5 Video Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making Right Now

If you want your video marketing to succeed, forget the primetime flash, and instead focus on avoiding the five common mistakes outlined in this piece.

5 Video Marketing Mistakes You Might Be Making Right Now

I’ll admit it: Like millions of other people, I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. With the average ad costing $5 million just for the airtime, each one is like a mini masterpiece.

So I get why, when it comes to video marketing campaigns, marketers can sometimes get a case of Super Bowl Syndrome: They start dreaming big—bigger than they need to. Back in my days as a producer, I saw simple projects spiral into a pricey, months-long process as companies put pressure on themselves to make a Super Bowl-worthy product.

Video is without a doubt a powerful tool for a company to have in its marketing arsenal. In fact, prospects who view videos of a product are 85% more likely to buy.

To be successful, impactful video marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Some of the most effective video efforts are quick-hit customer testimonials or employees making a recording of themselves on the spot. In fact, explainers—short videos that position a concept, product, or service—are the No. 1 most popular type of videos on websites and social media alike.

My advice: If you want your video marketing to succeed, forget the primetime flash, and instead focus on avoiding these five common mistakes.

Putting Video On A Pedestal

The major cause of the Super Bowl Syndrome cited above is that companies are trapped in an outdated concept of video as “a movie.” We’re all comfortable now dashing off quick recordings from our smartphones for personal use, but for some reason the embrace of casual, off-the-cuff video hasn’t percolated into the B2B ranks.

Yes, high-production-value videos do still have a role, especially if you’re featuring them on your home page. But authentic video can—and often does—trump slick productions in 2017. Slack’s quirky customer testimonial video, for example, is mostly talking heads filmed at their desks, but it still makes its tool look like an essential piece for team communications.

The fact is that video is increasingly the mode of business communication. Text-based content marketing tools like blogs are being elbowed out. Eighty percent of site visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will read content. To keep up, companies need to find a way to streamline creation and distribution and leave the “Oscar-winning” efforts to the pros.

Ignoring The Numbers That Matter

I’m going to drop some tough love here: Views are a vanity metric. Though a big number may be impressive at first glance, it actually doesn’t tell you anything about the viewer’s behavior. Did the person only watch the first 10 seconds—and if so, was anything useful shown in those 10 seconds, or was it just another goofy cat clip? More importantly, did the video actually push consumers a little closer to making a purchase?

If you’re not tracking how views actually impact leads and your sales, it’s impossible to tell whether your investment in video is paying dividends. The good news is that video analytics technology can now dig much deeper into your viewers’ behavior. Brands can now see which parts of videos people are actually watching, monitor click-throughs to their sites, and even integrate directly into sales, analytics, or marketing software. The sales dream of being able to attribute every dollar spent on marketing to an actual sale is getting closer to a reality, at least on the video front.

Failing To Personalize Video

Customizing videos for individual recipients is one of the most powerful ways to capture a viewer’s attention. While it might sound time-consuming, the process is actually getting easier—and the returns are worth the time investment.

One simple approach is to customize just the opening frames, letting recipients know the video is expressly for them. This is roughly analogous to the way that original form emails inserted a recipient’s name, but in video this technique remains fresh and novel. It can be as simple as including your target’s name in the title or holding up a whiteboard with a personal message, then setting these frames as your thumbnail.

The impact of personalization can be staggering. Tech company Lenovo created a series of IT rap videos, but stitched personalized details about the recipient into the graphics. This simple tweak increased click-throughs by 450% and attention span by 82%—hard proof that personalized videos equate to audiences who are watching longer and are taking action.

Another approach is to create fully customized videos just for one recipient, like a technical support video or sales follow-up. We all have a video camera in our pockets or on our laptops, after all. And the logistics of making and sending video are getting exponentially easier.

Platform Problems

Most brands are used to being multiplatform today when it comes to marketing, leveraging traditional media, digital, and social for different ends. But this same level of savvy just isn’t being applied to video. A mistake I see over and over again is great video being posted in a way that totally ignores the native capabilities of each platform.

YouTube should be embraced for its amazing search and discovery potential and corresponding SEO boost, for instance. It makes a logical home for longer videos. Facebook and Twitter, with their auto-play functionality, can hook people as they go and should be used for catchy, shorter clips.

One big blocker here is that it can be time-consuming to upload to multiple networks and tough to compile and compare data on an apples-by-apples basis. This is again where leaning on video analytics tools can be a time saver. Look for programs that can syndicate content to YouTube and play videos in-line on Facebook (among other social networks), compiling analytics in one central location.

Completely Overlooking Use Cases

A fun video that promotes your brand—like the one that brought Dollar Shave Club into the public eye—is definitely a valuable asset. But a lot of companies don’t think about ways video can help their business, beyond just marketing to the masses.

Quick-and-dirty videos that can be made for free are an effective way to provide customer support, share internal communication from the CEO to the team, or even introduce yourself to a potential client. Furthermore, these videos don’t need to “go viral” to be effective.

At the end of the day, the critical point to remember about video is that it’s not merely an “awareness” play. It should be having a direct impact on revenue. Reaching 100 actual prospects, for instance, can be far more effective than reaching a million people with a video that doesn’t drive sales. So forget about going viral. Successful video marketing is less about quantity than it is about quality views.