In 2004, a group of young entrepreneurs launched a new business selling wearable cameras and related HD gadgets for weekend athletes. They called themselves GoPro. Over the next decade, the new company grew, but at a frustratingly slow pace. Then, in 2013, all that changed—not because they invested more in marketing, but because of an unconscious kitten—and a video.
Early that year, a volunteer firefighter in Fresno California got the call to rescue that kitten. He just happened to be wearing a GoPro camera at the time. Someone watched the resulting video and posted it to YouTube, where it quickly grabbed more than 1.5 million views. GoPro’s marketing team recognised the opportunity. They edited the raw footage, creating one of the most successful YouTube videos ever, “Fireman Saves Kitten.” That kitten got famous fast, and so did GoPro. The next year, annual sales jumped more than 50%, and the company’s IPO valuation climbed to more than $3 billion.
That’s the power of video.
By the Numbers: Video Content Works Better—Period
When you do it right, video is arguably the most powerful, effective and persuasive content in which you can invest. Consider this sampling of head-turning metrics from Hubspot:
- Landing pages that include videos have 80% higher conversion rates
- People are 64% more likely to purchase a product or service when an ad includes a video
- Emails with embedded videos get click-through rates 200-300% higher than those which don’t
- Real estate companies that use videos in their listings get 40% more calls
So, Businesses Just Need to Start Churning out Videos, Right?
Wrong. Some videos work better than others—a lot better. The ones that work are aligned with specific marketing objectives. They understand their audience and know how to connect with them emotionally—and they manage to do something unexpected to get their viewers’ attention, and to keep it.
If you want to create the kind of engaging video content that helps you meet your goals, you need to do (at least) these 3 things:
- You Need to Get People’s Attention
Remember the old saw about the guy who buys a mule? The owner tells him the mule will do exactly what he tells is to—but it doesn’t. It won’t pull a cart, or bear a burden, or even walk. When he complains, the former owner says, “Oh, I forget to tell you one other thing.” He walks up to the mule and hits it in the noggin with a two-by-four. The mule complies, like right away. The former owner tells him, “I forget to tell you: first you have to get his attention.”
That’s also true of videos. They need to get viewers’ attention, right away, like in the first 10 seconds. That’s because there’s a lot of video content out there—this year, for example, video will make up 74% of all online traffic. To get people’s attention, you need to give them something they didn’t expect.
Take a look at Google Android’s highly-successful “Friends Furever” video. It’s a simple idea—a bunch of animals doing surprising things, like a chimp riding a stallion and a parrot feeding spaghetti to a dog. It works because it’s not what viewers expect—it’s different, in other words. It also integrates seamlessly with the Android brand, which is of course all about shared experiences.
- You Need to Engage People Emotionally
People justify their purchases based on logic—but they make those purchases based on emotion. Think of the shiny new convertible in your neighbor’s driveway. He’ll tell you he bought it because of great gas mileage, a roomier trunk and new safety features—but you know he bought it to make himself feel a little younger, or maybe even to make you feel a little envious.
The best videos grab their audience with emotion. Emotion is the great leveler—it creates a bond between you and prospective customers, a bond based on trust and credibility. That’s why Dawn dishwashing liquid’s video series about saving wildlife covered in oil worked so well. The concept could never have been so effectively articulated through text or static images—it’s the way moving images and music come together in video to engage the viewer that explains why Dawn’s sales increased for 52 consecutive weeks following the release of the first in their video series.
- You Need to Do More with Less
When it comes to video, less is more. Among the most common mistakes in video production is videos that are too long. When asked how long videos should be, Yoav Hornung, an award-winning filmmaker, answered “as short as possible.” The “perfect” length of your video depends on what kind of video it is, but according to Hornung, 2 minutes is generally sufficient to say what you need to say. If you do it right, those 2 minutes can convey more than long blogs, eBooks or white papers.
Facebook understood this simple concept when they launched their “video tips” series, which showed users how to do various things on their site. For example, this tip on how to use Facebook stickers is only 20 seconds long, but it gets its message across—without any excess, and sticking to just the essentials.
It’s an Art and It’s a Science—But It’s Generally Not a DIY
Video production is a lot like professional athletics—the best in the business make it look easy. It’s not easy. There’s a reason some videos work so much better than others: the ones that work are produced by professionals who know what they’re doing, who understand end-to-end video production, along with digital and social media strategy. They can ply those skills to create memorable video moments for your business, the kind that generate views, clicks, shares, conversions and sales—the kind in other words that help you achieve your primary business objectives.
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- Set a Winning Content Strategy
- Effectively Nurture Your Inbound Leads
- Amplify Content through Social Media
- Create Engaging Video Content
- Meet Customer Goals and Maximise Conversions