If JPGs and GIFs have killed narrative as the best way to grab consumers’ attention on a digital platform, the next moment in the survival of the marketing fittest will be when video finishes off static images. 

Industry soothsayers like Brad Jefferson, founder and CEO of Animoto, are using words like "essential" to describe the role of video in marketing in 2016. 

Big brands already dove into video content marketing, but Jefferson's point is that the trend will only continue, spilling into the efforts of small and midsize businesses at prevalent levels.

Watching vs. Reading

To make his point, Jefferson cited a Cisco forecast that calls for video to account for 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2017. 

Facebook estimates that it will see 20 billion video views by the end of 2016, up from 8 billion in 2015. Jefferson then referenced an Animoto survey suggesting that four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and that one in four consumers lose interest when companies don't offer them videos.

"If you want to cater to these consumers and stand out from the competition, video is a must in 2016," he said.

Those numbers paint a picture of how consumers like to digest content online (though perhaps you would rather watch a video on the topic to learn more?). 

Of course, if your videos aren't worth their time, how many of those 20 billion views will you get? Probably not a blip’s worth.

Keeping Up With the Big Guys

One of the more telling claims from Jefferson is that marketers, particularly on the small- and medium-size business spectrum, may engage in more do-it-yourself (DIY) video creation to keep up. 

DIY tools abound for other aspects of marketing, everything from MailChimp for email marketing to Wix for website design. 

Why not video too? For DIY video, it can be as simple as using an iPad and iMovie, or a DSLR and Adobe Premiere Pro, and everything in between. (Full disclosure: Animoto offers professional templates for DIY video creation.)

But for marketers, a push into video could be one more thing they do not have time for, DIY or not — to properly conceive, execute, track, and rinse and repeat. 

According to another study promoting the importance of video marketing, from Ascend2 and Vidyard, there are marketers who do have time to monitor their videos and have success at it. 

About 91 percent of those surveyed liked what they were seeing from their video marketing, reporting they see video marketing effectiveness increasing. And 48 percent said the increase was significant. And 71 percent of this study's respondents said they are increasing video marketing budgets.

Strategies for Success

With that potential in mind, Jefferson offers advice for the newbie video marketer with 2016 and the video barrage around the corner. 

First and foremost is: "Don't get overwhelmed." 

Next is, take inventory. You may have content already created — video clips, marketing collateral, photos — that could be used in video. Consider what your competition is doing with video content, if anything. Then take inventory of your time and resources.

Still convinced you're willing and able to create videos? 

Finally, you must decide which videos to do. 

Jefferson offers some beginner's suggestions — tried-and-true video types that bigger brands have already used to death, like “about us” videos, thought leadership Q&As with staff experts, how-to's, event coverage, and behind-the-scenes videos to "pull the curtain back" on your company and its culture.

Something to be wary, according to the Ascend2 and Vidyard study, is that often videos deemed the most effective are also the most difficulty to execute on, DIY or otherwise. 

Customer testimonials? 52 percent said most effective (No. 1) but 43 percent most difficult (No. 1). Explainer/tutorial videos? 51 percent said most effective (No. 2 tied) but 31 percent most difficult (No. 3).

Title image by Ryan McGuire