On the ROI of video marketing…

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Measuring Return On Investment (ROI) of your video efforts begins with understanding what the videos set out to accomplish. If you go into the process knowing that video is more likely to be consumed than other forms of content it can change your POV a bit and better shape the conversation.

Video, is a tool that can be used by various departments within a business to help “market” their message. Sales, HR, Customer Service and Marketing all can benefit from the positive attributes of a well-positioned video message to tell their story. Attributing a direct ROI to video and breaking that down by the department can be tricky, making true video ROI a tough one to map out.

Let’s say you have a PowerPoint presentation that your salespeople use in pitches and/or in their email or LinkedIn solicitations for new business, how would video perform instead? Assuming you have a great product, with compelling unique selling propositions (USPs) clearly laid out in this presentation, perhaps a video format would produce higher consumption rates? It is a big commitment to sit and read through a long sales deck, but an animated video that brings the hot buttons to life might be worth 60-90 seconds of the end consumer’s day. If you can increase consumption rates, then you increase your sales conversion potential, which directly impacts the ROI of your sales team’s efforts.

When putting out any social media content, the major platforms (READ: Instagram and Facebook) will reward your video content over still images. So if you are measuring the performance (reach, engagement etc.) of your content, especially your paid efforts, then a video is going to deliver you more for your dollar, also known as a better return on your investment.

From a true marketing standpoint, it is not much different from a traditional marketing campaign. Comscore reports that on average a person watches north of 25 hours of online video a month, so it’s not the matter of trying to prove that online video marketing is effective. The Executives at every business, however, want to know that the marketing dollars are achieving the highest value and ROI while receiving the desired results.

So how do you measure ROI of online video?

  1. Know your objectives.
    The essential component of executing a campaign successfully is having clear goals. The simplest way to measure return on what you’re investing is knowing your target audience and what message you are trying to deliver. Your objectives may vary. For example, if you’re trying to promote product sampling, your objective may be to have individuals register for a coupon on your website after viewing the video. If you want to increase exposure and awareness of your brand or business, you might be simply looking at views to measure the total exposure of the campaign. Dividing cost, by views can give you a cost-per-view metric. Know what you want to see happen before you start.
  2. Social = Sharing = Exposure.
    Remember, ROI doesn’t necessarily have to equal a dollar figure. It can be social interactions, shares, conversations around your brand and recommendations by your brand ambassadors. If your video is getting shared by your target demographic and this audience is recommending your video to their friends, the reach and engagement are just as valuable as a dollar figure. Make sure you give them the opportunity to easily share your video!
  3. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
    Measuring online video ROI isn’t always an exact science and with a non-traditional platform, you have room to come up with creative and different ways to validate your efforts.  Online video can often drive traffic back to your website and one way is to look at what that traffic would have cost if it had been acquired by a push advertisement.

For example, comparing a pay per click model and the received traffic you can use the following:
Running ads on a website with $3 per click which results in 300 unique visitors to your website. This traffic of 300 people to your website is then worth $900. Although this approach offers an easy dollar figure, it’s crucial to note that the difference in pay per click banner ad traffic and organic post video engagement differs greatly and the value through organic engagement is much higher.

Online video enhances and creates the most engaging online user experiences. When it comes to ROI, the measurement metrics differ greatly depending on the specific goals. Success lies in the ability to target a specific audience based on demographic, geographic and contextual parameters. Being able to speak the language of your target audience and deliver a strategic message in a simplified format is a sure fire way to increase business. So grab your camera, and let’s do this…

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On Instagram Stories data…

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Instagram stories have been adopted by more than 300 million daily users and there have been a number of recent integrations with Facebook, that have made the reach and exposure that much more compelling. I have talked about our POV on stories before and the data just continues to prove out that stories are a place to be if you want to market where people are paying attention.

I recently read Delmondo’s Instagram story analytics report, that reviewed more than 800 active Instagram accounts and there were some key findings.  I pulled them out and highlighted them below along with my quick take:

- User consumption is high and brands are (tentatively) making grabs for their attention- Of the 800, only 16% had posted a story within the last 30 days. 

16% is low, which means many brands are not taking advantage of this medium.  So if you are a marketer at a brand, you should be paying attention and capitalizing where others arent!

- Influencers are right At home- A key performance metric of interest during the analysis was completion rate. Who watched a story from start to finish? Influencers are in the lead for completion rate, given that high post performance is part of the criteria in needed to be an influencer. 

Influencers are leading the charge and seeing excellent consumption rates. When working with an influencer, stories are great and perhaps should be the first choice!

- Keep your storyboard tight- There is a strong correlation between story length and completion rate, with a downward trend synced with an increase in the number of posts per story. 

Think about your message flow and don’t just go on a posting spree. Also, consider front-loading more important brand messages in a storm or collection of stories.

- Leverage early afternoon and late evening key posting times- This is when completion rate was at over 70%.

Be thoughtful about when you post to maximize consumption potential of your content!

Instagram stories have got to be in your marketing mix if you are looking to broadcast messages on social.  If you sit on the sidelines, then the story about you, will be that you blew it. ;)

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Be our guest, be our guest!

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Instagram took another shot at their competitors last week, with the rollout of being able to add a guest to your Instagram Live broadcast. Live streaming is a major frontier and the ability to do so with a partner is very intriguing for both people and brands alike.

You can read about the product and watch the video put out by Instagram to visually showcase the concept here.  What we like about it, is that it is super simple to execute and gives users another reason to stay and tinker around in an ecosystem they already know, rather than getting bored and poking around elsewhere. Instagram has proven to be a master of that move.

From a brand POV, you can strike up a dialogue with a fan/customer OR bring in an expert to hammer home a USP of your product or service. i.e.

Have a healthy CPG product? Bring in a dietician to discuss the positive attributes of the ingredients in a conversation with you.

Are you an apparel brand? Bring in a designer to discuss the cut, fit or general reasoning behind a design to help educate a consumer through some back and forth with your marketing team.

Working with an influencer? Perhaps bring in two at once, to offer their perspectives on a “shared with” broadcast and get a dialogue going rather than just a monologue promoting your product. A conversation brings much more depth to that positioning and was a big reason for Twitter Party success back in the day (and still we would argue)!

Users in all age brackets are spending more time on Instagram than Snapchat these days and 25% of that time is spent “above the feed” in Stories and Live broadcasts. Social networks are a competitive landscape, so it is important to experiment and to try and be an early adopter of new tools such as this. If you are a brand looking to market your wares, then you need to join the fray!

 

 

 

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On understanding digital, for your business…

Almost every single meeting I go to these days, involves a conversation around brands wanting to grow their own e-commerce, so they have more margin control and customer data that is truly their’s, rather than a partner like Amazon’s. The problem is that most founders, brand managers and even CMO’s lack the digital chops to get it done. That is not an insult, just an observation from the field.

Truth is there are plenty of great branders and marketers out there who never had to learn digital, especially this current landscape we live in. Nowadays many are just a bit outside of their comfort zone. As a result, they either try silo’d tactics with shiny platforms like Curalate, HubSpot, Mixpanel, Bounce Exchange etc., that ultimately fail because they are not part of a bigger, more strategic plan OR just sit on the sidelines and don’t actually do what they know deep down needs to be done.

We created a product called The Digital Deep Dive a couple of years back to help brands change that trajectory and get a handle on their digital footprint. With each passing month the need gets stronger and the ecosystem becomes more diverse and difficult to navigate. You must be looking under the hood to assess if you are doing things the right way and that you are setup to win. It is not a complex concept and the impact is a powerful and meaningful one for any online business.

Ready to get serious about content, analytics, email, marketing and conversions?  Just DIVE in!

 

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What’s the story with Instagram Stories?

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A year ago today, Instagram rolled out their “stories” product. It was a direct shot across the bow of Snap, Inc. and many wondered if it would stick the landing as a real and viable product.  That month we posted our thoughts on the product and gave recommendations on how brands might want to go about tackling the shiny new toy.

A year later and Instagram Stories are a powerful force in the social media ecosystem.  According to this post on Instagram’s blog, which was sort of a birthday wish to itself, over 50% of businesses posted an Instagram story last month.  Even more amazing is that it has drastically increased the time spent by their 250 million+ active daily users, making it a more valuable platform for consumers and creating increased consumption opportunities for brands.

It quickly went from a dip your toe in situation to a front and center focus for many brands and we have found that it produces a power punch of impressions, accelerates reach and engagement and helps produce better results from brand and influencer collaborations. This is top billing placement, on the platform where the most users are paying the most attention. If you have a brand that is looking to communicate with customers and followers online, then this is a story you want to write yourself into.

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On why you can’t afford to not create video…

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With all of the compelling stats behind the need for video today, brands should be sprinting to get in the game, yet many are still mostly on the sidelines. I would say that the number one reason I hear as to why, is that they “can’t afford it right now” and will revisit it later. In my opinion this is a big mistake and I would strongly argue that they cannot afford not to spend on video. Let me explain.

If they are already committed to social media, trying to grow their own e-commerce platform (to earn better margins, have a direct dialogue with consumers rather than a 3rd party partner such as Amazon etc.) and really any type of online messaging, and they actually care about results and ROI, then video has to be a part of the mix.  It offers increased exposure, cheaper CPM’s and higher engagement. So if you are in digital marketing and looking to optimize your game, then you cant leave your 7 iron in the bag.  It is literally your number one tool to improve performance and get more for your dollar.

I think one of the fears with video is that it is just cost prohibitive. Historically this has been true as the market pricing has been high and for the most part is still out of whack. So if and when a brand actually takes the leap to create a brand video and shells out a lot of money, they say to themselves or their provider that the video “has to go viral”. They say that because they need massive reach and game changing results to rationalize the high price tag. You don’t need video to “go viral” (what does that really even mean anyway?) you need it to help augment your social content and storytelling and improve your website experience, email marketing and paid social efforts. With video, the performance in all of these categories skyrockets. You immediately compromise your results by not finding a way to “afford” video.

Now the problem is that most pure play video shops don’t really want to create micro content videos for social media, as they see it as the underbelly of the video space. They want to do longer form, higher priced and more intricate pieces. I get it, those are great, profitable and more fun. That doesn’t mean that the market doesn’t still need these videos in a very big way. On the other end of the spectrum there are interns, freelancers and even young and resourceful internal employees who can create one off videos. The issue there is the messaging is typically disjointed, not pursuant to a real strategy and these players don’t typically understand what works and does not work on social/digital. You really need a partner who gets it.  (ahem…Sircle Media…ahem)

Most brands (especially in a crowded category such as the healthy CPG space) need at least 3 core videos:

Product Front and Center Video: Puts your main product(s) on display so potential customers see your packaging and/or get a feel for what your product is. We recommend you feature your hero lineup and present that on Facebook and Instagram.  This you would boost to fans of competitors perhaps.

Describe The Product Video: Puts your main USP’s on display and can highlight the WHY behind the WHAT for one or all of your products.  This would target special interest groups for your ingredients or perhaps even be used as part of your retargeting efforts to move buyers further down the funnel that have already signed up for your email, visited your website and/or even engaged with your Facebook or Instagram content.

Retailer Call Out Video: Lets consumers know where to find you (i.e. Whole Foods) and conveys that the brand is “bigger/better” as it is in many stores/doors. These can be used to target fans of that retailer AND/OR can be used as part of your dark posting strategy, set to really drive foot traffic locally into a specific retailer without muddying up your timeline.  This is a very important tool to help your sales people out in the field, who are trying to get and keep your products on shelves.

All three of these video types are simple, yet impactful for your business online. The game has changed and brands need to adapt to it.  I spoke with a prospect this week and they had a brand/hero video (they paid a lot for back in 2015) front and center on their website.  It was actually uploaded on YouTube (because that was the default back then) and was just playing through a viewer. The video is cute and actually had thousands of views, but the problem was that YouTube was actually showing ads against the video and those ads were for another CPG. So if a consumer saw that and then clicked on the ad, it would actually take them away from the brand. In that sense it actually hurt that the video had a lot of views on YouTube.

So the bottomline is that any brand or business looking to win online needs to rethink video completely. They need to solve for a way to get videos made, to create many rather than one (why put all eggs in one basket?) and to understand how and where to use them in today’s online ecosystem.  Our recommendation is to not sit back and watch others in your space do it, while you wait til you can afford it. That is something you definitely cannot afford to do.

 

 

 

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On Facebook TV…

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Facebook is making moves to get onto your TV screen and it is coming sooner than most think.  Mark Zuckerberg said back in 2014 that the platform would be mostly video within 5 years and they are moving quickly to carry through on that prediction.

This piece on CNN Tech back in February highlighted some updates on this front and shared insight from a Facebook earnings call:

“I see video as a megatrend on the same order as mobile,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and cofounder, said on an earnings call this month. “That’s why we’re going to keep putting video first across our family of apps and making it easier for people to capture and share video in new ways.”

Facebook advertising is already the most powerful and competitively priced marketing vehicle out there and this represents a potential new frontier for marketers and the social network. It is an interesting and exciting time for both parties.

In this piece on Social Media Today, Andrew Hutchinson breaks down some recent moves Facebook has been making on the “TV” front.  It is interesting to see them go after Houseparty marketshare. This is yet another example of FB listening to the success of a social media darling and fast growing platform, and then potentially taking it from them. Perhaps even more interesting is the prospect of watching The Ball Family on Facebook TV.  Whether you like them or not, original programming like this is likely to capture a lot of attention for sure.

What nobody can ignore, are the consumption trends when it comes to video and like it or not we will all be consuming content via very different channels in the coming years. For consumers this means more access to great content, in what many argue is already the golden age of programming. For marketers and storytellers it means thinking video first, as well as what formats they will be consumed on.

If you aren’t solving for how your brand or business will put out video content, including live action, motion graphics and Facebook Live, then you are already late to the party. That is something all brands should be looking to remedy….quickly!

 

 

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On video content and its current dominance in social media…

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At Sircle Media we have have been talking about the importance of video in your online content game plan for some time now and the momentum just keeps on increasing on the topic.  It really is a must have component up and down the communication funnel, from long form marketing pieces, down to short form social media communication assets.

Animoto released their The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video First World Report and the numbers were staggering when it came to proof that video is a force to be reckoned with.  The infographic offers many compelling stats that should make marketers pay attention, and we break down some key takeaways here:

  • 64% of consumers say watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision in the last month.

Facebook video is the main frontier, especially in crowded categories where you want to stand out from the clutter with your USP!

  • 81% of marketers are optimizing their social videos for mobile viewership, including 39% that are creating square and/or vertical videos.

Consumers are watching on mobile devices, so you must be thinking in that format first. Be native!

  • The report also found that social media video drives brand engagement and sales with 83% of marketers reporting they are confident Facebook video content will drive purchases

I repeat, 83% of marketers are confident that Facebook video content will drive purchases!

  • Marketers feel the most confident about reaching customers with video on Facebook and YouTube. Consumers are still viewing on these platforms, but are also starting to expand the platforms where they’re watching branded video content. The top three channels they’re watching videos from brands are Facebook, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat.

It is no longer the case that your video strategy is synonymous with YouTube.  The consumption is coming from other channels and you need to be thinking about how and where you will be distributing during the creation process.  The good news is that the consumers are there, the data clearly shows they are watching videos and then they are taking action based on those messages.

Any marketer not getting in on this action, is making a huge mistake!

 

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On Facebook Live (Part Deux)…

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Long live live video!  We talked about Facebook Live here in this blog a year ago and since then, the platform has exploded.  As Facebook continues to dominate the content scene, there is a real wave of momentum on their live video platform. The Social Network wants to be much more than families sharing pics and friends pushing memes (though both are great) and the ability for brands and personas to push out their message in a live format is killing it right now!

Facebook live (and Instagram live can be done at the same time with another phone/camera to kill two birds with one stone) is a definite recommendation for a brand looking for diverse ways to get content out to their audience and reach new people too. This piece on Mediakix breaks down some compelling stats, and we highlighted two below:

Facebook Live Videos Are Watched 3x Longer Than Videos That Aren’t Live Anymore

According to Facebook, users watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer than videos that aren’t live.

Users Comment On Facebook Live Videos At 10x The Rate Of Regular Videos

Facebook Live is a dream for engagement, driving comments at over ten times the rate of non-live videos. Again, because the focus of Facebook Live is a window into and interaction with a moment in time as it unfolds in real time, commenting is about being a part of a live conversation.

Here is a great piece on how to harness the power of FB Live and we have seen much of this work in practice for our clients over the past few months. Take our client Paula’s Choice Skincare for example.  They have a very charming and knowledgable Founder, who feels very comfortable getting in front of the camera.  Though not everyone needs to be quite as skilled and poised as her, it certainly helps their cause.

Before we go live, we announce it to the fanbase so they “tune in” to the time we will be broadcasting. This is much like a TV show (pre TIVO/DVR of course) and meant to get fans to adjust their schedules to digest some real interactive content.

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Also, after you run a FB live, you can edit the post and add a CTA to it, to get people back to your website. It is a good tactic to add a link and say something like “we’re sorry you missed us live, but if you want to hear the biggest takeaways from it, click here:” which could send users back to the website to consume a blog post about the live session. This is an excellent way to generate e-commerce sales and/or retargeting opportunities, as part of a conversion funnel.

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The (organic mind you) reach and engagement on these has been excellent.  Facebook rewards the effort with exposure in user’s feeds and wants to put this type of super relevant and useful content front and center. To top that off, we encourage brands to share and/or add something like:

“Never miss a live post again!  Make sure you LIKE us on Facebook and go to your settings and be sure to turn on notifications when we go live and “see first” to not miss any valuable posts.”  When you get people to take that action you will dramatically increase your reach and engagement on live.

Our recommendation is to not overthink it, and to just get started. Get on with an iPhone or a camera with an inexpensive tripod and just get talking. Some easy topics are: a new product announcement, new location opening, new branding explained and/or just some interactive Q&A about products or services.  Do it, and then assess and adjust as you go along. This is definitely about documenting rather that carefully crafting and creating.  Once you see momentum, you can better stage the presentation and create a more structured model.

You need to take that first step and remember that this is about hacking underpriced attention AND riding the Facebook Live video wave. FB wants to push it hard, and you should grab their fin and let them take you with them on the ride…

 

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Ready for Reddit?

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A client recently asked me whether or not they should “get involved” with Reddit. Their target demographic is female and they are in a very crowded and subjective vertical, so I recommended they pass. This report which was done in October 2016, clearly shows that the majority of the audience is made up of males 18-25 and offers a lot of other insights into this insanely popular, but very unique platform.

The community is the asset with Reddit and that community abhors self promotion or anything that seems advertorial.  The biggest thing with Reddit is you need to be 100% authentic and if users sense that you are fake and/or somehow not open, honest and transparent, then they will crush you and call you out.  Even if they are wrong and you are being sincere, it is too late once that happens.

I equated it to walking into a comedy club and a comedian starts laying into you. They might be totally off base with their comments or observations and have you pegged wrong, but once they say it and the laughs start rolling in they will continue and it is literally impossible to go back and undue it. Better bet is to just walk out and never look back.

Brands or personas (Elon Musk, Bill Gates etc…) can host AMA’s (ask me anything) in an attempt to strike up an open and honest dialog with potential consumers. This works in their favor as it can immediately ignite massive exposure and chatter within this highly active community. Reddit users are passionate and spend 10+ minutes per session, which is very attractive to marketers of course.  You will get good and bad chatter for sure, but if you are prepared to answer them openly and honestly (and ok with taking a few gut punches along the way) it can be worth the time invested for sure.

I did some research on brands “doing it right” and came up with some examples:

Uniqlo has been on Reddit since 2012. Arielle Dyda, a Uniqlo e-commerce manager, uses her personal account to respond to fans. When Uniqlo has a deal, Dyda shares it with the popular fashion subreddits. Referrals from Reddit have been shown to drive 20% of Uniqlo’s total online sales for a deal.  Uniqlo’s presence is genuine and natural. Their brand is strengthened by using someone who knows the community and is upfront in her approach.

Amazon is equally strengthened by brand ambassadors like AmazonJosh and AmazonAndrew, who monitor game and collector subreddits for questions, and give extremely nuanced product recommendations.

From personal experience I find it to be like an angry and aggressive Tripadvsior or Yelp:

This company recently pitched my company through a random email solicitation.  When my employee (24 year old male) went to look them up, he found this write up:

Have any of you guys ever received an email from brandzooka? Are they scammers? Or can they be trusted

Then some user named PaddyoColorado (coincidence they are in CO) replied with:

Brandzooka is a real company – a start-up in Boulder Colorado – that helps small businesses run targeted video campaigns to specific audiences on all kinds of web sites. They help the little guy advertise where only the big guys used to play.

Then in typical Reddit form, they got crushed:

“It looks like you’ve created this account for the sole purpose of writing this “review”.”

“Brandzooka have sleeper cells everywhere it would seem. Trust no one lol”

“Spam straight from this company in the weed state came into my server’s inbox too. There is no opt-out in the e-mail, and it was sent to a non-public “admin” e-mail account along with a non-existent “yde” account.

“Bounced it straight to SpamCop, as well as sending a PM to a MyWOT user.”

This made me pass on taking the call for sure. That company might actually be great, but I read it on Reddit that they might not be and I am not even giving them a try.  That is powerful persuasion for sure!

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