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Crisis Diversions: Video, The Ultimate Digital Comfort Food

April 27, 2020 - 7 minutes read

According to a study by Econsultancy, only 14% of UK marketing campaigns are continuing ‘as planned’, which I’m sure doesn’t come as any surprise. The rest have been either put on hold, cancelled or adapted to ensure that any content produced is sensitive to our new surreal circumstances.

Video in the context of cinema entertainment has suffered a big hit, but online and on our screens at home, it’s thriving. People are at home, and most of us are glued to our screens, primed to engage with video content. 

Options for video production seem limited right now, but many companies are finding new and interesting ways to create content to connect with customers in these weird times. Surprisingly, ads on TV have embraced the production hurdles of this situation with mobile and laptop webcam quality video making their way to our screens. 

Smart uses of stock imagery are being leveraged too, by choosing footage that accidentally-on-purpose promotes social distancing, demonstrated in a study where 27.4% fewer images and videos ads display models kissing, hugging, holding hands, shaking hands, or touching. We’ve collected some interesting video trends that are emerging below.

5 post-Covid-19 Video Trends

1. Interactions with technology are at the forefront

This Co-op video uses a video call as a creative format to showcase how technology is bringing us together.

2. Social distancing is the new normal

Directly addressing the elephant in the room, Tourism Australia talks about the benefits of social distancing.

3. A focus on hand washing and hygiene

McDonald’s have made an ‘unskippable’ pre-roll YouTube ad telling us to wash our hands.

4. Fitness is more important now than ever

Nike champions those who are working hard at home.

5. Less aspirational, more simple pleasures

Tesco focuses on what’s important to us in the here and now, family and the simple pleasure of a home cooked meal. 

So we’ve seen that video has changed, but what hasn’t changed? Video is still a key way of creating engaging content that sparks conversations online. Below, we discuss how video is playing a critical role in marketing, even now.

Remember when, some time around 2012, it became cool to declare that you didn’t even own a TV anymore? You know, roughly the same period where most conversations would, by default, turn into a two-hour rant about the unparalleled artistic beauty of Breaking Bad? It was a strange time, one where people had been so blown away by the power of online video that they were literally turning their backs on the most treasured of all British household staples since the 1950s.  

The TV-ditching thing is largely over now (no small thanks to smart teles), but the power of the digital video reigns like never before. Especially in the world of marketing. Yet, despite the fact we’re watching well over an hour of video every single day, there still always seems to be that one person in the marketing brainstorm who declares that video is like so not worth the ROI.

Wrong!

While that argument may have flown a few years back, there’s absolutely no denying that today, video marketing is one of the most fruitful methods of generating leads and increasing sales. And the number of marketers who agree with this is growing rapidly, with 92% saying that video is an important part of their marketing strategy in 2020 compared with just 78% in 2015. In a nutshell? Video isn’t going anywhere. 

So if it’s here to stay, what does it look like for 2020 and beyond? AKA – what exactly should marketers be doing if they want to stay relevant and competitive? It all starts with acknowledging that…

Videos are simply not a nice-to-have 

It’s estimated that the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos by the time we get to 2021 – a 19% increase from 2019. Add to this the fact that 99% of marketers who are currently using video will continue to do so across 2020, and it’s clear that those who choose not to run the risk of falling catastrophically behind their competitors. In short – anyone who’s still not taking video seriously needs to, well, start taking video seriously… stat.

And it can’t be done half-heartedly, either. Gone are the days where one short social clip was enough to say your brand ‘does video. Today, it’s essential to treat the elusive ‘V’ word like any other marketing technique – something that should be woven through all areas of your digital strategy and measured, then improved, then measured again – just like you would for, say, a paid media campaign. 

When you consider that 90% of consumers say that watching a video will help them make a purchase decision, and that over 80% of video will account for all traffic by 2021, it’s nigh-on impossible to find a reason not to integrate it into any self-respecting brand strategy. 

But what does that look like? 

It helps to think of video as an incredibly powerful, persuasive tool – one that’s great at influencing consumer behaviour during the purchase decision making process. Considering this, it just makes sense to make use of video at the various stages of that journey. Think: advice and how-to content to satiate the meticulous researcher who won’t buy anything without understanding fully how it works. Think: brand awareness videos that artfully portray a company’s stance on sustainability for the conscientious shopper. Think: slick inspirational content for the lunchtime dreamer who’s always looking for that next big holiday/interior design project/thing that makes them tick. Only when you start using video to tap into these different, but equally as important stages, will you really get to unleash the full potential of your marketing activity. 

So what video trends should brands be embracing?

Equally as important as integrating video across your full marketing strategy, is the need to keep up with the latest emerging video trends if you want to stay one step ahead of the game. 

While recent stats show that we can expect to see a rise in some really cool, quintessentially modern ideas like 360 and personalisation in 2020, one seemingly simpler trend to take notice of is that of the unassuming long-form video. “Long-form?!” we hear you cry, “but human beings only have the attention span of a goldfish!” Well… not exactly. That theory was actually disproved some time ago, and evidence shows that the stunning, cinematic feat of a beautifully crafted 15+ minute video definitely has its place in the world of marketing. 

In 2020, we’ve long-since moved into a world where people are using their phones as on-the-go TVs, with large, high-spec screens that are big enough to enjoy entire movies on (as opposed to 10 second clips of ‘cats do the funniest things’). And there are plenty of stats out there to prove that us fickle humans do have the capacity to enjoy longer videos too. For example, in 2017 80% of videos were less than five minutes long, but only tended to drive a third of overall engagement in video watching. On the other hand, videos that were 15 minutes or longer made up over 50% of engagement. It follows then, that the rewards of longer vids are up for the taking by brands who dare to invest time and money into it. Take Patagonia, for example, whose powerful human interest documentaries enable them to connect with their audience in an emotive and genuinely memorable way. 

One other current video trend to pay attention to is that of taking a 100% data-led approach to production, using tangible insights to help focus creative and drive video content home to the right audience in the right way. As the landscape gets more saturated, this tactic is going to be key if brands want to get real results from their videos.  

In a prophetic (and exceptionally catchy) 80’s pop hit The Buggles declared that video had indeed killed the radio star. Today, in 2020, it can’t help but feel like that song has taken on a whole new, digital-era meaning. Video may not be about to kill off other forms of marketing exactly, but it’s changing the landscape in a way that we’ll clearly never come back from. Is someone about to bring out a chart-topper entitled “Video Totally Changed The Way We Market Our Brands”? Probably not – it’s crushingly un-catchy, after all. Is that what we’re all more or less thinking, on the other hand? We’ll let you answer that one for yourselves. 

If you’re a brand wondering how to use video (especially in these times), we’re here for advice and ideas on how you can make the best of a weird situation, to create content that connects with your audience. 

LEENA KESHISHIAN