Why The Anti-ROI Bloggers Are Wrong About Video
Did you catch the contradiction there? According to the power bloggers, we should spend more time creating effective messaging, and less time measuring its effect. Of course, there is no way for us to know if our messages are effective without quantifying the revenue they generate in some way.
A large part of the anti-ROI rhetoric you see in the big blogs talks about things like hiding video content (or any content, for that matter) behind a registration page, and how detrimental such a practice is for allowing your video to spread among the masses. The argument is that because gathering lead data inhibits sharing, we should stop trying to gather lead data.
Yes, it's true that form-based gates are a detriment to sharing. And while for static media like eBooks and white papers this means abandoning standard lead-generation tactics, video most certainly does not play by the same rules.
Every day video players are becoming more and more dynamic. Still, at their core they are simply objects that can be placed anywhere on a Web page. As such, they can be combined with any other kind of object on a Web page. There is no rule that says, for example, that video can't appear alongside a registration form; in fact, this practice is incredibly useful for lead generation. And because both the video and the lead-gen object (in this case a form) appear on the same page, viral sharing is in no way inhibited.
But let's take it one step further: imagine using video for lead generation without using a registration form. Oh yes, it's possible. As technology progresses, older tools are being revamped for modern needs. Here I'm thinking specifically about email. There are a variety of services on the market that let you connect email messages to specific engagement data by associating this data with an email client's merge fields. (Disclaimer: I work for such a company.) In other words, if I create a video with a certain application, and if I sent out a link to my email database, my video application could tell me the email addresses of my viewers. And all without a registration form.
While I'm thinking specifically about email, the very near future may well hold similar developments for social media. Imagine being able to gather specific viewer data related to the Twitter addresses of each and every viewer that clicked a link on one of your tweets. That might change the answer to the nagging question, "What's the ROI of social media?"
We don't hear about any of this from the anti-ROI crowd. The disconnect seems to be that as new marketing bloggers are caught up in the whirlwind of social media applications they tend to forget about the ability of Web video to be relevant without sacrificing a constantly updated list of best practices. The onus is on us, their readers, to remind them.