In less than a decade, online video marketing has moved from a standing start to become an essential part of the digital marketing mix. Online analytics experts comScore Inc. recently reported more video was watched online last year than ever before. Almost 90 percent of the American Internet audience viewed online video in December 2013, with the number of video ads watched in the US jumping from 11 billion in December 2012 to more than 35 billion in December 2013.
And the rise of online video doesn’t look like slowing any time soon. According to networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, video traffic is forecast to reach 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2017, up from 57 percent in 2012. To put a little mind-bending context on that number, Cisco says it would take an individual over 5 million years to watch all that video.
Video is popular with marketers because it allows them to take on multiple platforms, with a single video playing equally well through YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and on home sites. And as Google tweaks its algorithms to improve relevancy, video is playing well in the search results.
YouTube still dominates the online video space. Often cited as the world’s second most popular search engine, the video sharing site is visited by more than 1 billion unique users every month, watching over billion hours of video and uploading 100 hours of video every minute.
The challenge, as more and more video is produced, is to catch and keep the customer’s attention.
Luckily, running expensive TV spots on YouTube is no longer the only game in town; 2013 saw short-form video platforms like Vine and Instagram video growing exponentially on their ease of video creation and sharing. It’s easy to dismiss these DIY platforms as places for acrobatic cat videos, but leading brands like General Electric, are using Vine, and the BBC is testing Instagram video as a platform for 15-second news bulletins.
Animation is another cost-effective alternative being considered by marketers. “Animation and marketing have shaken hands and have taken on working together to bring in higher ROIs for businesses of all types,” wrote Manroop Takhar on PharmaForum last year. He cites Bayer’s Canesten Duo campaign as an early success for the format; the 2009 animation is reported to have generated a 14.9 percent boost in sales.
Roberto Capodieci, Founder of Florida-based speed drawing animators 25SDA, says the power of animation is that it helps the brain to create an ideal image of what is drawn. “If I see a picture of a car that is all I see; maybe it’s a car that I don’t like. If I see a drawing of a car, my brain will show me a car that I love. Speed drawing lets your ideas play in the minds of your audience.”
Long-form, short-form or animated, the biggest driver of video advertising’s popularity is marketing 101’s “fish where the fish are” dictum. Audiences are turning to video because, at its best, it’s engaging and it’s easy. Increasing mobile internet usage in particular has pushed up online video views. People may be hungry for information but on the move they would much rather spend two minutes watching a video on their phone than half an hour scrolling through an article.