Marketing technology took a lot of big steps forward in 2015. Predictive analytics, engagement marketing, and account-based marketing all took hold, and companies like Facebook announced that more than 8 billion videos are viewed every day on their social network. Whoa, wait a minute, WHAT?! Yes, that’s a ridiculously huge number and just one of the many stats that suggest video is one of the hottest trends that marketers need to watch for.
In 2015, video went from a consumer marketing rock star to a mainstream medium for B2B marketers, proving itself as an indispensable weapon in the battle for attention spans and audience engagement. In fact, 96% of B2B marketers now use video in some way, according to a recent study by the Web Video Marketing Council. Video has shifted from being just a brand-building tool at the top of the sales funnel to being used throughout the buying journey to engage audiences with product explanations, demos, customer testimonials, and much more. And for good reason: 74% of B2B marketers now say video content produces conversions better than other forms of content. Aberdeen Research also reports that organizations that use video successfully grow their revenue 49% faster than those that don’t.
As I look into my crystal cup-of-coffee and peer into the future, here are my top five predictions for video marketing this coming year:
1. From lean-back to lean-forward
On-demand video content primarily has been used for a one-way dialog with online audiences (much like other forms of content). Thus, viewers consumed a lean-back experience. This year, watching videos will become more active–and interactive. We’ll see more lean-forward opportunities with mid-roll surveys and questionnaires and choose-your-own-adventure-style videos that enable marketers to turn videos into two-way conversations and gather some important intent data from their viewers while they’re at it.
2. From generic to personal
Video content will get personal with more and more marketers using automated video personalization to bring viewers into the story (and boost conversion rates as a result). They’ll weave the viewer’s name, company logo, or LinkedIn picture seamlessly into the video content to draw the viewer into the story and create a unique and memorable experience. What once seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea is now possible in a fully automated fashion at scale thanks to new marketing technology. As tools like video personalization become more popular in 2016, you won’t be sending videos simply to tell your story to your audience. You’ll be customizing videos to show how it’s their story too.
3. From marketing to sales
Help your sales team help you! Sales will start to use marketing videos as part of the selling process and will also start creating their own personalized videos to better connect with potential buyers. In 2016, marketers will start focusing on how they can adapt their video strategy to help their sellers sell. When was the last time you asked your sales team what kinds of videos would help them improve sales effectiveness or efficiency? We’ll see more businesses produce product demos, customer testimonials, and detailed how-to videos to address the needs of buyers getting closer to a decision. And we’ll see more sales reps using video content for on-demand product demos, relationship building, and ultimately closing more deals.
4. From data to insights
We’re all collecting massive amounts of data on our prospects and buyers, but the magic happens when we turn that data into actionable insights that lead to real results. This year, marketers will move on from view counts as the measure of success and will start using viewer engagement data to better understand their prospective buyers, identify their hottest leads faster, and track how videos are contributing to lead generation and revenue. The data is within reach with the right video marketing platform in place, connected to your marketing automation or CRM system. But so far, marketers have been slow to take advantage of it. As reported by Demand Metric, 72% of survey respondents say they are using no or only basic measures of video content effectiveness, giving them no way to accurately determine ROI. That won’t last.
5. From outsourced to in-sourced
With video transforming from just another content medium to a strategic weapon for marketing and sales, more and more businesses will build out video production expertise in-house. Agencies will still be important, but an increasing number of companies will build modest video production studios and hire video producers and video marketing specialists to help scale their video marketing efforts quickly and efficiently. As more marketers measure their video results, they’ll have the ROI proofto invest more resources into their video programs.