Video marketing is no longer a trend. It's an absolute necessity for success in today's market if you're looking to connect with your customers on a personal level. Videos are just more engaging than other forms of content, even plain text.
But a video strategy isn't one size fits all. To build the brand and business you love, making it more visible and accessible, will vary by industry, audience, and platform.
The video platform or channel you choose makes a world of difference in what types of videos you create and how you promote them.
But how do you go about creating a video strategy that will work for your business?
The answer is simple: platform-specific creative.
What does that mean?
Well, if you want to reach a specific audience on one of the big platforms (TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.), it’s important to understand how their users react to different types of content—and then create videos that fit those needs.
Video is the Future
If you’ve been struggling to get results from your video marketing strategy in recent years, we have good news: it’s not your fault.
The video marketing and ad landscape has gotten more complex, and audiences have raised their standards for what “good video” actually is (the fancy, Hollywood equipment almost doesn’t matter anymore!).
We’re entering a new phase of video marketing, and the winners in the coming years will be marketers that lean into platform-specific content and tailor their creative approach accordingly.
It's important to think about your goals and then decide what platform(s) you want to use before you start thinking about your creative approach. If you haven't been getting results from your video marketing strategy in recent years, this phenomenon may be to blame.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the top platforms for video distribution and how you should approach each one to get results.
Everyone watches YouTube. Over 75% of Americans ages 15 and up are on YouTube, part of over 2 billion monthly active users, making it the most popular website in the world after Google.
The potential of a huge audience is a great reason to market your business on YouTube. But shouting from the rooftops about your products without a plan won’t get you anywhere.
You have to be strategic about how you use video marketing to reach your audience and get them to take action.
It's not enough for your videos to be viewed; they need to be watched carefully, so that viewers can easily understand what you're saying and what you want them to do next.
Creative Insights For YouTube
YouTube is a great place for edu-tainment (educational and entertaining) content, so stay away from heavy sales pitches. YouTube is not the place for your “standard” marketing content, as audiences want to feel like they’re coming away from the experience with their own value. If you feel the need to push a sale with your content, YouTube may not be the right fit.
For YouTube, it’s especially important to have a strong hook and front-load your value. Why? As we discussed earlier, if you use the CPV bidding structure, you have the opportunity to get information to your audience in the early seconds without directly paying for it. Make the most of those precious free seconds by making your intro as memorable and value-packed as possible.
In general, YouTube is a great place for edu-tainment (educational and entertaining) content, so stay away from heavy sales pitches. YouTube is not the place for your “standard” marketing content, as audiences want to feel like they’re coming away from the experience with their own value. If you feel the need to push a sale with your content, YouTube may not be the best channel but running an ad campaign and timely promotion to your audience can still work great!
The YouTube Audience
If you're a content marketer and need to reach a broad audience, YouTube is the place to be. The platform has more than 1 billion users, and it's the leading video platform for all age groups, with the heaviest presence of 65+ users compared to other platforms.
Notably, YouTube’s users are already on the platform to consume video content. For video marketers, that means that ad placements will feel like less of an interruption than they might on other platforms. Audiences are already primed to watch, so your video is just a brief delay from the actual content rather than a complete disruption.
Video is a powerful marketing tool, but it's also super competitive. If you're looking to stand out in the sea of video content on YouTube, the key is to think about what makes your brand unique—and then use that to inform your strategy.
YouTube offers several video placements, including skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, in-feed video ads, bumper ads, outstream ads, and masthead ads. There are two options in terms of your bidding structure. The first is CPV (cost per view), which means that you pay once a viewer has watched 30 seconds of your video or interacted with the video in some way. The second is based on impressions, which is the more “standard” approach for the larger ad landscape.
One thing to note about the YouTube environment is that the CPV bidding structure lends itself to awareness-based campaigns. With ad placements paid per view, you get free awareness from everyone who doesn’t make it to the 30-second mark—the arbitrary threshold for what constitutes a “view.” If you’re focused on getting your brand in front of as many users as possible then invest in YouTube advertising.
Creative Insights For TikTok
If you want to reach your audience on TikTok, you should be thinking about platform-specific creative.
TikTok is a great place to experiment with your video ad content. If you have strict brand guidelines that apply to all your other social platforms, TikTok may be the place to loosen the reins a little bit. Case in point: Duolingo is the most-talked-about brand on the platform, and it publishes content that is often downright aggressive. You never know unless you try, so experiment with a variety of video styles and see what resonates most with your audience.
Lastly, on TikTok, don’t be afraid to lean into trends—but work quickly. Trend-centric content is not the time to try to polish every last detail on your video and send the content through ten layers of internal review. An 80% polished video that’s published in time to be relevant for the trend is better than a 100% polished video published weeks or months later.
The TikTok Audience
TikTok has become the world's biggest video platform, second to YouTube.
TikTok, the short video app with over 1 billion monthly active users, is rapidly growing and evolving. As a result, marketers need to adapt their strategies to this new landscape.
Most importantly, marketers should know that TikTok's audience skews younger, with a heavy presence among Gen Z users and a steep drop-off of users over the age of 50 worldwide. Think of TikTok as a mix between an edu-tainment focus (like YouTube) and a focus on connecting with others.
Note that TikTok is distinctly not a family and friends platform. Many people use TikTok as a place to connect and relate to complete strangers—worldwide—in ways that they would never share or open up to people they actually know. This means authenticity is absolutely essential on TikTok. The app’s user base doesn’t want ultra-polished brand content; they want real people who are being themselves in whatever way makes them feel comfortable. Brands need to respect that by also letting their guards down!
TikTok is the latest platform to break into the video advertising space, and it’s showing some serious growth potential. Last year, TikTok had a mere 100 million users—but it has more than doubled that number in 2019. Its young audience makes it an exciting place for brands to experiment with new strategies and tactics, especially because they’re likely to be less sensitive to traditional ad formats like pre-rolls or forced skippable ads.
The bidding structure offers several options based on your goals. You can opt for CPM and CPC as we’ve seen on the other platforms, but you can also choose CPV (cost per one thousand six-second or two-second views) or oCPM.
Creative Insights For Instagram
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a great place to reach your audience.
If you're a business on Instagram, you want to be sure that your video strategy is set up for success. And the key to success on Instagram is platform-specific creative that focuses on the content that resonates best with this audience—which means videos that are catchy, funny, human and/or personal.
That's not to say you can't also lean into vanity and social value (those things are important!) It's just that in general, people will be more likely to engage with content that is funny or human or personal than they will with information-first content. But if you find yourself struggling to find the right tone for your brand, don't worry—we've got your back!
Now let's talk about the visuals—a word of advice: make them amazing. Whether it's bright colors, fast-paced transitions or engaging graphics—you need visuals that people will want to watch again and again. Boring videos aren't getting any likes on Instagram!
And just like Facebook, Instagram tends to work better to promote B2C products and skews towards lower price points. As always though, there are exceptions so make sure you're testing different types of messages, creative approaches, and video types on Instagram.
If you’re used to mass-distributing your content and you’re new to the idea of tailoring your video to the specific distribution channel, the most effective way to repurpose identical content is typically by doubling up on Facebook and Instagram.
Many of the other platforms are unique enough that you’ll lose out on engagement and effectiveness, but you’ll see less of those losses between Facebook and Instagram.
The Instagram Audience
Facebook and Instagram may share a parent company, but their audiences are slightly different. Compared to Facebook, Instagram skews towards a younger demographic and a more US-centric audience. Still, Instagram boasts many users in all age groups across the world.
Instagram’s focus is more heavily centered on entertainment and photo sharing, so it’s important for ad content on Instagram to be highly visual. Your ad creative will be competing with native posts that are highly curated and polished, so it’ll need to rival the visuals to keep up.
This means that you should focus on creating video content specifically for this platform. That way your ads can stand out from the crowd by being more visually engaging than other posts being shown to this same audience at the same time—even if you're using the same types of graphics as other posts would use!
If you’re looking for a different way to reach your target audience, Instagram could be the perfect platform for you.
Instagram’s video-enabled placements include Instagram Stories, Instagram Feed, Instagram Explore, and Instagram Reels. Like Facebook (which operates from the same ad platform), you’re able to choose CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click) depending on which works best for your goals.
But what if you find yourself in a situation where you want to advertise on both platforms?
That's where cross-platform targeting comes in.
Creative Insights For Facebook
Facebook is one of the best platforms for video ads because it’s so visual—but that doesn’t mean that every type of content will work there. In fact, Facebook tends to work better for B2C products over B2B products, and it also tends to work better for items at lower price points. If your product or service requires lots of research or immersion before the prospect is ready to buy, Facebook may not be your best-suited platform.
That said, if you do decide on a Facebook ad campaign and want to make sure it works well, here are some guidelines:
Video ads on Facebook should focus on being catchy, funny, human, personal, and/or social. On Facebook in particular, it can help to call out your avatar (your video’s target audience) right away to grab attention as users scroll. Then, share their pain point and tease or reveal your solution.
One helpful tool to gut-check your content for Facebook is to think about whether the content is shareable.
The Facebook Audience
With over a billion daily active users, Facebook is the perfect platform for marketers who want to reach a wide range of users across all demographics. However, there are some key differences in how people use Facebook compared to other platforms. Even more importantly, there are specific things you can do to get the most out of your video content on this platform.
Facebook’s largest user group is millennials, but the platform continues to reach people across all user bases worldwide. While on the platform, most people are focusing on some combination of entertainment and catching up with friends and family.
For video marketers, this means that Facebook users will be drawn in by attention-grabbing content that feels “shareable.” However, they may not be expecting to watch video content as they scroll, so there’s a bit more of an “interruption” factor than you might experience on a video-first platform like YouTube or TikTok.
If you’re looking to increase conversions on Facebook, you may be wondering how to optimize your video strategy. Video can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to increasing engagement, but it’s important to know what kind of content works best on each platform.
Facebook video ads options include placements within Facebook Feed, Facebook Instant Articles, Facebook In-Stream Video, Facebook Marketplace, and Facebook Stories. For the bidding structure, you’re able to choose CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click) depending on which works best for your goals.
If you’re trying to drive awareness and brand exposure, then the best place to run your campaign is in the News Feed where people are more likely to watch videos with sound than they do on Instagram or Snapchat. The average engagement rate for News Feed videos is 1%, so if you want people watching your ad from start-to-finish without skipping around then this is where you should start.
If you want people to take action after watching your video ad then running it as a sponsored post instead of an ad will give them more control over their experience with your brand. This means they can click through directly from their news feed onto a product page or landing page to buy your product or service.
Creative Insights For LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great place to share recruitment marketing content, highlighting your team culture or sharing videos about what it’s like to apply or work within your organization. If you want to sell on LinkedIn, however, it’s a different story.
Users on LinkedIn are in “career mode” rather than “shopping mode,” and even a light sales message will come across as aggressive. Combine that with the limited targeting landscape and the expensive placements, and you’ll get better bang for your buck on the other four platforms.
The LinkedIn Audience
LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on professionals and the business world. It has an audience of mostly professionals in their mid-20s to early 40s, with a heavy presence of 25- to 34-year-olds. LinkedIn's users tend to have higher incomes and are interested in career and industry-specific education and networking.
LinkedIn is different from other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram in that it's more focused on professional networking than personal interactions. The best way to reach LinkedIn users is by creating content that appeals directly to them as professionals.
LinkedIn is also different from Facebook because you can't post videos directly to your profile—you have to use a third-party distribution platform like YouTube or Vimeo. This makes it harder for brands trying to reach LinkedIn users because they have to post their videos on two different sites instead of just one.
LinkedIn offers Sponsored Content placements that show up in users’ feeds. The bidding structure follows a CPC or CPM model depending on your goals.
This is a great way to get your company and products in front of the right people at the right time. For example, let's say you're trying to find new clients for your business. You could create a sponsored piece of content that targets people who are interested in buying a new car and then pay for it to show up in their feed when they're browsing their news feed or seeing their recommendations list.
You can also use Sponsored Content placements to promote content that's relevant to your brand or industry. For example, if you sell cars, you could create an article about why your customers should buy from you instead of another dealership. Or if you're an accountant, write up some advice on how to save money on taxes this year with tips from other experts in the field!
Optimize And Customize Your Content
As you can see, there are many takeaways from the various studies and insights we've discussed. What's most important, however, is to be aware of where your audience is and to optimize your video's message and delivery to meet their preferences.
With this knowledge, it's possible to develop, produce, and promote videos that reach your target audience in a way that helps grow your business.
Contact us today to grow your social media channels.