So, we're watching well in excess of over 160 Billion hours of online video a year, and not only are the majority of brands and marketers turning to video to promote their products or services, consumers are also becoming heavily reliant on video as part of their purchasing cycle.
With all points leading to video as an effective marketing strategy, many brands have poured resources and time into creating some great promotional material. But what if, despite all the effort, your videos are attracting few views, and even less engagement. Before you give up on the whole approach, take a look at 11 of the biggest reasons why your video content is failing, and what you can do about that right now.
#1 They Can't Find Your Video in the First Place
Video content, just like any other content, needs to be optimized so that users can find it. It may seem totally obvious to you that the video you have just created for Prototype X34C is something the world has been waiting for, but if the world doesn't have a clue about your brand, or what the heck X34C even means, the chances that they will be doing a keyword search on either is pretty small.
Take the time to do the keyword research and find out what people are actually searching for. Then optimize your video's title, description, tags and other surrounding text so you have more than a fighting chance of appearing in the search results.
#2 They Can Find You But Have No Idea What the Video is About
Maybe you've struck lucky and your video appears in the search results on Google, YouTube, Vimeo or another site, but your title and description is so vague, and your thumbnail so dull or misleading, that viewers still won't invest any time in clicking the link to watch.
If this is the case, take a really good look at the words you are using to describe the video. Would anyone outside of your company, or industry, know what it's about? Is the thumbnail a compelling one? Is it the default image or a custom video thumbnail that's much more relevant?
Have you optimized the video description and the title to incite viewers to watch? If you are appearing in the search results now, but your click through rate is low, then you stand every chance of falling lower and lower in the rankings. Various algorithms deployed by sites like YouTube and Google will determine your content isn't relevant, and replace it with content that is. Do something about that now.
#3 You're Not Giving Viewers a Reason to Watch It
You may think that your latest video is the best thing since sliced bread, but with 300 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, and Facebook users watching 1 Billion videos per day, what does your content provide in terms of information or entertainment that other videos don't? Does it provide an answer to a much asked question? Does it give the viewer something they can't get anywhere else? Is it going to give the viewer any value? We're all very busy people, so give potential viewers a reason to take time out of their day to watch what you have to say. With so much competition about, you need to raise your game if you want the engagement.
#4 It Screams Sales Pitch = For Your Benefit Not Theirs
You know the type of branded content that works really, REALLY well? It's the type that doesn't smack the viewer around the chops with a straight-up sales pitch. Of course the point of video marketing and advertising is to promote something, but viewers are becoming more and more aware of, and cynical about, content that is created to benefit the brand rather than the viewer. Take a leaf of the strategy book of the brands who have created some of the most watched, and talked about videos of the past few years, and analyze their approach and why it worked.
'First Kiss' was the most watched video advertising campaign of 2014, but the brand doesn't even get a mention until well over 3 minutes in, and then it's only an appearance in the credits. The video generated 77.8 Million views, 1,4 Million Facebook shares, and 69K Twitter shares in just 31 days, because it gave the public something different to work with and they reacted with incredible enthusiasm towards the video, and also towards the brand itself.
#5 You Haven't Promoted the Video on Social Media
The best marketing campaigns do not, and can not, work in isolation. There can't be many brands that haven't got at least some kind of social media presence going into 2015, but there are millions of companies who never really use their accounts as fully as they should.
If you want to promote a video, then social media is perfect for getting the word out, and also for allowing others to share the content to their own feeds. If you have uploaded the video to your own site, then enable social sharing buttons on the landing page. If you have uploaded it to YouTube, Vimeo or elsewhere, encourage viewers to share from the watch page.
Post the video to Facebook, post a link to your video landing page on your Facebook brand page, tweet a link to the video, share it on Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google Plus, post it to your company blog, post it to your LinkedIn company page, include it in an e-mail blast, get your employees and your clients to share. Every time you create and upload a video, let your target audience know it exists by publishing it via social media and encouraging them to watch, comment, like, and share.
#6 It's Self-hosted on a Site That Doesn't Get the Traffic
Like it or not, unless you are update the content on your site multiple times a day, users are unlikely to visit you multiple times a day. That's just a fact. So, if you have a video that you really, really want people to watch, consider posting it elsewhere as well. Yes, there's a chance that viewers watching on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube won't automatically visit your site afterwards, but if you guide them with an associated website annotation or a clear link in the video description, then those chances increase.
If you are self-hosting, then there are a number of ways that you can optimize your video landing page so it has a better chance of appearing in the search results. Make that a priority.
#7 Nobody is Linking to the Video or Embedding it on Their Site
If your video doesn't appeal to people, they are not going to watch it, never mind link to it, share it, or embed it on their own site or blog. A successful video marketing campaign really should include this goal, because it leads to more visibility for your video, giving it the chance to appear in front of viewers who may be unfamiliar with your brand or product. Make it easy for others to use your content by enabling social sharing and embed links.
#8 YOU'RE Not Linking to it or Embedding it on Your Site
We have seen countless examples of really good video content that hasn't had the impact that it should, because it wasn't given the visibility. Flipping #6, if your website does generate a lot of traffic, and you are on your social media game but are not promoting the videos that your brand produces, stop everything and make that a must-do. Link to the video where you can, especially if you have a blog, and get your employees to do the same.
Think of all the online real estate you can utilize to promote that video. For instance, can you include it in your every day communications with clients, customers, and others in your industry? You can update your email address to include a link to do just that, as well include it in your daily newsletter, or make it a feature of your website's home page.
#9 You Haven't Built Up a Subscriber or Fan Base
Sure, lots of videos gain a tremendous amount of attention by going viral, or by getting picked up by sites like BuzzFeed, but the vast majority get their views from fans of the brand. That's why Samsung can generate millions of views for videos that are fairly prosaic - it has taken the time to cultivate a loyal and enthusiastic fan base that will tune into, and engage with, pretty much any video content the brand creates. It's hard work, and it takes dedication and resources, but build your subscribers and fans and you will start to attract the type of engagement you want.
#10 The Video is Far, Far, Far Too Long for Your Audience
Long-form content can do really well on YouTube and other sites. In fact, a third of all YouTube view time is for videos that are 20 minutes long or over. However, that doesn't mean that your target audience is going to have the time to watch a video that's going to eat into their day. If the retention rate for your video content drops off dramatically at any point in the video (and you can easily check this via your YouTube Video Manager, or via your video hosting platform of choice), then use that info to determine the ideal length.
#11 The Content is Irrelevant and Out of Date
A low engagement rate is a concern however old your video is. Having said that, it is completely understandable if the content is now out of date, or refers to a product or service that has been discontinued. If this is applicable to you, then consider creating new content that may attract more attention.
Note: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water just for the sake of it. There will be many viewers who still want to refer to old content for many reasons - like a comparison, or for DIY and repair purposes. And many creators are making videos around old products and services that still interest viewers in their thousands, like the Nokia 3310 vs the iPhone one below. If you think your old content may still be of benefit (and this is reflected in the stats) then don't delete, but create new videos that are more up to date.
Video marketing or advertising isn't easy - you need the money, the creativity, the resources, and the time to turn your ideas into the type of content that viewers will respond to. Leave nothing to chance in your effort to promote your content so you reach the type and volume of audience that you need to.
Do you have any other reasons why viewers may turn away from video content? Let us know in the comments below!