How Important Is Creative In The Online Video Marketing Equation?

Brands, businesses and organizations are fast adopting online video marketing as a valuable tool in their marketing approach. Considering that video marketing relies on the power of messages being shared through social networking, blogs, publications, PR and search, how far will good creative get you? Is a killer idea enough to do the trick or, conversely, can you put lipstick on a pig if you have a hefty enough paid media budget?

The key steps in building and executing an online video marketing campaign that will ultimately generate return on investment include establishing the goals, defining measurable objectives, designing the video marketing strategy, developing the creative and producing the video(s). Once that is settled, you can proceed with the video launch, measurement and reactive engagement.

I don't list "developing the creative" as the first priority because unless you know what you are trying to achieve with the video, who you are trying to reach and what you want to happen when you reach them, you can't predictively come up with creative that will achieve the goals. Many otherwise entertaining videos fail because they reach a whole lot of the wrong audience, don't reach enough of the right audience or don't convey what the marketer wants the audience to do once they are reached.



Since developing the creative incorporates and/or anticipates all of the other key steps, the creative becomes arguably more important to online video marketing than to any other medium on or offline. Well crafted creative is what will carry a video from paid to earned views, create meaningful conversation online and encourage conversions.

Effective Creative vs Paid Marketing

Picture at one extreme we have a video with a clear message but creative that isn't very engaging, entertaining or share-worthy. On the other extreme we have a very entertaining, sharable video that has little or no message or call to action. Tip too close to the former and you are paying for every single view, sinking a larger budget into the campaign, which defeats the concept of online video marketing. Tip too close to the latter and you have lots of views -- but nobody is doing anything you want them to do. The secret is to find that creative balance among entertainment value, message and call-to-action -- and if possible, let the creative be the message.

A video that has millions of views but generates little online conversation and few real comments indicates a situation in which there was a significant paid media buy -- yet the creative did not lead to organic sharing. The end conversions may be favorable, but the amount spent may not justify the goals met.

Conversely, a video with millions of views that has engaged and inspired the right viewers and influencers will have plenty of comments and online conversation, indicating that the video found an audience. When a campaign transitions from paid views to earned views, the cost per view goes down, the measurable objectives are met, goals are achieved and the campaign is successful.

While the initial video marketing strategy and execution are responsible for getting the video exposed to a substantial number of influencers, the ultimate success of the online video in encouraging viewers to voluntarily share your message and take the appropriate actions is almost exclusively dependent on the creative. The whole concept of online video marketing is to create a situation in which videos and messaging are eventually shared, and hit a targeted, relevant audience at no additional cost. Otherwise, online video marketing becomes paid advertising.

6 comments about "How Important Is Creative In The Online Video Marketing Equation? ".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, December 21, 2010 at 3:27 p.m.

    Good commentary. But I'm most interested by your final line. Is it wrong for online video to be paid advertising?

    The fantasy of marketing for free with the web is exactly that - fantasy. Yes, a few exceptional campaigns (like the one for Susan Boyle) use online video to generate enough excitement to...well... succeed dramatically after traditional TV and magazine writers push the story.

    So I fully agree with these creative comments. And, recommend that anyone who moves into the online video space needs to plan for paid advertising to drive active interaction with their video assets.

    After all, it remains as true as ever that when you try to get things for free, you tend to get what you pay for.

  2. Jeff Bach from Quietwater Media, December 21, 2010 at 4:56 p.m.

    I stumbled across a couple examples that I feel are relevant to this article. Both offer what I think are unique and creative twists on video. In my opinion, both do a great job at furthering the brands behind each video.

    #1 is the trailer for this past summer's movie "The Expendables" - I'm sure this video production was a big budget affair, but I like how the creator thought outside the box -

    #2 - is waaay outside the box. I think they did a great job using video to push the brand (Tipp-Ex). Mostly humorous with some swear words, so don't view when the boss is walking by-

    Do either hit the target that the article does a good job describing? I'm sure there are many answers to that question.

    my .02

  3. David Murdico from Supercool Creative, December 22, 2010 at 2:44 a.m.

    Jeff, I absolutely agree. The Stallone thing blew me away. I like the bear video as well - kind of a new, YouTube-era twist on the Burger King Subservient Chicken. They both do a great job of allowing the creative to take the video much farther past the initial seeding.

  4. David Murdico from Supercool Creative, December 22, 2010 at 2:53 a.m.

    Doug, no I don't think it's wrong for online video to be paid advertising provided that your spend is less than your return. My point is that online video marketing (or social video marketing) relies on the concept of seeding a video (paid) to the point where the video has hit an audience that cares and begins to share the video on their own (earned). So, for example, if each paid view results in one earned view, you have cut the cost per view in half. If you do nothing but pay for every view then you aren't taking advantage of the viral component.

  5. Dynamic Web from SEO, December 22, 2010 at 7:12 a.m.

    Video marketing is fast approaching becoming a common part of our Internet marketing efforts. Adding videos to your blog helps build your credibility which can lead to more sales for you.
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  6. Debbie Dreher from Think Again Media, December 22, 2010 at 8:27 a.m.

    Great article! We were having this discussion just yesterday. I believe the fantasy for marketing is free is just that as well - a fantasy! We were having this discussion just yesterday with a client. We can produce compelling, relevant video content but without a proper plan for seeding and distribution, it will go nowhere!

    Speaking of which...this very client is in start-up mode with a very cool product. Can anyone recommend a freelance SEO or seeding consultant.


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