Online Video Is No Longer Nice To Have

Online video is no longer nice to have, it’s now a necessary requirement for  to connect with your audience and engage with your customers across the internet. Whilst online videos did exist in the days pre-YouTube, they were far more scarce and way less sophisticated than they are today. Fast forward to 2015 and the cost of producing video has fallen dramatically and there are now a multitude of options available for both distributing and publishing your video content on the internet. 

The first online video broadcast was a proof of concept by Marc Weiser of Xerox PARC. Marc was also a member of rock band Severe Tire Damage who wanted to trial a broadcast of one of the band’s songs using live streaming, a burgeoning technology in 1993.

As the Internet becomes increasingly visual, this means there is now more video content viewed, shared and published than ever before. If you believe YouTube’s own statistics, 300 hours of video is uploaded to their servers every minute meaning both users and businesses alike are now sitting in the most densely populated video landscape in the short history of the internet.

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So why has video become the standard for communicating online and why should your business be getting in on the action?

VIDEO IS VISUAL

The great thing about video is you don’t have to tell customers what you do, showing them and putting a face to your business is a great way to build trust and convey credibility. However, just because video is a visual medium, its effectiveness transcends simply creating pretty pictures; by placing video on your website, visitors are closer to your calls to action which means your video has a significant opportunity to influence your sales.

According to Tubular Insights (formerly Reel SEO) ‘34 percent of apparel shoppers are more likely to purchase after viewing an online video ad, versus 16 percent after watching an ad on TV’.

VIDEO IS GREAT FOR SEO

Competing for eyeballs online demands a lot of time and creativity. Video is one of the most effective ways to attract visitors to your website and keeping them there for longer. According to Marketing Sherpa websites featuring video have seen a ‘157% increase in organic traffic from search engines’ and by positioning a well made video towards the top of your landing page, you can significantly reduce your bounce rates too.

Bounce rate is ‘the percentage of visitors who navigate away from a website after viewing only one page’. If your website achieves lowers bounce rates, then search engines will deem your site to be of greater value, resulting in better organic search traffic and reduced costs for online adverts. For some really great tips on how to reduce your bounce rates then take a look at this fantastic blog post by Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor on Search Engine Journal.

VIDEO IS MOBILE FIRST

According to Rebecca Murtagh of Search Engine Watch, in early 2014, mobile devices (including tablets) overtook desktop computers for internet usage for the first time – a landmark moment.

In April of this year, as a reflection of the importance of ‘mobile-first’, Google is set to begin penalising websites which aren’t optimised for mobile devices. If you don’t have a responsive website, now would be a good time to build one. This is also important to know for anyone utilising video. According to eMarketer, ‘more than 77% of all tablet users watch video programming on their devices at least monthly.’

GREAT VIDEO ENTERTAINS, EDUCATES AND INSPIRES

2015 is shaping up to be another interesting year for online video, especially within social media. Video is directly linked to storytelling which by its very nature is emotionally charged. The ability to entertain, educate and inspire, are the very ingredients required to create organic engagement in social media, things such as Likes, Comments and Shares. Placing the right kind of emotive video into social media is the cornerstone of any viral video strategy.

You may have noticed adverts in your Facebook feed which invite you to upload your videos directly to Facebook as opposed to embedding a video from YouTube or other video hosting service. This is because Facebook now prioritises video hosted on its own network over content embedded from elsewhere. This is obviously important to know if your business intends on targeting users on this particular channel.

According to figures quoted in ADWeek, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines published their latest video to YouTube as well as Facebook. The video on YouTube received 300,000 views compared with 350,000 views on Facebook.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF ONLINE VIDEO

YouTube has become synonymous with online video however for any millennials reading this, video had a place online long before Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, three ex PayPal employees joint forces to create YouTube.

During the mid-nineties there was stiff competition between Microsoft’s Active Movie Media Player, Real Networks’ Real Player and Apple’s QuickTime Player. By the early 2000’s the competition between the various streaming formats meant that users now had installed on their computers different players for viewing videos from different providers – those of you who remember this will also remember how frustrating it was. It wasn’t until 2002 when Adobe’s Flash Player rose to prominence that the dependency on the different players began to diminish.

In 2005 YouTube would begin to cast a long shadow over the internet. Launched on Valentine’s Day 2005, the first ever video was published over a month later on April 23rd by co-founder Jawed Karim entitled, Meet at the zoo.

Jawed Karim published the first ever video to YouTube on Saturday April 23rd 2005.

In October of the same year Apple released the video iPod ushering in an era of video as a portable medium.

2006 was an epochal year for online video due to Google’s acquisition of YouTube. The search giant paid $1.65 billion for YouTube which single-handedly brought to a close an era where online video went from being the domain of tech-obsessed video bloggers to a mainstream mode of communicating accross the internet.

Between 2006 and 2009 the rise in demand for smart phones and the arrival of various video streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu would push the technology for streaming video forward in leaps rather than baby steps.

By the end of 2009, Apple and Google had both released smartphones capable of recording and viewing online video over a cellular network (the iPhone 3Gs and the Google Droid). According to research performed by Ofcom, average internet speeds across the UK in April 2009 reached 4.1 Mbit/s which was paltry compared to10 Mbit/s which was the average by May of the following year. By now both the technology and the cultural understanding was in place for video to grow into an online phenomenon.

HOW TO MEASURE YOUR VIDEO CONTENT

A common mistake made by many video creators is to use view count as a means of defining the success of their video. Unless your objective is to increase the visibility of your business, a high view count can be rather misleading or worse still, dangerously flattering.

Depending on your strategy for using video, the most valuable metrics for video published in social media is how often the video receives Comments and/or Shares, not how many Likes it gathers as these can be handed out rather casually.

YouTube is by far the most common video hosting service and its ties with Google Search results makes it a very compelling answer to the question, ‘where shall I host my videos?’ however these search returns will direct your audience to YouTube rather than your website or landing page.

It is also worth considering whether or not your content breaches the Terms of Service for free video hosting solutions such as YouTube. If your content is considered to be overly promotional it runs the risk of being in breach of the Terms of Service so you should be diligent before deciding that your video belongs there. You can find the YouTube Terms of Service HERE and the Vimeo Terms of Service HERE.

Whilst YouTube’s video analytics are quite phenomenal, other services provide a variety of options which offer more business focused analytics. Wistia and TwentyThree both offer deep insights into how well your videos are performing including the ability to add forms to your videos, know who is watching your videos, know how much of your video the viewer watched and also where your viewers are watching your videos (both geographically and on which sites).

This is really powerful if you wanted to measure the effectiveness of an email campaign. Next time you run an email campaign with embedded video, try performing an A/B split where you embed the same video on two services, one using YouTube and another using say, Wistia, then compare the quality of the insights. The insights from Wistia will likely be far more valuable for scoring your leads than the same views from the YouTube embed.

One of the most common mistakes we have encountered occurs when businesses create videos which attempt to cover too much material in a short space of time. The average attention span for online video resides around the 2 minute mark; best practice is to keep your videos under three minutes and try to focus in on one subject in more detail rather than cramming as much information as possible into a short space of time.

Online video has become a necessity – the chances are your competitors are already producing video which means they will be getting a lot of love from search engines and viewers alike.

The best start you can make is to hire a professional video production agency such as Element 26 to produce your video content. Videos made by amateurs will most likely fall into the category of user-generated content (UGC) which is proven to be ineffectual when compared to professionally produced videos.Professionally produced video optimized for eCommerce outperforms user-generated video (UGC video) by 30%’  – Comscore. To begin producing effective video content for your business, Complete Our Easy to Follow Online Form Today.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

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