All hail the power of video – Instagram joins the club

Cameraman at workThe word is out on TechCrunch that Instagram will add video on June 20th, bringing competition to Twitter’s Vine. While it’s still possible this is a deliberate misdirection by Facebook, it seems more reality than fib. Video is hot and it is a trend that will continue to grow as marketers fine-tune what content, length and channels are best for their audience. While some share just to share, there are plenty of others quietly busy figuring out what works in the world of commerce.

This is why would be easy to think that video is a consumer-facing channel. The first users of video platforms are typically not marketers but there’s an enormous growth of video in the B2C and B2B spaces as well. We now have video embedded in email and with higher click-through rates than text or images. The reason for video’s success is pretty simple…in a noisy world, video holds our attention.

Why video in B2B?

While B2C seems intuitive, B2C video use isn’t as obvious. There are, however, strong arguments to use video in the B2B marketplace from effectively generating an inbound lead to more quickly closing a deal. Video is a more engaging and rich format for making a point quickly and succinctly.

Beyond these, there are other excellent reasons to use video that include positioning your brand or product against the competition, building awareness for your brand or educating the market, and even to simply engage with your audience in a way that’s entertaining. Media Novak defines video’s allure very well in this way:

When users decide to press ‘play’, they are asking to be shown something — asking to be given the content in an integrated, multidisciplinary form — rather than digging through the content and exploring the meaning themselves. Video is therefore a different method of engaging audiences than image and text. With video, the experience of comprehension is more immediate, driven by the trio of story-telling elements available and the deterministic nature of the restricted timescale. The amount of information that can be displayed through one second of video vastly outnumbers the amount of information that can be read. This means the emotional response – the knee-jerk reaction – often comes before the full appraisal of the content or the comprehension of the meaning.

Choose your channel and message

Mark Walker in How to Use Video Content to Drive Awareness, Leads, and Sales: A Guide gives a great way to match audience, message and medium:

…imagine you’re having a conversation with your “perfect customer” at a trade show. How do you greet them, what do you talk to them about, and in what manner? This is roughly how your video should address that same “perfect customer.

That’s an excellent way to optimize a B2B video campaign, but the choices don’t stop there. There are a myriad of formats, tones and other finishing touches that make video just right for marketing’s purposes.

Size matters

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.43.51 AMSo how long should a video be? That’s the big question…too long is dull and no one finishes. Too short is ‘fluff’ and isn’t taken seriously as content. A report available on Forbes breaks it down and says, “Shorter isn’t necessarily better.”

There is a lot of conflicting “conventional wisdom” about what the ideal length of an online video is. On the one hand, video watchers have been attracted by quick video hits that don’t take a long time to digest—they’d rather watch segments of a speech than an entire speech from beginning to end. On the other, shifting video trends—in particular driven by the Web’s rise as an outlet for traditional broadcast media—has made viewers more accepting of longer-form Web viewing.

Asked about their preferred length of work-related videos, nearly half (47%) the senior executives in the survey said between 3-5 minutes.

Video is a powerful force for B2B marketing that can’t be ignored. While most video is currently recorded, expect to see more live streaming of events, presentations, and even lead generation. The world is getting noisier every day and video is an irresistible way to break through that noise to drive commerce in a highly scalable way.

Recommended reading:

Mark Walker’s How to Use Video Content to Drive Awareness, Leads, and Sales: A Guide

Forbes Video in the C-Suite: Executives Embrace the Non-Text Web

Software Advice 2012 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey

Content Marketing Institute B2B Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America

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Categories: Marketing

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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