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The digital revolution has opened an entirely new world for the creation and sharing of video content. Social media is fueling the popularity of video in marketing, with 100 million hours of video consumed on Facebook every day — and 500 million hours viewed daily on YouTube.

Why use video?

Marketing is considered to be effective when the money invested in it is returned through money made. Video boosts sales significantly — in fact, conversion rates increase by an estimated 80% when video is part of the message. Studies have shown that 74% of customers who view an “explainer video” buy the product or service.

The reason is simple — video engages viewers visually and with sound, helping create an emotional connection. On social media, that emotional connection can translate into shares and likes, helping spread that video content to more people.

Businesses that use video in marketing find it to be effective, with a full 83% claiming that investment in video provides a good return. Marketers using video grow revenue 49% faster than those that do not.

Who watches video?

Pretty much everyone watches video, but an Interactive Advertising Bureau study has shown that 10-second ads do best with younger audiences (18-34 years of age), while 30-second ads perform better with the 35-54 age demographic. Word of mouth still plays a role, though — enjoyment of a video goes up 14% among viewers who were watching a video after having received a recommendation, and brand recall and brand association goes up 47%.

Meanwhile, mobile and tablet video consumption is growing by 100% annually. There is some danger of oversaturation, with almost half of younger viewers saying that there are too many mobile ads, while 43% of older viewers said the same. The tablet figures are slightly better, with 36% of younger viewers saying they see too many, and 25% of older viewers. Mobile ads may be more effective when viewed on the slightly larger screen of a tablet, as people are more likely to visit a brand’s website after viewing a video ad on a tablet than after viewing the same ad on a mobile phone.

Sharing of videos

Social media like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are great ways to share video with your audience. In fact, video in social media generates 1,200% more shares than text and image-based content combined.

Types of videos

So, now that we’ve established how effective video can be, it’s time to move on to what the video can be. You can consider:

  • :30 second television spot. Cable television buys are much more affordable than traditional network TV, making this an option open to many more marketers. Further, the finished spot can be used on social media, your website and so on.
  • Product videos. These “explainer” videos can be used on social media and on websites, showing off the features of a product. The online shoe retailer Zappos uses these to great effect.
  • How-to videos. These videos are a form of show-and-tell, demonstrating how something works.
  • Low budget, high engagement. Videos of adorable, adoptable animals at the Cambria County Humane Society shot on a cell phone is an example.
  • Educational or training. These videos show how to use something, or are for training purposes.
  • Testimonials. These videos are exactly what they sound like, people who are thrilled with your product or service and are prepared to tell you about it.
  • Live videos. You can go “live” on many forms of social media when you have something big to reveal, or something exciting to show.

How to create an effective video

First, remember that video tells a story. What story are you trying to tell? Who would care? What point are you trying to make, and what do you want viewers to do? How do you envision sharing this video?

Once you have a clear idea of your goals, create a storyboard/shot list. Then, it’s time to actually shoot your video.

You will need:

  • A camera. Depending on your goals and budget, this can vary from your smartphone camera (tips: don’t use a digital zoom, and consider built-in video effects like slow motion and timelapse), to a DSLR camera. Renting a camera is also a possibility.
  • Microphone.
  • Tripod or gimbal stabilizer. This is necessary to keep your camerawork from being too shaky. Consider your background, too.
  • Lighting.
  • Video editing software. Some of the most commonly-used, affordable packages are Adobe Premiere Elements, Corel VideoStudio Ultimate, and CyberLink PowerDirector. Apple Final Cut Pro X is a more expensive, powerful version of Apple iMovie.

Types of shots:

  • Jump cuts – Removing predictable moments to preserve visual interest and move things along.
  • Montage – Generally a faster-paced sequence of video clips that demonstrate the passage of time, typically for a transformation or character development.
  • Cutting on Action – Cutting when the subject is still in motion instead of after each movement to keep an upbeat pace and create a more interesting and fluid scene.
  • Match Cut/Action – Editing together two visually similar shots or scenes that otherwise are contrasting (ie: a pan through a room with blue walls that cuts to a blue sky).
  • Cutaways – Adding transition pieces that don’t include the main subject or action to show the surrounding environment and set the mood, add meaning to the scene, or aid dramatic tension.
  • J Cut – Audio precedes the video.
  • L Cut – Video precedes the audio.
  • Cutaways – Adding transition pieces that don’t include the main subject or action to show the surrounding environment and set the mood, add meaning to the scene, or aid dramatic tension.

Other things to consider include:

  • Selecting a soundbed. Bear in mind that you can’t just take music you find somewhere on the web and use it, as that is a copyright violation. However, you can purchase stock soundbeds affordably, much in the way you can purchase stock photography.
  • Adding text and graphics. Consider that many videos are watched without sound. Does the point get across? Can you add captions and graphics that help?
  • Exporting for the web. When your file is ready and it’s time to export the file, typically it is going up on the web. Check for tips specific to the software you are using, but here are a few terms you’re likely to run into and some commonly-used settings for each:
    • Codec: Encoding format for the export, with H.264 being one of the most frequently used.
    • Frame rate: The number of still images per second of footage, typically set to 24 or 30 fps.
    • Resolution: Exported video dimensions; a safe bet is 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels (commonly referred to 1080p).