Last Sunday my washing machine broke down. And for a family with young children, a washing machine is right up there with shelter and food in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
As the shops are closed on Sundays in the Netherlands, I turned to the Internet to look for a new one. And because I wasn't very satisfied with my old brand, I was looking for another with similar features but (hopefully) better quality. Within minutes I was completely lost in washing cycles, special programs, and all the other fancy features washing machines have nowadays. I clicked picture after picture, trying to enlarge to see the controls, with little success. But I was saved by video. I came across a site that shows a video of each of the products they sell — how they work, what they do, the control panel, explaining what the fancy features mean, and so on. This information, together with the price, helped me decide which washing machine to buy (at that site, of course).
When I picked online video content marketing for my inaugral Forrester research report I knew it was a hot topic and an area of growing interest for interactive marketers. But even I was surprised when our data identified that for consumers branded online video content is as engaging as display advertising (read the report for more on this data).
I can guarantee that if I got a group of interactive marketers together in a room and asked for a show of hands comparing how many have a display strategy vs. how many have an online video content strategy, the display hands would vastly out number the video content hands. Seeing the levels of consumer engagement for video outlined in our research (and these days it's all about engagement right?) will hopefully make many brands start to sit up and take the medium seriously.
But how to use online video content?
When you talk to marketers who use video online it can feel a little more art than science. People enthuse that video "can work better than text" but struggle to validate or quantify how that can be. And most successful viral marketers seem to rely on gut instinct to create the next social video hit. No wonder the majority of marketers stay in the pay-to-display area of online video, never exploring content itself.