Web video breaks the ice on social for brands

Web video breaks the ice on social for brands
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Phil Duffield, managing director at Adap.tv argues that video advertising no longer involves traditional push messaging, but more of the opening line in a conversation.

There’s no doubt about it: video is emotive. And it’s being used more and more to engage people, whether it’s the Liberal Party’s Headless Chooks campaign (offensive, mainly for using The Birdie Song as it’s soundtrack), or Coles supermarkets explaining how $1 for a litre of milk doesn’t hurt suppliers.

Of course, it has entertained us in the living room for decades, but now it’s teaming up with social media to help lead conversations everywhere.

For example, take Gotye’s music video, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’. Can you believe that it has been watched almost 400 million times on YouTube – with more than half a million comments? That’s at least 200 times the TV viewing audience of The Voice. (And, by the way, if you are a fan of The Voice, there’s every chance you have already popped by its website to watch back episodes or see ‘exclusive behinds the scenes’ footage.

The age of just living room family television is over – video is everywhere. And we’re not just watching, we’re talking about it too. No wonder it’s appearing more and more on people’s Facebook streams, and that YouTube and other sources of videos are being embedded and shared on a myriad of sites.

We grew up watching video as a passive medium, but now it has become the centrepiece of the online conversation. Several inhibiting factors are changing, and this will drive increased video usage over the next few years

– The cost of production for decent quality video has decreased, thanks to cheaper cameras and editing software, coupled with an acceptance that not all video needs to meet the high production value of the past.

– The capacity of telecoms networks to deliver video is improving. In fact, a recent report from UK firm OpenSignal has shown Australia’s 4G Internet speeds average 17.3 Mbps, ranking it amongst the fastest in the world. Admittedly, not many Aussies are on 4G yet, but they will be. There will be plenty of bandwidth to consume video on the go, as well as talk about it on social media.

– H.265 technology will effectively halve the bitrate of video without impacting the quality, making it accessible to more devices at a lower delivery cost.

Many of the blockers holding back video from going mainstream globally have been virtually eradicated. The only issue that remains for brands is how to get audiences talking about their video content.

It would be great, of course, to produce viral videos which generate audience and conversations with no promotional spend. But, going viral is wholly unpredictable, and sadly many such videos invariably involve somebody getting hurt or exposing parts of their body. That’s probably not in keeping with ideal brand positioning.

This is why video advertising will play an increasing role in the social mix. The best way to kick start a campaign is through paid spots, and then leveraging that attention through social media. For example, the ad might appear on a targeted website with a click through to a longer video on your YouTube channel, where an engaged audience leaves comments and a discussion ensues.

It means, increasingly, video advertising won’t involve the push messaging from days of old. It will be more of the opening line in a conversation.

The message still needs to be evocative and inspiring, but the product sell comes through brand affinity built up in the social space. And, increasingly, video will have an important part to play.

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