The idea that video is worth “1.8 million words” pops up in more than 5 million Google search results, and is often repeated in marketing blogs as fact. Here, we zoom in on the true power of video on social media platforms.
The phrase ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is not based on a clever scientific metric, accurately measuring how a picture is a thousand times more engaging than a written story. Instead, it is the work of an ad executive. In 1921, Fred R. Barnard (clearly understanding the power of content, aimed at the right audience) took out an ad for his agency in a trade publication called Printer’s Ink. The copy line was ‘One Look Is Worth A Thousand Words’.
So, if the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words is simply an example of the dreams of most marketers coming true – a tagline not only living on but taken as fact nearly 100 years on – the extrapolation of that idea to video is simply a nice notion. Or another clever piece of marketing.
Basically, the thinking is take 1000, multiply it by 30 (baseline frames per second) and then again by 60 (to get to a minute) and, eureka, 1.8 million. The idea originally comes from the 2013 State of Video report for Forrester Research, by Dr James McQuivey.
The real numbers on video are, however, still extraordinary. The internet is bursting with mind-bending facts. Nothing beats video for engagement, shares, click-throughs and sales.
For example, Forbes magazine reports by 2019, video will account for 80 per cent of all online consumer traffic. YouTube, as one example, reports video consumption rises 100 per cent every year. No wonder, then, that 81 per cent of businesses use video as a marketing tool, according to explainer video specialists, Wyzowl. ComScore found 64 per cent of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching video.
Consider, too, that 90 per cent of users consider video helpful in the decision-making process and video is shared 1200 per cent more than still imagery, Forbes reports. On top of that, social media platforms increasingly prioritise video, as algorithms constantly update to recognise deep, rich content.
Even better, video pays off: including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by an extraordinary 80 per cent.
Here’s how Mahlab has used social video as part of our content tactics for the success of our clients.
HBF: Know what success looks like
The success of your video shouldn’t solely be determined on the numbers of views and shares. What matters is the video resonating with your target market and whether the video leads to consumers taking the action you want them to.
We developed Direct Advice for Dads (DAD) for private health insurer HBF. We connected young families to a website of genuine, valuable content created for dads, by dads, including written content and, of course, hero video.
HBF knew starting a family is a key time in a family’s consideration of health cover and dads were an information-poor group with deep needs. So we connected with dads simply by giving them easy-to-digest, high-quality video content they’d never had before – content that was actually created for them, not for mums.
We had two key objectives – building brand awareness, and getting dads to take action and engage with the DAD content brand.
Through extensive interviews and focus groups, we developed a deep understanding of what was driving first-time and expectant fathers. We created practical, funny, and engaging how-to videos that explained everything from changing nappies to packing a ‘dad bag’ – which dads could win by subscribing to the DAD EDM.
More than 3000 dads entered their details to go into the running to win the bag. And still, a year after the competition has closed, we get requests for the bag and comments on the video.
The video series has so far been viewed more than 474,000 times and HBF’s DAD email subscribers now reaches the thousands.
Inner Sydney Montessori School: Target the people who matter
Video is like any other content, in that you should know who your target viewers are, where they are and what they’re interested in.
In our seven-part video series for Inner Sydney Montessori School (ISMS), we shot day-in-the-life content of parents, children and teachers living a ‘Montessori life’ to demystify the unique methodology of Montessori teaching, which is not widely understood in the community, and show Montessori education preparing children for lifelong success.
The objectives were to grow brand awareness and to drive a specific call to action – sign up to the Montessori training site.
The series was shot over a few days and edited for social media channels. The videos focused on infants, three to six year olds, six to nine year olds, nine to 12 year olds, the role of the parent, teachers as directors, and life after Montessori.
The first video of the series, aimed at potential teachers, had completion rates that were 215% higher above target. Importantly, it drove attention down the funnel, with the call to action conversions 133% higher than target. The rest of the series will be released at strategic times to keep the Montessori story top of mind with the audience.
Engineers Australia: Be a storyteller
Great storytelling in video creates emotion that turns into word-of-mouth shares. A 2011 study, published in Psychological Science, found creating strong emotions, like amusement, shock, anger and even a sense of inspiration, increase the chance of the video being shared.
Mahlab planned a storytelling approach when creating brand awareness videos for Engineers Australia’s new digital platform, create digital. We needed to show engineering as creative, dynamic, fun – and engaging.
Our first video was an interview with Guy Griffiths, head of research and development at leading animation studio, Animal Logic. With studios in Sydney and LA, Animal Logic has created animation for movies like Happy Feet, The Lego Movie, Moulin Rouge and The Matrix.
How does an animator capture the first principles of physics? How do feathers look, rippling in close-up in flight? What is the mathematics behind creating realistic-looking hair, or ripples on water?
Not only was the video compellingly interesting, it touched on the more creative and ‘sexy’ aspects of engineering – how we’re being entertained by mathematics.
Video was a core element in making an award-winning digital platform and driving more than 168,000 readers to create digital since its launch in January 2018.
Not all content is created equal
For both brand awareness and lead generation, nothing beats video’s power online. But all content is not created equal, so to be truly effective great video must be authentic, be high-quality and tell a genuinely engaging, useful story.