In 2013, my startup raised almost $600,000 in a highly successful crowdfunding campaign. People have asked me why we were successful. Was it the idea itself? Was it the timing? To this day, I believe the answer to this question was the video I created for the campaign.

With increasing competition in the display advertising space, the pressure is on marketers to optimize the ROI from other parts of their marketing strategies. Too many folks overlook video advertising, assuming it's too expensive to produce or the return won't justify the spend. Yet if you look at the data below, you'll notice that video marketing is not only effective, it's more accessible than you might think.

Research has found that certain types of video content work better than others, adding further proof that video advertising is effective, and growing quickly. Here's a look at the data supporting video marketing and how best to capitalize on the opportunity.

Video's role in marketing

Video marketing has blown up in recent years, and it's imperative for brands to explore the marketing channel. Consider these data points.

  1. In 2017, YouTube claimed that they have over 1.5 Billion monthly subscribers. That demonstrates just how many people in the world are regularly watching video.
  2. In their report, State of Video for Business in 2017, Wistia examined over 59 million videos and found that 52% of videos uploaded were less than 3 minutes. This shows that videos don't require big productions or costs.
  3. According to Ooyala's Q2 2018 Global Video Index, mobile devices accounted for 62% of all video starts. This shows how video is reaching mobile users.
  4. HubSpot's "The State of Video Marketing in 2019" noted that 81% of businesses used video for their marketing efforts in 2018, which was up 63% from 2017.

Main conclusions from the data

As a result of this data, marketers should pay attention to the following conclusions.

  1. Cost doesn't define results. Video advertising success does not rely solely on how much money you spend on production. Our original video cost less than $5,000 from start to finish. According to founder Michael Dubin, Dollar Shave Club's viral video also cost less than $5,000, and has over 26 million views on YouTube. Wistia, and their data, suggests that over-polished and expensive videos can actually disconnect the viewer from the brand or product. If you want to connect with users, create a video that feels real and is authentic to you and your brand.
  2. Don't solely rely on Facebook's view metrics to determine results. In conducting their research, Wistia discovered that Facebook's "video view" metric doesn't hold much meaning in isolation. This is critical to consider since so many marketing teams and agencies rely on metrics like Cost Per View to gauge their return. You should be focusing on impact, and sales, not just on an ad's CPV. To explain further, consider how auto-play affects views on a mobile device. When you skim by a video while scrolling down your feed, the video will automatically play and can count as a view, even though you might not be paying attention or even watch the video for any material amount of time. This doesn't constitute real impact or engagement. Therefore, it's important to include numerous other metrics when assessing video ad campaign results. 
  3. YouTube and Facebook have distinct advantages to leverage video advertising. As a marketer, it's important to understand that certain platforms are better for certain goals or outcomes. Wistia's video advertising research shows that YouTube was ideal for driving Cost Per Installs, while Facebook was better for increasing overall brand awareness. In terms of Cost Per Install, YouTube has a "TrueView for Action" format. It includes a specific "call to action" and only charges if audiences watch at least 30 seconds of the video ad, or 100% of the video if the ad is shorter. This prioritizes engagement versus impressions. In contrast, Facebook features a wider range of video ad formats, which can lead to greater brand awareness by increasing the total views. This approach prioritizes volume and impressions over engagement.

How to make a great video or campaign

The key to an effective video campaign is combining content with advertising strategy. Write and produce your video so it is authentic and compelling. Don't try to copy others. Be yourself, be true to your brand voice and be true to your audience. Your focus in pre-production should be the script, the feeling, theme, narrative and emotional connection.

In many cases, it can help to hire professionals to guide you through this process. Not everyone is a creative and professionals can help you create a video that unifies audience, voice and intent. We hired a creative director and an agency for our second video shoot, and it was very effective in telling our story through video.

Next, create an advertising strategy that will align the goals of the video with the right audience. If you aren't experienced, it helps to engage professionals that specialize in video marketing. Don't assume that any online marketer can excel with video. A big part of their role will be in analyzing feedback from viewers and data from the ad platform (Facebook, YouTube, etc).

Final Word

Data shows that the increase in video marketing likely stands to continue. Marketers (and brands) should be developing skills in video production to create videos that stand out amidst millions and millions of other videos. If you can't do this in-house, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Video is much more complicated than creating text display ads and a professional with the playbook can make all the difference. If you're going to invest in video, then do it right. The results can incredible.

Published on: Feb 25, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.