Video Myth-Busters: Take One Step

There’s no question that video is booming, with more videos, creators, platforms and distribution channels than ever.  For marketers, this has created a palpable sense of excitement and even a little bit of angst: so much to consider and so little time and budget!  During times like these, it can be valuable to take a quick step back and assess some common myths before charging all-out in one direction or another:

The 30-second spot is dead: No, it isn’t. I’d urge any brand marketer to think twice before relegating those generally expensive, professionally done broadcast spots to the silo of TV-only.  If there’s an especially well-done, funny or just plain compelling ad on TV, I’ll often go directly online to see it again and may even share it with my friends and industry colleagues.  Companies that see that value here can piggyback on this trend to affordably create online-only follow-up spots, and of course can repurpose those and the original segments on dedicated YouTube channels, microsites, and other destinations that can go well beyond the desktop.  Video has obviously evolved to where everything from six-second to much longer spots are valuable to marketers.  So while there’s definitely more to video now than during the days when 30-second spots ruled the waves, they are far from dead.   



I can’t afford to address all the new video channels:  You’re right, you can’t.  What you can do, however, is recognize that a few well-done spots can be shared effectively across multiple distribution channels and platforms.  Quality really matters here, so don’t make production decisions based just on price.  However, there are a number of creative and affordable ways to get a great online video or videos developed that forgo the “traditional” multistage processes and expenses of years gone by.  A number of agencies have used a combination of talent and technology to cut down on the time and costs associated with video production, there are more world-class freelancers than ever out there, and there are legitimate crowdsourced video production companies that can enable you to evaluate a lot of cool creative options at once.  With all of these options, remember to get work samples in advance!

Viral is always vital:  There are some great tips out there on how to increase your company’s chances of having a viral video, whether it’s using humor, the element of surprise, spectacular action visuals, or even a celebrity or two.  But the thing is, you really can’t bank on something going viral, nor should you build and base an entire marketing campaign around a video you hope will go viral.  We Internet users can be a fickle bunch; if it looks like someone’s trying too hard, we’ll sense it.  Worse, we may even pan it, so you’ll get plenty of views, but not for the reasons you’d like.  Better approach than taking your chances on the Viral Lottery is to produce great spots that stand well on their own for telling the story of your brand or products in ways that are entertaining and memorable and which can be repurposed elsewhere, online or off.  If they just happen to go viral, that’s a great bonus!    

YouTube will fizzle out: Not too long ago, a lot of pundits were questioning the wisdom of Google acquiring this property.  Well, now some of the numbers out there are flat-out staggering.  According to The Relevancy Group, users watch more than four billion videos on YouTube each day, and more video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major U.S. TV networks created in 60 years!  From a social standpoint, Facebook users watch more than 500 years of YouTube video every day, and 100 million people take a social action (share, tweet, etc.) on YouTube every week.  For brand marketers, numbers like these have to be both exciting and horrifying.   Love it or hate it, YouTube is going to be a big deal for a while, so we should all plan accordingly.  Even so, there’s plenty of room for innovation beyond YouTube, especially in targeted categories. 

As video continues to evolve in amazing ways, marketers should balance a sense of urgency with a willingness to periodically identify and challenge myths that could define the industry for years to come.

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