The modern internet user loves videos. Whether you use metrics or anecdotal evidence, there is ample proof that proves this idea. And it’s not just YouTube anymore – that website is practically a dinosaur in terms of how long it’s been around. Today, modern consumers are using apps like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat to view and create their own videos, and thanks to the popularity of smartphones, shooting video has never been easier. When you consider how advanced smartphones have become, the quality of those videos is often excellent as well.
But despite the love affair with online moving pictures, many companies have struggled to utilize the video format properly. One major part of the problem is the need to be entertaining – when a person reads an article or a blog post, they are perfectly satisfied with straightforward information. But when they view a video, they are consenting to provide their full attention to something for minutes at a time. In 2015, that’s asking a lot from our ADD society; therefore, they’re looking to be entertained by videos. Being strictly informative is no longer enough.
If you need further proof, look at the most popular videos on YouTube at any given moment. As of this writing, five of the top 10 most popular videos on YouTube today are comedic in nature, and two others are live song performances.
And because shooting video is easier than ever, the world is full of amateur Wes Andersons and Coen brothers. In the past, it was remarkable enough for your website to have any videos at all. Now, because video is such a mainstay part of our society (with entire TV shows focusing on internet videos), everyone has to step their game up.
Providing value to your audience
So what can we learn from this information? A similar lesson that inbound marketers have already known for a while: you have to give the visitors something valuable, something interesting. You need to create something that’s going to bring them in. Accomplishing this with a blog post is easy by comparison, because you just need to put some helpful facts and/or tips together in a coherent format. But accomplishing the same thing with a video is much more challenging, because you’ve got to be clever, funny, thought-provoking or artistic, and most of us didn’t go to art or film school.
Understanding the taste of the modern consumer
Another challenge for producing video in 2015 is trying to discern what will resonate with your audience. Because the internet is one of the few things everyone in the world shares, you never know what will become the next viral “hit” or popular video. For example, would you have guessed that a slightly out-of-sync back-up dancer dressed as a blue shark would become one of the most famous videos of 2015? This anonymous dancer for Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime performance was a sensation, inspiring memes, T-shirts and even a “This is Sportscenter” commercial. It can be very difficult to predict what people are going to like.
Using video for your marketing efforts
So is this the year that marketers finally conquer video? Only if they can understand how to utilize it properly. If you’d like to accomplish this in your own business, then strive to do what I detailed above: be entertaining. Yes, it’s probably going to be difficult, but all it takes is one viral video to change everything.
Therefore, you should take risks. Embrace the weird, quirky side of the internet and strive to delight your audience above all else. It doesn’t matter if your video has very little to do with your business or your products/services – how many times have you seen a commercial that had nothing to do with the product being sold? I bet you still remembered the commercial, though. Approach videos the same way you approach inbound marketing: provide something of value to your potential customers first, then worry about completing the sale later.