Gartner is bullish on video. In fact, the analyst company predicts large companies will stream more than 16 hours of video per worker, per month — by next year. Forrester Research is enthusiastic, too. In fact, an oft-quoted statistic that Forrester analyst James McQuivey made way back in 2008 suggests one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

As marketers, that latter number is real food for thought. What do you think is easier: getting a customer to read a million words or watch a one minute video?

Video marketing isn't new — it’s been a part of consumer life since the earliest television commercials were released. However, how that video is used as a marketing tool has drastically changed with the onset of social media and digital marketing, research shows. Today, marketers not only make videos to promote products, but also offer instructional videos. And some hold video chats with company officials or customer service representatives, all in the name of better customer experience.

Some 3 billion videos are played on YouTube every day and 100 hours of content are uploaded every minute. If you keep an HDMI cable stashed in your office drawer to connect your laptop to a big screen, then you're probably hooked — and understand the ease, convenience and value of video.

As McQuivey stated in his report, "Alexander Graham Bell famously doubted that the phone would be useful in the home except for calling doctors to emergencies. He was very wrong, failing to recognize that a technology that facilitates our human drive to communicate will spread rapidly. The phone did, as did email. Now it's video's turn because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words."

But still, we had to ask. Is video marketing here to stay or a passing fad?

The Question

Is video the next big thing in digital marketing?

The Answers

Ashley Paris, Research Analyst at SiriusDecisions

2015-2-February-Ashley-Paris.jpg

As a member of SiriusDecision's Demand Creation Strategies service, Paris provides senior marketing management with operational intelligence on demand creation to support strategic and tactical lead development initiatives. Before joining SiriusDecisions, she was an account director and senior consultant at DemandGen, a company offering demand generation, lead management consulting and marketing automation advice, and lead the deployment and use of Oracle Eloqua’s marketing automation platform at the TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins. Tweet to Ashley Paris.

The question isn’t whether or not video is the next big thing in digital marketing, but more of an acknowledgement of video’s role in the shift to holistic, integrated approaches to content delivery as part of a digital marketing plan. This is indicated by video’s overwhelming increase in pervasiveness. Past hurdles, such as optimizing videos for search, cross-device compatibility and production time and cost are being answered with keyword tags, optimized file names, adaptive design and user-generated content.

I credit the increase in popularity of video with a growing sophistication in the ability to track and measure video’s effectiveness toward its objective for different audience segments. People differ in their content preferences — and the preferred delivery mechanism for that content. For example, some people prefer to watch online videos for information, whereas others prefer to download a brochure or peruse an infographic. In addition, the preferred delivery mechanism for content can change depending on the device that a person is using to access the content.

Amid these complexities, marketers are  gaining better understanding video’s role as it compares to their audience’s content and tactic preferences. Through integrations with marketing automation and other tools, marketing can better monetize video’s role in creating and qualifying demand, and this leads to a business case for incorporating more video into the digital mix. Combine that with video’s ability to communicate ideas with emotion and personality, and you have a delivery mechanism optimized for the modern information-seeking buyer who lives on multiple devices, who craves the ability to share and interact with useful content that resonates on a personal level.

Jim Dicso, President and Chief Revenue Officer at SundaySky

2015-2-february-jim-dicso.jpg

Dicso joined SundaySky, a company that delivers automated product video production, in 2011. As president and Chief Revenue Officer, he drives the company's go-to-market strategy, sales execution, business development and revenue growth. He was previously executive vice president of sales and services at LivePerson, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider of real time online customer engagement solutions and held multiple roles at both Witness Systems, Parametric Technology Corp. and Xerox. Tweet to Jim Dicso.

Video has always been a compelling digital medium for connecting a story or idea to the world through sight, sound and motion, whether it’s an individual sharing a personal video or a brand promoting its TV spot. This was YouTube’s greatest accomplishment: enabling one person to tell a story and touch the world through video.

As YouTube has evolved, so too has the role of video. This storytelling medium has progressed from one-to-the-world, to one-to-many, to now, one-to-one, making video stories both highly personalized, entertaining and effective. Brand marketers are learning to understand, organize and connect their first-party data sources with behavioral data to interact and engage with customers in an individualized way, improving the overall experience. And this is really the next big thing for video in digital marketing this year.

Adam Kustin, VP of Marketing at VMR Products

2015-2-february-Adam-kustin.jpg

Kustin joined VMR, a maker of electronic cigarettes, to lead the development and execution of marketing and communication strategies on a global scale. He was previously with Shelton Group, a marketing communications firm, where he served as president, leading the client service, strategy, insight and creative functions. He has also held senior marketing positions at Sunbeam Corporation and Sensormatic, a division of ADT. Tweet to Adam Kustin.

Video is not the next big thing. It is a big thing. For marketers, video has always been a compelling asset, given its ability to deliver equal measures of detail and authenticity. The only difference today is video’s ability to scale online, with mobile and social pushing the boundaries of what was once possible even three years ago.

In any consumer marketing plan where the selling process revolves around education, explanation or inspiration, video should play a central role. Done well, video provides critical dimension and clarity where other mediums fall short. Done well, by the way, is in the eye of the beholder. The YouTube juggernaut is teeming with countless product reviews. You may be surprised by which ones convert the best. Hint, it’s not always the slickly produced ones.

In markets that are new or have many players, video can provide an edge and illuminate the “why” behind a brand. Consider the market for fitness trackers. It is overrun with old-line fitness brands like Nike, established tech companies like Jawbone, early leaders like Fitbit and a host of challengers. Consumers can easily exhaust themselves just searching for the right product. Now imagine a series of videos on how fitness trackers work, what features are most important and how to get the most out of them. The company that produces this content benefits by becoming a trusted resource and puts itself in a better position to convert traffic into buyers, which is at the heart of any marketing or sales operation.

Title image by Asa Aarons Smith Photography / all rights reserved.