Mr. Coughlin

Technology

Video Content: A Crucial Enhancement for Your Future Marketing Success

By Michael Coughlin, Managing Director, Digital Blue Creative

With rapid advancements in technology, video content is taking over the internet. Whether it's through social media platforms, apps, or news publications, companies can miss out on valuable branding opportunities without a high quality video narrative to leverage on these networks.

In an industry where building human relationships is of utmost importance, hotels must adapt to this growing medium. Well-produced videos help brands connect with consumers emotionally thus creating genuine brand loyalty.

Here's a look at the growth of video marketing and several reasons why it is a must-have component of your online marketing efforts.

The Web's Transition From Text-Driven Content to Audio/Visual-Driven Content

In the offline history of advertising, we've seen media consumers migrate in large droves from reading newspapers in dull black and white text, to reading magazines and newspapers in full and vibrant color, to consuming radio and TV advertising that bring brands to life. In a similar way, the internet audience is changing its behavior as technology makes it easier and more engaging to consume content. Reading takes time and commitment, while video is easily and passively consumed. Psychology Today reveals:

  • Consumers are 39 percent more likely to share content if it's delivered via video
  • They are 36 percent more likely to comment and 56 percent more likely to give that video a coveted "like."
  • The average consumer with an Internet connection watches roughly 206 videos per month.
  • Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.

Consumers tend to consider video more engaging because it requires less cognitive strain and humans are hard-wired to avoid heavy work and favor cognitive ease. According to Inc., 81 percent of people only skim the content they read online. Therefore, video content is a more popular method for delivering information.

Early online advertising in the forms of search listings and text social media content were bland. Many hospitality brands first started advertising online using search engines. While search engine marketing was and continues to be an extremely effective form of direct marketing, it is severely limiting in terms of branding. Users would search for a destination or hotel, see only a few lines of text and then click through to the website. These types of listings have little impact on consumers' visual perception of a brand and offer very little opportunity to differentiate. The same goes for Twitter's 140-character rule - it limits the ability to effectively deliver a brand's story.

Image is everything in the hospitality world. After all, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, according to 3M Corporation. Thus, for businesses in the industry to get ahead, they must produce content that creates a visual image of their brand. People are attracted to people, natural scenery, luxurious lifestyles, and innovative architecture. It's important to showcase all of these elements in a way that is engaging and builds a connection with the audience.

Growth and Improvement of Video Technology and Mobile Usage

There's an arms race in the entertainment and technology industries to create the highest quality streaming content in 4k to match the pixel capabilities of the latest HD TVs, tablets, and mobile devices. As consumers demand more and better quality video content, tech companies and content providers are proliferating to match the demand. As the amount of video content grows, so does the opportunity for video advertising. According to a recent study from eMarketer, the "digital video advertising market is on pace to nearly double by 2019."

An advantage that comes with producing and trafficking online video content is an increased ability to measure performance. Prior to the internet, there was basically no measurement of performance in real-time. Now you can leverage social intelligence tools to gain insight into the sentiment and reaction of viewers. In paid ads, you can measure how long someone has viewed your video, who clicked on a link on your video, and which video creative performed better. With these advances in measurement and analytics, advertisers concerned with a driving the best possible ROI are more likely to spend on video advertising.

In offline TV advertising, there are fixed minimums for media buys that can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions for large brands. With online video, however, you can spend as little or as much as you want using various video marketing tools. These allow more control over spending and performance, as well as real-time measurement of engagement rate and click costs.

There is also a new phenomenon in the video space called live streaming. Periscope and Meerkat were the original companies to do this, but Facebook has recently launched its own live streaming feature for users. Live streaming is a great way to gain an active and "live" audience to showcase big events taking place on location.

Furthermore, mobile use is playing a greater role with video consumption. For the first time ever in 2015, the average daily time spent watching digital video on mobile devices exceeded desktop time in the United States, according to eMarketer. Since people take their mobile phones with them wherever they go, the opportunity to connect with existing or new customers through video content is ongoing.

Expanding Your Brand

The most provocative videos can grow viewership organically or virally, but brands can leverage marketing technology to help jumpstart social sharing by advertising across social and ad networks. Advanced targeting methods allow advertisers to deliver ads to the right audience based on a variety of consumer demographics, including, age, sex, geography, or previous brand-related behavior.

More than any other ad format, video ads have the opportunity to go viral because a brand's story can come to life. Going viral isn't easy nor should it be the only goal. The primary goal should be to connect with the target audience emotionally. If a company tries to produce a piece of content that's untrue to its brand, then it may come off as fake or misleading. Trying to go viral for the sake of going viral is similar to pandering for politicians. It appears unauthentic and people don't buy it one bit. When trying to determine if your video will go viral, it's important to ask yourself: Is this something that I would share if I received it from a friend? Does it tug at the heartstrings or make me laugh? Does it offer a glimpse into a destination you've yet to explore but would love to learn more?

A great example of a powerful brand video campaign is the "Navigator's Table" series produced by Renaissance Hotels, featuring well known food critic and television star Andrew Zimmern. In the web series, Zimmern sits down with Renaissance chefs, food critics, and locals to discuss favorite recipes and local hangouts. This is a great way to showcase destination cities and hotel amenities while bringing in a human element with locals and real-life hotel employees.

The series launched in early May with six episodes featuring New York, Nashville, and Chicago as destination cities. Renaissance was wise to invite a TV host with an existing following to help drive viewership. Additionally, Andrew is able to bring in some light humor and personality to the videos.

Episode 1 has already received over 260,000 views in just over a few weeks while the Renaissance Hotel has a growing YouTube follower count of over 3,700. The video has been mentioned and featured on various publications, including Adweek, Chicago Tribune, TravelPulse, and FoodandWine.com, and Nashville Scene.

Setting Goals and Getting Started

As with any new marketing initiative, you must establish your objectives before anything else. Are you looking to sell rooms? Increase sales to other hotel services such as functions or restaurants? Are you looking to create brand awareness, or generate leads for an email list? You might even be looking to showcase a new service offering, property, amenity, or destination city.

Next, you must consider budget. Be prepared to invest a substantial percent of your overall budget into video production. Although you could try to assemble the resources in-house, it is highly recommended that you hire a talented production studio and/or advertising agency that has the equipment, expertise, and human capital to deliver superior quality.

Brands should approach video production as an art form, just as a television series producer would do. As with any television series, each "episode" should engage the audience with a compelling storyline aimed at attracting returning viewers. An engaging series includes an overarching theme, strong character development, clever script writing, and audio-visual effects. Lastly, be sure the video series fits into your overall, multi-channel marketing strategy.

Once these pieces of the puzzle are figured out, you're ready to put together a compelling brand video.

Utilizing video content is a powerful way to attract customers. According to HubSpot, it is predicted that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. To stay ahead of the curve, the hospitality business must adapt and take advantage of this growing marketing strategy to bring its different industry brands to life.

Michael Couglin has twelve years of working experience in the digital marketing. His core competencies are in online branding, marketing analytics consulting, global paid search management, social media management, creative video production, and website usability. He has wide-ranging expertise working with companies as small as early-stage startups to global Fortune 500 enterprises. Prior to forming his own agency, Mr. Coughlin played pivotal roles in the early growth of multiple digital marketing companies. Throughout his career, Mr. Coughlin has gained tremendous experience working with global companies in almost every industry. Currently, Mr.Coughlin manages his own creative digital agency, Digital Blue Creative. Mr. Coughlin can be contacted at 1-844-468-6258 or Mike@DigitalBlueCreative.com Extended Bio...

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