One of the most compelling benefits of content marketing is the flexibility it provides organizations to connect with audiences in a variety of different ways. There’s no shortage of content formats to choose from depending on your needs: blog posts, webinars, social shares, eBooks, infographics, podcasts — the list goes on and on.
But amidst all these options, video may very well be the fastest-growing trend of the past few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 trends report, 73 percent of B2Bs now use video as a content marketing tactic, up 15 percent from 2011. That easily places video among the most widely used tools for content marketers.
Why is online video so hot? Because it’s popular, effective and (believe it or not) easy.
Let’s face it; everyone watches online video these days. YouTube alone gets over 4 billion hits each day, and it’s been estimated that more than 53 percent of the U.S. population watched online video last year (which works out to about 167 million people). From a business standpoint, the popularity of video represents a huge opportunity to connect with new audiences at a remarkably low cost.
Technology has reached the point where there’s no longer any barrier to entry for companies of all sizes to get involved with video. Marketers don’t need to be video editing wizards with massive budgets to turn around an effective video asset. These days, practically anyone can create powerful video content quickly and easily.
So how can content marketers benefit from a larger investment in online video? Here are just a few areas to consider:
SEO: First and foremost, video has proven to be a powerful tool for boosting search value for Web pages and driving more inbound traffic. Not only is video content 50 times more likely to rank high in Google search results, but it also has a 41 percent higher average click-through rate than plain-text results. More importantly, it gives search engines like Google what they want: powerful content that engages visitors, educates audiences and incentivizes people to spend more time on your website.
Email marketing: Email isn’t going anywhere as a B2B marketing tactic, but combining email marketing with video can make it even more powerful. In fact, some studies have shown that simply mentioning the word “video” in an email subject line can increase click-through rates by 7 percent.
Prospect engagement: The power of video and email can also extend to prospect communications for sales and business development reps. Not only can video create more impactful communications to these audiences, but it can help reach the right people as well. In fact, studies show that 59 percent of senior executives prefer watching online video rather than reading text, and 80 percent of execs watch more video content now than the year before.
These are just a few reasons why the use of online video is rising with B2B content marketers, and if past trends are any indication, that number should grow even higher in 2014.
This should mean two things for today’s content marketers: 1) It’s time to make video a priority. 2) If you’re not already investing in online video for content marketing, your competitors probably are.
Brendan Cournoyer is director of content marketing for Brainshark, Inc. (brainshark.com), a leader in cloud-based business presentations.
Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” video series featuring CEO Tom Dickson received more than 200 million views on YouTube in just six years.