Video is taking over the marketing world, both for B2B and B2C audiences. Cisco estimates that by the year 2019, video will make up 80 to 90 percent of all consumer Internet traffic—up from 64 percent in 2014. That’s a staggering statistic.
Given that video has gotten increasingly accessible, shareable and inexpensive to produce in recent years, this is good news for marketers. Gone are the days of expensive, painstakingly produced videos hosted on the corporate website. The rise of Blab, Meerkat, Vine, Periscope and other disruptive platforms make it possible to produce and release impactful videos without overwhelming your budget.
In fact, thanks to the self-publishing revolution, there seems to be an inverse relationship between how professional and polished your videos appear to be and the relatability and authenticity of your brand.
Still, for marketers who have long relied on traditional web and email campaigns, whitepapers, ebooks, and the like, it can be a struggle to justify the costs of video—even relatively low-budget efforts. After all, as much as authenticity matters, your brand still has a minimum standard of professionalism to meet.
Next time you’re called upon to defend your video marketing spend, start by mentioning that Cisco statistic, then trot out the following five metrics.
Metric #1: The Results of Your Brand Audit
If you’re not performing a recurring brand audit—at least annually or semi-annually—start now. It’s important to check in regularly with current and potential customers to ask them basic questions like:
- Have you heard of My Amazing Brand?
- What product or service does My Amazing Brand provide?
- What are the leading brands in [your market here]?
- Check all the places you have seen My Amazing Brand: online ads, social, video, etc.
Over time, you can track trends in overall brand recognition, and see if increased video activity results in more people checking that video box, more people saying they’re familiar with your brand, more people understanding what it is that you do.
Unlike in the past, video marketing today is easy to track and measure. Every view of every video is tracked, and every view translates into brand lift. Maybe the 49,000 views you got on your latest video didn’t immediately impact sales, but they’re an indication of rising brand recognition, which in turn supports demand gen efforts.
Metric #2: Web Traffic from Video CTAs
Even if your purpose for producing a video is pure branding, embed clickable CTAs whenever possible, to drive viewers back to your website. You can do this through a graphic at the end of the video—perhaps combined with a voiceover that repeats the CTA—a YouTube ad overlay, pop-ups, and other options.
Video-generated traffic is easy to measure and map back to the original source, whether your video is posted on YouTube or featured on an industry publication. If your video efforts are attracting enough quality leads to your website, you’ll have no trouble defending that portion of your marketing budget.
Metric #3: Customized Customer Conversions
Some videos are created solely for top-of-the-funnel awareness. Others may be hoping to directly drive a purchase. Always know what your objective is before you create the video. Then define and measure it in terms of conversions, with the understanding that “conversion” can mean different things from campaign to campaign. It doesn’t always have to be a direct “buy now” CTA. Getting customers to fill out a form for a whitepaper, ebook, or other free asset could count as a conversion too.
The more you can build deliberate goals and practical measurements into your efforts, the easier it will be to get those who control the purse strings on board with your video spend.
Metric #4: Direct Demographic Targeting
Whether your objective for your video is revenue, conversions, brand awareness, or a combination of the above, analyze your available distribution methods in order to target specific demographics and buying patterns.
Because video can have such a strong emotional appeal, from heart-warming to humorous, it can seem to lack gravitas in the eyes of numbers-driven executives. But being able to show the CFO (or whomever is approving your budget) that your video distribution strategy is built upon deliberate demographic goals will lend an air of seriousness to your approach, especially in combination with other metrics like web traffic and customer conversion rate.
Metric #5: Return on Marketing Investment
This is a metric that’s relevant some of the time, but not always. When the goal for a video campaign is direct conversions, then return on marketing investment (ROMI) matters, and you should track it and share your good results whenever possible.
But branding efforts are different; there’s rarely a measurable financial return. Unless you can spend a fortune on primary research, how can you prove that Dove’s latest viral video campaign is truly what drove last quarter’s increase in body-soap sales? You can’t, unless you have a Unilever-sized budget for surveys and analysis. Some executives understand that marketers need a portion of the marketing budget to be exempt from strict ROMI analysis—because awareness campaigns that are not tied to direct revenue are essential for the growth of the brand. But for other executives, it’s a message you’ll have to impart again and again. Or, if they want everything to be tied to ROMI, tell them all you’ll need is a vastly increased budget for surveys and analysis.
Measure What Can Be Measured
It takes deliberate effort to combat the dangers of “metric overreach.” With so many numbers and measurements available to marketers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to tie dollars to every little thing we do—and unintentionally train executives to view our efforts the same way. As long as we’re proactively monitoring what can be monitored and proving the effectiveness of our efforts where it’s possible to do so, we can hopefully earn a little bit of leeway in the budget for a bit of experimentation.
While metrics certainly do matter, marketers must also have some room to experiment with pure brand awareness, untried distribution channels, and innovative new platforms—or risk being left in the dust.