Instagram Video or Vine: Why Not Both?

Vine vs Instagram Video

Image credit: Matt Nazaro

In the biggest user divide since Apple and PC, the showdown between Twitter’s Vine
and Facebook’s Instagram Video has prompted heated conversations about which
service reigns supreme for branded entertainment. However, as a marketer, you don’t necessarily need to get caught up in the debate, since both platforms offer unique benefits for content marketers and advertisers looking to start conversations with customers and prospects around engaging, sharable video.

Overall, online video engagement is booming as users rush to view, create, and share “viral” videos and clever branded content with friends and family. It’s no surprise, then, that social video sharing has seen massive growth across all devices.  For marketers, both Instagram Video and Vine present an opportunity to distribute branded entertainment in a short-form, packaged format most consumers are actively participating in and seeking out.

Already, brands have begun to take advantage of Vine and Instagram Video, two of the
most popular social video sharing apps. Though technically these services are
competitors, you don’t have to choose a side: both platforms have their advantages and short-comings, and both can be leveraged in order to connect with consumers cross-platform in interactive and authentic ways.

Vine

Key features:

  • 6 seconds
  • Loops
  • Embeddable for easy sharing
  • 13 million+ iOS users & ~1 million Android users

Consumer attention spans have never been shorter – particularly when it comes to intrusive and uninteresting content.  When use properly, six seconds can be more than enough time for a company to create unique, sharable messages for its fans and social media followers. With Vine, sending a clear, creative and succinct message is imperative. But remember, less is more.  Keep the video simple and avoid bombarding
fans with too much information in the short clip.  Moreover, Vine’s intrinsic loop function makes the app particularly suited for repetition-friendly content like animated GIFs, memes and recurring sequences.  There are also great opportunities for brands and agencies to incorporate Vines into contests, product launches, sneak-peeks and helpful tips, hints and informational content.  At the end of the day, if your brand has a large presence on Twitter, Vine is a must.

Instagram Video

Key features:

  • 15 seconds
  • 13 filters
  • Editable
  • 130 million current Instagram users

Yes, you have a few more seconds of story-telling time with Instagram Video.  Nonetheless, make sure your clip captures viewers’ attention early on so viewers don’t drop out early. Filters and editing ability allows more creative freedom, but don’t abuse it. Again, simplicity and creativity are key. If your company already has a large fan base on Instagram, use video features to broaden brand awareness, improve your messaging to mobile users and engage your social media followers with richer content.

Ultimately, Vine and Instagram Video both share benefits video marketers shouldn’t ignore. In particular, both services are optimized for search engine indexing with the ability to use hashtags and tag individual users. Brands can search for user-generated content and monitor the ways fans share or respond to specific branded content campaigns, messages and hashtags.

Since Vine and Instagram Video have natural distribution channels through their respective parents Twitter and Facebook, distributing content is relatively cheap across both platforms.  Moreover, with branded Vines are shared four times as often as branded online videos, and branded content making up four percent of the top 100 tracked Vines, there’s evidence to suggest short-form video users are receptive (or, at least, more agnostic) to creative branded messaging.

As a marketer, if you aren’t already using Vine or Instagram Video, it’s time to
start.  Keep it simple; send a clear, effective message; don’t be afraid to experiment; and amplify the consumer-brand conversation through innovative social video.

Can You Predict a Viral Marketing Video?

Volkswagen Star Wars Super Bowl Advertisement

As a first order of business, the thunder-stealing, lead-in answer is still “probably not.” That said, this week we’re pleased to announce the launch of a new video analytics tool for ad agencies and video content marketers that brings this predictive digital marketing dream one step closer.

Video Analytics Screenshot

Our solution is a first-of-its-kind tool capable of performing targeted, simultaneous algorithm and audience-based testing of a single video, multiple videos or even multiple edits of the same branded content spot. By enabling digital advertisers, video marketers and content creators to specify audience goals such as age, gender, income level, zip-code and/or video “share rate,” then quickly test their videos against those goals and audience profile, our scoring tool brings scalable marketing automation, big data analytics and a rapid-prototyping feedback loop to video production, video audience measurement and video performance forecasting. Beneficial ways to use our new video analytics tool include:

  • A/B testing different video concepts or video edits to determine which performs best for a given campaign/activation goal or audience profile.
  • Test and compare your videos against public videos from competitors on key metrics like audience retention and viewer click-through rate (CTR).
  • Pre-release testing one or multiple pre-roll or TV ad spots earlier to proactively reduce the risk of negative brand exposure, campaign under-performance, mis-targeting and/or distribution over-spend.
  • Evaluating branded entertainment and web series pilots with richer tools, deeper insights and a faster feedback loop (so you don’t have to play the Netflix game and order seasons up front at $4.5 million an episode).

Best of all, by connecting your YouTube or Wistia video hosting account (plus more hosting platforms on the way), users will also be able to compare and back-test predicted video virality versus actual, real-world earned media rates, social media mentions and referral shares, and easily generate reports.

The tool is currently in private beta, with a broader, public release planned in May. To apply for early access, contact ZoomTilt via email or visit our video analytics signup page .

10 Reasons No One Watches Your Brand’s Videos

Business Man Game of Thrones Meme

Content-loving customers had better take note, because you just leap-frogged blogging and slide deck-styling all the way making a video for your brand. “Video? Isn’t that the future of marketing and like 60% of all internet traffic?” You’re damn right it is, and now your content marketing prowess is on full display to all your customers and social media followers, not to mention a billion monthly YouTube users. WIN. That’s right internet – we’re uploaded, we’re discoverable and we’re in the game with a titanic 88 views in week one. And people, 88 views is just the beginning, because by week two we’ll be making waves with triple digit viewership, am I right?

It saddens me to say that in ZoomTilt’s line of work, I seem to have this exact same conversation on a weekly basis:

Brand: We want a viral video. None of our videos are getting good viewership and we’re spending a lot of time and money on them.

Me: Well, what kind of videos are you making right now?

Brand: Pretty much all documentary-style testimonial interviews and really slick, artsy, color-corrected videos of beautiful, waif-ish people walking down dim hallways showcasing our product.

Me: Would you consider experimenting and cross-testing different types of video creative? Maybe something more relevant to your target demo that’s funny, or edgy, or surprising? Perhaps with memorable, strongly-defined characters? We can define success metrics and perform deep data-gathering and predictive A/B testing on each one.

Brand: Oh no, no, no. We could never do that. Characters? We’re not GEICO, we don’t have a Gecko… the brand IS the personality. Besides, we can’t be a funny brand or an edgy brand, we’re an elegant, sophisticated, reliable, precision-engineered brand whose experience must translate like a haiku told upon the shore of a placid lake. So what can we do like that that’s going to go pretty viral..?

Stop. Video marketers, 95% of you need to re-think your approach right now, because that one competitor who gets it is smoking your PR and inbound marketing efforts. So let’s cut the small talk and get you started with our field-guide of key video marketing pitfalls to avoid. If you’re making videos for your brand and no one is watching them, here are the ten (10) reasons why:

1. You don’t really know your audience. Knowing who your audience is (say age 35+ working mothers) isn’t the same as knowing their media consumption habits and what content resonates with them – you need to understand both.

Let’s start with a typical customer video from a mainstream, mom-oriented consumer brand:

Ok, darling and highly likable Mom? Check. Solid brand that knows how to do fun video creative? Check (*ahem* Old Spice Guy *ahem*). Video that will inspire anyone to share your message or watch more? Complete miss. Don’t get us wrong, there are great opportunities out there in user-generated content, but why would a mom watch dozens of nearly identical informational testimonials for the same product? And why does Pampers, a globally-recognized diaper brand, feel the need to flood its YouTube channel and crowd out its more premium content with so many different iterations of the same bland, product credibility-builder video that doesn’t create informational or emotional value for their customers? Why would a diaper-buyer watch multiple minutes of this type of video content rather than simply executing a 15 second Google search to quickly skim a credible blog review on the same product? Your customers’ time, convenience and content consumption autonomy are highly relevant to your digital content strategy – respect them.

Now let’s take a look at some of their professional creative:

Strong start here too – who doesn’t love cute, happy babies with bed-head? But ouch, only 6 likes and 3 dislike? What gives?

Well, to summarize the entire campaign message: “if your baby pees or poops itself and doesn’t get changed, it won’t be happy (or have great, disheveled hair) like these happy babies.” What’s new, insightful or interesting about that message, one that more or less restates the same biological principle mothers have known for decades, if not centuries? Sorry Pampers, we already know your diapers are probably a little bit better (and a little bit more expensive) than some of the other brands sitting next to you on the shelf, your single layer of additional protection isn’t boosting brand lift or getting anyone to retweet this.

Want to know who gets motherhood? Fiat gets motherhood:



2. Your content doesn’t create value.

A lot of marketers think successful branded video content needs to have professional, $10,000-per-minute-and-up production quality. It doesn’t. Nor does it even necessarily have to be funny or shocking, although that usually helps. But one thing your content MUST accomplish is value creation for the viewer, which can be either informational value, emotional value or both, like these:



3. Your content generates a low-valence emotional response.

72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, so if you make something average it will get skipped and ignored. If you create something on the far end of the spectrum that generates high viewer emotional arousal, audiences will engage with and share your video.

Right (creative) way to make a marketing video for your pizza business:

Wrong (traditional, uncreative) way to make a marketing video for your pizza business:


4. Your video content doesn’t have hooks early and often.

Again, when you create content, your content is competing for attention against an ocean of entertaining video, great music and informative blog articles. You don’t need to perform an epic jump from space like RedBull, but be sure to hook viewers’ attention early and often to avoid drop-off and defection to other content. Nice job Pepsi:


5. Your content has no story arc.

Both of these videos feature heavy men’s business apparel product placements. Which do you think had the better digital campaign return on investment (ROI) and repeat viewer engagement because viewers wanted to know what happens next?

Story:

No story:


6. No one found your great video.

Unfortunately, successful video content marketing isn’t just creating great content, then putting it up on your YouTube page, blog and facebook feed and moving on to the next thing. Videos live and die by discovery, and you need to get a broad audience (and, for that matter, the right audience) looking at your work. I wrote a pretty comprehensive introductory explainer to getting more views on your video here on Quora. Check it out and feel free to leave comments or feedback if it was helpful or you disagree with any of my core points. Whatever you do, don’t make the same mistakes as Cybergeddon.

7. You didn’t test your video(s).

Traditional video content marketing – particularly branded entertainment – can be high-reward, but also moderate risk. Even with significant investment in seeding and paid media, big branded content efforts can crash and burn because the creators missed their audience or couldn’t quite pull it together on execution. At ZoomTilt, our branded entertainment media buying process is closely-integrated with video A/B-testing, so that not only do advertisers get to compare multiple creative variations based on the same brief or campaign objective, but they can also make data-driven predictions about targeted audience engagement and content virality prior to committing their full production spend. Test your videos, don’t just pull the trigger on a $300,000 media buy because your 24 year old intern down the hall who wears skinny jeans thinks they’re epic.

8. You’re not amplifying or complementing the conversation.

During prime time, up to 60% of the conversation happening on Twitter can be related to TV. Yes, successful TV shows can create global hashtags in real time. While digital isn’t at that scale and more fragmented, it’s also not as ephemeral here-and-gone as a TV ad, and that’s a big opportunity for marketers to capitalize on. Create companion content, connect your videos to product promotions or product launches, integrate hashtags and then measure it all. Entertaining storytelling is a huge catalyst for social media activity and engagement, so don’t silo your videos from your overall social media marketing efforts.

9. You’re missing the long tail.

Just like search engine optimization (SEO), strategically targeting the long tail (and long tail keywords in your video title, text description and metadata) can pay off big, particularly when your video has little relevant competition but really strikes a chord with a spirited niche. Get it right, and next thing you know your content gets picked up on Mashable and your sales go through the roof. Just ask the OraBrush guys:


10. You’re the 1,000th brand to hop on a content-competitive trend.

Don’t go head-to-head on replica content with Fortune 500 marketing giants (unless you yourself are a Fortune 500 marketing giant) if you can’t bring something really new, fresh and novel to the table:

This wins (#JeffGordonisonFire):

This doesn’t (#sorryHubspot):


The difference a little creativity and the scale of your audience reach [a solid celebrity cameo that doesn't bust your budget usually doesn't hurt either] collectively make on the success of your content cannot be understated.

Now let’s go out there and make successful branded videos people love.

7 Video Marketing Benefits Brands Need to Know

Video marketing is a content marketing cornerstone, and an integral aspect of brand reach, influence, experience and inbound engagement. Regardless of what your brand identity is, if you aren’t prioritizing video marketing within your content marketing roadmap, then you’re missing one of the best opportunities to draw audiences and customers to an immersive message that is (1) highly sharable in digital and (2) when done correctly, creates high-valence emotional connections. Video marketing can put tiny companies like Dollar Shave Club firmly on the blog roll in a matter of weeks, catapult fledging startups like Ministry of Supply to Kickstarter campaign immortality and event help an established brand like Samsung reinvent itself as the hip, iconic upstart usurping Apple’s smart phone dominance.

AudiencesWantaStory

Source: Edelman and Adobe.

Overall, there are many benefits to video marketing, including these seven benefits every digital marketer needs to know:

7. Less Investment Needed for Video Marketing Than You Might Think

Did your agency just quote you $200,000 for that social video campaign activation for two quarters from now? Then you’re talking to the wrong solution provider. The reality is technology, information access and competition among creatives has dramatically dropped the cost of procuring high quality, professional video. Moreover, branded video doesn’t need sparkling big-budget studio color-correction to succeed with online audiences.  Rather, it needs to resonate with viewers by being hilarious, edgy, inspiring or shocking, and above all, authentic, with characters, visuals and experiences people relate to.  As a result,  companies like Ford, Ikea, Proctor & Gamble, KMart, Target, AT&T and Fidelity are finding that with just a fraction of their TV ad budget, some savvy storyboarding, social media integration and a thoughtful distribution strategy, digital video marketing significantly outperforms the ROI from traditional TV ad investment.

Which would you rather watch?

Traditional media (sorry eHarmony):

New media:

We thought so too.

6. Precision Targeting

With digital video marketing your brand can reach a targeted consumer audience with relative ease.  And by properly taking advantage of social media, distribution channel and keyword targeting, your priority demographic audience can be engaged with near-surgical precision.  By combining good content with sufficient seeding to drive an initial, critical mass of viewers to their content microsite, YouTube channel and/or social media hub, brands can hit an earned media home run from social sharing and viral referral.  Advocates who like your video are more than empowered to tag, retweet, repost, pin or re-blog it if you make content that is highly sharable.

5. When People Care They Share and Participate

Watching video generates approximately 60% of internet traffic. Other data show that YouTube’s 1 million daily unique visitors watch nearly 3 billion videos per day, with 46% of those viewers taking some sort of action for every TrueView ad they see – typically by clicking the “skip” button.  Today’s consumers are highly-connected, easily-distracted internet-informed socialites who recognize when a company is creating value for them rather than just trying to shove a product or message down their throats.  This doesn’t mean Millenials can’t be advertised to; but it does mean the way advertising communicates and engages them has fundamentally changed.  When 18 to 24 year olds were asked “How do you want to a brand to interact with you?” in a study performed by Global Web Index, over 65% of respondents replied “Entertain me,” a response which occurred higher than “Keep me informed,” “Connect me with people” or “Provide me with interesting experiences.”  Moreover, because video is such “leveraged communication” (if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be 100,000+?), the stakes for both success and failure are bigger as well as faster.  A truly viral video is elusive – as well as marketing nirvana – but it’s a lot easier to create audience engagement magic and widespread social chatter with a recurring, character-driven video story viewers tune into episode after episode.

Generally, a broad range of recent success stories in branded video entertainment points toward five key themes in winning the battle for video engagement: (1) be authentic, (2) tell a compelling, recurring story, (3) manage content duration and pacing for maximum entertainment payload, (4) give audiences a way to get involved and participate if they want and (5) experiment; try new things.  Particularly relevant (and good news) for marketers is the fact that audience’s social sharing of content happens irrespective of the presence or absence of branding and branded messages within the content.  Additionally, highly engaged audiences do convert better, in many cases showing 300% higher ad click-through rates on high-quality web TV series compared to average industry pre-roll rates.

4. Humanizing the Brand Experience and Increasing Accessibility

Being more than just a brand is essential to the dialogue you maintain with our customers and social followers. Audiences today want to see the heart, people and characters behind the logo, and video marketing is the one of the best ways to achieve that.  When Hubspot rallies its inbound team to perform a cover-rendition of Psy’s viral YouTube opus “Gangnam Style” or Pixability puts its team front and center in entertaining, informational skits on its YouTube channel, it demystifies the brand in an accessible way that enables audiences to enjoy an insider’s perspective.

3. Video Marketing Simultaneously Solidifies Your Inbound and Outbound Marketing Presence

Having a strong, joint outbound and inbound marketing presence is not just smart; in today’s digital marketing landscape it might as well be a necessary. Strong, video marketing allows for this to be achieved with a great deal of ease by generating and proliferating content that simultaneously broadcasts the brand experience and also draws in audiences around conversion destinations.

2. Trial & Error

In the old days of video marketing, brands could simply advertise their product on someone else’s content (for example, TV), because the content brought people’s captive attention to their message.  But with traditional TV viewer growth stagnant, time-shifted TV becoming the status quo and 33-50% of TV viewers also consuming additional content on a second-screen device, brands need to embrace new content marketing approaches to bridge the engagement gap.  According to the Ruder Finn Intent Index, not surprisingly 82% of people want to be entertained, 96% of people want to be educated, and 92% of people want to be participating in something meaningful.  Put that together and it’s not surprising in hindsight that “This is Not Yellow” was a smash success.

But who could have predicted that? The great thing about digital video is that its cost structure and its medium makes experimentation and controlled tests with different content types, experiences and ecosystems a lot easier than, say, experimenting with Super Bowl Commercials.  At ZoomTilt, our business centers around testing, piloting, analyzing and distributing a broad range of branded entertainment concepts before we advise our clients to make their media buy and serialize content.  That way, video marketers have a lot more certainty around the brand experience they’re creating, the app integration(s) they want to run, as well as the ROI, engagement, reach and earned media outlook for the campaign.

1. Striking Gold: Content that Goes Viral

The holy grail of video marketing is seeing content catch on like wildfire and end up instantly spread all over the web within days. When this happens, a little-known content creator or brand can find themselves transformed into a cultural icon overnight.  While it’s impossible to target “virality as a strategy,” gradually building a vested audience with steady, high-quality video content marketing certainly increases the chances that a specific video will catch and ignite.  But rather than chasing a single, viral “home run,” steadily hitting singles and doubles – videos that collect tens of thousands of views, consistently broaden awareness of your brand’s message and increase your social reach –  can not only supercharge the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts, it can set the stage for when that perfect storm of a video happens to come along: