movie clapboard before calling "action"
PHOTO: Jakob Owens

One of the most powerful ways for companies to connect with consumers is through visual content. While the benefits of compelling images are well known, our understanding of the return on video content is becoming clearer. Video should now be part of a brand's communication strategy to maximize engagement, revenue, repeat business and word of mouth.

Video Has a Powerful Effect on Purchasing Decisions

When it comes to the power of video, the numbers put its importance into perspective. According to HubSpot findings cited in Forbes, 64 percent of online shoppers are more inclined to purchase a product after watching a video about it, and including videos in marketing emails can skyrocket click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent.

What’s more, our hypermobile world allows consumers to browse and check prices on devices before making a purchasing decision, which 30 percent of online shoppers do at least once per month.

Advances in video technology now deliver 360-degree views and on-the-fly zoom capabilities to offer close-ups of essential features and the ability to add voiceovers to convey critical information. While images and text descriptions remain the industry standard for promoting products online, video can do so in infinitely less time while making information easily digestible — including when customers are on the go.

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Why Aren't More Companies Using Video?

So with consumer preference and engagement stats like these, why aren’t we maximizing the power of video?

A recent Forrester study discovered only 38 percent of companies received passing marks for engaging consumers with video beyond just repurposing content like ads and speeches.

Companies cite concerns about the time and costs associated with finalizing videos — not to mention uncertainty around ROI. There are substantial bandwidth costs with serving video, and companies often implement them incorrectly, which results in consumer indifference.

Some companies fail to align video content with their brand strategy. Considering 80 percent of customers recall a video clip consumed in the past 30 days, making sure video content employs brand fonts, colors, tone and more are critical for achieving the necessary recall. Case in point: Have you ever watched a commercial during the Super Bowl, laughed uncontrollably, but then forgot the name of the brand behind the ad? No matter how compelling the video content might be, if consumers don’t instantly recognize or remember the brand, then recall will fade faster than a dream, right after awakening.

There are also examples of companies pivoting entirely to video with less-than-stellar results. Fox Sports eliminated its digital writing and editing teams in the summer of 2017 to put its muscle behind digital video. According to sources, Fox Sports Digital lost 88 percent of its audience shortly after the change.

The Fox Sports situation is a warning that simply uploading video content doesn’t always pay dividends. Companies need to understand the context of each video and how it showcases the brand while providing value for the consumer.

Related Article: Why B2B Marketers Should Experiment With Live Video

Video Done Right

What do we make of such compelling video stats on the consumer side that fail to align with best practices by online companies and additional media outlets, especially when factoring in Cisco's prediction that video marketing could be responsible for 80 percent of internet traffic by 2019?

Videos alone aren't a panacea. Placing a YouTube embed on a homepage isn’t enough. The content must look professional, provide information in a clear and concise visual and auditory fashion, and considering smartphones are expected to impact over $1 trillion of retail sales in 2018, the importance of optimizing for mobile cannot be overstated.

If you aren't providing your prospective and current customers with the video content they so clearly desire, you are likely missing out on a big opportunity to help foster the kind of engagement you’re aiming for.