18 Jun 2018 19:51 IST

Using videos to stay ahead in online marketing

According to Forbes, by 2019, 80 per cent of online marketing content will be in video format

Over the past decade, video, as a preferred medium of disseminating information, has come to dominate the digital sphere. It continues to lead in popularity and flood our Twitter and Instagram feeds, even as social media enthusiasts stay glued to platforms such as YouTube. The video-sharing site first made its debut in 2005 and has grown exponentiallysince then.

Videos are prominent fixtures in today’s marketing plans, and according to HubSpot, 80 per cent of businesses use this medium for marketing. Forbes says by 2019, 80 per cent of online marketing content will be in this format. With greater access to simple tools and resources such as video editing apps and software, it is essential that marketers and advertisers stay ahead of emerging trends and use them to strategise better. Here’s how:

Longer or shorter?

It wasn’t long ago that 30-second commercials were an industry standard. Today, advertisers are experimenting with shorter and longer videos, to see which suits their goals.

Videos that are 15 seconds or shorter offer cross-platform appeal and are predominantly aimed at the fickle, distracted generation. For example, generation Z, which is hyperconnected and accustomed to using various streaming sites. Shorter videos make their point without distraction.

In contrast, when attempting to incite an emotion, address a sensitive issue or convey deep meaning, it makes sense to consider videos that last 90 seconds or longer..


Calls-to-action (CTA) are important, even in videos. Without this, customers, while being impressed by what they see, will fail to take any concrete action that converts into sales or other desirable results.

Sometimes, an entire video can serve as a call-to-action. You can use this format to motivate viewers to watch another video, click on a relevant links or share discount coupon codes with them.

Talk-style videos

Certain types of videos are extremely popular with viewers from various demographics. TED Talks are a one-of-a-kind genre. Likewise, Buzzfeed launched a series on Twitter and brought a broadcast news-feel to the social media platform.

You can use a talk-style video when you want to educate your audience on a topic that you have a wealth of knowledge on. Such videos shouldn’t be generic and should provide in-depth knowledge about a subject.

Ask Me Anything

Even people who rarely use Reddit must have heard of the site’s ‘Ask Me Anything’, or AMA events, that feature a prolific person, such as a company CEO or a TV star, taking questions from a pool of Reddit users.

The website began creating video-based AMAs in 2015, with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson being among the first to contribute. The most recent campaign from Audi centres, ‘Think Faster’, has people conducting Reddit AMAs while sitting in moving Audi cars — the latest episode includes celebrity chef David Chang and YouTube personality Liza Koshy fielding questions while sitting in an RS 5 coupe.

A caveat

But be warned. There have been instances where company representatives came under tremendous fire for placing too much weight on marketing during such AMAs. The reps should be candid in addressing their audiences, and remember to stay authentic.

If you’re going to curate your own AMA video, be sure that people genuinely care about the questions you will be answering. You should be able to crowdsource the questions, much like Reddit. You could also consider using this video format while hiring new recruits. Prospective candidates often have many questions about the job and creating an AMA video to answer their queries would be extremely helpful. You could also launch the video as a multimedia tool on your employment portal.

Be aware of the trends

It’s never a good idea to capitalise on a video trend just to follow the herd. As a marketer, you should be careful and use a video only when it aligns with the marketing objectives, audience demographics and other campaign specifics.