Here’s where I think B2B sales and marketing video is headed this year.
- More conversational. Less advertorial.
- More formats
- More interactive
I think the traditional categories of testimonial, webinar, explainer, etc. are becoming less relevant. What’s important is using the medium effectively. Here are a few ideas for different kinds of video.
More conversational, less advertorial
There’s a difference between “making a video” and “using video” to advance your conversation with customers. There will be more of the latter this year. It’s in line with the trend toward a “video-first world,” as envisioned by Mark Zuckerberg. The more pervasive personal video streaming and messages become, the less relevant categories such as webinar, slideshare, explainer, tutorial, and commercial become. Video is simply part of the sales conversation.
Here are three things you can do in 2017 to make videos that are more engaging:
- Get subject matter experts to record answers to frequently asked questions instead of making presentations. Add titles and graphics.
- Record Skype conversations with customers.
- Add video animations or slides to subject matter expert blog posts.
Did you know that vertical video ads on Snapchat have up to 9 times more completed views than horizontal video ads? With more and more video being viewed on mobile devices, is makes sense that people aren’t going to want to turn their phones horizontal to view every video that comes along. If you’re just trying to explain a value proposition and or teach a customer something useful, there’s no compelling reason to do it sideways.
In fact, one could argue that turning your phone sideways detracts from the customer experience. The vertical format favored by 200 million Snapchat users will become increasingly relevant as more web videos are viewed inline on iOS devices, courtesy of Apple‘s iOS 10.
It’s certainly not difficult to record videos in portrait mode. Or to edit in graphics and animations. Give it try. Put some on your FAQ page. Re-use on Snapchat.
Here’s an example of an interactive video that’s feels a bit more like an app than a video, simply because it allows the viewer to manipulate it. Even though the interactions here are rudimentary and nobody’s idea of fun, it feels more like something you’re using or experiencing, less like passively watching a video. If you’re marketing a technology solution, it’s certainly easy to extrapolate from this experience to a video, or a series, that branches across your solution in more interesting interactive ways.
The Content Marketing Institute‘s Joe Pulizzi recently sent out an alert noting that today’s marketers are going in for shorter posts, shorter social media updates, shorter videos, and shorter podcasts—and recommending that long content (if it’s good) could set you apart from the competition. I agree. But the problem with long-form video is that the viewer can tell how long it is from the start, but not how valuable it’s going to be. You can make a long-form video more app-like with enticing chapter headings that make it clear to the viewers exactly what can be learned—and allowing them to have the instant gratification of clicking to get the content they want.
I don’t see any downside to capitalizing on these trends—they’re not fads. And none will take a big chunk out of the video budget.