• Kris Standiford

How important is video quality in my Digital Marketing?

It's everywhere. Video marketing is here to stay. I am finding, however, that a lot of the small, local businesses I work with everyday are just starting to dabble in it, and they look to me for advice on getting started. They ask things like, "where should I place my ads to get the best use of my budget?" Or, "How much will production cost, and how much should I spend on production?" Therein lies the topic of this blog and the million dollar (sometimes literally) question. If you're a business owner you might find yourself wondering the same thing. I invite you to take a deep breath- it's okay, and I am here to offer a different perspective that might take a little pressure off of your wallet.

The first mistake I find that some business owners are making when beginning their video marketing journey, is that they are going to professional video production companies to ask them how much they should be spending. (Not unheard of, right? Makes sense.) If that is how you are deciding your video ad budget, I would encourage you- the next time you want to buy a car, go to the nearest car lot and ask the salesman how much he thinks you should spend on your new purchase...I think you see where this is going. This method has actually worked up until now because the marketers have been at the mercy of the production companies and they have had no choice but to pay whatever they charge, or, well...they don't get a video.

But as video marketing begins to evolve and nestles in for the long haul, we are starting to observe some interesting truths. #1 Consumers are less impressed with the million-dollar produced ads, and more intrigued with the homemade-looking ones (We have TikTok to thank for that.) #2 Innovators have brilliantly capitalized on the industry demand, as now there are several do-it-yourself video making websites, easily accessible online that a kindergartener can navigate, if you give them enough time, with professionally-shot stock videos that would make you hard-pressed to tell the difference between a homemade ad and one that cost $10k. And last but not least- and the point that I want to drive home the most, if you don't hear anything else I have to say. #3 Message is still the most important element.

Let's look at an illustration. Pretend the pen company Bic is trying to sell you their brand new glow-in-the-dark pen. We all need pens, right? In this scenario, we are going to look at 3 very different types of video ads, and then the impact each one might have. Paint this picture in your mind- Ad number one cost $54,000. It's a video that was shot by an expensive production company that traveled out to Bic's corporate office and took some footage of the factory that produces the pens. They were sure to include shots of the fancy offices, so that people would know how successful they are. They even got some clips of Larry, the CEO, because after all, he should be in the video, he is the man in charge! Larry holds up the glow in the dark pen and shows off its features and benefits.

Got the video images in your mind? Great, let's move on to video number 2. Picture this one- it's an animated video, also very expensive, around $8,000. This video does things no other video can do- it brings the writer's imagination to life! It shows a cartoon astronaut getting shot out of a cannon into space and he finds himself floating around in the dark and reaches into his pocket and pulls out the glowing pen, and because he is able to see now, he can find the way home because the light is leading the way. (Kind of a dumb illustration, but you get the visual.) So, unlike the first ad, this one has cool graphics and is pretty entertaining, at least. Want to buy a pen yet? Let's look at the last ad.

Video ad 3 cost much less, around $250. A couple is sleeping and it's pitch black, except for a slight glow on the night stand. The dad gets a call in the middle of the night from the State Patrol Officer. Every parent's worst fear- his son was in a car accident, he immediately reaches over and grabs the glowing pen and begins to write down some of the details he'll need to get to his son, as he's rushing to get his shoes on (all in slow motion) The announcer's voice comes on and says, "Bic, lighting the way to what's important to you." Now, that's a pretty dramatic example, but again, you get the idea. If there were an ad that made you want to go out and buy a glowing pen, which one of those would do it for you? Larry, and seeing the facility the pens are made in? The nice offices? How about an entertaining cartoon of someone flying around in space and using a Bic pen to light the way home? I would say that might at least catch your attention long enough to watch it for 30 seconds and build awareness that Bic makes a glowing pen, fair? Or what about the thought of digging to find a pen in the middle of the night when time is of the essence and you need to get to an emergency? (We've all been there...there's never a pen around when you need one in the light, let alone in the dark.) Bic is tugging on your heart strings and hoping you will see yourself in that situation. People buy for several reasons, studies point to emotion being number one.

Lastly, let's look at budget. Let's say you have already decided that video marketing is your strategy and your total advertising budget is $100,000 for the year. You have decided to go with the more expensive production, and it's going to cost you $50,000 for 2 two ads. Just two. Obviously production is not the only expense, you have to actually pay to strategically place the ads. So let's say that you are running some social media and also some OTT/CTV (Targeted video marketing). Those methods will get you 50,000 impressions (eyeballs on your ad) per month. Would you rather have a snazzy ad with a mediocre message that reaches 50,000/month, or a more compelling ad message, with mostly (high-quality) stock video, that reaches 100,000/month? Which is more important to you? Both can be true at the same time- quality and messaging are both important, but you don't have to break the bank to have the most elaborate ad if your messaging evokes the emotion for someone to act. If you spend $100k to have a super-high quality, crystal-clear video of your office, only to tell people you're there for "all their pen needs," I'm afraid you've missed the mark my friend, and that's just getting back to the basics of marketing.

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