In my last post, I cited a recent study by Cisco, in which they predict that 80% of the world's internet traffic will be video by 2019, but that a predominant part of this traffic may also consist of online noise (think cat videos). In order for a brand's message to be heard over this noise and drive marketing results, marketers must have clear objectives over their video content marketing program and how their video engages their audience at every stage of the customer buying journey.
Too many companies have a narrowly focused video marketing strategy that only addresses social distribution of assets to meet a poorly-defined goal of “going viral.” Unfortunately, having a viral hit is often just a matter of luck and videos often get lost amongst the noise on YouTube and social media channels.
Marketers must help their brands rise above the noise by having a strategy that maps content across the customer journey and determine the best video syndication channels for meaningful business-focused results. Facebook and YouTube are not an holistic answer. The audience’s experience and expectation with video content is defined not just by its quality, but also the platform through which it is consumed.
When it comes to distributing video campaigns, brands often feel compelled to choose between two options: investing in their own paid-for online video platform (OVP) or using a free (or nearly free) video player like YouTube or Vimeo. While we recommend a blended video strategy, it's worth noting that audiences are less likely to find the content they are searching for in a branded YouTube channel versus an on-site video experience.
It need not be one or the other - it should, in fact, be both. This is what we call the blended video marketing strategy, which enables brands to harness the best of both worlds. By combining a free video player with a premium video platform, brands can optimise their video marketing strategy through reach, ROI, flexibility, functionality, and support.
But first, are free OVPs really free?
There is no denying that adopting a free video player is tempting for a brand. YouTube and Vimeo are both free and popular video platforms, averaging 1 billion users with over hundreds of millions of views every month. When it comes to getting eyeballs on your content for brand awareness, these platforms sound perfect and, even better, they are free. However, there is a true cost of using just a free video player. How can this cost be mitigated by adding a premium OVP to the mix?
Here is a preview of the top 3 pitfalls of using only a free video player in your marketing strategy:
Generating SEO for Free Video Players
Brands will often invest time and resources in video production, and then hand the video asset over exclusively to YouTube. Don’t. Video content is often more expensive to produce than other content, but if used properly it produces extremely high ROI. What brands fail to realise is that once a video is uploaded onto YouTube, YouTube “owns” that video file and gains the SEO boost for YouTube’s site, not the brand’s. If all the brand’s content lives on YouTube or Facebook, brands are clearly missing out on valuable search engine traction.
And now consider this: If a brand embeds a video from YouTube on their own website, they get high asset SEO, but no website SEO gain as Google reads the video as a YouTube video. If a brand embeds a video on their own website and with their own video platform, they will achieve both asset SEO and website SEO. In the end, website SEO is extremely important for a brand aiming to drive traffic to their own website. And brands may not realise that they lose any possible website SEO gain by embedding 3rd party video player on their site.
Lack of Control Over User Experience
Free video players often inundate viewers with irrelevant banner ads, buffering, and competitive content, all packaged up bearing a YouTube watermark. In some cases, even competitor ads pop up in the video player, helpfully sending prospects to the competitor’s content. And with YouTube, it is the norm that when viewers finish watching a video, the “recommended videos” diverts the viewer from your brand’s content. If the ultimate goal is to engage audiences, then brands need to take a step back and rethink the importance of video players beyond just the function of playing the video, and how to optimise user experience with custom skins, end screens, and call to action cues.
Blocked Video Access
Some organisations install firewalls that block sites like YouTube and Facebook and as a result, employees at these workplaces cannot access video content from those sites. In some countries including mainland China, access to these sites are blocked altogether. Embedding videos on a brand's own site enables content accessibility to all with no geo restrictions.
The Solution - Adopt the Best of Both Worlds Strategy
A blended video strategy brings together the best of both worlds. The social sharing strength of YouTube or Facebook helps build brand awareness and is a powerful way to engage with audiences in the early stages of the customer journey. Combine that with the capabilities of a premium OVP like Brightcove and brands can ensure that their customers say engaged throughout the buying journey, and ultimately become the brand's advocate. Download our whitepaper titled "High Cost of Free" to learn how to navigate around the pitfalls of free video players and how brands can implement a blended strategy to ensure that their video content delivers meaningful results.