How can Schools use Digital Advertising

20th April 2018

written by George Hughes

In an article by The Guardian, Ralf Lucas the founder of Good Schools Guide said that he was noticing a clear shift when meeting parents in their opinion towards State schools, saying that “Independent schools really need to show us more, not just tell us, as we’re really taking State schools seriously”. Parents today are spoilt for choice. Not only do independent schools need to prove their value over State schools but they also need to work harder to stand out from their competitor schools. This is why a well executed digital strategy should be a top priority for any marketing team in the independent school sector, and digital advertising can play a massive role in that.

So, what is digital advertising? Digital advertising is when you run adverts online across social media, Google, Youtube, and various other websites. Last year digital advertising spend outstripped television for the first time in history (SEOworks). It’s highly effective and the good news is it’s affordable for everybody, regardless of the size of your school marketing budget.

What are the best ways to use digital advertising for your school?

1. To drive more people to your school website

A video on your school website is an extremely effective way of engaging prospective parents. But how do you get them to visit your website in the first place, especially if they’ve never heard of your school? By running adverts online across Facebook and Instagram you can reach people beyond your immediate sphere of influence. For example, if you are a boarding school based in Surrey but you want to attract more international students from South Korea, you could run a Facebook advert that only targets affluent, well educated, English speaking adults in the Seoul area. Or, if you are a school in Buckinghamshire running a bursary scheme for inner city children, you could run an Instagram advert explaining the advantages of the scheme targeting London postcode children under the age of 16 who attend a specific selection of State schools. Even if you just want to attract more pupils from the next county, social media advertising is a great way to do this.

2. To highlight the best aspects of your school

Parent’s can often get into “analysis paralysis” when comparing different schools. This is because many will have a good website, a compelling video and lots of information that positions them in a favourable light. To stand out from the competition, you need to think outside the box and that’s where digital advertising can help. You can provide parents with many more layers of information about your school to help them in the decision making process and also keep yourself in the front of their mind. By creating a series of films highlighting different aspects of your school, whether that’s art, sport or academia, you can run them as promotional videos online across social media channels, Google and Youtube.

3. Keeping you at the front of prospect minds

One of the best things you can do for your school with digital advertising is to set up “re-marketing”. You might not have heard of re-marketing before but you will no doubt be familiar with it. We’ve all been there; you look at a bit of furniture or some clothing online and then an advert for that same item starts following you around the internet. You might find this slightly annoying, but the truth is it really works! All you need to do is ask your website designer to install Google and Facebook Pixel. Once that’s done you can set up your own re-marketing campaign via Google ads or Facebook ads. The reason this is so good is because it will keep your school in front of prospect parents as they deliberate over which school to visit, or which school to choose for their child.

Digital advertising can offer you some great solutions. Instagram and Facebook are both platforms that allow you to be very strategic in your approach to reach target audiences. By allowing you the selection of certain factors like location, age, gender, demographics, interests, behaviours, connections or language, you have the potential of reaching parents and students worldwide. As well as specific people around the UK. Your main focus when advertising on these platforms is to have a very distinguished idea of who your target audiences are and how you are best going to reach them with compelling content. 

You can be even more specific in your approach by targeting your prospect parents and students on the channels that you know they are most active. For example, if you want to be targeting parents with digital adverts the best options will be Facebook, Google and Youtube. As an older generation and not so immersed in the world of social media, you’ll mainly want to target them during everyday internet activity, for example, at work or online shopping through Google, watching recipe videos on Youtube, or, staying in contact with friends on Facebook.

If you want to be targeting students with your digital adverts the best platforms for you will be Instagram and Snapchat. The younger generation is much more tech savvy – providing them with direct access to your school’s information through a well displayed advert on Instagram will add a lot of credibility (maybe they’ll even share the ad). If you want to be reaching Feeder schools with your adverts then the best place to reach them is through Twitter as it’s more of a platform for brands, businesses and organisations. Perfect for spreading a more sophisticated message about your school to other people in the same field.

Digital advertising can seem like a daunting task but once you get started it soon becomes second nature. Just be specific in your approaches and make sure to have a very clear idea of who you want to be targeting. Use the right platforms in relation to your target audience, be knowledgeable about them so that you can be precise in your targeting and, be specific in the content you produce so that it resonates and connects with the target audience.

The best thing about commissioning video for your independent school is that you probably already have a great story to tell and a lot of amazing assets to film. That’s the hardest part over. Now it’s just about creating videos that tell your unique story in the best way, connect with your audience and help you drive admissions. Coming up with those film ideas can sometimes be a tricky task, especially when you have specific objectives like changing the perception of your school, reaching a wider audience, or letting people know about a unique aspect of what your school offers. To help you get started, here are 5 types of video that can be used to tell the story of your school.

1. Website Video

The first place to start is with a video that sits on your website and tells the story of your school in a nutshell (2 – 3 minutes). It is the first thing that prospective parents will engage with when they search for your school, so it has to be broad and cover all the relevant information. It can be a lovely mix of interviews with teachers and pupils, footage of the grounds and the facilities, footage of the students and teachers in action and everything that the school has to offer like extra-curricular activities, boarding and your school’s achievements. It’s an extremely effective way of building a personal connection to your prospective parents and can be empowering, heartfelt and even humorous.

Here is a website video we made for St Margarets.

2. Departmental films

These are videos that can be about the schools different departments such as the arts, sports and science, or particular aspects of the school like boarding, prep-curriculum or extra-curricular activities. It’s great to highlight particular aspects of your school that you really want to shout about, or to let people know about a side of your school that they didn’t know about. If you want your customers to know of your fantastic theatre facilities then create a video interviewing the teachers and students, then combine that with footage of the theatre rehearsals and plays. If sport is your forté, then create a short film looking at all the different sports you offer. Or, if you’ve traditionally been seen as a sporty school but have made huge headway in academic league tables, then create a short video about academia and teaching to show a different side to your school. Departmental videos are also extremely good at giving your customers a more detailed and personal look at your school. These videos can be hosted on your website, your Youtube channel and can also be turned into great online advertisements for Facebook and Instagram.

3. Pupil Stories

Another effective way of telling your school story is from the perspective of the pupils themselves. A video of your pupils (with their parents consent) put up onto your Facebook or Youtube channel can be a great way to build an instant connection with prospective students. These videos can be highly creative and can also be a really good way at getting your existing pupils involved with some media, filming and acting activities. It can also be a great way to show the pastoral side of school life. Themes for these videos could include “A day in the life of a student”, “Boarder’s Story” or “Leaver’s Story”. Your pupils are perhaps the best ambassadors you have for the school so make sure to feature them in your videos.

Here’s a video we made for Moulsford Boy School to sit on their website which followed a pupil throughout his day.

4. Message from the Head

Many schools have a “Head’s Welcome” message on their website so why not turn this into a video? Parents will always be keen to know who the Head of the school is and to get a feeling for what outlook they have. This would be an interview with the Head giving their personal story and connection with the school, outlining their experience, capabilities and everything they hope to achieve for your child. It’s a personal way for the Head teacher to tell their story and connect with parents directly.

We made this video for The Oratory Prep school to house on their website which has an interview from the headmaster. We filmed the interview and created a separate, longer film for other marketing activity.

5. Short form stories

These are videos that tell a story of your school in under 20 seconds that can be very easily marketed across the internet through your social media channels. They are a great way of regularly getting your school message out there to your potential audience. These videos could feature quick vignettes of school life like boarding, extra-curricular activities or after-school clubs. They could also focus on individual aspects of the school and its facilities like the sports hall, theatre or grounds. Or they could highlight a different side to learning at the school like using smart boards in classes, school trips and outdoor learning. The great thing about short story videos is that you can easily create a large volume of videos from a single shoot and each video can tell a different story about your school.

We made this video for Priory Academy LSST for their digital advertising campaign to increase boarding admissions and international student intake. We made short form videos that looked into each international students life boarding at LSST.

These are just 5 ideas for videos to tell the story of your school but this really is just the tip of the iceberg. When you start to get creative with your videos, there’s no end to what you can create from mini-documentaries filmed by the students themselves to ex-alumni films and even 360 videos of the school grounds and facilities.

As recently as 5 years ago, the vast majority of us would have tuned into our favourite show via our TV sets… at home… probably on the sofa. Today, the picture is very different. Almost half of adults aged 22 to 45 are not watching content on traditional TV platforms (AdAge) and 64.8 million people born between 1981 and 1996 will watch streaming videos or downloaded videos on a device at least once a month (Forbes). TV as we know is dead. Long live online streaming! Of course, TV isn’t actually dead. But the way we consume it has changed forever. Many people will still flick the TV on to catch their favourite series as it is released whether that’s X Factor or Silent Witness, but for most of us, on-demand has replaced live viewing as our preferred method of consuming any type of television content. And for Millennials and Generation Z who have come of age in a digital world,  BBC and ITV are increasingly shunned in favour of subscription based services like Netflix or Amazon or user generated content sites like Youtube. 

 

The writing has been on the wall for analogue TV for at least 2 decades and when the analogue signal was switched off in 2017 forcing every individual to access television via a digital box, it wasn’t a great surprise to the industry. The emergence of super-fast broadband that removed the need to have a sky dish or cable TV to access more than 5 channels of television was one of the biggest driving factors behind the shift in the television landscape. That… and the arrival of 3G and cheap mobile data which has allowed video streaming in the palm of your hand.

 

It’s surprising to find that Netflix has actually been around since 1997. It started life as a DVD rental business but began streaming online video in 2007, just 2 years after Youtube was founded. Today Netflix has 139 million paid subscribers worldwide and on Youtube, one billion hours of content are watched every single day. YouTube is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world after Google (Alexa Internet). And, whilst Netflix and Youtube may have paved the way for online video, there are now dozens of different streaming platforms from Disney+ to Apple TV, Now TV to Facebook Watch, TikTok, Instagram TV and Amazon Prime.

 

There’s huge money behind these platforms. Facebook will spend a “measly” $1 billion on video content this year compared to Amazon’s $4 billion spend last year and Netflix’s projected $8 billion spend for 2019 (Media Post). Also this year, Amazon and Netflix have said they will be investing in UK TV production, and will help to promote these shows on both platforms (Video News). However, the question is, will this bring traction to TV broadcasters or, will audiences be tuning into their SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) services to watch the shows? An Ofcom report released in the summer found that huge investment in original content by digital players has seen subscriptions to SVOD services in the UK overtake subscription to pay-TV services. Ofcom also found that last year that after a period of sustained growth, pay-TV subscription revenues fell in the UK for the first time, falling by 2.7 percent to £6.4 billion. Unsurprisingly as UK consumers turn their back on conventional television viewing in favour of subscription based streaming platforms, they also turn their back on advertising. TV advertising income fell significantly last year, declining seven percent year-on-year in real terms to £3.9 billion (Video News).

 

So what does this mean for brands who have, in the past relied on TV advertising to reach their customers? You guessed it, they’ve started to pump more and more of their budget into online advertising. Last year, digital advertising increased by 9.5% in the UK (emarketer) with video being the fastest growing medium. The exciting thing is that marketers looking to get an edge over their competitors are putting budget behind incredible branded content that is shining a spotlight on their products and services. Volvo, Heineken and Dove are not only running heavy hitting multi-channel campaigns with a hero piece of video content at it’s heart, but many like Patagonia, Red Bull and Nike are becoming publishers in their own right with Youtube channels that include regular, engaging video content that is enjoyed by millions of people.

 

As we, the consumer, become accustomed to subscription TV viewing, the days of sitting through 5 minutes of TV adverts seem like a distant memory. No surprise then, that we actively avoid spending time online in places where we are being hit with constant adverts. With Youtube releasing its own subscription service, it begs the question how long we will have to wait before Facebook, Instagram and other platforms follow suit? Moving forward, brands will have to work harder and harder to get their message seen by their audience and commissioning branded content will be one of the best ways to do that.

In today’s digital world, brands can now reach their customers with dozens of touch points from Google and Youtube to Facebook and Instagram. But there’s also a problem; with the proliferation of digital marketing, people are starting to become desensitised to online adverts – they’ve learnt how to tune out the digital ad noise.

 

As we move into the next decade of the 21st century, brands will have to work far harder to connect with their “audiences”. Conventional advertising won’t be enough. They will need to create educational, entertaining or informative content that puts their “audience-first” – putting the customer’s needs before the brand. Not only will this help them to compete for their customer’s attention, but it will also enable them to create a more meaningful relationship with their customers.

 

For consumers, this “Audience-First” video content will compete for their attention with TV programming and other forms of entertainment. The only difference is that the video content they love to watch online, will be powered by brands. For the Brands, the video content they provide will enable them to create a connection to their market and loyalty beyond anything they had experienced before.

 

A lot of major brands like Volvo, Patagonia and Red Bull already have Youtube channels dedicated to audience-first content. These include informative series about interesting people, places or topics that they know their audience will enjoy watching. Volvo run a documentary series called “Human Made Stories” looking at amazing people doing incredible things. Red Bull’s focus is on extreme sports; people snowboarding, mountain biking or surfing, where the only mention of Red Bull is a logo in the corner. And Patagonia do a series called  “Workwear” looking at craftspeople and workers doing interesting jobs. It’s not heavily branded and it’s video content that normal people love to watch.

 

So how do you get started with audience-first video content and how can you incorporate it into your own marketing strategy?

 

It’s firstly important to understand your demographic – their interests, their dislikes, their habits and their activities. You need to understand what sort of video content will resonate with them. It’s clear that a 25-year-old women in London may not enjoy watching the same content as a 50-year-old man in Leeds, unless they both share similar interests and passions. Once you’ve found a common thread to your customers, try to come up with ideas for video content that will resonate with them.

 

Social media platforms offer great tools to connect with customers and find out what they are interested by. Using Instagram stories you can directly ask your audience questions. By using “polls” or “ask me anything” tools, you can find out first hand what your audiences are interested in. So if you want inspiration for your first Youtube series then post the question on Instagram.

 

Audience-first content doesn’t have to be a massive production of documentaries or nation engaging stunts. It just has to be content that is made for your audience, whether that’s “how to videos”, interviews with experts, or recipe videos. At its core, Audience-first content should not be too heavily branded or advertorial. You need to make your audience forget there is any kind of branded message.

 

For more information on Audience-First content please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. We always encourage our clients to explore audience-first content as we see this as the future focus for brands.

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.

 

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.

10th May 2019 - Big Tips

Increase School Admissions with Video

15th May 2019 - Big Tips

Timeline of Online Video Streaming

7th May 2019 - Big Tips

Tv is Dead. Long Live Online Streaming

15th November 2018 - Big Tips

What is audience-first content?

4th November 2018 - Big Tips

3 Easy Steps to Get Sales with Video

26th October 2018 - Big Tips

How to Win Customers With Branded Content

16th January 2018 - Big Tips

9 tips for making a viral video.

7th December 2017 - Big Tips, Tips & Tricks

How much does a corporate video cost?

1st August 2017 - Tips & Tricks

5 TIPS FOR THE PERFECT ONLINE MARKETING VIDEO