Building ROI with original video content

By Paula Minardi on Mar 25 2016 at 1:45 PM

This post originally appeared in Chief Marketer.

Today, more than ever before, publishers and brands are realizing the business benefits of digital video.
 
With the myriad of content choices and outlets now available to widespread audiences, a chief differentiator for publishers going forward will be the delivery of original, exclusive video content across their platforms. Video has proven to increase online publisher revenue by 20% via video ads on content, and it extends online viewing times, enabling viewers to watch more ads. In fact, the average internet user spends nearly 90% more time on a website that has video. By 2019, online video will garner 80% of global internet traffic, and eMarketer recently reported that countries with the highest percentage of daily digital-video viewers among internet users include Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and China.
 
For brands, video has not only become a core way to drive awareness and engagement, but a key catalyst for audiences making product purchase decisions on e-commerce sites. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video featuring it, and one-quarter lose interest in a company that doesn’t have video. Video is particularly critical in reaching Millennial consumers, as 80% think about video when doing research for a purchase decision.
 
As such, all companies in this space will ultimately need to become video producers themselves. But how do publishers and marketers go about generating video content that is both appealing to their audiences and invigorating to their bottom lines — especially if video isn’t their core business proposition or expertise?
 
Here are some tips for building impactful, original video content that drives ROI:
 
Video doesn’t have to be on a film studio budget or schedule
Digital production tools and devices today have made inexpensive, quality video a reality — allowing companies to ultimately increase ROI without breaking the bank at the outset. However, video production does require alignment and communication across teams.
 
Publishers: Don’t make video production contingent on whether your sales team finds a sponsor; make a commitment to building a great original content experience and the sponsors will come.
 
Marketers: Don’t think that only expensive creative agencies can produce quality brand videos, but do use an experienced crew to get the best outcome for your investment. Consider using smaller in-house teams for day-to-day content, tapping into larger crews for bigger projects.
 
Other things to keep in mind:
  • Compare the costs of renting vs. buying production equipment depending upon your plans for future in-house production.
  • Schedule your time to shoot multiple content pieces with one crew and repurpose content that you shoot, breaking larger pieces into smaller clips and using B-roll.
  • Think about building evergreen vs. time-restricted content where it makes sense, for longer shelf life.
 
Video doesn’t even have to be your own production
Companies have been turning to user-generated (UGC) video for years to build their libraries with effective and engaging content that keeps audiences watching longer. It expands sharing opportunities and boosts ROI. Also, keep in mind that many up-and-coming filmmakers welcome the opportunity to build their reels and showcase their talents for a top company this way, and audiences, in general, like to participate and share their thoughts through video. Publishers and brands can reach out to their social media communities to begin, but must ensure the proper legal language and releases are in place dictating who ultimately owns the content and how it can be used. Look to:
 
  • Collect video product reviews and testimonials from customers.
  • Include on-the-scene video from event attendees.
  • Schedule a contest to feature your product or discuss a published topic in a fan-built video.
 
Video doesn’t have to be long to make an impact, but it does make an impact
Investing in short video can often offer more return than longer content. Ooyala recently took a look at the most popular digital videos of 2015 across our publisher network and found that 95% of the videos tracked for the research were under 5 minutes in length, with the sweet spot being around 2.5 minutes.
 
A 2015 Liveclicker report noted that for brands, the average conversion rate for digital product videos in the U.S. and Europe was highest, at nearly 9%, for videos up to 30 seconds, compared to just under 5% for those over 3 minutes. From the same study:
 
  • The average order value was over 2x more after watching ten or more videos vs. watching only one.
  • The conversion rate for retail sites with video on most product pages was just under 9% vs. just under 5% for those with video on few product pages.
 
Video can be whatever you make of it, but make it consistent
Companies should look to create video that is aligned with their existing digital and brand experience for maximum return.
 
Marketers: Tell a story and make the desired call-to-action simple for the viewer.
 
Publishers: Build on your existing content — know your audience, analyze which articles generate the most activity, and craft new video around those topics. Post regularly so viewers can anticipate new content.
 
Other methods for alignment:
 
  • Include a mix of video that may engage audiences differently, but roll up to the overall brand message in look and tone. For brands, think tutorials, product demos and “making of” processes, as well as company culture and background stories. For publishers, think native video, interviews, and behind-the-scenes moments.
  • Consider all of the platforms and environments where your audiences consume your content (including mobile apps, email and social channels), and incorporate responsive design to showcase video in each particular setting.
  • Tag and optimize videos for SEO and all audiences by including captions, titles, and translated videos for international markets.
 
Video can (and must) be measured for success
Using video analytics, companies can easily test which of their homegrown videos generate the best ROI, and can use these metrics to better understand their audiences and to determine strategies and KPIs for the future. Key video metrics to explore could include the purchase amounts generated by video pages, longest watch time, highest completion rate, greatest number of shares, optimal ad load, and more. More analytics activities to explore:
 
  • Track user path-to-purchase (including devices used and time of day) and look to replicate that journey on a wider scale.
  • Monitor results for video vs. non-video pages.
  • Help your audiences find your new content by utilizing a recommendation engine to surface targeted content.
  • A/B test to determine the most effective videos (including site placement and length).
 
One of our brand clients used original product and how-to videos to build their own branded web experience. By using Ooyala analytics, they identified successful and unsuccessful video content, and made the necessary shifts to realize an 87% conversion rate to purchase.
The path to successful ROI with original video is easier than it has ever been. Achieve your goals by aligning your audience, your brand, and the tools available today to make and measure content.
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