtube Channel…

This is their advert. No two ways about it. They are showing the product and pushing their agenda.

But then look at these three videos and their different forms of branded content.

This film was made by well-known filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. It’s a mini documentary that is sponsored by Haagen Dazs. So its branded content right? Seems simple enough.

And what about this video? It tells the story of the Jam Stand company. Seems like a classic bit of content marketing; an interesting story about these entrepreneurs, with a bit of product placement toward the end.

But then it gets slightly confusing. This video is an amazing 360 VR experience looking at the plight of the honey bee. Its a great bit of content that adds value for people watching. But it was commissioned by Haagen Dazs to shout about the social purpose work they are doing so it’s strongly pushing their agenda. So is it branded content or a clever bit of advertising?

Ultimately semantics aside, there’s one thing that unites all three pieces of branded content; they all put the “Audience-First” by offering value to the audience rather than being just a straight-up advert. And when you are creating video, this part is critical if you want to generate more interest in your company, greater customer allegiance and sales.

So how do I create branded content for my business?

Its actually quite simple to create your own branded content. It just takes a bit of planning and a strong understanding of your target audience.

Think about your customer demographics and what interests them. Then start to build a content plan around that. Remember, you are putting your “audience first”, not your company agenda. So all the videos need to be informative, educational, interesting or entertaining. Don’t push the company agenda too heavily. Give your audience something first and then be grateful when they give you their allegiance.

For example, if you are a tech company that’s developed a new app to help people find car parking spots then what content would your customers find useful? A video guide to all the different ways you can pay for parking? Videos with insider tips on parking in major UK cities? You can even start to look at concepts that are less directly aligned with your company’s purpose like “DAB Radio Stations reviews”, “How to avoid road rage” and “Cheap fuelling spots in the UK”.

If your company has a social purpose or passion that you are aligned with, then explore creating content around that. So if your Parking App company also campaigns for the promotion of electric cars or you back an environmental charity then why not start a web series interviewing interesting people about those subjects?

Back when I worked in the TV industry in the development department, we’d cook up ideas for television series in a brainstorming meeting. Once we’d considered the TV channel we were pitching to and its tone of voice, as well as the viewer demographic we were appealing to, we’d come up with ideas that we thought they might like. We’d then plan out every episode of the series with post-its on a whiteboard until we had a well-formed plan to pitch to the commissioners at the TV channel.

The same plan of action should be taken when creating a branded content plan. Think of your Youtube channel as your own TV channel and you need to create different TV series to populate that channel. How frequently do you want episodes to show? Once a week? 2 per month? And how many months will the series last before you assess its success?

Why bother when I can just run paid adverts?

The online landscape is saturated with advertising. We are bombarded with it day in, day out. People are becoming desensitised to advertising and we’re learning to tune it out. Not to say that online adverts don’t have their place; they absolutely do. They are great for brand awareness, direct calls to action and can even go viral in their own right. But if you want to cut through the noise and engage your customers on a more meaningful level then you need to be creating your own branded content video plan.

I truly believe that brands can be the driving force behind meaningful video content that adds value to people’s lives. And the good news is you don’t have to be a multi-national conglomerate to do it. In fact, for startups and SMEs, branded content can be one of the most affordable and effective ways of generating new business. So what are you waiting for?

If you want to talk to us about how to create branded content for your business then drop us a line at info@smallfilms.com

 

In 2018, video became one of the most desirable forms of digital marketing content. But whilst B2C brands have been quick to use video in their marketing, many B2B companies have been slow to take advantage of this fantastic resource. The truth is, B2B companies who do invest in video find that it is extremely rewarding. Here are 7 reasons why video can improve B2B marketing.

 

  1. Video can improve sales

    Not only has it become easier for companies to produce affordable and engaging video content, but, in a survey conducted by Tubular insights on B2B marketers “73% of them say video positively impacts ROI” and “50% are using video content for email marketing already”. Hubspot’s 2018 report revealed that 81% of businesses use video in their inbound marketing strategy, simply because the ROI is always higher then the investment made on the video. For B2B businesses, including a video in your landing page can increase conversions by 80% (Insivia). Largely due to the fact that on average people spend 2.6x more time on pages with video than without (Insivia).

  2. Videos can be both short term and a long term strategies

    People say that a picture speaks a thousand words, well guess what, one minute of video is worth 1.8m words (Biteable). The great thing about video is that you can create multiple edits from a single shoot. Leading to both long form (2 minutes or more) and short form content (5 – 15 seconds). You can use these assets in multiple customer touch points like your website and social media channels.

  3. Social media video marketing is booming

    Word on the street is B2B businesses are starting to see the positive effects social media marketing can have on customer retention and new business. A study reveals that 53% of B2B prospects say social media plays a huge role in their buying decision (entrepreneur). Luckily for you, all social media platforms prioritise video, and there are now so many ways for you to reach your target audience. From Facebook Live and Stories, to Instagram TV. Google organically prioritises and boosts any video posted on the internet through its search engines (Alexa).

  4. Audiences and customers find it easier to engage with video content

    Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service (Hubspot). Even CEO’s, Presidents and Managing Directors would rather watch a video then read graphs, diagrams and text (Wordstream). So when you understand that a person retains 95% more information through watching a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text (Wirebuzz) why wouldn’t you be using it? In 2017, online users viewed more than 500 million hours of video each day on YouTube (Business Insider), and in the past 30 days, the amount of video uploaded to the internet equals the amount of Television produced in the last 30 years (Blue Corona).

  5. Storytelling has become more important for business owners

    With the rise of video marketing and the proliferation of smart technology, more businesses are finding it easier to connect with their customers on a meaningful level (The Drum). TV advertisements have been surpassed by online adverts. Consumers now are more conscious of “fake news”, disloyal brands, false hopes, and unprofessional marketing practices. It has become a lot harder to pull the wool over people’s eyes, and they are now searching for deeper connections with businesses. We can see it in their consumption, with nearly 50% of internet users looking for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store, and making better buying decisions once viewing a branded video (Google).

  6. Video creates an experience of being there

    80% of users can recall a video ad that they viewed in the last 30 days, simply because it offers them a unique experience that can be different every time (Single Grain). You can convey multiple messages and feelings to your audience through video, and it also offers you the opportunity to build a one-on-one, personal connection with that single viewer. People are more willing to associate with your business if they can build a human connection with it, for example, 65% of executives have navigated to a vendor’s site, and 39% have called a vendor after watching a video (Forbes).

  7. Video can cut through the noise

    In comparison to static forms of marketing, video ads have an average clickthrough rate of 1.84%, the highest of all digital ad formats (Business Insider). And social video currently generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (Wordstream). The desirable form of content online for your customers, no matter what field they are in, is video. And brands that use video marketing grow their year-on-year revenue 49% faster than brands that don’t (Wirebuzz).

     

    It’s crazy that there are still companies not investing in video marketing. Especially when you see all of these amazing facts and statistics. Marketing and advertising are becoming more important everyday for B2B and B2C companies. By incorporating video into your inbound and outbound marketing strategy, you are not only setting yourselves to be experts in your field, but you’re also saving yourselves a lot of time, money and resource. Your competitors are probably already doing video, so why aren’t you?

Video content is King

According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 1.8 million words of text is worth 1 minute of video in terms of impact. Whether such a comparison is really accurately quantifiable, it’s clear that video is rapidly overtaking text as the most dominant form of digital content.

In a fast-moving world of Social Media, changing technologies and ever more selective consumers, it’s the attention-grabbing, story-telling and engaging qualities of video that make it the most effective and shareable way for brands to communicate with their audiences. Indeed, by 2021 it’s predicted that a staggering 80% of global consumer internet traffic will be video. 

Social Media has changed the way we consume video content

There are no two ways about it then – consumers love video and businesses are quickly having to adapt by making video a central part of their digital marketing strategies. So far, so straightforward. But it’s not quite as simple as commissioning a video, sticking it on your website and sharing a few links across Social Media.

The evolving digital landscape is creating more and more ways for audiences to consume video content and an increasing number and variety of Social Media platforms are at the forefront of this. Each Social Media platform has its own audience, character, features and functions, not to mention technical restrictions and conventions about hosting video. Audiences have different expectations and consume video differently according to each platform. Forward-thinking brands can take advantage of this by considering these Social Media nuances when planning their video distribution strategies. You can stay one step ahead of the competition by carefully adapting your video content to have the maximum impact on each Social Media platform.

To help you get started, here are our top tips on how to use video content across the most popular Social Media networks:

Facebook Tips

The stats

Using video to get brand engagement on Facebook is more important than ever. Facebook generates more than 8 billion video views per day (source Bloomberg) and views of branded video content have increased 258% since 2016 (Tubular Insights). Square video gets 275% more views and 482% more shares than regular. 

The tone

Facebook is primarily a personal network of family and friends. Of course, businesses make great use of it for marketing purposes but consumers are largely using it in an informal way. It’s great for B2C and any video content you post should be friendly, entertaining and sit well in users’ feeds alongside casual updates from friends. Don’t post anything corporate or specialist and keep the tone light.

The format

Square video is outperforming regular video in terms of engagement, perhaps due to the increase in internet usage on Mobile phones. 

Facebook videos autoplay and the majority of people watch without sound – make sure your video is captivating in the first few seconds to stop users scrolling on by – and don’t forget to add captions or text overlay and an attention-grabbing thumbnail and title.

Videos under 2 minutes long perform best.

Upload your video natively (rather than posting links to other video platforms) because the Facebook algorithm rewards native video. 

Go live

Facebook’s algorithm also rewards live video as it is the most engaging type, and what’s more when brands post live video, it also seems to increase the reach of their non-live video content. Facebook live videos are viewed for 3 times longer than uploaded recorded video and get 10 times as much engagement. Live videos should be longer than recorded videos (but less than 15 minutes).

Advertise

Reach a highly targeted market with engaging video advertising on Facebook. Video ads receive 10 to 30% more views than other image ads (although often with a higher CPC).

Twitter Tips

The stats

Twitter is the channel for short, fleeting updates and therefore hasn’t emphasised video as much as some of the other social media channels. However, 82% of Twitter users say they watch video content on the platform (Bloomberg). Twitter reports that Tweets with video are 6 times as likely to be retweeted as Tweets with static images, and 70% of US marketers said they were confident they could drive sales through Twitter video advertising (www.emarketer.com)

The tone

Twitter is great for business networking and connecting with influencers and customers. The tone should be more professional than Facebook, but avoid overly spammy or salesy content. You can be more businesslike in what you post, but be conversational too as ‘real-time’ interactions are common.

The format

Twitter supports MP4 or MOV format video and you can post landscape, square or vertical videos. Square and vertical perform best because 93% of Twitter video views are on Mobile devices (Adweek). Films can be no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds. Between 30 and 45 seconds is the optimum length however so the platform is ideal for posting teaser clips to longer format video content on YouTube or your website.

Go live

Live video marries really well with the real-time immediacy of the Twitter platform and posting live video via Periscope is a great way to promote business events, conferences, product launches etc. 

Advertise

Video advertising now accounts for over 50% of Twitter’s revenue and video website cards or video app cards can drive viewers directly to your website. 

Instagram Tips

The stats

While primarily a photo sharing platform, the amount of time users spend watching video on Instagram has increased 80% year on year since video feature was launched in 2013 (Instagram). The main demographic is 18-29 years old (59% of this age-group uses the platform) and video advertising gets 3 times as many comments as photo advertising. 35% of Instagram users are creating and viewing video via Instagram stories (Mediakix).

The tone

Instagram is a friendly and informal platform used predominantly by the Millennial and Generation Z demographic.  Its visual nature encourages active engagement and Instagram posts get the highest brand engagement of any Social Media platform (Invespcro). It is a really useful platform therefore for informal visual storytelling, communicating brand culture and identity, and for creating an emotionally engaged brand community. It is also very effective for showcasing products and online shopping for retail brands.

The format

Instagram video must be less than 60 seconds in length. Use vertical video in Instagram stories, and landscape for timeline video. An Instagram story video can only be 15 seconds in length, but you can add as many stories as you like, or make a longer story by posting multiple 15 second chunks sequentially.

Go live

Live video on Instagram can be up to an hour long and is available for your audience to watch (in full) in the stories and live section at the top of the screen. Live lends itself to seasonal stories and events or time limited promotions. It can also be a great way to increase engagement with your audience by means of live Q&As and chat.

Advertise

As we discovered earlier, video advertising on Instagram generates 3 times as many comments as photo advertising. As well as standard video ads between 3 and 60 seconds long including room for 2,200 characters of text, brands can now use carousel video ads by adding up to 5 videos to one ad, along with up to 2,200 characters of text.

Instagram TV

Instagram has recently launched Instagram TV, a long form video app that’s also available within Instagram. Videos on the app will be vertical in format and can be up to an hour long, suggesting that Instagram is vying for YouTube style content.

Linkedin Tips

The stats

75% of business executives said that they watch work-related video weekly (Cisco Systems) making professional networking platform Linkedin ideal for hosting business videos. 38% of marketers use video on Linkedin and 55% of business owners said they would continue or start to share video on Linkedin in 2018. Linkedin users are also 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post (Linkedin). 61 million Linkedin users are senior level influencers and decision makers and Linkedin is the top channel for distributing content for 94% of B2B marketers.

The tone

As a professional networking, B2B and recruitment platform, Linkedin suits a corporate and formal tone and is the place to demonstrate industry expertise and personal thought-leadership to your audience. 50% of US internet users with a college degree use Linkedin so your content should be value-adding and informative. Video can be used professionally to showcase projects, conduct interviews, show case-studies and post how to’s and demonstrations.

The format

Linkedin enabled a native video function recently and it now allows members (not businesses as yet except via advertising) to upload videos natively between 3 seconds and 10 minutes long from the app or web in either vertical or horizontal formats. Vertical videos will be cropped to square and videos will autoplay silently in the feed. The platform has also recently added sticker and text options for video. Native video will rank higher in searches than video links to other platforms. Although you can’t livestream, you can post a video as soon as you have recorded it and you can also share it to your company page.

Advertise

Linkedin has recently rolled out business video advertising in the form of Video for Sponsored Content and Company pages. Businesses can now pay to showcase their companies with video on their company pages and can sponsor highly targeted B2B video content that will autoplay in audience feeds.

YouTube Tips

The stats

The daddy of video hosting platforms, YouTube has a staggering 149 million viewers per month. (Statista). More than 1 billion hours of video are watched daily and more than 50% of YouTube video views come from Mobile devices (YouTube). YouTube also reaches more 18-49 years olds than any broadcast or cable TV network, and whilst time spent on YouTube by this demographic has increased by 74%, TV watching has decreased by 4%.

The tone

Although a lot of YouTube content is perceived as being entertainment based, it’s very much worth businesses having their own YouTube channels to raise awareness and build brand identity and engagement. Google has a strong bias towards YouTube videos in searches (as opposed to videos hosted on websites or other platforms) (Stone Temple) and 70% of people say they watch YouTube videos to ‘solve a problem’ and 86%, to ‘learn new things’. YouTube is therefore a brilliant tool for brands to use to explain how their products and services work and to educate and inform on industry issues. 

The format

As a video hosting platform rather than a Social Media platform, you can upload all sorts of format and length videos to YouTube as long as they don’t exceed 20GB. However, ComScore reported that the average YouTube video length is 4.4 minutes, and Wistia research has shown that while you will keep 60% of viewers watching to the end of a 4 minute video, you will retain 75% of viewers of a 1-2 minute video. Shorter still seems to be sweeter on YouTube. 95% of YouTube video ads are audible (Google) – both vision and sound are important on this platform.

Go Live

Live streaming is possible on YouTube (and now also from your desktop) if your ‘account is in good standing’ and is verified.  It’s a useful feature for vloggers to share live updates and for businesses to share live video of events/launches etc.

Advertise

YouTube accounts for a quarter of digital ad spend in the US. There are three video advertising options, the most popular being the 6 second bumper ads which appear before, during or after other videos and cannot be skipped. YouTube say that ’70% of bumper ads drive a significant lift in brand awareness.’ The second type of advertising is TrueView which is adverting that plays before, during and after videos, but which can be skipped after 5 seconds. The advertiser is only charged if a viewer watches for 30 seconds or engages with the video. Discovery ads appear when a viewer is browsing content on the web or YouTube and can be any length. The advertiser is charged when a viewer clicks on the ad.

Snapchat Tips

And a final word for Snapchat. Although the least used Social Media platform for video marketing, Snapchat’s popularity amongst the under 24’s should not be underestimated. For businesses targeting this demographic, they can make use of Snapchat stories to post 10 second temporary stories, and can take advantage of Snap Ads to get their video advertising content placed in users feeds.

If you would like help with producing video for different social media platforms, contact us here.

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.

Marketing to millennials.

As the digital landscape changes and consumers become more media and tech savvy, brands are having to adapt quickly in the way that they find customers and market to their audiences. Recent research has shown that display advertising is rapidly losing its effectiveness due to the widespread use of ad blocking software and viewers’ increasing tendency to distrust and ignore explicit marketing techniques. After sixty years of overt disruptive advertising, it seems audiences are getting wise to it. Technology is putting the power firmly back in their hands. Digitally competent consumers can now decide when and how they interact with brands and demand uninterrupted digital experiences with value-adding, entertaining content to keep them engaged.

But with more global competition and marketing noise than ever, this increasing rejection of hard-sell advertising means that brands now need alternative ways of reaching their audiences. Branded video content has therefore become the newest and most effective tool for brands to engage with their customers.

So what exactly is branded content?

It’s complicated! There is much disagreement about what actually differentiates ‘branded content’ from other forms of marketing. At its very basic level, branded content is customer focused and puts the brand’s ‘audience’ first. Rather than traditional advertising which informs and persuades customers of brand benefits, branded content takes a different approach. Treating its audience as real individuals instead of merely ‘customers’, branded content attempts to foster relationships socially and emotionally with consumers through tailored storytelling and engaging creative content rather than explicit advertising. The aim is to build customer loyalty and an authentic brand-consumer relationship rather than strong-arming people into buying your products.

The evolution of advertising into branded content.

Traditionally, brands have sought to reach new or larger audiences through paid advertising with the big content publishers and broadcasters. In the past they might have taken thirty second TV commercial spots and/or bought up display or banner advertising with print or online publishers. Of course this still happens, but brands are having to become less formulaic in order to connect with and engage their customers. Traditional advertising still has a place – but is increasingly being used as part of integrated campaigns with diverse types of branded content across multiple channels. Taking a more holistic approach to content and distribution in this way enables brands to achieve the sort of in-depth creative storytelling that viewers might actively choose to consume.

Types of branded content.

The point of branded content is that it should seem less like disruptive advertising and should integrate well into the surrounding online content and TV programming. Because of this, it can take many different forms – from sponsorship of brand-aligned existing programming to full length ad break ‘programmes’, documentary film collaborations, music videos and even feature films. It is this diversity of style and content collaboration with the big publishers and broadcasters that has led to a blurring of the lines between traditional advertising and programming and between brands and traditional content publishers. As long as this doesn’t advance brands’ agendas in a biased or dishonest way – the rise of branded content can be seen as a welcome injection of creativity and funding for traditional content publishing and programme making.

Here are some of our favourite types of branded content campaigns:

 The programme sponsor:

Wickes advertising sponsors Homes programming on Channel 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu6w7FZmDik

The full-length ad space takeover:

Waitrose ran full-length ad break ‘recipe shows’ with Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith between food programming and have also launched their own YouTube channel to showcase their content.

 Moving into the online space – the brand ‘hosted’ live, cross-media TV show:

Carling partnered with the Premier League and Sky Sports to host a Friday night football show,  Carling in off the Bar – a half hour live pre-match broadcast from a pub, simulcast on Facebook Live, YouTube and Sky Sports with half-time match analysis streamed live on social media and post-match analysis. An ideal cross-media vehicle for Carling to reconnect with its target audience of 18-35 year old men.

The online value-adding content collaboration:

The Performers – Gucci with GQ

Featuring 5 of the world’s ‘coolest’ guys (according to GQ), this series of films followed 5 performers as they travelled to places of personal pilgrimage to share stories of their inspirations. The characters and stories take centre stage, but Gucci accessories are ever present.

The branded content commercial break replacement:

The US Comedy Central Channel is now running a 2 ½ minute branded content series once a month instead of a traditional ad break in an effort to blend advertising with quality comedy content and keep viewers watching.

http://handytheseries.com

The documentary film content partnership:

Volvo  + Sky Atlantic – Human Made Stories

Volvo partnered with Sky Atlantic to produce a series of inspiring short documentary films centring on the emotional impact of human innovation, raising brand perception of Volvo as a progressive, innovative manufacturer and taking advantage of the increasing popularity of socially-aware content.

The Lego Movie

The best example of a brand commissioning a feature film and probably the finest and most successful piece of branded content ever created.

 

Whatever the moral ins and outs of the rise of branded content and its impact on the big content publishers and broadcasters – one thing is clear, and that is that brand influence on the digital content we consume is growing – whether audiences perceive it to be ‘advertising’ content or not. TV – be it broadcast, playback or video on demand still accounts for 76% of UK video consumption and it’s where brands want to be (Thinkbox). With other vehicles like Facebook Watch up and coming, brand-funded programming and programming agendas are definitely here to stay. The less direct approach to marketing is working – and both brands and publishers are fast cottoning on to that fact. The big brands have started the ball rolling, but surely – the smaller ones won’t be far behind?

If you would like help with creating branded video content for your business – contact us here

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.

 

Regardless of the type of client, industry or budget, we see the same pattern of mistakes emerging when brands decide to commission a video.

 

  1. Going with the cheapest quote.

 

When it comes to commissioning video for your business, the landscape for finding a video specialist is a minefield, littered with all kinds of video production providers; from marketing agencies to video production companies and freelance videographers.

When navigating your path to the right video producer, there is often a temptation to go for the cheapest solution.  In fact, your mate Dave is pretty handy with his Canon DSLR and filmed your sister’s wedding last year. And Sam from Accounts has a brother who’s graduated from film school and set himself up as a videographer. He’s willing to create your video for free. But before you go down the tempting route of finding someone cheap, consider this; what is the true cost of working with an inexperienced video producer?

 

Before we answer that question, let me ask another one… If you’d bought a plot of land and were about to build your family’s dream home who would you hire? Would it be a professional architect with a solid reputation, proven track record, references and access to the best builders, carpenters and plumbers? Or would you hire your next door neighbour’s son who’s pretty handy with a hammer and did their loft conversion last year?

 

When you hire an inexperienced videographer with no track record, you might save yourself some money on paper, but you’ll end up paying the price 10 fold in the long run. There is the chance that you’ll get lucky as there are some amazingly talented freelancers out there, but it’s a gamble you should be willing to risk losing. Inexperience can result in a whole host of problems from being given a poor quality video that can cause brand damage to a lack of professionalism, leading to an unreliable service and unexpected costs.

But beyond those issues, the biggest problem our clients have reported from hiring inexperienced videographers is the time strain and stress caused by them having to micromanage the project. As soon as the cracks start to appear in a video production, you will be sucked into trying to problem solve and sort out the mistakes.  

 

 

  1. Thinking of the video company as “technicians” and driving the creative from in-house.

 

There’s often a perception that videography is like photography – you need a photographer for a shoot, you just hire them to take photos. So surely a videographer is the same? But in reality the two are very, very different.

When you need product photos, portraits, fashion images or pictures of an event, you hire a photographer for the day on a flat rate with a potential cost for processing. But the minute you decide to create video of the same things, it becomes more complicated. And here’s why…

 

A photographer can rely on a simple moment in time, captured in a single image that tells a story. But for a videographer, that story has to be told through a series of video clips. And for a proper story to be told through video, the videographer needs to plan the shoot before hand and build a narrative. Unlike a photographer, the videographer also has to record sound from the environment they are filming in and then potentially add more sound to their video in terms of music or sound effects.

All this means that the video they create needs to be edited and that takes far longer than it takes to film. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For any production that’s more complicated, the videographer cannot work alone. Other players will need to be enlisted from producers, directors and script-writers to sound operators, lighting technicians, editors and motion graphics specialists.

 

Sometimes, brands and agencies believe that they can cook up an idea for a video in the same way they might plan a photo shoot, then hire a videographer to come and film the concept they’ve created. They are then surprised when at best it doesn’t turn out the way they expected and at worst is a complete shambles. Video production is more than just the videographer shooting the footage, it’s a team effort from the producers in pre-production using their expertise to create the best concepts and storyboards through to the specialist post-production team who add the bells and whistles to the finished product.

 

 

  1. Not having a clear budget.

 

The most common experience we have when speaking to prospects is that they won’t be transparent about budget. Sometimes they say they don’t know what their budget is, other times they are just evasive and want to find out how we charge and what our “rates” are. Unfortunately, whilst this may seem like a chicken and egg exercise, it actually isn’t. Without a basic steer on budget, any production company worth their salt cannot provide a realistic quote.

 

Think of the person offering the quote as the project manager of a house build. If you put that individual on a patch of land and say “I want to build a house here and I want it to have 5 rooms – how much will it cost?”, there is absolutely no conceivable way that the project manager can offer you a realistic quote. If they do offer you a “competitive” quote then you can bet anything that the final price will be far higher than the quote. Without knowing the scale of the project, the materials you want to build in and the finish on the inside, how can that Project Manager accurately quote?

 

It’s the same in video production, we need to know how long the video needs to be, what level of expertise the camera operator and equipment should be, whether you need a soundman, lighting, added equipment, how long the edit will take and whether you want added elements like graphics. It’s a complex build that is tailored to the available budget.

 

  1. Not having a clear objective for the video.

 

We see time and time again where companies decide they want to create video but they don’t think about their objectives or what outcome they want it. Without a clear strategy going in to creating video content, you may as well flush your money down the toilet.

The first thing we always do when talking to our clients about creating video is to identify the overall objective and who they want this video to be seen by. It’s the most important factor and informs everything we do. Is this B2B or B2C? What demographics are we targeting? How will the video be shared? What is the objective of this video? Sales? Brand image? Production explanation? All these questions need to be answered before we can come up with creative concepts for the video. For example, if the video has ad spend behind it and is destined for Facebook pay-per-click then it needs to be very short and punchy but if we are relying on organic shares then we’ve got to create a strong hook so people engage with it. Conversely, if this video is B2B and will be sent out via email, then perhaps we can assume a pre-existing level of knowledge and familiarity with the subject matter in your audience, so we can have a longer video with more depth to it. By having clear KPIs and understanding of the core objective for the video you will get far more out of it than just creating video for video’s sake.

 

  1. Not aligning video to brand purpose.

 

Video should always be seen as an extension of your brand identity. When done correctly, it will feel like a seamless transition from your print materials, web site and brand image through to video. This is done through the style, tone, fonts, imagery and colour. Too often, companies will use video inconsistently, putting up a series of videos that have nothing connecting them. Or worse, they will post videos to their social feed that are amateur or home made. A third of people who watched a poor quality video had a negative perception of that brand. Video should always be integrated into a company’s marketing strategy from the outset and even if it’s only used sparingly, it should reflect the quality of the brand. Lack of budget should not be used as an excuse for putting poor quality video out into the public domain. With careful planning and a reliable video production company, most budgets can be stretched to create video content that will have a high impact in the right way. For example, a single day’s filming could be done in a way that generates large volumes of material that can be recycled into a series of short videos for your social media feed. By setting a style for the look of the videos from filming techniques to motion graphics, larger volumes of content can be generated for a fraction of the cost.

 

  1. Not getting on the front foot with a good video partner.

 

All companies with a marketing strategy can benefit from using video and most of them know that. But we often see that unless there is an immediate need for video, most people don’t bother to find themselves a video production partner. The result is that when they finally realise they need to commission some video work, they are already on the back foot. The deadline looms faster than they thought and they are forced to hire the first company they find even though they may not be the best. This can lead to paying above the odds for an inferior product.

There are a lot of benefits to partnering with a video production company for future opportunities. We have a few companies we work with on a rolling basis and it brings huge benefits to them. Firstly, we’re always on the phone to discuss any video ideas they have and to brainstorm concepts with them as well as budgets. This can help with internal marketing briefs they are putting together or in the case of agencies, with pitches to clients. Because a relationship is in place, there is a transparency to pricing and budgets that installs a sense of trust in all the players. Everyone values the relationship and wants it to continue so no one is going to take advantage of the other. And finally, its in the vested interests of the video production company to keep the relationship going so they will always try to deliver above expectations. In this way, we’ve helped some of our clients to win big contracts with some major brands and we’ve helped others to put a lasting content strategy in place that maximised their yearly marketing budget.

 

mistakes commissioning video

 

George Hughes set up Small Films with a simple ambition – to create brilliant films for brilliant people. Over the past 14 years he’s learnt his craft in the television industry working in the UK and USA as a Producer / Director and camera operator making hundreds of hours of high profile series for major broadcasters including the BBC and Discovery Channel. From hard-hitting documentaries about the mafia to light-hearted cooking shows with high-profile chefs, he has worked with a wide range of budgets, briefs and subject matters and is excited at transferring this experience into the production of branded content. George and his team are passionate about partnering with like-minded people and organisations to create amazing films. For more information, or a chat about commissioning video content, contact us here.

Over the last few years, the rise of new technologies has dramatically transformed the way audiences consume and perceive video advertising – and change continues at a staggering pace. Millennials and Generation Z aren’t interested in watching live television. Instead they turn to Netflix to binge-watch their favourite drama series or surf Youtube and other platforms for content relating to their particular interests or passions. As traditional broadcast audiences grow older and conventional TV viewing figures decline, focus for advertisers has shifted to the online space. In 2017 brands and advertisers spent twice as much on online advertising as they did on TV (Magisto), and this is set to grow.

Adapting to rapidly changing online technologies has had a massive impact on the nature of the advertising format itself. Without the luxury of a captive static TV audience, and with an increasing consumer distrust of disruptive and overt advertising, advertisers are having to get both creative and technical in the way they approach marketing to their ever fragmenting and mobile audiences. Today’s tech savvy consumer demands a choice of uninterrupted entertaining online experiences – and they are ready to skip, switch channels or switch devices if they don’t like what they see. Audiences have always had the opportunity to ‘go and put the kettle on’ during traditional broadcast ad breaks if the content was unengaging of course – but the potential of an ‘ad rejection’ moment is now multiplied 100 fold online.

 

The ongoing challenge for brands and advertisers then, is ‘how do we stop consumers reaching for that virtual kettle?’

 

These are the questions brands need to consider:

 

 

WHAT types of content will engage consumers?

The internet has changed the way people can and choose to view content. It’s no longer simply a case of marketing to a static audience who are sitting down for a few dedicated hours of TV watching. There are now many more ways for people to consume content via multiple devices (TV, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and wearable tech – often simultaneously), and many more opportunities for consuming content away from the traditional home leisure space and time. Marketers now have the opportunity to reach people as they move around during the day, travel from place to place, at work, at school – and as they’re spending their leisure time. This poses a challenge for the types of content brands should be producing:

 

  • On-The-Go – Snackable, scrollable content

There’s no point putting out 30 second videos for people to view when they’re on-the-go, waiting in a queue, checking messages or walking down the road. This audience is using mobile phones and needs bitesize, 6 second chunks of mobile optimised content that will briefly grab their attention as they scroll through their feeds, moving from task to task. The average adult scrolls through 70+ feet of social media feed every single day, so content has have an instant hook for the viewer to notice. A recent report revealed a 26% increase in brand awareness through brands using scroller ad formats. (IAB)

 

This ad by jobs website Reed has it all incuding kittens, humour and a 6 second in-your-face spot at the beginning.

 

 

  • Lean forward content

People with a bit more time on their hands, will spend a little longer choosing to view and more importantly, engage with, content in a bit more depth. They might be travelling to work on the bus, waiting in a doctor’s office or be on a break. They are still using mobile devices, though can also be at their desks viewing on desktop computers and laptops. This content should encourage ‘lean-forward’ user interaction in the content experience in the form of prompting users to like, comment on, share, or embed videos. It should resonate with the desired audience in a way that encourages them to engage with it.

 

These Volvo Trucks short brand videos are highly entertaining action adventure stunts designed to pull the viewer in and elicit engagement.

 

 

  • Lean back content

The traditional type of leisure-time content consumption. Audiences who are static and relaxing will consume long-form, long-term content formats. For marketing content to compete with other content in this space it needs to be highly creative and emotionally engaging, employ great storytelling and in fact integrate with the surrounding content so as not to disrupt the consumer experience. Interesting branded content  like documentaries  or brand-made programmes can work well in this space. Although they may be static – the majority of people will still be browsing on mobile devices so content needs to be mobile optimised. This is the optimal time for simultaneous platform usage. 87% of consumers now watch TV together with a second screen (Deloitte Digital Consumer Survey.)

 

Stella Artois partnered with National Geographic to commission an award wining film director to make a documentary highlighting the impact of the global water crisis on communities around the world – a compelling piece of quality long-form ‘lean back’ branded content.

 

 

HOW will brands engage consumers with content?

The increasing rejection of overt advertising means brands are having to be more creative and consumer-focused in their marketing content strategies. Along with producing different types of video content for different devices and types of consumers as we have seen, brands now need to think about HOW best to reach these fragmented audiences.

 

  • Personalisation

With the increase in digital marketing noise and content choices available to them, consumers are becoming less responsive to content they perceive as less relevant to them. Brands will have to produce tailored content accurately targeted to specific audience member interests and browsing habits. They will also need to harness technology to make use of location-based marketing so that they can target consumers according to where they are at any given moment.

 

Tesco Clubcard produced a personalised awareness and retention campaign.

 

 

  • ‘Audience First’

Rather than placing expensive paid advertising with the big, general reach global publishers and broadcasters, brands will have to find different ways of marketing to their targeted audience segments. As consumers watch more self-selected video content and less broadcast TV, brands are creating their own video content channels and collaborating on ‘audience first’ content shared via video influencers. Macro influencers with more than 100,000 subscribers or followers on their social channels have been in the ascendancy up to now but with growing audience segmentation and targeting, brands are increasingly partnering with micro-influencers on content production.

 

Have a look at these examples of top brands successfully collaborating with micro-influencers, particularly in the Instagram video space.

 

 

  • Quality

Social media algorithms are becoming more sophisticated, and as has already happened on Facebook, overt hard-sell advertising will be penalised and brands will have to work much harder to get their messages in front of their audiences. Brands will need to create more thoughtful, entertaining, and value-adding videos that consumers will actively choose to watch and share in order to beat the algorithms. Quality over quantity will be key in the video content of the future.

 

Coors Light revamped its frivolous image with a series of high-quality, value-adding short docufilms, presenting their products in real-life situations and places, while telling compelling real-life stories.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbj10JszdZs

 

 

  • Cross-channel content

With audiences using multiple devices and consuming content via multiple channels, sometimes simultaneously, brands will have to adopt a user-centric integrated approach to content in order to get a better ROI.

 

Heineken’s Departure Roulette is a great example of a cross-channel integrated, interactive video campaign.

 

 

 

So the future of video marketing content is full of opportunity and the potential for brands to accurately reach their target audiences will be better than ever before. The biggest challenge for brands will be getting noticed online and cutting through the increasing digital marketing noise. Only the brands that think creatively, embrace technology and adopt a user-centred approach to their content will get results. Surely this can only be a good thing for the digital advertising industry – and consumers in general?

 

 

If your business would like help creating quality video content for multiple platforms, contact us at info@smallfilms.com.

 

 

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.

 

 

As we discovered in our previous blog post , there’s no ignoring the power of video content to transform business marketing. With statistics showing that adding video to your website landing page increases conversions by a whopping 80% (Invisia) and that embedding video in enewsletters increases click through rates by over 200% (Hubspot), video is now the undisputed leader of content marketing formats. And it’s not just the big brands exploiting this power. Advances in digital technology have made video marketing accessible and affordable for even the smallest of businesses and start-ups. Even so – making the decision to use video content in the marketing mix can initially be a little daunting for small business owners. Perhaps it seems like it must be a complex, time consuming or expensive exercise – so how do you go about taking those first steps into potentially commissioning a video, and how does the process work?

 

Here are our top tips for a smooth video commissioning experience:

 

1. Assess your business objectives and desired outcomes

You know you want a video because it’s the most effective form of content for marketing – but what do you want to achieve with it? Are you trying to educate, raise awareness of your knowledge and credentials, tell your brand story, or sell something? Have a clear objective and make sure you and other stakeholders in the business are on the same page about your goals.

 

2. Prepare a brief

Be as detailed as you can so that the video production company can get a full picture of what you require. Putting the time in to give full information at this stage will save time later in the process. Include the following:

 

– Your business objectives.

 

– A detailed description of your audience – demographic, location etc.

 

– The core message you want to communicate through the video.

 

– Your ideas for the ‘treatment’. How do you want the video to look or feel? Do you have any examples of pieces you have seen that might help convey this?

 

– The elements you hope to include in the video. For example, do you want voiceover? Interviews with you or your customers? Shots of your product or service? Actors? Animation or motion graphics?

 

– The platforms where your video will be shown. Is it for your website, a trade conference, social media advertising or all three?

 

– Your Call To Action – what do you want your audience to do after seeing this video? Are they getting the right information to be able to do it easily?

 

– An idea of your budget. It’s worth giving a rough idea of what you might be able to spend as this will inform the production company’s proposal. You’ll often be surprised at how much you can get for your money. Think of the Video production company using the analogy of an Architect. A builder can construct you a ‘generic’ house, but you need an Architect to design and build you the ‘specific’ house that meets your specific needs. The video production company performs that role for your corporate video. Your budget is paying for the expertise that brings all the complex elements together to produce the right video to communicate your specific business message.

 

– Your schedule and delivery deadlines. Does your video need to be ready for a trade show or the launch of a new website? Make sure you factor in enough time for the production process.

 

3. Approach video production companies

Ask for recommendations from colleagues and friends, search locally or look on Social Media. Have a look at case studies of their previous jobs. Some video production companies specialise in certain industries or certain types of video. Some video companies (like our very own Small Films) offer marketing strategy as well as production so bear this in mind when looking for the right fit for your business. Brief two or three companies so that you can compare proposals, but don’t just compare prices. There is a delicate balance to be struck between experience and expertise against cost – a very cheap video is probably not going to be professional enough for your business requirements.

 

4. Review proposals

Your selected video production companies will come back to you with detailed proposals based on your brief. They will have an overall creative idea or angle, (with examples to help you visualise), budget expectations for different options and a schedule. You can then choose the best fit for your business, budget and objectives.

 

5. Planning process

Once they have the green light, your video production company will give you a detailed production plan and schedule, including consultation meetings and reviews of progress. They will begin work on a script or storyboard for the video and start planning for the shoot. They will carry out location research and venue booking, props finding, acting or voice over casting where necessary – as well as all technical aspects of the filming. They will undertake rehearsals or run-throughs where necessary and will keep you involved and consulted throughout the planning process.

 

6. The shoot

The production company will organise everything on shoot day (or days) and will have all the necessary filming, lighting and sound equipment in place. If the filming is taking place at your business location and requiring members of your staff, they will try to minimise the disruption by shooting at quiet times or out or hours if possible with a schedule to make sure that people aren’t kept hanging around.

 

7. Post production and delivery

After the shoot, the video production company will edit the footage to produce a rough cut of the video. You are provided opportunities to give your input through the editing process and after tweaks and amendments have been made, a final cut will be produced. The video will then be formatted and duplicated correctly for the platforms required, within the agreed schedule.

 

If you’d like more information about commissioning video or a chat about potential video projects, contact us here.

 

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign

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