Watch: Here Are Three Ways To Use Video To Increase Conversion Rates
There’s no doubt that video is a powerful way to deliver your brand message. But when is the right time to use video? And how can you use it to convert customers? Tyler Lessard, the Chief Video Strategist at Vidyard, breaks down three ways you can use video to generate more leads for your business. We spoke with Lessard in more detail about the compelling reasons to use this format, the specific factors to consider when investing in video, and the future of content creation.
Shivan: Tyler, thank you for chatting with me. I want to start by asking: What are the compelling reasons to use video?
Tyler: There are two sides to it, which I think is really interesting. One is the expectations of your audience because in today’s world people expect to be able to learn. They expect to be able to engage with brands. They expect to be able to consume information in a variety of different ways: text-based, visuals, infographics, videos, podcasts. If we’re not present in those different formats, we may be missing big opportunities to engage our audience in different ways that they prefer and that is going to be more impactful for them. So, first and foremost, it is just an expected format for audiences that we need to be a part of if we want to meet them where they’re at in today’s world.
On the other side, for us as marketers and businesses, video affords us a greater opportunity to connect with people on a more personal and emotional level because of how we process visual and audible information compared to static text and others. It gives us the chance to create bigger narratives and connect on a more personal level. You can transmit a lot more information in a two to three-minute video than you can in text-based content that somebody will read for 10 or 15 minutes. So, it helps us explain ideas more clearly by using visuals, by using intonation, and by using storytelling methods to better engage our audiences.
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Shivan: You’ve previously spoken about the 4E’s of video. Can you explain what they are?
Tyler: I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what makes video more compelling specifically than static information. I ended up sort of boiling it down to this idea of the 4E’s of video, which I think of as video’s unique attributes compared to static content. The first is that it is more educational. It’s because of how our brains process visual and audible information and our ability to understand things when we see them visually. This is why video can be just such an important part of any business of how we show customers what it is that we offer and how we can help.
The second E is: it’s more engaging than static content. We’re drawn to motion, we’re drawn to the human face. We’re drawn to eye contact with people as a way to engage in a story, to seek out trustworthy information.
The third is that it can be more emotional than static content. Video affords us the opportunity to create experiences that make people smile, that make them laugh, that inspire, that create concern or whatever type of emotion we’re trying to pull on. We all know as marketers that video is the best way to do that. So even very simple educational videos can spark emotion, which could be things like inspiration or motivation because when they see something and how it’s done in a visual way that can really draw them in. So that emotional connection becomes very important.
The fourth E is it can be more empathetic than static content. It gives us the ability to communicate with people in much more natural language, to talk to them as peers and as somebody who is genuinely there to help them and show our empathy with our body language, our intonation, and our approach.
Shivan: How do you know when to use video versus any other format?
Tyler: That’s a great question and there’s no right or wrong answer. It really does depend on your audience, on the kinds of content, and information that you’re producing. But my recommendation would be to come back to those ideas of what video is really good at. So, there are times when you’re trying to educate your audience. Let’s say if we take a traditional content marketing team in a business-to-business organization that has traditionally been writing blog posts. The goal is to educate audiences. But often you’ll want to pause and think, “Would a video better help somebody understand the topic if I’m trying to teach them or walk them through some information?” The second is, if it is something where I am trying to really spark a sense of interest, of urgency, of an emotional connection with an audience to drive some kind of action. So if it is a major campaign that you’re running, it may be a launch for a new product or service. You want to think through, “How do I want my audience to react to this? Will it be worthwhile to try to create that spark of excitement?” If so, you really want to think about, “Is there a way I could use video to bring this to life, to draw them into a story?”
Shivan: You’ve said that video is not just an advertising medium anymore: It’s now become an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy. When did this shift occur?
Tyler: That’s a great question. We’ve known as marketers and as business leaders for a long time that video is impactful, which is why companies, particularly in consumer markets would invest a significant amount of money in television commercials and so on. But until recently, it was not that accessible. You need a significant level of expertise, which then typically requires you to outsource it to a production agency. Therefore, traditionally it was reserved to be used maybe a few times a year where you would spend a significant amount of budget to produce these videos. And you wanted to make sure if you’re going to do it, it’s going to get that maximum reach. It really lent itself well to broad-based advertising. However, over the last three to five years, video has become hyper accessible as a medium to create. At the same time, audiences' expectations have changed. They’re not expecting professionally produced, polished marketing videos all the time anymore. In fact, in many cases, people are actually preferring more simply created, authentic, and genuine feeling content. Even a lot of video producers that I know are creating content on iPhones to give it that feel of authenticity, of being something that is a little bit more off the cuff.
Shivan: What are the essential questions a business should ask before embarking on creating a video?
Tyler: Ensure that you’re not just doing it for the sake of doing it. And that it genuinely is driven by business requirements. Could we create content that clearly shows people how to use this product or service that they’re not yet leveraging? Could we create video-based stories of others like them who have seen success with that feature or capability and use that to spur interest and demand within that base of people? It’s all about putting it through that lens of “What are the challenges I’m trying to solve? Where are the gaps? Where are the opportunities?” And then thinking through how a video could help you address that specific topic.
Shivan: How can businesses stand out with their video content?
Tyler: For a good chunk of the video content that you create, you don’t necessarily need to have the “How do I stand out with this?” mindset because you already have a captive audience. And a lot of the videos you’re going to be creating are to engage and educate those people already in your audience. It’s more about “How do I deliver value to my community and get them to engage in this because of the value of the content, not necessarily the creativity?” On the flip side, when you think about brand videos and about awareness-building videos, then you do often need to think, “How do I make sure this is going to stand out?” Not only from other videos but also all other distractions and content. More and more companies, even in the business-to-business world, are taking more of a YouTuber mindset to the content they’re creating. They’re thinking about these things much like the YouTuber would: “How do I get their attention in that first five seconds by challenging a common belief or putting out an important statement or asking a question to create curiosity. How do I make it interesting and exciting?”
I’d say the second thing is being mindful of the brand experience you’re trying to create. It’s not always about that one video, it’s about the body of work that you create over a series of time with a consistent cadence of these videos that have that consistent style.
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Shivan: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Tyler: As you start to invest more in video as a content medium throughout the buyer’s journey, you have to be mindful that your goals, the things you’re going to look to measure, the data and insights you want to glean from those videos, start to change and evolve. If we’re talking about using video purely as an awareness brand building or advertising tool, then you’re probably most interested in the reach of that content, which is understanding how many views it’s getting and making sure you’re promoting it well. Reach is often one metric we think about with video.
But if you start using video to educate your audience, then your measures of success are no longer reach. You want as many people as possible to see it, but most importantly, you want the right people to see it, and you want them engaging in it for as long as possible. And you’d rather a hundred qualified people watch that video all the way to the end than a thousand unqualified people watch it for 30 seconds. So now you need to start to think about the resonance of your content. You can measure that through engagement time and different platforms and tools that allow you to understand what’s the average drop-off rate in these videos.
The third thing is for those mid-funnel videos. Now you care about “Are these videos leading to revenue?” That’s your return on investment. I think about that as the Three R’s of measurement. You’ve got reach, resonance, and ROI, which is your real impact on revenue. If you’re hosting all your videos on YouTube, you’re not going to get as much data around resonance, and you’re not going to get any data around Return on Investment. You’re just going to know how many people watched. That’s where there are technologies to allow you to understand who’s watching your videos to get that information back into your sales systems. So you know how many people watched this video and converted into a customer. Obviously, Vidyard is a tool here. The things you’re going to want to measure and report on are going to evolve, and you need to set yourself up for success.
Shivan: Is video storytelling here to stay?
Tyler: There’s no question that video is here to stay as are audio formats. Will the future be entirely video and audio? I don’t think that’s the case either. I think that we’re in for a long-term, multi-medium, multichannel world as marketers and sellers. You need to have written content, graphics, video, audio, interactive content. And maybe at some point in the future, we’ll need VR or AR. What I think is most interesting is this continued dynamic of “How will we create it? How will people consume it?” Where will we use it in our customer journeys?” Those are the things that are going to evolve and change. Video is here to stay, but what we think of as video today may not be how we think about it five, 10, 20 years from now. The formats will keep evolving. The use cases will keep evolving. So, it’ll be interesting to follow that.
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Interview by Shivan Sarna, Head of Stories