But like anything else you still need to be sure you have a reason for getting into paid video search. Remember when your mom said “If your friends were jumping off a bridge would you do it too?” She was right.
Here’s a look at what’s driving the trend, and factors that can help you decide whether it makes sense for your organization.
There’s no dispute video is rapidly overtaking text and images as the preferred method for consuming content on the Internet. Video already accounts for 64% of all web traffic, and that figure is expected to rise to 80% by 2019.
Part of the reason for this growth is the continued use of mobile to watch video. For example, YouTube says half of all views of its content are on mobile devices. As more videos become mobile-friendly, and wireless connections get faster, you can expect that figure to continue to rise.
But it’s not just about greater availability. Forrester estimates that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words of text. That’s pretty attractive to marketers in their ever-present quest to break through the clutter.
The big attraction of video to marketers, though, is that it is currently the road less traveled. Traditional paid search has become ultra-competitive (and expensive), in part as a result of developments such as close variant matching. As search results are broadened to the “close enough” level, more marketers are jumping in. Since fewer organizations are taking advantage of video search, eyeballs can be acquired for a relative bargain. Mom would appreciate that thriftiness.
At the same time, tools are being introduced that make it easier to measure the effectiveness of paid video search. For example, Google is making a real effort to integrate the YouTube advertising platform into AdWords. They also have a product in beta called True View for Shopping that combines video with shopping feeds. Consumers can watch a video, click on a product image and shop right there.
That should help overcome one of the biggest objections, which is the lack of ability to directly attribute a purchase to a consumer watching a video. Currently, Google recommends using attribution marketing to measure the effectiveness of a video. With TrueView for Shopping, however, marketers will be able to use last-click conversion measurements much more effectively.
Change in the way video is consumed
Perhaps one of the biggest factors contributing to the growth of video is the change in the way it’s consumed. Video viewing (mainly on television) used to be controlled by the content providers.
Now, anyone can watch what they want, when they want. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and their ilk have seen to that. Measuring the audience has been challenging, although Nielsen may have cracked the code on Netflix. On other sites Google TrueView will ensure you’re paying only for actual views, rather than estimated viewership.
The net takeaway is consumers are not spending as much time flopping on their couch watching whatever is pushed to them. Instead, they are seeking out content on their own terms, and on a variety of devices—even while they are outside enjoying the nice day (as Mom suggested).
There’s always a “but…”
With all that going for it, why shouldn’t marketers just jump whole-hog into video? To be effective, at least at present, you need to be sure your attribution modeling is in place so you can judge the success of your paid video search. If it isn’t, you need to get that house in order first. Especially if your product or service is more of a considered purchase. Taking time to understand your audience and build the models will help you drive more value throughout your campaign.
It’s also important to be patient with your campaigns. The downside of consumers viewing content when and how they want is it could take a while for your videos to be discovered and viewed by your target audience. Again, this is another good reason to ensure your attribution models are in order, so you won’t pull the plug too soon.
To video or not to video
Essentially, there are three ways you can proceed:
- Wait for the right time for you and your customers
- Proceed slowly and cautiously, at a pace that avoids major gaffes
- As quickly as possible; the Internet moves so fast any mistakes will be behind you quickly
Which is the right way to go? Mom would say “I don’t know” is not an answer. And she’s right. Actually, any of them could be correct.
If you are an industrial or B2B marketer, and video isn’t prevalent in your industry, you can probably afford to wait. Particularly if you don’t currently have any video assets and your customers aren’t demanding that you get some.
If you’re a retailer, or sell products or services through direct response, right now is a great time to get in. Especially if you already have some video available. The market is primed and the competition level is relatively low. You can “own” video search for much less than it might cost for text-based search. Even if you don’t have video right now, however, there are specialty companies that can help you develop some quickly—and at low cost.
If your organization is risk-averse, proceeding slowly might be the best bet. Try video on your website and gauge the reaction. Use your Google analytics to monitor how often your videos are viewed, if visitors are staying through them and if they are going from one to the next. That will tell you whether your content has the potential to work on a broader scale so you can expand into channels such as YouTube. Even if you make a few missteps, the learning effort will be worth it, and those errors likely will be forgotten quickly.