After month-over-month growth in the number of videos viewed online, the tally took a tumble this past January. TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid reported that overall views dropped 2.5 percent, according to research firm comScore's calculations. And yet this still means that 32.4 billion videos were watched online in January.
More significant is that comScore found viewers at YouTube.com watched 93 videos on average during the month, representing an increase of 50 percent versus a year ago. For companies leveraging YouTube as a marketing channel, this is good news.
The migration of video as a selling and branding tool from television to the Web also has paved the way for e-mail campaigns to get more creative at engaging "been there, done that" audiences. This month's cover story on Italian villa rental firm Homebase Abroad explains how targeted e-mails with links to video landing pages have revolutionized the firm's approach to converting sales leads.
As more marketers try their hand at this medium, I thought it might be good to review some of the proven tenets honed by online video's precursor, direct response television. The following are a few gems from DRTV vets who really know how to sell via video:
Show and tell to sell. Television is a visual medium; if the features and benefits of your product or service lend themselves to dramatic demonstration, take full advantage of that. Show the before and after. Then reinforce the imagery with testimonials to support the demonstrations—Ron Perlstein.
Choose your top two or three strongest, most unique benefits, and create separate creative around each. Trying to pack too many disparate features and benefits into one spot will dilute the impact of the message. Viewers won't absorb anything, much less follow through on any of your calls to action—Rory Mach.
A good sales hook is the classic problem-solution theme. Depict the problem for viewers, and then help them see how much better their lives could be by using your product or service. The less likely a person is to encounter the problem in the near future, however, the less viable this approach becomes—Tim Hawthorne.
Don't shy away from subtitles. TV is unique in that it can communicate your message in three separate forms: audio, video and text. When used to their best advantage, the three work together to focus the viewer's attention on your sell—Rory Mach.
If you're craving even more insight on how to leverage video, Razorfish's Marisa Gallagher outlines the prime components of a viral video campaign this month. Enjoy!