Video is a powerful force in today's media landscape. YouTube receives more than 1 billion unique visitors each month, and many of those users are looking for content about their favorite products.
According to Google data, the number of shopping videos — such as product reviews, how-to's and "haul" videos that display a YouTuber's recent purchases — is growing. And this presents a huge opportunity for companies to create and share branded video content. While some brands have seamlessly incorporated digital video into their sales and marketing strategies, others still haven't mastered this increasingly popular medium. Experts debunked five common myths about video marketing, and offered their advice for making it work.
MYTH: View count is the only metric that matters.
TRUTH: Many brands make the mistake of believing that the only measure of success in a video campaign is how many views it gets. Lisa Green, head of industry for fashion and luxury at Google, noted that brands can get hung up on the myth of the viral video, and will therefore believe that the only hallmark of success is whether a campaign "goes viral."
"Views are only part of the story," Green told Business News Daily. "The true metric for success on YouTube is engagement. We look at the types of actions that your campaign is driving — are people watching your full video, going to your website, watching more content on your channel, searching for your brand? Views alone are a good way to drive brand awareness, but there's much more that you should consider when developing your campaign."
Russ Somers, vice president of marketing at visual commerce company Invodo, agreed: "The industry is still very much defined by ad metrics. [This is] good at the top of the sales funnel, but as somebody works down the funnel, they don't measure ... which elements in the video are driving sales and heightened interest. [Brands] know people are watching but not much more, so they're blind to the ROI." [4 Ways to Create Online Video Ads That Work]
MYTH: Content is irrelevant, as long as the video looks great.
TRUTH: Content matters, and it matters a lot. The number of videos available on the Web today continues to skyrocket, and like all other forms of marketing, your campaign needs to cut through the noise and grab people's attention.
"Content is first and most important [in video]," said Matt Heiman, co-founder and CEO of online video production company Diagonal View. "Content engages people. [You need to] make it attractive to the audience to incentivize them [to buy]. We have clients who get that, and others who say, 'Make a pretty video.' We know quickly who's going to deliver value."
MYTH: Branded online videos should mimic commercials.
TRUTH: The most successful brands on YouTube think of themselves as content creators, and aim to serve audience needs rather than simply trying to sell, said Green. She named L'Oreal's Destination Beauty channel as an example of how brands can use video to their advantage: The channel incorporates content from many of the top beauty creators on YouTube, with tutorial videos that show how to use L'Oreal's products to create a look.
"YouTube is a platform where you can reach viewers in a way that's much less like a 30-second commercial and more like a regular video that they seek out and choose to watch," Green said. "It's a place where brands can really have conversations with their audiences, rather than just [sending] a one-way message."
MYTH: No one reads the video descriptions.
TRUTH: Annotations and video descriptions are actually a huge source of user engagement, Heiman said. Including a link to purchase the product in your video description or embedded annotation provides a convenient call-to-action that can drive click-through rates and sales conversions.
"Descriptions are powerful," Heiman said. "People are willing [to buy] what they see on YouTube."
MYTH: Video is just a conversion medium.
TRUTH: This may have been true in the past, but today, businesses use video at every stage of the sales process. Somers said that marketers used to focus on getting videos onto product pages to increase conversion. While this tactic still works, video can be even more effective when you deploy it on social media, on your home page and even in your store.
"There's a big opportunity to visually show products to consumers," Somers said. "[Brands] are starting to understand that video isn't just an advertising or conversion-driving medium, but the best way to communicate [product] features along the full customer journey."
Originally published on Business News Daily.