If a picture is worth a thousand words, what then is the value of a video?
For marketers, video content and commerce are the new frontier for reaching consumers and, even more so, millennials and younger. Content consumption habits are changing rapidly, per Zenith data. For example, 2019 will be the first time people will spend less time watching TV—previously the king of media—and more time online, doing things like watching YouTube videos, streaming Netflix and Hulu, and shopping on their favorite retail websites.
Online video is proven to drive engagement across all adults, though millennials—which cloud video services firm Brightcove defines as 18 to 34 in its research—are even more likely to be influenced by compelling video content. In Brightcove’s 2018 Video Marketing Survey, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of all adults said they made a purchase after watching a brand video, a figure that jumps 9 percentage points when looking only at millennial behavior.
Those younger shoppers expressed a desire for videos that help them to shop (30 percent), 7 points above the number of all adults who said the same. When it’s wed with social media, video content is especially effective at encouraging millennials to interact with a brand. Sixty-six percent admitted to engaging after they viewed a video on social, compared with just 53 percent of all adults who said they did the same. So what steps did they take after watching a video? One-fifth visited a brand’s website, and another 20 percent said they did more research on that company.
Notably, 35 percent of consumers stressed how important video content is when shopping the clothing and makeup categories online, according to Brightcove, which polled more than 4,400 18-and-older adults across the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
“Video today has a significant impact on consumers’ choices and buying decisions, so it’s essential for marketers to understand the most valuable ways to use it,” Sara Larsen, Brightcove’s CMO, said in a news statement.
YouTube’s “heavier lift”
As the second-most-visited website on the internet, YouTube is one of the most trafficked video repositories out there, but Derek Blasberg, the site’s director of fashion and beauty, warns brands against dumping all of their video content there.
One of the biggest mistakes brands make is creating content for one channel, like a Super Bowl TV commercial, and then just throwing it up on YouTube after the fact, Blasberg shared during the Decoded Future conference in New York City last week.
“What we’ve seen is that YouTube engagement is super high for content that’s created [for] YouTube, and that viewers are super savvy,” explained Blasberg, who left traditional media for his role at Google-owned video company six months ago. “They know when they’re looking at something that wasn’t created for this platform.”
Brands churning out content for fashion-friendly platforms like Instagram might be wary of the “heavier lift” of producing videos for YouTube, a reality Blasberg readily acknowledged. Shooting for YouTube often costs more, involving a professional crew, proper lighting gear and all the attendant accoutrement, which requires more time, consideration and production, Blasberg added. That said, plenty of pricey YouTube videos have failed to drum up views and traffic, which led him to dismiss the idea of a “direct correlation between big budgets and high performance.”
Producing engaging video content can be as simple as shooting something candid on the latest Google Pixel phone capable of a “184 percent wider selfie” Blasberg shamelessly plugged. But the point, of course, is that low-cost experimentation can lead to useful learnings and a broader, budgeted strategy.
That YouTube Live is “becoming almost its own independent vertical” comes as a surprise to Blasberg, who like many assumed fashion brands prefer the safety and control of editing “perfect, polished” recorded video prior to sharing it with the world. “I don’t think people care anymore,” Blasberg said of how consumers expect to engage with their favorite brands. “They want immediate gratification more than they want polished, final product.”
YouTube’s next focus is on facilitating commerce on video content that makes sense to monetize. Nailing the experience, Blasberg pointed out, is half the battle. Should viewers have to click away from the platform to transact with a third-party retailer?
A slew of details remain to be solved, but driving purchasing actions would be lucrative and helpful for consumers. As Blasberg noted, “Shoppability is a huge opportunity at YouTube.”