Accelerating Audience Engagement with Online Video

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Video presents marketers with an opportunity to bring their messages to life and engage directly at an emotional level with their audiences – rapidly accelerating the process of forming relationships.

We’ve all seen the hype-ridden statistics on video: 9x brand recognition! Triple the web traffic! 400% increased engagement! One MILLION dollars...ya right.

Seriously, though, video is great, and you do need to get some in your mix.  When we at Limelight added a set of kinetic videos and some other cool multi-media to our digital presence, we saw unique visitors double overnight, and more importantly, our bounce rates essentially evaporated.  People come, and they hang around.

Understanding Engaged, Digital Relationships

We all know the age of one-way marketing is long, long gone. Today, it’s all about engagement, conversation, and the direct follow-ups that result from viewers engaging with our content.  We’re not trolling for customers, transactions, and sales – we’re building relationships.  I’ll argue that these ‘digital relationships’ are no different than the relationships organizations built in the past – your grandfather trusted his friend and neighbor who ran the hardware store in town, so he bought his hammers there.  Your grandma trusted the milkman (although maybe your grandfather didn’t…) You get the idea.

What’s changed is the scope and scale that digital allows us as marketers.  We can, and I’d argue must, develop similar trusting relationships now with MILLIONs of audience members. In fact, these new engaged digital relationships are more than just connections - they are the new form of currency in the digital world.

Moreover, we can now see a consistent pattern of behavior in the development of these digital relationships.

The Digital Relationship Pyramid

Accelerating Audience Engagement with Online Video Digital Relationships Pyramid 606x284

As the evolution of digital relationships grows from awareness to intimacy, more effort is required to personalize interactions within a tighter-knit community.

  • Awareness. The audience knows who the company is, but they don’t regularly interact.  “I’ve heard of them. Can’t remember if I’ve tried their stuff.”
  • Acquaintance. Repetition is the first step. “Been there before, Wasn’t bad. Might visit again.”
  • Friend.  Recognition between the organization and audience begins.  “I feel comfortable here, they seem to know me.”
  • Confidante. A confidante shares personal information with the organization, which further personalizes their experience.  “It feels good that they know me.  I feel special here.”
  • Intimate. The audience becomes an insider, a contributor, a part of the organization.  “This is my place.  I love it here.”

To move audience members up the relationship pyramid, you need more targeted content.  Remember, an “online audience” is a collection of different and unique people who want to be treated uniquely.

Obviously, every marketer’s dream is ONE MILLION intimate relationships. Just keep in mind that getting there the old-fashioned way is going to take more than ONE MILLION touches.

However, we’re learning that video short-circuits the entire engagement process.  In fact, I believe video is the most effective digital engagement medium we have today. Why?

Why Video is the Most Effective Digital Engagement Medium:

One, we are hard wired to respond.  The introduction of new things in our field of vision draws our attention. The sight of a human face and the sound of the human voice ignite activity in special areas of our brain.

Two, video is multi-sensory.  We are more engaged with video than the printed word. According to a Cisco study, we retain 50% of what we see and hear, but only 10% of what we read.  Memory is visual.

Three, video allows us to establish an instant emotional connection. Done well, it touches us faster and more deeply than the written word.

Video can be daunting for many organizations. The technobabble is rife here when you get into the details of creating, uploading, distributing, and analyzing the impact of video.  But be undaunted.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give you about video, it’s that content matters most. Your audience will overlook amateur production values if the content is valuable to them. Dollarshaveclub.com videos looks like they’re filmed with a smartphone, but they sure make you want to join the club (become an intimate).

The value of digital relationships is forcing marketers to understand what makes people connect, and understanding that drastically improves our success in engaging audiences through relevant, contextual, and targeted content.  Video accelerates our path up the digital relationship pyramid by engaging customers more quickly at a deeper emotional level.

Lights, Camera, Action!

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  • Kris

    While I agree COMPLETELY with this article, I do want to point out that the percentages highlighted are just generalizations -- underneath that list of percentages in the Cisco study it says "Unfortunately, these oft-quoted statistics are unsubstantiated. If most educators stopped to consider the percentages, they would ask serious questions about the citation. They would inquire about the suspicious rounding of the percentages to multiples of ten, and the unlikelihood that learners would remember 90 percent of anything, regardless of the learning approach."

    I'm not being antagonistic-- I work in media production and have been an adjunct faculty member in FSU's College of Communication and Information Studies for a few years now, I only wanted to bring this to your attention :-)

  • treepodia

    Just wanted to put an extra thing out there - over the years, Treepodia have collected A LOT of data from our client videos in various industries, and we can say that we've seen conversion rates go as high as up to 85% - 101%. The power of video is incredible, tell your products' story through video and your business will leap up the pyramid.

  • tsfc

    Video accelerates our path up the digital relationship pyramid by engaging customers more quickly at a deeper emotional level. This is exactly why videos are very important and in demand. Thank you for this article.