By Andrew Angus on October 14, 2014

Americans-love-digital-video 

Digital video is becoming the source of entertainment for many Americans. A new survey from GfK Media and Entertainment found U.S. adults are watching more digital video than they do news, sports and daytime TV. In fact, they like it almost as much as primetime TV. 

According to the report, 22% of adults, (52 million people total) in the U.S. watch original digital video content every month, which is an increase of 15% since 2013. Original digital video content is defined as content produced just for online viewing, so this study didn’t take into account television streaming online (which is also very popular).

Not surprisingly, video is a favorite with the younger crowd. Adults in the 18 to 34 age group respond particularly well to video content, but overall, most age groups are watching more digital videos. As a whole, American adults watch 23 minutes of online video each day. The average in 2010 was just 10 minutes.

 What Does This Mean for Marketers?

If you haven’t started producing marketing videos, the time is now. There’s a reason video is so popular – it offers an interactive way for viewers to engage.

Forbes interviewed Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., who outlined a few reasons why people like video so much. She said that people are drawn to faces; we are hardwired to read them and use them as a gauge for believability. Another reason is that emotions, as relayed through body language, are contagious. We tend to mirror what we see in a video or film, which is why we enjoy movies so much.

Humans convey rich information, not just through language, but through our voices, faces and body language. In other words, watching or listening to a person talk about something conveys additional information that doesn’t transmit through text. If you want to demonstrate something about your unique culture, chances are it will translate better though video. 

And when it comes to digital video, there are additional benefits. The report noted that many viewers of digital video didn’t even plan on watching content, they watched it has they found it. Digital video is flexible in a way that other formats aren’t, finding new life on social media platforms. People tend to stumble upon digital video and they spend a significant amount of time with it.

How Companies are Adapting 

Because people just come across these videos, it’s important for companies to create a story campaign. Viewers are watching videos for entertainment. When they come across digital videos, they want to watch something they can connect with and not be sold on a product. Storytelling plays a huge part in branding video campaigns, which are are all about connecting with their viewers: everyday normal people, not customers or clients.

Charles Scwhab does an excellent example of this. Investments and retirements play a huge part of everyone’s future, and Schwab was able to turn this into a campaign story. If you watch their #OwnYourTomorrow campaign videos, their videos connect with humans on an emotional level. They touch a part of a person’s life which we can connect to – relationships, finding our true passion and our voice. Each video tells a story that evokes emotion, they don’t sell their viewers on their services but rather bring to light the value and mission of their company – for people to take charge of their future.

 Here’s a #OwnYourTomorrow video that focuses on person’s life story:

 

By thinking outside the box, Charles Scwhab was able to turn a mundane topic into a relatable story by focusing on the bigger picture – our lives. It’s not often we would sit around at home and watch videos about investment and bonds, but we will watch a video that tells a story.

Other similar video campaigns that have had success with storytelling is GoPro. By using videos from their actual customers, they shift the focus from what the camera can do to sharing consumer’s experiences with GoPro. Using the stories of their consumers – which people are more likely to watch – rather than creating videos about the camera is their marketing campaign. Today, GoPro has over 2.5 million YouTube subscribers.

Creating these stories that evoke emotion and connect with viewers makes these videos – and the company – relatable to everyone. The result? People are more likely to watch the next video, which means sticking with the company’s page/brand. These videos are also shareable because viewers can actually connect with them. When we connect with something, we’re more likely to share it with our circle of friends because it’s like sharing a part of ourselves and our values.

Even Marriott is hoping into the video industry. They’ve recently announced they’re going to launch their own in-house creative video studio. By taking the step towards engaging with communities through content, they’ll be following the steps of companies and brands like Coca Cola and Budweiser with their video marketing content.

If you’re thinking about making the move to digital video, it’s important to develop a strategy – just like you would with any other content such as social media, emails, and whitepapers. Keep in mind to think outside the box and think about your viewers – not your company – when coming up with a video marketing campaign.

 

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