And if we’re to believe Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (and we do), this is only the start.
Video isn’t new, but with the help of social media, it will make up a bigger slice of the content we share and consume. YouTube homepage visits have tripled over the past year and viewing time is up 60%, meaning people are spending more time watching videos.
And it’s not only on Facebook and YouTube. More than one million people signed up to Twitter’s live-streaming video app, Periscope, in the first ten days after its launch in March. And in May this year, music-streaming giant Spotify announced it too was moving into online video.
Marketers need to turn increasingly to video to engage and nurture consumer communities. We’ve already talked about how to build the business case for video.
So once you’ve started producing video content, how do you drive more views and drive the best ROI?
Start by following these video marketing best practices:
1. Keep it short
You have only a few valuable seconds to grab viewer attention, so whatever you do, get to the point. Research by Visible Measures shows 20% of viewers will click away from a video in 10 seconds or less. And you can say goodbye to 60% by the two-minute mark.
So if you want to keep viewers, you need to be engaging from the second they press play. Then keep the length of your video between around 30 and 60 seconds.
2. Location is critical
Where are you placing your videos? Some marketers are choosing to upload videos straight to Facebook, rather than publishing on YouTube and sharing the links. But YouTube still has a massive viewership and performs well in Google search, so bypassing it entirely would be a big mistake.
The best strategy is to place your videos on your website, YouTube and Facebook. The more places your videos are in, the better chances you have of people seeing them and the maximum SEO value you will get.
3. Focus on quality
The same rule applies to video as with all your content: quality counts. Make sure your video tells a compelling story, solves problems and provides useful information. You don’t have to spend millions on production, but the better the quality of your video, the more eyeballs and click-throughs you’re like to get.
4. SEO your videos
Optimise your videos for search. This is perhaps one of the most important factors in driving viewers over a longer period. After all, if they can’t find your videos, they can’t watch them!
Here’s a handy little fact to remember: Google owns YouTube. So if you follow some basic SEO best practices, there’s huge potential for search visibility of videos both on YouTube and Google in general. Start with these simple rules:
Use Transcriptions: Transcriptions are your video in text form, and can improve the search ranking of your video. Include a transcription within the HTML of pages that host your videos. This simple step will make the content of your video available to search engines for indexing. And of course, it helps those users who are unable to listen to the audio.
Title and Description: Treat your title and description like any other web page copy – optimise, optimise, optimise. Include keywords and phrases in your video’s title and description. Just remember that anything more than 66 characters will be truncated in Google search. For your description, two or three sentences with keywords and variations are ideal. Include a link to drive traffic to your website and place it early in the description, so it's not hidden under the "show more" button.
Use tags: Tagging is essential in helping your video rank well in search, as well as associating it to other tagged videos as a “related video”. This is a great way of leading more relevant viewers to your video. Use at least five relevant keywords, including the words your target audience is likely to use in video searches, as well as your usual keywords.
Number of Views: The more popular your video, the higher it will rank in search results. YouTube likes to show people the popular videos (those with a higher number of views), as they tend to be better quality.
The trick is to get as many views as possible in the first few days of upload because YouTube gives preference to videos that generate a high number of views in a short time. Do this and you're more likely to be in the coveted "most viewed today" and "popular now" lists.
As soon as you publish, share your video like crazy on social media, on your blog, over email and beyond.
Inbound Links: Just as with traditional SEO, links are important for YouTube SEO. Aim to get relevant sites and blogs to link to and embed your video. Start by finding blogs that like similar videos to yours.
5. Link back to your site
Never fade to black. If your viewer watches to the end of the video, provide a strong call to action directing them to your website for related content and information. And you don’t have to wait until the end of the video to include a call to action (especially because so many viewers bounce before the end) – add them halfway through.
6. Measure, rinse, repeat
As with all your digital marketing, measuring and refining are the best ways to grow. The good news is YouTube and Facebook both have measurement and analytics tools to help. Similar to YouTube Analytics, Facebook recently launched a Videos tab in Page Insights, to help publishers see the overall performance of their videos.
A staggering 95% of brands now use video as a central part of their marketing mix and are more inclined to invest in video marketing than any other form of digital media. But just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean they are doing it right.
Follow the best practices above and you can ensure your videos stand out, engage viewers and become a valuable part of your marketing toolbox.
For more expert advice on all things content, digital and search, visit our blog or call us on 1300 725 628.