It is indisputable how important a concerted and well planned digital content marketing strategy is for your brand’s continued success in attracting new customers and increasing sales. The use of mobile devices, high speed mobile internet, and social media platforms continues to grow rapidly year after year. Brands and owners who choose to ignore what is happening all around them are simply employing the “stick your head in the sand” approach in the hope that it all goes away.

Unless something completely unexpected and unlikely happens, such as the internet crashing worldwide or people deciding to throw away their smartphones en-mass, this situation isn’t changing anytime soon. While there are changes taking place all the time, such as different websites (Myspace, Yahoo!) and technologies (Blackberry, Microsoft and Nokia phones) falling out of favour and others taking their place, there is still a continuing trend. Individuals are using smartphones, social media and the internet more than ever. This is even more the case when you take into account so-called ‘digital natives’ i.e. individuals born after 1980 who have literally grown up using digital technologies rather than being introduced to them later in life. The kids of today across the Western world, do not know any different than being surrounded by digital technology.

One of the biggest changes currently taking place within the online world, in line with the advent and roll out high-speed internet use both for homes and businesses, and on a mobile basis, is the rapidly increasing consumption of digital video content. This is not a phenomenon that your brand can afford to ignore. This is an absolutely huge opportunity to expand and improve your content marketing strategy to reach audiences where their attention now lies.

Of course, much of the start of this drive towards online video content came from YouTube which certainly cannot be ignored. In fact the site boasts over one billion users which is almost one-third of the internet! YouTube viewing statistics are huge, with more than 500 million hours of videos having been watched on the site in 2016. While the site is famous for viral videos such as cute cats, clearly the importance of YouTube is so much more than that with more than 100 million hours of how-to videos having been watched in North America in the first five months of 2015 alone.

The growth in online video consumption can now be seen in the massive push by all social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn to incorporate videos posted by both individuals and brands. There are also social apps such as Snapchat which are designed primarily around the publishing and sharing of videos and photos, with text an afterthought.  When you scroll through your social media newsfeed or timeline you will now see a proliferation of auto-play video content.

2017: The year of video marketing (HighQ Solutions Limited)

One of the reasons for this is that the technology is there to allow this i.e. increasingly speedy internet and devices capable of displaying streaming video wherever you are. Another big reason is simply that video grabs and holds people’s attention, which is important because studies have shown attention continues to decline. The power of engaging online content cannot be underestimated, especially in younger audiences. For example, a staggering half of all YouTube subscribers between the ages of 18-34 would drop what they’re doing to watch a new video by their favourite creator (Google,2016)!

If your brand isn’t willing to invest the time, resources and effort to stand out, then your content marketing strategy will fail to make an impact. Today’s marketplace is highly competitive, so failing to grab attention, be different and interest online users and your social media followers, can easily result in falling behind more innovative and forward-thinking brands. Compared to other forms of digital content, video stands out on top in terms of which type people pay most attention to as opposed to merely skimming, with 55% consuming video thoroughly (Hubspot, 2016).

On Facebook alone which is the biggest and most important social network, video is leading growth, far outstripping engagement of other forms of user and brand posting (Status, Link, Photo). Again this shows where audience attention lies and why your brand needs to invest a lot more time, energy and resources into producing engaging video content, because this is what people want to see. Compared to a Facebook photo, a Facebook video receives 135% more organic reach (Socialbakers, 2015).

Interesting, useful, entertaining and/or amusing video content is increasingly what people are choosing to engage with online. While information overload has meant that user engagement has declined in terms of many aspects of social media updates (despite overall social media growth), content that stands out, especially video continues to see growth in engagement. This engagement, including Likes, Comments and Shares are what can lead to more customers and sales.

Video should not merely be dismissed as a form of visual entertainment with little real world value for your brand. Increasingly it is being shown that online video content, including video advertising on social media channels translates into increased sales. For example: Twitter video ads are deemed to be 10% more relevant, 8% more favorable, and 8% less intrusive, compared to similar skippable pre-roll ads on publisher sites (Twitter, 2016).

According to research by Animoto (2015), when researching a purchase decision, 4 in 5 millennials consider video content and when shopping online, 70% of millennials are likely to watch a company video. Not only this, but compared to companies not using video in their marketing strategy, those that do have been able to grow revenue 49% faster year-on-year (Aberdeen Group, 2015)!

Ultimately, for continued success in today’s competitive environment, your brand needs to go where your audience are in order to reach them. Your audience are increasingly watching videos on their mobile devices in their free time, rather than watching television, reading magazines or listening to the radio. Some brands seem intent to stick stubbornly to what worked in the past i.e. pay for expensive advertising on billboards, in magazines and newspapers, on television and the radio.

If you’re doing this, then increasingly you are pouring money down the drain because fewer and fewer people are paying attention in those places. This is why people use Netflix, Spotify and ad-blockers, to escape these intrusive styles of in your face advertising. By using more subtle more subtle forms of content marketing which people actually enjoy watching because they are useful or entertaining, your brand can successfully grab people’s attention thus increasing future profitability. This is why video is vital to your brand marketing strategy.

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