The magic of video

Watching videos is one of the most popular pastimes among consumers today. In fact, it accounts for about 80% of all internet activity. So it’s no surprise that smart marketers are incorporating more video into their strategies, plans and tactics than ever before. If you’re new to video (or even if you’re not), there are many things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing videos—and your dollars. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.

Show Smiling Happy People

Consumers don’t like to buy from faceless companies, they like to buy from people. As online sales continue to increase, it’s more important than ever to associate a face (or faces) with your name. Using video helps provide a human element to your brand and allows prospective customers to get to know your business a little better. Seeing a person behind the brand enables you to tell a story. And we all love stories.

Add Video to Emails and Landing Pages

One way to improve email open rates, engagement and click-through rates is to add videos to your email marketing. Just adding the word “video” to subject lines increases open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribers by 26%, according to the video creation site Animoto.

While adding videos to emails does net some very impressive numbers, sometimes it can be challenging to include the actual videos in the email with some email providers. But all is not lost. You can always embed a thumbnail of your video in the email and then drive your audience to the landing page to view it. In fact, the increase in click-throughs by adding a video thumbnail to your email is an astounding 300%. The more engaging and relevant the thumbnail, the greater the chances of them clicking through (more on that in a minute). Then, once your audience is on the landing page, you’ll have an additional opportunity to provide a CTA to lead your prospects further down the funnel.

Make Your Thumbnails a Thumbs Up

Marketers spend so much time creating videos, they often overlook the one very important aspect that makes people click. The thumbnail. This is the first impression of your video and will appear on social media platforms, emails and your website so it’s important to make it speak to your audience.

Videos with engaging thumbnails can create a connection, spark curiosity, and are more likely to be played than those without. You don’t want to spend time and money creating something that no one will ever view, so it’s important to make your thumbnail engaging, relevant to its topic and your audience and most of all, true to your brand.

Keep in Mind Where it’s Being Played

Each social media platform has its own best practices when it comes to video. In order to ensure you get the most out of it wherever it’s being viewed, you’ll want to optimize your video for the specific platforms you’re using. This includes following best practices for aspect ratios, resolutions, video lengths and more. Find guidelines for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by clicking on their links.

You’ll also want to optimize for viewing on mobile devices. According to a recent study by Invesp, 75% of smartphone users open emails on their devices and 70% of them delete emails that aren’t mobile responsive. That’s why most marketers today have adopted a mobile-first mentality when it comes to creating video. Many people watch videos on their smartphones with the sound off. Be sure your videos don’t rely on sound and add subtexts and captions where needed.

Optimize for SEO 

We all know the importance of using keywords in blogs, articles and websites. But did you know they are equally as important in video titles, descriptions and tags? It’s true. Using the right keywords for your videos can help them rank better on search engines. Remember, people can’t watch what they can’t find so be sure to do a little research up front to determine the best keywords.

Keep Them Short and Sweet

Most Americans have less time and shorter attention spans than ever before. If you want to keep their attention, you’ll want to keep your videos short. Research shows that videos that are less than two minutes long will generate the most engagement—and the shorter the better. According to Wordstream, 33% of customers still stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45% by one minute and 60% by two minutes. Regardless of its length, be sure you let viewers know how long the video is upfront so they’re aware of how much time they’re committing to.

Ask Viewers to Do Something

If a viewer makes it to the end of your video, they already have a certain level of engagement. Capitalize on that by asking them to take your relationship to the next level. Whether it’s leaving a comment, going to your website or signing up for a newsletter, if you want them to do something, you have to ask. Just like you would do with printed and digital ads and emails, it’s important to include specific calls-to-action on your videos. While most CTAs are found at the end of videos, some marketers put them in other places throughout, including something called mid-roll CTAs—which, as you would expect, are in the middle of the video. This is something you can easily edit and test to see what gets the most response.

Make Videos Sharable

There are two ways to make sure your video gets out into the world. First make it sharable. Next, simply ask viewers to share it. It may sound simple, but you’d be surprised how much traction it will buy you. After all, over 90% of people who watch videos on their smartphones share them with their network. Sometimes you just have to remind them to do so.

Know When to go Native and When to Link Out

When it comes to sharing video, it’s not about choosing between native files or video links, it’s knowing when to use each. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: For social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s best to upload native video files directly to their sites. This approach provides the stopping power of having videos automatically play as visitors scroll past them. On the other hand, these native files aren’t typically the best choice for marketing emails and landing pages as the size of most of these files make page loads too slow. For these tactics, it’s best to add links to YouTube  or any other video search engine—allowing faster loads without sacrificing the quality of the video.

The Bottom Line

Using video to help market products and services has been gaining momentum over the past couple of years and it’s not looking to slow down any time soon. By adding video to your website, social pages, emails and landing pages, you can boost awareness, retention and engagement among your audience, all while boosting your bottom line.