By: Dave Kaminski
photo credit: sorosh
It seems every time you turn around these days, people are saying you must start using online video if you want to succeed on the web.
But is it really true…or…is it all just marketing hype?
Well, thankfully the web gives us something not readily available in more traditional marketing mediums, like radio, print and TV; the ability to track high-level statistics in real-time. And by looking at these statistics, we can easily tell what’s hype and what’s reality when it comes to online video.
Most of the available statistics come from the major players on the web….the large companies who place pre, mid and post roll ads in the videos many of us watch online. But are these statistics relevant to small business owners on the web? For the past 12 months I’ve tracked these statistics, comparing them against what’s being reported by small business owners.
And what I’ve found is this; viewing habits for online videos are the same across the board. It doesn’t matter if you’re Netflix running video ads on Yahoo’s homepage or a one-person business in Alaska; people all watch…and react to…videos in the same way.
I also uncovered some surprising facts about web video in the process. Facts that can give small business owners a decided advantage over their competition.
And the first fact is that YouTube is losing money. When most people think online video, they think YouTube. It’s become a household word. Even Mariah Carey sang about it. So how could this giant web presence, owned by an even bigger web presence (Google)…be losing money?
The answer is easy. Junk content. You see, the novelty of online video has already worn off. It’s no longer a shiny penny that hypnotizes us. If a web video doesn’t have quality production value and quality content (like just about every video on YouTube), people aren’t interested in watching it. That’s a critical lesson for small business owners…it tells us that just “any video” is not good enough anymore. You have to keep your eye on quality. It’s a lesson YouTube has learned the hard way…as advertisers now have little or no interest in spending their money with YouTube.
But when you add the “quality factor” to your videos, things start looking up considerably.
For instance, approximately 50% of people who watch a “quality” video will take whatever action that video asks them to do. It could be filing out a form, clicking on a link or simply reading the text below the video. For those of us with text-only web sites, we know that getting 50% of visitors to do anything…well, it’s nearly impossible.
It gets even better though.
You see, on average, 12% of people going to a site that uses video to market it’s products or services…will end up buying from that site. By comparison, the “normal conversion rate” for a text-only site hovers at around 1%.
So how is this huge jump in sales possible? Well, it’s because 65% of people watch online videos to completion (less than 10% will read a text-only site to completion). And the longer you can keep people glued to your sales message, the better your sales will be.
Speaking of keeping people glued, I was curious to see just how long people stay on a site with video vs. a text-only site. Here’s what I found. The average length of time, per visitor, spent on text-only sites is 60 seconds. And sites with video? It’s 6 minutes. Talk about being glued.
But wait…aren’t the majority of people watching videos online just teenagers trying to avoid homework? Nope. Actually, 65% of the people viewing videos online are between the ages of 35 and 64. And 67% of those earn a middle to high income. How many of those people are in your market?
Now, while the statistics clearly illustrate the benefits of using using video on your site, the question still remains…how exactly should you go about using it? And the answer to that question comes down to 3 proven techniques.
The first is the most obvious; you use video on your web site to market or promote your products or services. You use video to grab the viewers attention, state your benefits, build credibility and urge them to take action.
Problem is, a lot of small business owners think that their product or service can’t be promoted through video.
The truth is, it can. Let me give you some proof. We’ll use jigsaw puzzles as an example. How in the world would you create a video to market jigsaw puzzles? Well, Trish Barker in Hawaii figured out a way. In fact, she reports her sales immediately increased when she added video to her site. Trish’s big video secret? She featured major benefits that most people aren’t aware of with jigsaw puzzles. You can see Trish’s video at connectionspuzzles.com.
Another way online video can be used by a small business, is to create new products or supplement existing products. For instance, maybe you have a product that requires a lot of customer support…support that could be automated through the use of an online video. For example, a set of videos that customers could watch instead of phoning for help.
Or you could be like my sister. She spends her time performing live training with people. Over the course of a weekend, her and I made videos of her typical “live” training sessions. She now sells the videos online…and while they haven’t replaced her core business…they are helping to put her daughters through college. Not bad for a weekends worth of work.
But perhaps the most powerful way to leverage online video is through the “new media” approach. This is where you build a loyal audience by providing them with free, useful content on a regular basis. Video podcasts are the perfect example. With video podcasts, literally anyone, in any market, with no video experience, has the opportunity to grow a large, responsive following.
Cali Lewis is proof of this. About 2 years ago, Cali and her husband Neil decided to start a video podcast covering technology news. They had no experience…and really…no idea what they were doing. They just figured things out as they went along. Today, their little video podcast is a full-time business…with 300,000 people downloading their 5 minute shows daily. And as Cali would tell you, there’s no reason why anyone else can’t accomplish the same thing. By the way, you can see Cali’s web show at GeekBrief.TV.
The bottom line? Web video is not out of your reach…no matter where you’re at in terms of skills, knowledge, time or money. In fact, web video is still in it’s infancy and you haven’t “missed the boat”…at least not yet. But it is moving at an amazingly fast rate. And if there ever was the perfect time to get involved, that time is now.
You can always outsource the creation of video…or you can learn how to create awesome online videos yourself.