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When video is the message

Glenda LeGendre Big

Google knew what it was doing when it purchased the nearly fledging YouTube video hosting website for about $1.65 billion in stock back in 2006.

Recent data indicate that YouTube is the third-most visited site worldwide with about 15 billion viewers a month. YouTube allows nearly anyone — from individuals to corporate advertisers — to generate video, comment on videos, and share on all devices.

Now, Twitter has announced it is joining the ever growing list of marketing video hosting sites. And most companies   host videos on their own websites.

Given these opportunities, how does a business or organization maximize the power of video ads as a part of its marketing strategy? The goal should be to expand and enhance advertising and development dollars to create and maintain a brand image. Successful video ads have been shown to increase client favorability, with expanded sales and purchase results.

Beyond pet videos

The proliferation of the billions of video postings is largely a result of individuals creating amateur but authentic videos. Some are funny, some are how-to’s, and some are endearing. Cats and dogs seem to generate the most interest. But for a professional image in the crowded video-viewing market, lighting, sound and even the right musical background are important production qualities.

For example, the national production firm, Canton-based Don Cherel Productions, helped client GEICO generate a profitable new motorcycle insurance business with its seemingly simple but actually quite complex ads that incorporate recognizable music while telling a compelling story — all within just 28 seconds of air time. The ads run not only on television and cable, but also on targeted websites.  The added value of the video versions of well-crafted ads more than justifies the cost.

Use of a script that is well thought-out for the brand is especially significant. Boring content and vanity-style talking heads will result in a fast skip.

There’s even an art to generating the customized thumbnail images, the still shots that invite viewers to click through, to help increase viewer traffic. YouTube has developed valuable analytics (TruView) to check the view-through rates on your spots.

What’s the right length?

How long should a video be? Millennials and Generation Z’ers, of course, grew up watching video ads to which they paid notoriously short attention, unless the spots were user-generated and therefore “authentic.” Boomers and GenY’ers are catching up to the millennials, thanks to their own continued viewing of spots.

There is a large amount of ongoing research to determine the optimal length for a video. Not surprisingly, Google has funded and published some significant studies. One, reported in June 2016, tested a 15-second, 30-second and two-minute version of a professionally produced video product ad. Google and its global partners wanted to know if the longer video spot generated stronger results.  They concluded that the longer spot was generally stronger overall, but the 30-second spot had the highest view-though rate and the 15-second spot yielded the best product recall. Since raised awareness often triggers consumer behaviors, shorter may be better.

So don’t leave your brand message to a logo at the end of the video. Rather, incorporate the brand earlier in the spot before viewers tune out. Google’s Ben Jones noted in the report, “The craft of well-framed, well-paced beautifully shot work still has tremendous power.”

No matter the length, to benefit your organization say something meaningful quickly, creatively, and accurately in your videos that shares the brand message.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Strategic Marketing and Communications and can be reached at glegendre@comcast.net.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Strategic Marketing and Communications and can be reached at glegendre@comcast.net. To purchase a reprint of this column, contact The Daily Record.