Originally posted on Curated Medium.
As a Content Strategy Consultant and English Lit graduate, I have always been quite accustomed to the written word and its power of persuasion. But more recently, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen the rapid rise of video marketing dominating social platforms and brand pages, and I’ve become very impressed by the impact and influence of the medium. During a time where we’ve been trapped and contained in our homes, most of us have found a sense of solace from entertainment through our screens. Now more than ever, video marketing is key for business exposure and a vehicle for companies to present to consumers in order to change their behaviour or listen to their brand.
But has the rise of video content happened as a consequence of the decrease in our attention spans? Where this overabundance of information and data has left us no longer able to read a two-page blog article, but only to engage with a 30 second TikTok before getting bored? Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon of video marketing and its increase in 2020.
Video marketing: mind-blowing or mindless?
It’s been found that “66% of people would prefer to watch a short video to learn about a product or service…[while] only 18% would rather read a text-based article”. And this preference is recognised by many brands, where 85% of businesses use video already as a marketing tool. We can see this in everyday advertising — from launches of new clothing lines through Instagram video content (just take the sustainable sportswear brand TALA and their launch of the new collection SkinLuxeTM) to B2B videos of companies carrying out webinars, such as Google’s ‘how to create a social media strategy’ session. This highlights how videos are already understood as being a successful medium for marketing.
Video marketing can be intrinsically linked to the realm of influencer marketing, as many brands now rely on influencers to celebrate and promote their products in their YouTube videos or on their social platforms, in order to generate sales. These videos can be in the form of an Instagram Reel or TikTok video, where the influencer is paid to promote the brand in a chatty vlog or styling montage to their followers. It is a mutually beneficial relationship between brand and influencer where it raises awareness of products which the account holder will in turn receive as a gift. This has proven successful too as 1 in 4 consumers make a purchase after seeing a Story on Instagram.
When nearly 79% of users search Instagram for information on a product or service, and videos receive about 38% more engagement than posts containing just still images, it can be exceptionally more engaging to implement this medium over a simple photo. Supporting this, Youtube has become the second most visited site in the world and it is the platform where 90% of people discover a new brand or product. Therefore, this emphasises how it is vital for businesses to get involved in the world of video marketing if they want to stay relevant and “on trend”, where disregarding it will be unbeneficial and could ultimately leave a brand behind.
Has the pandemic influenced the increase of ‘going virtual’?
While the rapid growth of video could be put-down to the pandemic (with almost all human experiences ‘going virtual’), video marketing was already on the rise. Dave Chaffey saw that 41% of B2B marketers were interested in exploring how videos can be added to their marketing and sales strategies in 2020. This highlights the importance of video as a tool for customer engagement long before the growth of TikTok.
So, why is there a rise in video? What happened to the classic long-form article?
Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark claim that the collective global attention span is narrowing due to the amount of information that is presented to the public. “Content is increasing in volume, which exhausts our attention and our urge for ‘newness’ causes us to collectively switch between topics more regularly”. This creates a concern for businesses and so, places video marketing as a solution for digital marketers, as it solves the fears of being disregarded for asking too much of a potential consumer.
Due to the nature of video content, businesses are able to gather more clicks and traffic because it is more attractive, less time consuming and grabs attention. Also, as a whole videos are easier to track, easier to share and easier to understand, so it should be a medium for marketers to incorporate. Although it is more time consuming to create a short video launching a product, people will roughly spend 100 minutes a day watching online videos in 2021; a statistic brands should want to be a part of.
Forbes Agency Council member, Osama Khabab, comments “businesses need to treat attention as a scarce commodity”. The saturated nature of society means that in order to keep the attention of consumers and be more memorable, brands need to start getting more creative to drive their message to the forefront with short videos being a key vehicle in which to deliver this.
Is this the end of the longform article?
So, what does this mean for people like me — classic content marketers? Well, SEMrush claims that “we are also seeing that the consumption of long-form content is growing. When people are focused on something they’re actually interested in, they won’t be easily diverted. Long-form content is alive and well as long as it’s valuable and engaging”.
There will always be a space for long-form content, not only because this is the root of marketing, but, if it is a topic which truly connects to a consumer, they will make time in their day to really engage with it. 58% of marketers believe that original written content is the most important type of content over videos and other graphics, because it is a very necessary requirement for a brand to succeed, especially when it comes down to optimisation on Google. Without detailed, original content, consumers would only be offered duplicated versions of what already exists and will not separate them from their competitors; they are unengaging and will not stand out. SEMrush continues to remark how the ROI on developed content which completely matches consumers needs is shocking; written content develops a relationship of trust between business and consumer so it is important to not disregard it.
Despite many people spending a daily average of 52 minutes on TikTok, publishing great quality written content establishes a brand’s authority and expertise in a field. This may not generate as many new customers, but if a consumer’s Google-searched query is answered correctly and with certainty, they will see the brand as a solution to their problem. They will then refer back to this brand time and time again, sharing amongst their friends, as the authority is proven and trust is created. This is seen by our searched staples e.g. Specsavers for eye health and Vogue for the latest on fashion.
Conclusion: space for both of them
We can conclude that, despite some arguing that there is a societal decline in attention span, ultimately it is ‘a tricky metric to measure’. Therefore, it should not be the deciding factor that brands use when they select either video or written marketing.’ There are multiple factors that have contributed to the rapid growth of video marketing (with the pandemic contributing too), which is down to the development of social media and change in consumer behaviour. The decision of either video or written marketing should be a reflection of the intention of the content and what each personal consumer for each business would engage with. As I simultaneously read a clothing brand’s page on why they are sustainable whilst flicking through paid promotions on TikTok, I believe there is a space and purpose for them both in marketing.
If you’d like to hear more about creating relevant content for your brand, get in touch with us today.