Video Call-To-Action: How To Make It Count

My latest obsession is finding new and interesting ways to create a call-to-action from video, particularly in multiplatform environments.  Why is a call-to-action so desirable and important? Advertisers need to prove the value of marketing budgets, publishers need to drive traffic to other destinations where they can monetize their audience, and distributors need to demonstrate the value of their platforms -- including online, in-home and away from home. 

Brands have already figured out effective ways to add a call-to-action to a standalone video piece when the option for the viewer to immediately “click” is available. This type of video can serve as a trailer to push to a larger content piece or as a way to navigate a user journey across a series of video pieces.  It can also act as a tool to drive users to a dedicated destination or to a brand’s main website, or as a means to acquire subscribers or gather contact information.  In any of these scenarios, the call-to-action is linear and discrete.

But what about brands that take a multiplatform distribution approach to a single video piece?  Does the call-to-action need to be customized for each platform?  Is there a way to unify the call-to-action across platforms, even in cases where there is nothing to “click,” such as a video ad on a gaming console or in a movie theater? 

For a multiplatform video campaign, think of an action that can be taken on a mobile phone as the glue across platforms, replacing the “click” that anchors a more linear video campaign.  These days, almost everyone has a mobile phone within reach at all times, even at home.  This means a clever call-to-action in a video can drive the viewer to send a text, follow a company or product on Facebook or Twitter, use a branded hashtag, or input a unique URL via a mobile browser.  Viewers can also use a real-time music matching app such as Shazam, Viggle or Soundhound to tag content. 

Here are a few call-to-action ideas to get your creative juices flowing and to help give you measurable results from your video production:

--       Identify something to give away, then incent viewers to enter a sweepstakes to win it.

--       Craft a simple poll, then ask viewers to vote on something they care about.

--       Add catchy music, then encourage viewers to match the music via a mobile app.

--       Place an interesting or provocative question in the video, then invite viewers to “join the conversation” in your brand’s parallel social channels.

--      Direct host mentions: Overlays, buttons, and text can be great, but sometimes it’s most effective to have your video’s host verbally reference an action as part of the video, whether it’s to subscribe, comment, visit a Web site or physical location, join in an online conversation or more. 

Regardless of the call-to-action you use, be sure to A/B test it as you would anything else.  Word and graphic choice can drastically impact results.

A lot of us struggle with effective call-to-actions. I’d like to hear your success stories, or learning moments.  How has making the call worked out for you?

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