Can online video truly be used as a direct response creative format?

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Recent years have seen the rise of internet video content companies and discussions have mostly centred on how they are now challenging the supremacy of broadcast TV. Although this may one day be the reality, the truth remains that right now traditional TV still rules. Or does it?

John Lewis were one of the bold retailers last year that released their Christmas ad online – and to great success. The story of Monty the Penguin was hailed as the most viral ad ever and was in fact shared 202,953 times in its first 24 hours online.

But the question marketers are asking themselves isn’t; “How do I make an online video go viral?” It’s more like: “How do I drive and measure a direct response through online video?”

Today’s marketers are told to achieve more than just a popular online video. They need to create a response, and even more importantly drive sales. John Lewis did in fact achieve this with their Christmas video. Online sales immediately jumped 17% and Monty-mania swept through the country with the cuddly toy selling out within 24 hours of launch. A fantastic case study example of how to use video content to both drive people online and in store.

But how do other brands replicate this success?

Creativity and inspiring action

Not all online video production need to be cinematic. However, it must be authentic and a true representation of your brand. To make it suitably compelling it should blur the lines between entertainment and information. Engaging but also to the point.

Your video must also encourage response, preferably a direct call to action. But don’t be naff and obvious. Think about all of the new technology at your disposal such as interactive video. People want new experiences and they’ll talk about them too.

Don’t bore your audience, keep it punchy

It’s always best to keep your message as succinct as possible. And the best way to do this is to give yourself an optimum video length. A recent study showed that 90% of all online videos under one minute get will get watched at least three quarters of the way through. We should take note here.

This data provides marketers with valuable insight as to how we increase chances of a direct response. As a general rule, videos should be under one minute in length, and have at least one call to action within the first 45 seconds of the video.

Make it work hard for you

Many think that posting a video to social media is ‘job done’. But consider your audience and target them directly. Email is a highly effective direct response channel that still provides marketers with an exceptional ROI. Remember though, inboxes are already crowded with marketing messages and brand offers.

Marketers are advised to team up with their ESP and deliverability managers to harness email’s full potential when it comes to video, as there are a few minor complexities. For example, it has been found that merely using the word “video” in a subject line has been shown to increase open rates by 19%, and boost click-through rates by 65%.

My final piece of advice, however, would be to always put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Ask yourself the question – is it memorable? And give your audience something to talk about.

Grant Rowe, UK general manager at Clickwork7

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