Video marketing is a fast-moving and competitive game, and mistakes can really destroy your chances of winning. As a video marketing agency with over 1,800 videos under our belt, we’ve learnt a few things over the years. But we have also seen companies make the same mistakes over and over again.
Here’s a list of the 10 most common video marketing mistakes, and, more importantly, how to solve and avoid them.
1. There’s No Story
Stories have been an integral and present part of communication for a very, very long time. From 40,000 year old cave paintings, to early 19th Century fairy tales, all the way through to the pre-roll ads you see before watching content on YouTube, stories help us to understand the world around us.
Marketing videos that tell stories are memorable and can even help viewers to build an emotional connection with a brand. Stories are the reason that some brands dominate their industry. For example, Nike is the biggest sports brand in the world and, if you take a look at their video marketing efforts, it’s easy to see why:
Nike ads tell stories that inspire and motivate viewers to improve their fitness and challenge themselves more often.
If you’re not a natural storyteller, than it can be difficult to determine what your brand’s story is. So, here’s a little help:
The bare bones of every story can be broken down into three parts:
Beginning, Middle, End.
Also known in the marketing world as:
Problem, Solution, Benefits.
Here’s a simple framework to follow when it comes to creating the story for your explainer video:
1. The beginning: Problem
Start your story by outlining the problems your customers face. This is important for grabbing the attention of potential customers because they will instantly be able to relate to your message.
2. The middle: Solution
Next, present your brand as the solution. Start to explain all of the many ways that your product or service solves the problems that your customers face. It’s here that the emotional connection will begin to develop.
3. The end: Benefits
Finish your video with your best USP(s). This will leave a lasting impression in viewer’s minds and encourage them to find out more about you.
2. You’re Over Thinking It!
You care a lot about your brand. After all, it is your pride and joy! But that doesn’t mean you should take all of your marketing efforts super-seriously.
A common mistake made by A LOT of companies is over-thinking every little detail of their video. This is a dangerous mindset to have and is likely to result in an end-product that is boring, trying too hard, and more often than not, a carbon copy of a competitors’ video that performed moderately well when it was released three years ago.
Success in the video marketing world can often be linked to virality. If you take a look at some of your favourite viral videos, you will notice that they all have one thing in common:
Do you think Dollar Shave Club would have been so successful if it was a straight-laced product run-down? Absolutely not!
So, to avoid this mistake, don’t be afraid to relax a little. Take a look at this charming animated video:
This video would not have been as enjoyable to watch if the person in charge began scrutinizing it and asking themselves questions like:
- Will our viewers really be able to identify with penguins?
- Doesn’t a drunk dog texting its boss look disrespectful?
Dissecting the message of your video in such pain-staking detail is never a good idea, and neither is taking everything literally. So when it comes to creating your next marketing video, relax a little!
3. It’s Too Long
Maybe the human attention span is shrinking, maybe people are just busier than ever, or maybe it is a mixture of the two, whatever the reason, shorter is better for marketing videos.
This mistake is so common because it is so easy to do. If you’re not in the video marketing industry, then you might be surprised to know that for one minute of animated video, you only have around 130-140 words of voiceover text to play with. Doesn’t seem like much does it?!
Well, you have to remember: explainer videos are a hook, not a manual. The purpose of an explainer video is to entice and intrigue. If viewers like what they see, then they’ll head to your website to find out more.
At Wyzowl, we have found that explainer videos perform better when they are between 60 and 120 seconds, with 90 seconds as the sweet spot. So the only way to solve and avoid this common video marketing mistake is to keep these figures in mind at all times. This is one rule you don’t want to break.
4. Poor Quality
Let’s face it:
Video marketing costs money.
It can be tempting to try and cut corners to save a little bit of the budget while making a video for your brand. Perhaps you’ve opted to work with the cheapest company you can find, or maybe you’re going to try and do it yourself without any experience. In my opinion, embarking down either of these paths is a huge mistake.
If you post a video online that isn’t of the highest quality, you run the risk of your brand looking unprofessional, and maybe even a bit…dodgy. In other words, you won’t appear like a legitimate business that people would feel comfortable giving their money to.
The best way to make sure your video is high quality:
Consult the experts!
The video marketing industry is so diverse that, with only a minimal amount of searching, you should be able to find the perfect explainer video for your price range. Explainer video companies range from creating Pixar-quality animation to whiteboard videos, with prices to match. But it is important to remember that the quality you pay for is the quality you will get. With video marketing growing in popularity, it is important to allocate the correct amount of budget to creating videos. A recent study by Wyzowl found that 82% of businesses will be spending more on video in 2017.
5. It’s All About You
As a marketer, I think it’s great to speak to people who are so passionate about their brand. But customers…they don’t care very much!
Customers are very busy people. As such, they’re watching your video with one very clear question in their mind:
What’s in it for me?
Customers want to know what you’re offering, and they want to know FAST. They don’t have time to listen to you list off your top fifty USPs and features. All they want to know about are the benefits.
Take a look at this video:
This is short, snappy, to the point, and it’s all about the customer. The brand doesn’t even mention their company once!
When you’re making your video, it may seem of vital importance to include the fact that Joan has been in the industry for over 10 years, or that your team consumes 25 cups of coffee on a daily basis, but details like this aren’t as important to viewers as you might think.
6. There’s No Call-To-Action
If you’re not seeing a return on your video marketing efforts, it might be because there is no clear call-to-action (CTA) in your video. While it’s important to make sure your video is entertaining and more about the customer than your brand, it’s equally as important to close with a statement that makes an impression on viewers and motivates them to want to find out more about your brand.
Your CTA should highlight whatever it is you want your video to achieve.
Want people to get in touch?
Ask them, and show them how:
Want people to download your app?
Ask them, and show them how:
Want people to donate to your cause?
Ask them, and show them how:
You get the idea.
The bulk of your video should be all about your customers and how your product, service, brand or cause can benefit their lives, but the last few seconds is your time to shine.
7. You Didn’t Promote
Making a video is time-consuming, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating. By the end of it, all you want to do is sit down with a glass of wine and watch your masterpiece on a loop. But you can’t.
The truth is, when you complete your video, that is only the beginning of your marketing efforts, not the end. In order to get the most mileage from your video, you need to promote it like crazy.
Here are three ways to successfully promote your video:
1. Social Media Marketing
Despite being on the older side, social media sites are still dominating the internet. Even better, video is fast becoming the most popular content on these sites, with 100 million hours of video being watched on Facebook every day!
Don’t be afraid to post your video to social media more than once. Newsfeeds move quickly, so to ensure that your video has the best chance of gaining attention you should post on different sites, on different days and at different times.
2. Paid Campaigns
You can give your social media posts a boost by paying to promote your video to your ideal viewers. Most social sites offer this for as little as £1 to promote your content. You can also create a paid campaign on YouTube if your video fits the parameters for YouTube ads. Click here to find out more about YouTube advertising.
3. Write about it
Although visual content is taking over the marketing world, written content still has its place. By writing a blog about your video, you have the chance to connect with a different audience who may not be active on social media or video sites, like YouTube. Written content also does a lot better when it comes to SEO, but more on that later!
8. It’s Off-Brand
When stepping into video marketing, it can be easy to see your video as a completely different project to the rest of your marketing. But you must remember that your video, just like all of your marketing collateral, is an extension of your brand.
When potential customers watch your video, they should be able to recognise that you made it instantly. Think of your favourite brands. Their logos, colours, and tones are likely prominent in all of their marketing collateral.
To ensure your video is on-brand, work with designers who understand your visual requirements and can emulate these well through video. You can also create test screenings for your video, where you show it to a test group and ask them questions about it. This will help you to make any improvements needed before launching your video to the public.
9. You Disregarded SEO
The ever-changing world of SEO is the bane of many marketers’ lives, but it is a necessary evil. You may think that because videos are visual, you can skip the SEO: no long-tail keywords, no metadata.
You still need all that stuff! SEO is one of the greatest ways for people to find your content, be that video or otherwise, so don’t make the mistake of disregarding SEO. When you upload your video to YouTube, Wistia, Vimeo (or whichever video hosting site you choose), be sure to fill out all of the metadata sections.
Here’s an example of what it looks like on YouTube:
You should include your top keyword in the title, description, and tags boxes; and also include as many other relevant keywords in the tags section. So, for example, if we created a video, our top keyword (that we would use across all boxes) would be ‘explainer video’. Other relevant keywords that we would include in the tags section would be: ‘animation’, ‘animated explainer videos’, and so on.
10. It’s Too Complicated
It’s likely that you have more than one target market for your brand, product, or service. However, if you try to aim one explainer video at ALL potential audiences: new customers, current ones, friends of customers, brands that could become partners, people who have a spare 60 seconds, and everybody else, your video might end up appealing to…no one.
Watch this video:
This video is smooth, simple, and engaging because it focuses on answering just one question:
What is a project?
They don’t go overboard on the explanation or the animation. They just focus on answering the question that the bulk of their potential customers want to know the answer to. If you have more than one target market that you consider important, then my advice would be to make separate videos for each one rather than making one complicated video.
To make a great video, you need to focus on one message – one question that needs to be answered – otherwise things start to get too complicated and viewers turn off. Remember:
Explainer videos are the hook, not the manual!
I should really get that on a t-shirt.
If you’re guilty of making one or more of these mistakes, don’t worry. As I said at the start, video marketing moves fast. Things that weren’t seen as mistakes two years ago can be seen as catastrophic errors now. The only way to future-proof yourself is to continue learning and continue making new videos.