The Future of Content Marketing is Online Video

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Cisco’s latest whitepaper on global internet provider traffic forecasts is the usual food for thought for content marketers. The company’s ongoing analysis makes some truly staggering predictions on global IP traffic going into the next four years.

Perhaps the most eventful is that by the end of 2016 Cisco predict that global IP traffic (that excludes data within closed or private networks such as peer-to-peer) will have surpassed the 1 zettabyte per year milestone (that’s 1000 exabytes, or 1 billion terabytes).

Fuelling a lot of this is the massive growth of online video. Cisco predicts that consumer internet video traffic will go from 64 percent in 2014 to surpass 80 percent by 2019, with consumer video on demand traffic doubling by 2019; with high definition content amongst that figure rising from 59 percent in 2014 to 70 percent in 2019.

And if you want to know where we’ll be consuming a lot of this content, then take heed of Cisco’s projection that between 2014 and 2019, mobile data traffic is expected to grow at three times the rate of fixed IP traffic (that’s a tenfold increase overall). 

Consumer Internet Video 2014–2019
              2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR
2014–2019
By Network (PB per Month)
Fixed  20,485  25,452  32,981  43,226  56,771  74,319 29%
Mobile  1,139  2,014  3,475  5,842  9,407  14,999 67%
By Category (PB per Month)
Video  18,437  22,940  30,242  40,907  55,931  76,771 33%
Internet video to TV  3,188  4,526  6,214  8,160  10,248  12,548 32%
By Geography (PB per Month)
Asia Pacific  7,579  9,366  12,150  16,039  21,184  28,469 30%
North America  6,535  8,207  10,712  14,009  18,443  23,794 29%
Western Europe  3,550  4,422  5,807  7,696  10,239  13,766 31%
Central and Eastern Europe  1,359  1,956  2,894  4,398  6,506  9,577 48%
Latin America  2,022  2,600  3,399  4,483  5,905  7,808 31%
Middle East and Africa  579  915  1,495  2,443  3,902  5,905 59%
Total (PB per Month)
Consumer Internet video  21,624  27,466  36,456  49,068  66,179  89,319 33%

Source: Cisco VNI, 2015

There can be absolutely no doubt that online video is fundamental to the way people now consume content and to ignore or shy away from this reality is marketing suicide to any company that hopes to grow its brand online in the coming years.

Digital Video is Eating into TV Ad Budgets

Another recent study, this time by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, found that of the 300 brand marketers surveyed, two thirds are moving budgets away from television and into online video.

The 43 percent year over year increase in budget spend on online video is fueling a surge in online video content by big brands, who are looking to dominate established platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, as well as other less traditional formats like Instagram and Vine, Flickr (yes, they do video, too), Vimeo and, more recently, Facebook video.

On top of these familiar names there exists a whole raft of lesser known video platforms, each with its own circle of influential amateur movie producers and socially engaged audiences. It’s likely that most of these platforms aren’t even on the average marketer’s radar but cumulatively they do stack up.

The Level Playing Field

It’s not just the big players who are looking to capitalise on the growth in online video. For a long time, video marketing was seen as the preserve of big brands and big budgets but this is not the case anymore and nor has it been for some time.

Sure, a huge ad spend, a professional director and a twenty strong digital marketing team to promote your latest masterpiece is always going to help, but the playing field is more level than it has ever been before, giving SMEs an unprecedented opportunity to compete with the big players for viewer attention.

This levelling effect can be attributed largely to the exponential growth in video technology, from the popularity of cheap camcorders all the way through to the HD video recording capabilities on the majority of smartphones today. Perhaps of equal importance though is the affordability and availability of modern sophisticated editing software, allowing those with a degree of technical know-how to produce really professional looking edits.

Rise of the Storytellers

So how to produce the perfect video? Well, the idea that brands need to think more like publishers and less like marketers, has become all but orthodoxy with content marketers and this has been driven to a large extent by the rise of online video.

One of the consequences of the relatively sudden growth of online video has been the slow death of what Seth Godin once referred to as ‘interruption marketing’. This in turn has led to a drastic shift in marketing strategies towards the idea of storytelling. If you can’t put your ads in front of a captive audience, then you have to create content that your intended audience will seek out themselves, and to do this involves capitalising on video’s propensity as a story-telling medium.

Although clearly a crude analogy, the oft-cited Forrester’s research that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words does continue to resonate with content marketers who understand the power of the moving image to capture imaginations.

Unlike the written word or photos or graphics, video has the unparalleled power to combine sound, vision and dialogue to bring stories alive and create genuine emotional connections between the viewer and the brand; something that is now seen as essential in building brand identity and, ultimately, brand loyalty.

To remain a player in the digital space, companies of all sizes need to understand the power of storytelling and to what extent the digital space is becoming a video marketer’s playground. Whether it’s a big budget advertising campaign with bells and whistles, or an honest and compelling short about the history of your company, SME’s and big brands alike need to start thinking less like marketers and more like storytellers. And video is shaping up as the medium of choice to tell the tale.

Jon Mowat is a former BBC Documentary filmmaker but now runs Hurricane Media, a video marketing and production company based in Bristol, England. You can check out their award winning videos on YouTube or signup and download their new whitepaper on how to stand out in the content soup by visiting the website.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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