How to Use Video Campaigns in Digital Marketing

If you don’t live under a rock, then you should be nodding your head in agreement with me when I say that video campaigns are absolutely killing it. Just when it seemed like photos were the key to sure-fire organic reach, Facebook decided to switch it all up and allow native video uploading. Now photos only garner an organic reach level of 3.7% (lower than status updates and links — jeez), while videos are getting a whopping 8.7%.

This trend will only gain momentum. Ericsson predicts that online video will grow by a staggering 55% per year between now and 2020. Clearly, video is going to be commanding the web – and mobile in particular – in the very near future, if not already. Any business not using video campaigns to communicate its message and immerse its audience in their brand’s story is missing an immensely important opportunity.

But wait – I know you’re excited. The explosive rise of video hints at the beginning of its very imminent world domination and you need to be prepared! But before you go shell out wads of cash on shiny, new video equipment, remember this — great videos don’t need to have the best production. One of the most effective video campaigns comes from Apple, where each ad plays a video that a user has filmed on his or her iPhone, followed by a simple message: “Shot on iPhone 6.” Video campaigns have the power to pull viewers into a world created by brands and trigger real emotional connections, so there is no better way to connect with users on a peer-to-peer level than to shoot in a native format that looks and feels familiar to them. In this modern age, if Muhammad can’t go to the mountain, then it is up to brands to bring that mountain to Muhammad. You feel?

So without further ado — here are 3 different types of video campaigns that your business can use to bring that mountain to your customers, and drive awareness and sales in the process.

Video Campaigns that WORK.

1) Videos that tell a compelling story.

The biggest no-no in developing marketing videos in a post-TV era is creating a blatant advertisement. People don’t want to watch ads. Because the reality is, the more virtual our lives get, the more we hunger after something genuine. Marketing videos need to convey a message that resonates with viewers on a human level and adds value to their lives.

Think about feminine-hygiene brand Always’ “Like A Girl” video campaign, which confronted gender norms by asking people to change their perception of what it means to “act like a girl.”

Always isn’t selling pads or tampons in this video. They’re associating a feeling with their brand and making girls feel differently — more positively — about themselves. The results? Emotional connection rose from 38 to 41 percent, and top-of-mind awareness from 9 to 58 percent. How’s that for #girlpower.

2) Video campaigns that show “bottom-of-the-funnel” content.

A recent study by Ascend2 identified the following 3 types of videos to be the most effective in video marketing: customer testimonials, on-demand product demonstrations, and explainer and tutorial videos. What do all of these have in common? That’s right – they’re all bottom-of-the-funnel content, a.k.a. the content that sits closest to the revenue (ka-ching). Customer testimonials and tutorial videos capture viewers in that crucial consideration mindset, and can be the turning point that converts potential customers into existing ones when executed correctly.

The interwebs overflow with examples of successful bottom-of-the-funnel videos (see: Buzzfeed Food), but I want to give a shameless plug to Frogglez, a small Nashville-based company my marketing class was tasked to rebrand. Frogglez Goggles are the only comfortable swim goggles for kids on the market and this home-made product demonstration video drives this point home, catching customers at a key decision-making moment and influencing purchase intent. (start from 0:27 – it’s a little long)

3) Video camoaigns that utilize user-generated content.

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 when everyone started dumping ice on themselves and their mothers and uploading videos of it on Facebook? (Did you make a video yourself? If so – bonus points.) Basically, the social media campaign was developed to raise awareness for ALS disease by challenging people to douse themselves in ice water. The user-generated videos had a clear call-to-action where participants would “call out” three more people to take the challenge, creating an immediate viral loop that produced tremendous results.

The video campaign raised over $94 million in one month, compared to $2.7 million of fundraising during the same time period in the previous year. The real kicker is that it cost the ALS Association zero dollars to generate all that attention – 440 million people saw the videos, and 2.1 million new donors contributed to the cause.

According to Bazaar Voice, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more options to share their opinions about brands, while other studies show consumers trust user generated content more than all other forms of media. So push the buttons of buzz and let your customers get creative and market for you. UGC is a great way to promote customer engagement and generate favorable publicity for your brand at almost no cost. The most important part? Don’t forget to implement a strong-call-to-action that will keep the ball rolling. Who knows – maybe your campaign will go viral, too.  

Rebecca Shao is the social media intern and a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. She loves coconut water, the color yellow, and anything with a funky beat. Follow her on her own Instagram: @chairman.shao.