Why video content flops and how to make sure your video drives the ROI you need

consulting strategy Aug 15, 2019

Video content is powerful, right?  We’ve read the blogs, watched the videos, consumed the reports and listened to the podcasts.  We’ve seen the success stories and we know how much of an emphasis social channels are putting on 'the most engaging form of communication', so why is it that most video content flops?  Why is it so hard to get your videos seen, engaged with and driving an ROI? Grab a coffee and let’s find out what you can do to start driving the ROI your content deserves.

Okay, so if you’ve been creating video content, you know it’s an investment in terms of both time and money.  Quality video doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth it with the results it’s going to return, surely? However, with social channels, technology and best-practice evolving on what seems to be a daily basis, it’s very difficult to know what type of video you need to create, where it should be placed and, most importantly, how to drive and report on the ROI.  There’s nothing more demoralising than creating a beautiful video (or series of videos), uploading them and then seeing no ... engagement ... at ... all.

You only have to look at developments in the last couple of years to become totally overwhelmed by the challenge.  YouTube was the way to go, definitely!  Then Facebook up’d their video game.  Zuckerburg was mad for it!  Then it was short-form vertical video on Snapchat.  A few weeks later you needed to get those vertical videos on Instagram Stories, but then you needed to make it longer as IGTV was launched.  Then YouTube started rewarding long-form content, which took us back to horizontal, but then it was back to Facebook for Live video … and Instagram, of course.  Then LinkedIn joined the party (very well, btw).  But what about Twitter?  Snapchat disappeared off the face of the earth … and came back again stronger than before.  And that’s just the channels … what about the formats?  Widescreen, Square, Vertical?  360-video?  Interactive video?  Personalised video?  Short form versus long form?  Talking heads, animated infographics, explainer videos?  Remember the animated whiteboard videos? SMH.

With so much developing, it’s no wonder that more and more marketers are reporting the struggle in getting their video content to cut through.  And with 87% of marketers using video as a marketing tool in one form or other, it feels as though the various channels are becoming saturated with video.  In a recent survey, 90% of marketers told Hubspot that they feel the level of competition and noise has increased over the past year and now the emphasis is on creating great video content, instead of just creating video content.

But the challenge isn’t stopping today’s marketers.  99% of marketers already using video say that they will continue in the year ahead, with 88% planning to increase spend.  And a staggering 74% of those that aren’t using video expect to start in the next 12 months.  The results of the survey are unsurprising really, as 87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2019 and beyond.

So the challenge to marketing professionals today is to create standout content that peaks their audience’s interest and engages from the off.  But then we’re back at the start again … how exactly does one do that?

Okay, stop.  Let’s take a look at why people are reporting their video content just isn’t cutting the mustard.  Another recent survey showed the following reasons for unsuccessful video content.

    • 47% = Lack of budget
    • 45% = Lack of internal resource
    • 45% = Unable to compel
    • 27% = Unable to attribute ROI
    • 26% = Lack of management buy-in

Interesting, right?  You can relate? They're all very valid reasons?  Well, not really.

With all of the above considered, if you think that you’re going to return a ten-fold ROI just from creating video, well, quite frankly, you’re in dreamland.  If we were going to summarise all of the above excuses into one giant failure bucket, we’d slap a big sticker on that bucket that reads: ‘No Strategic Approach’.

So if you’re creating video off the back of a gut-feel, with no strategic approach or consideration, there’s a high probability that your video content will flop!

We’ve seen incredible results with our customers over the past few years and the number one reason that their content has done so well is because of the video content strategy that was developed and gave them all the answers to the Who, What, Where, When and How's.

So, how can you ensure your video drives an ROI?  Well, here are some key things to consider and implement when you are planning your next video project.

  1. Do not start with a creative idea.  Rid your mind of any creative idea and come back to this once you’ve done your research.
  2. Write down your key objective.  Why are you even setting out on this journey and what are you hoping to achieve?  Make sure it is a SMART goal and have it there to constantly refer back to. It’s important to understand where your content is going to sit in terms of the buyer journey.
  3. Understand your audience.  Dive into your audience personas, or develop them.  Understand who your audience is, where they spend their time, what content do they engage with, who are they influenced by?  Your video has to align to their interests - not to yours!
  4. Identify the delivery channels.  Now you know your audience, identify the channels that you will be creating video for.  This could be social channels, email, messenger, WhatsApp, your website, or wherever you have uncovered that they are.  Then understand the best practices and capabilities for those channels, which will help you in the next step.
  5. Figure out what internal resources are available to you.  Then designate them roles.  Who is going to be responsible for what?  And make sure you’ve got someone who can ensure everything flows smoothly!
  6. Confirm your budget.  Make sure you’ve know what budget you have to play with - both in terms of production and promotion!
  7. Develop your creative.  Now you have outlined the parameters of your video content, only now do you start thinking about the creative and content flow.  You should have a good idea at this stage of what kind of style of video is required, the lengths of the various pieces of content that you will create and the messaging within them.  Make sure you are fully utilising the capabilities of the delivery channels that you have decided upon and remember, it’s very rarely just a case of a single video for a single purpose.
  8. Firm up your Call to Action for each video.  This depends on what stage of the buyer journey your audience are, but ensure that you are crystal clear with what you want them to do at the end of each video.
  9. Prep for ROI.  Get your reports ready and make sure that you have everything set up to ensure you are able to attribute success (Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn Insight Tag, Cookies, UTM’s etc.)  We’re going to cover this off in detail in a blog very soon, so stay tuned! This is also the stage in which you plan your activation strategy. Again, we’ll cover this off in more detail at a later date!
  10. Optimise for the channel.  Make sure your video content is optimised for the channel that you are using.  Concentrate on things like captions, titles, sub-titles, description, pop-ups, codecs etc..  You want your video to be found and engaged with, so play by the rules of each channel.  They'll love you (or your video) for it!
  11. Activate that content!  Now’s the time to get your content seen.  Execute upon your activation plan and remember to engage with those engaging with your content!
  12. Update the reports and review.  Collect the key data that you identified earlier and drop it into your own report.  It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to automate this, as each of the channels will have their own reports, so we suggest updating your own on a weekly basis.

These are just a few tips.  If you'd like to develop a bullet-proof video content strategy, we'd love to walk you through our ten-step framework to ensure you get the results that you've read, watched and listened about!  You can get in contact with us here.

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