Sydney Morning Herald
Which emerging marketing tool is generating really big bucks?Ben Angel says online video has contributed to the success of his business.
Branding expert Ben Angel never imagined a virtual replica of himself would dramatically boost his business revenue.
But when Angel starred in his online videos and installed them on his website, sales skyrocketed. “My business does six figures per year and I would say 80 to 90 per cent of that is because of the videos on my site,” he says.
Now when prospective clients go to Angel’s site, they are greeted by Angel, who appears at the bottom of the screen. He says this virtual meeting creates a connection with potential customers. “In the kind of industry I’m in, social media is the main distractor and a lot of people tend to shut off, but with video they have a connection to the person and that makes all the difference in the world.”
Hailed as the most effective way of engaging customers and converting online traffic to revenue, online video marketing is now more common than ever. Short “how-to” or “intro” clips on websites are becoming increasingly popular as businesses try to capture the attention of time-poor customers. A survey of more than 1000 online shoppers by online ad platform Invodo in April found 44 per cent were more likely to buy products after viewing online video ads.
A separate study by ecommerce research firm comScore found a website with video will hold the viewer’s attention for two minutes longer than a website without video. David Griffiths, managing director of compliance company CompliSpace, says online video marketing is a fast-growing trend that his business could not ignore.
“Everyone expects it, which sounds like a rash generalisation, but statistics show YouTube is the second biggest search engine and an hour of online video is consumed per head, per month,” he says. “I think it’s about understanding people’s expectations and how they expect to be communicated with.” Mark Blair, vice president of media solutions for US-based video platform Brightcove, says the surging popularity of online marketing has lowered production costs.
“More companies are creating video content and I think we’ll see future growth in that space because everybody’s got the opportunity to be a digital broadcaster,” he says. Simplicity and affordability have made online videos a common feature for many businesses, which no longer have to rely on redirecting users to YouTube.
By keeping users engaged, Blair says there is a higher chance of converting them to customers.“YouTube is a shared environment and at the end of your content, the customer is going to see it next to a competitor’s content,” he says. Online videos can be educational or instructional, explain how a product works, used for staff training or sold to customers on a pay-per-view basis.
Sydney-based parenting business Dunstan Baby sells videos that help mums and dads interpret their baby’s cries. British supermarket Waitrose created its own cooking channel as a way of attracting customers, while Hoover’s instructional tutorials have eliminated the need to employ support staff at an off-shore call centre. An underlying benefit to using online videos is enhancing search engine optimisation. By using keywords on titles and tags, videos can drive more traffic to websites.
Blair says the success of online video marketing boils down to online users having less time to pour through text. “People are much more happy to watch video content than spending time reading,” Blair says.
This was the main reason the team behind Tapestry, a social media app for seniors, installed an explanatory video on their homepage. “It’s hard to explain the concept so we put together a video which tried to capture who we are and what we do,” founder Andrew Dowling says. “We put a pilot video together to brief a production company, but the response to that video was so positive we’ve struck with it for now.” The video lasts two minutes and 16 seconds, and Dowling says that’s all the time some customers need to be persuaded to delve further. “Text is time-consuming, you really need to lean in and concentrate,” he says.
“Video is a sit-back experience where you have to commit just seconds of your time.”