Incorporating Video into Your Mobile Strategy

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On March 19, 2015, the researchers from Marketing Experiments shared cutting-edge insight on the use of video as a means of increasing mobile conversion. Mobile is increasing in importance in the media mix: without proper insight, it runs a high risk of being an expensive proposition without direction. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 80% of American internet users regularly download or watch videos. The shift toward smartphones has accelerated this trend.

The research presented in this webinar tackles the key questions of “How do we know if shifting toward video is worth the investment?” and “How do we know that using video is any more effective for delivering a message to our audience than copy and static imagery?”

The chart below highlights the adoption curves for online video and smartphones and two of the significant event of the timeline including the launch of YouTube and the introduction of the iPhone.

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While an almost endless list of questions face marketers in regard to video, they can be boiled down into two primary questions – 1) When should I use video?, and 2) How do I make it effective in my marketing campaigns?  The Marketing Experiments team drew conclusions based on seven years of testing video. From their experience they have identified two key driving principles.

Principle 1 – The medium impacts the message

  1. Video is a medium (form) for the message rather than the message (substance) itself.
  2. Different media (copy, images, video, etc.) will have different strengths.
  3. The value of the video is tied directly to the impact it has on the message.

The image below is from a test where the appropriate use of video translated to a 47% increase in conversion. Other experiments presented showed negative results when video was used. These occurred when the video, as a form, did not support or strengthen the message’s substance.

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Are there instances when a particular medium should be used? The answer is a definitive yes. The grid below outlines the moments of truth where copy, images and video are best leveraged. Video is best used to demonstrate products or convey emotions. Video is the heavy hitter than can either take the message out of the park or strike out. It certainly is not appropriate to use in all cases, but it can be the right tool if you need to visually tell a compelling story.

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Principle 2 – All “Asks” must be earned

  1. Content is not free. There may not be a direct financial cost, but there will always be a psychological cost.
  2. Watching a video is an “ask” with implied costs including: time (how long is the video and how much of it will be relevant to me) and effort-based costs (such as will I need to watch a video first or is my Flash up to date?).
  3. To overcome these mental costs the video must be sequenced to ensure that its value outweighs these perceived costs. Sequencing involves setting the video’s position so that it is supported by the other elements in the message.

Key takeaways include – all asks have some form of cost in the mind of the consumer. The content may be free to the consumer, but he or she will have questions in their mind, e.g. how long is it, will it be relevant to me, will I have to wait while buffering occurs, etc. Videos are a powerful tool, but they are not right for every situation and can easily overwhelm the message. Use them sparingly and with proper support from other elements within the message.

Greg Timpany directs the research efforts for Global Knowledge in Cary, North Carolina, and runs Anova Market Research. You can follow him on Twitter @DataDudeGreg.

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