Video Marketing Trends of 2021

YouTube DIYs and explainers. Instagram Reels. TikTok duet trends. The online world of 2021 is dominated by video content in every corner, ranging from a few seconds for a quick laugh to hours-long livestreams of new products. As marketers, they are a huge part of our toolbox in getting messages out to people in an engaging and cost-effective way, and even Google’s own stats say that at least half of people considering a purchase will look up a video on the product first – even if they’re standing in front of it on the shelf. The rise in popularity of video content is impossible to ignore, and when you look at the trends for the last few years, it’s clear to see that if you’re not exploring your video options, your brand is missing out on major opportunities.


Why Video Marketing Matters

So the big question you might have: why is video so important?

To start, think about the difference in engagement between plain text posts and image posts. Our eyes are primed to react more strongly to the colours and imagery presented within pictures, and this effect is compounded when it comes to videos. People are much more likely to stop and watch a video, even a few seconds of it, than they would be to stop and read a block of text – no matter how well-written it is. Video is designed to catch attention and keep it, and when the phones in our pockets can make any post look professional and engaging, it’s almost impossible to resist.

The ubiquity of smartphones, quick-editing apps, and posting platforms has launched a creative revolution that is pushing the limits of what great videos look like and are able to accomplish. This is not limited to individuals, either – companies with their fingers on the pulse of their audience are using video strategies to great effect, too. If you’ve ever paused while mindlessly scrolling through a social feed because an interesting clip caught your attention, you’ve seen just how effective a well-done video can be. And if you’re not there already, the next step is to start making them on your own.


How to Create Effective Brand Videos

So you’ve got a decent smartphone, an editing program, and a few hours to spare. There’s never been a better time to jump into video content, nor a more friendly atmosphere for learning and finding your niche. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.


Creating a Full Video Strategy

The first step is to think of your video strategy holistically. It shouldn’t be something that comes as an afterthought to everything else, and it shouldn’t result in one 30-second clip every few months. Work them in to accompany your regular content, and boost their appeal by creating them to cover a range of uses and purposes, while feeding in to the broader brand style that ties it all back to you. Videos are just one part of a solid foundation that holds your brand up for all to see.


Balance Your Content Types

Sometimes quick and off-the-cuff works great – but sometimes you need a product that’s a bit more professional. The good news is, they both have their place in a strong strategy, and you no longer need to spend huge amounts of money trying to get full camera crews and equipment.

For quick videos for social media, any smartphone with a decent camera will do. You can invest in a relatively cheap microphone to help with sound quality, but that’s enough to produce great content on the fly. If you are doing a longer, scripted video instead – such as an educational video for a product, or hosting a webinar – simple equipment like a tripod and lighting will go a long way towards a credible end result. These longer videos can also then be cut or modified for use as promos or social media, too, further establishing your presence online.


It’s About Connection, Not Perfection

No one will ever make the “perfect” video, because such a thing doesn’t exist. Express your values and voice in the ways that work best for you, and that is all you need. Take the time to learn the basics and discover what your audience responds to, and remember that it’s okay to learn along the way. Just stay authentic and you’ll reap the rewards.


Using Short and Long Form Video

Shorter content – but not necessarily with low production values – finds its home on some of the most popular apps in the world, like TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Facebook Live. These apps are like having a whole production crew on hand to edit, add effects and music, and unleash your creativity in full. And with TikTok having more than a billion monthly users by now, the audience is there, waiting – even if your content is just a one-shot video with a simple premise and no big budget. It’s possible to reach the entire world with a few taps on your phone.

Short videos are just one part of the equation, though. As a brand that wants to establish yourself with your audience, longer videos will be the main attraction that brings attention to you. Think educational videos that people can follow along with, DIY sessions that show how to do something new, or webinars about an interesting topic that live on your website or YouTube channel. Everyone’s heard of Twitch streams, TED Talks, and DIY repair videos – they’re some of the most popular content in the world. In fact, in 2018, 70% of YouTube viewers said they watch helpful videos for their studies, hobbies, or work, and that number has only increased in the years since. Right now, a lot of people are stuck at home with very few in-person events going on. This means you have a perfect audience to educate, entertain, and bring on board to your brand.

As the capabilities of our devices get more powerful, it’s clear that video content – and the ease with which we can access it – is here to stay. With a bit of planning and strategy, you can establish yourself as a source of information, entertainment, or inspiration for your customers and clients, and deliver your message clearly, in your own words, for all to see. It looks simple, but there are many facets to consider, so if you need help in the process, William Joseph is always here to help!

In Ryan’s Words: Why Video Strategy Matters

As the leader of a modern marketing agency, I have the opportunity to watch a lot of trends unfold over time. I still remember when my company, William Joseph Communications, began, and digital graphic design was just beginning to take off. File sharing required special software (and a lot more time to process). Myspace, YouTube, and Facebook not only hadn’t been created, they hadn’t even been conceived of yet.

But we all know how the story goes. The rise of the internet, and social media especially, has made it incredibly easy to share our stories and our created content with one another, and with every smartphone doubling as a camera, there has never been a greater amount of images and video to share in the first place. As of last year, YouTube alone accounted for more than one-third of all mobile internet traffic. Apps like Instagram Stories and TikTok have normalized bite-size video clips and continue to dominate viewer attention all around the world.

Clearly the market for video content is out there. But how does that affect us as business owners?


High Quality vs. High Definition

The demand for quality video content (and that doesn’t always mean expertly-lit, professionally-edited clips, but it helps) has grown steadily over the last decade. Easy to digest, engaging to watch, and ready to share, it shouldn’t be a surprise that video has come to drive the online landscape in a world where  attention spans are short and competition is fierce.

A survey for 2020 found that 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 95% of those are planning to maintain or increase their spending on it, seeing it as invaluable to their efforts. And good investments pay off; while a company like Disney might spend billions on content, they can expect to earn it back, as 88% of marketers reported a positive ROI on money they’ve put in. This statistic doesn’t even differentiate between low-budget, simple videos (like quick in-the-field updates) and highly produced, professional pieces. Boiled down, this means that choosing not to develop a video strategy will see you left behind, no matter how you slice it.

Some people get very caught up in the idea that every video has to be either quick and cheap or, on the flip side, heavily produced. Both types have their place, but a great strategy will use both. A poorly shot video can go viral if it’s so bad, it’s funny, but as a business you will want to ask yourself if you want the audience laughing at you. It’s good to be relatable, but it’s better to inspire your audience to dive deeper into your brand, while you’re connecting with them.


Misconceptions about Video Production

At WJ, we offer full video production capabilities, and we’ve been doing it for a long time. We often run into client misconceptions about making videos, some of which no doubt contribute to the hesitation clients may have about creating a full-blown strategy.

A lot of people think producing a video at an agency is overly expensive, and more costly than other strategies. More often than not, we find the opposite, because we have more resources (such as our own equipment, supplier deals, on-staff editors, etc.) and we can bundle them all for greater value. We have producers who make sure every shot counts on a set, and who can double up on efficiency by capturing interesting bonus content for future videos at the same time. As with any other strategy, we’re mindful of budgets, but we know that every dollar spent can easily be earned back with the ROI from an excellent end product.

A good video strategy isn’t just about handing us money and coming back a month later to see what we’ve made. There is a balance to be found between simple, amateur videos (think of how popular any cat is), and others that more beautifully showcase your brand and the way it appears to the world. We always want to work together, first and foremost, to identify what would be best for you, and invest your spend wisely to get the most efficient return. After all, we could make the greatest video on earth, but without the right strategic delivery plan, it could sit on a shelf for months, collecting dust while you wait for the “perfect opportunity”.

But the perfect time to develop that video strategy is now, because it’s going to be a cornerstone of marketing in the 2020s. Whether it’s livestreaming a product launch, animated infographics for a tradeshow, a perfectly-crafted recruitment video, or any one of the many other types of video formats, it will only elevate your brand in the process.

And if you need a bit of help…well, you know where to find me and my team.


Ryan Townend,
CEO of William Joseph Communications

The Power of Video: Your 2020 Marketing Cornerstone

In the early ages of the internet, when connections were slow and expensive, trying to use a video online was a recipe for disaster. But social media, mobile devices fed with 4G and 5G networks, the simplicity of cross-sharing and reposting, and an eternal fight for consumer attention means that video has attained a hard-earned place at the top of the digital landscape.

After all, in one survey last year, 85% of businesses used video as a marketing tool – and of those who did not, 59% plan to start in 2020. That means the marketplace is getting more crowded, with more companies trying to entice customers toward their products and services. With the increased competition, it’s becoming more important to not only utilize video content effectively, but to ensure that you have a comprehensive, overarching strategy that guides you.

Valuable, high-quality video content will be the cornerstone of marketing in the 2020s – and it takes more than just pointing and shooting with a phone, hoping you go viral. Here’s some must-know material for effective video marketing in the decade ahead.


Different Kinds of Content

For every platform and purpose, there is a different kind of video and set of rules to follow: tutorials, behind-the-scenes stories, animations, recruitment videos, livestreams of a product launch…the list, quite literally, can go on and on.

You’ll want to make different choices for formatting, orientation, and specific style depending on your purpose, and where your content ends up – for example, on Facebook alone, optimal screen ratios and runtime will change, depending on an ad’s placement in Timelines, In-Stream, Sidebar, or Marketplace. Using the same video for each different platform is a quick way to be ignored, so be wary of repurposing without looking into the specific requirements first.

Beyond that, consider the look and “feel” before you begin – knowing if you’ll need professional lenses and lighting, overlaid graphic sequences, or just a simple camera phone can save a lot of headache later on.

Here are some of the most common types of video content you might want to use:

Animation. More than cartoons, this also includes graphic overlays, dynamic images, and custom animation that can range from simple drawings to complete narrative sequences.

Slideshows. If you only have pictures, you can easily create a slideshow video that tells a compelling story, and set it to music if needed.

Social media posts. Generally restricted to a minute or less, these clips are straight to the point and should be engaging all the way through, but are usually more simple to film and edit.

Full-scale productions. Or content that represents your brand to the world, a sleek and well-shot video is the way to go. Think professional cameras and lighting for commercials, promo videos, music videos, etc.


How to Choose What You Need in a Marketing Video

With so many options – and more individual capability than ever – how do you choose what you want? The factor with the single biggest impact is likely to be your budget, because a well-made video will take a lot of skill, techniques, expertise, and time. It is an art and a science, after all.

For example, a 30-second clip from your phone might be great for an Instagram story, but if you’re looping a promotional video at an industry tradeshow, you want a professional and highly engaging video that will attract people. That means not just trimming clips, but also planning the whole shoot to begin with, colour correcting, creating animation, using transitions and speed shifts, and so on. Long videos can take seasoned pros dozens of hours to properly shoot and edit; here’s a look behind the scenes at how much editing is required for one four-minute video. Now imagine creating individual versions, with different formatting and lengths, for all social media platforms, for a website, for distribution…you can see how the time really adds up.

There is good news, though. You can often get more from each video than just the final product. Longer videos can be split up to create compelling promo content, and behind-the-scenes clips create excellent teasers. Be creative in how you use your content and how you tell your story, because often, customers are just as curious about the process as the end result.

Now, with that said, there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy and utilizing simple clips from camera phones as part of your video marketing strategy. Genuine, off-the-cuff content can perform as well as anything highly produced – in the right setting for the right audience. It’s all about getting the balance right and using different types of video effectively to highlight the strengths of your brand.

Marketing Do or Don’t: Live Video

It’s no secret that the current social media landscape can be a confusing world for brands to navigate. Its ever-changing nature can make creating effective marketing strategies difficult – one minute Facebook reigns supreme, the next it’s Instagram. Not only are the platforms constantly filtering through, but consistent upgrades and new added features can prove to be less user-friendly than developers hope they would. Take for example the Instagram feed; developers changed it from chronological order to a seemingly more tailored experience for each individual user. This resulted in major backlash as many found their posts were not being seen by their followers, ultimately forcing users to shift focus to Instagram stories rather than traditional posting.

Another feature recently introduced on multiple platforms that has brands confused is live video. It is now possible to create live streams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allowing audiences to see what you are doing in real time. But, as with nearly all new social media features, many brands begin to experiment without concrete strategy, which can result in lost time and effectiveness. So, is live video right for your marketing plan, and if so, how do you execute it effectively? Here are a few ways to get started:

Know your audience

This should be a first step in any marketing strategy – live video or not. In order to effectively communicate with your audience, you have to know who they are. What platforms do they use? When are they most engaging? What kind of content do they respond to best? It wouldn’t make any sense to do a ‘behind-the-scenes’ type of video on Facebook live if your audience are consistently sending you questions through Instagram direct messaging – try a live Q&A on Instagram instead. It’s important to do the preliminary research to understand what your current (and desired) audiences are looking for – demographic research will go a long way here.

Consider your industry

When developing a plan to execute a marketing strategy, consider what it is you want to communicate with your audiences. If you’re planning on sharing valuable industry information, consider whether you want to be a thought leader or if you want to keep trade secrets, well, secret. Is a behind-the-scenes look into your brand’s operations going to make for an enticing or boring video? Be brutally honest with yourself and think about live video content from a consumer’s perspective – what is it you’d want to know?

Be prepared to improvise

The nature of live video is exactly that – live. It’s meant to be in the moment and real, meaning there’s no room for rigid, scripted content. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for this produced content, it would just be better suited as a post. If you’ve decided to use live video as part of your marketing strategy, use it as a tool to give audiences an inside scoop into your brand, whether that be answering live questions or giving an in-the-moment sneak peek into specific operations. The beauty of live video is the authenticity is gives brands, making them more relatable – take this time to truly connect.

Look, live videos are tricky. Not only do you need to consider all of the above, but you also need to have insight into what time of day and week your audiences is most active on social media to be able to time it correctly. A live video won’t be effective if no one tunes in. Luckily, our marketing expertise will not only help you identify is live video is right for your brand, but also the best course of action for executing that plan. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you navigate the world of live video.

Building your Business with Video

The popularity of video marketing is soaring, and for good reason. Thanks to mobile devices, virtually everyone has access to online content at all times, and videos have a way of grabbing attention. Research groups like Forbes, Adweek, Google, Cisco and comScore all have similar stats on video consumption and the numbers speak volumes:

  • 80% of all internet traffic will be driven by video in 2018
  • 75% of executives say they watch a business video at least once a week
  • 90% of online shoppers say that product videos help them make purchasing decisions
  • 45% of Facebook users watch more than an hour of video each week
  • Websites are 53% more likely to come up on a Google search if they have video content

If you don’t have a corporate video (or your existing one is out of date) now’s the time to start filming. But just like any other marketing endeavor, corporate videos need forethought and planning to be most effective. Before you get the camera rolling, here are a few things to consider:

  1. 1. Who’s Your Audience? No matter how great your product or service is, it’s not for everybody. Be very clear about who you’re talking to, what they want and need from you, and figure out what you need to say to appeal to them. Video is a great way to motivate people to taking the next step – investigate further or hire you for a job then and there, so be sure you’re speaking your target audience’s language. You want to make them believe that what you’re offering is something they can’t do without.
  2. Hire a Pro. Sure you can create a video with your smart phone, and maybe your receptionist’s nephew really is a decent amateur cameraman, but is that going to be enough to create a great looking video? No, of course it isn’t. There’s a lot more to video production than hitting the record button and yelling action!, and only an experienced producer can bring it all together in a way that makes you look like the professional you are. Script writing, lighting, editing, creative concepts – video production is a highly nuanced artform, and if you hire a subcalibre videographer, you’re going to end up with a video that makes you and your business look bad. Production value matters.
  3. Tell a Compelling Story. Video is innately memorable, but it becomes even more impactful when the message you’re conveying makes an emotional connection with the viewer. What is the unique story you and only you can tell? Has your business or product helped to change someone’s life or work for the better? What drives you as a company? Think about how you can showcase your organization’s heart and soul and get it on camera. People engage with companies and products that mean something to them, so the more meaningful you can be to your audience, the better.
  4. Show – Don’t Tell. The biggest advantage of video is that it allows you to demonstrate things in a visual way. Nothing is more boring than watching a talking head, so make a point of actively showing whatever it is your selling. Action on video is engaging and helps create that important emotional connection you want to have with your audience.

But be forewarned – video does not come cheap, and is not the kind of initiative you should try and cut corners (or budgets) when creating. However, the investment is well worth it, as a professionally produced video can help you grab the attention of your customers, and ultimately, increase revenues.

Check out some of the videos we’ve created for our clients here.

Channeling the Power of Video

In an ever-changing digital landscape, video content marketing is quickly becoming one of, if not the most effective ways to engage consumers. Thanks to the prevalence of social media apps which integrate video technology and big investments from digital powerhouses, video is now at the forefront of leading content and marketing strategies. As attention spans decrease, video is largely the most compelling way to catch your customer’s attention, and hold it. Video shouldn’t be an afterthought, but should rather play a dominant role in your content marketing plan. Here’s a look at some of the top reasons why video reigns supreme.

The presence of video does wonders for your SEO; according to Comscore, adding a video to your website can increase the chance of a front-page Google result by 53 times.  Video also provides more opportunities to optimize your content. Unlike blogs, which yields minimal user-data, video feedback   loops measure click-through rates, number of times watched and drop-off points. Equipped with these invaluable insights, content creators can then optimize future video posts according to what resonates best with your target audience. Further, your audience is more likely to engage with video, resulting in higher retention rates. In fact, 65% of viewers watch more than ¾ of a video, making video one of the more effective ways to communicate valuable information.

Video is also a great way to supplement product information, from digital spec sheets to product reviews. Animoto’s research says that 96% of consumers find videos helpful when they are making purchase decisions online. Moreover, 58% of them consider companies that produce videos to be more trustworthy. Studies show that using the word “video” in the subject line of an email can increase open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduce un-subscribers by 26%. According to Twitter, unsurprisingly, videos and photos get the most retweets. This is likely because video creates a more powerful emotional connection than pure text. It’s this emotional connection that is paramount. The most successful content marketers design campaigns that create an emotional connection with consumers.

Here are some of our favourite video marketing campaigns. Notice how they all succeed in creating an emotional connection, create a compelling narrative and manage to keep our attention from start to finish.

1. Purina – Puppyhood

2. Dove – Beauty On Your Own Terms 

3. GoPro – Fireman Saves Kitten

4. Android – Friends Furever 

5. American Greetings – World’s Toughest Job