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5 tips for beginners – this is how you use videos for online marketing

Attention guaranteed: Over the last years, videos have become an important tool for the online marketing sector, even though this medium has only been accessible to a broad public for a few years. It took the invention of broadband internet to solidify the role of moving images in the online world.

Using online videos is already taken for granted nowadays. Amazon prime video, Netflix, and others like them broadcast into your living room. And thanks to YouTube, everyone can become a video star now. Therefore, it’s time to take a closer look at the various ways in which videos can be used in online marketing.

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1. Using viral videos

Viral videos are masterpieces of video marketing and a tool to achieve incredible success. Under the right circumstances, they can spread explosively all over social media. Suddenly, everybody knows them because their content is so funny or touching. Within a short time, they can even attract the attention of classic media.

The underlying idea, planning, and distribution make up the most difficult part. Video production itself, however, is usually very easy. Once it reaches "critical mass", the video can pretty much take care of itself. Of course, only if the content is outstanding in its appeal through being funny, touching, spreading an important message, or solving a particular problem.

So, think about this: How can you reach out to a certain audience with a short, effective, and ideally not too obviously advertising video? A particularly successful example for such a viral video is provided by VW:

Video: The successful viral advertising video by VW

This example strategically appeals to the large number of Star Wars fans. A small boy in a Darth Vader costume tries, in vain, to use "the force" to move objects. He only succeeds at the end of the video, when his dad’s car reacts to his efforts and starts blinking – caused by his father’s wireless remote control. This sense of achievement at the end is directly linked with VW. The US American original spot reached 1 million views one day before it was even released on TV for the first time and 49.4 million views after one year.

2. Content, content, content

With online videos, the viewer’s attention span is very short and the desire to just close the video is especially high. When reading a text, it is easy to just skim or ignore less interesting paragraphs, something that is not quite as easy with videos. It is therefore even more important for videos to have a captivating content than it is for texts.

Here are some tips to help you keep viewers interested in your videos:

1. Make it short: A maximum of 5 minutes is best. Longer subjects can easily be divided into several shorter videos. On average, only 46% of all viewers will watch a video that is longer than a minute. After 5 minutes, only a meagre 9% are left.

2. Get a detailed analyzation of your target group beforehand and design the language and message of your video accordingly.

3. Incite your users’ curiosity by keeping your video exciting to the last second and by adding an unexpected plot twist at the end.

4. Trigger emotions. Not only emotional content, but also music and imagery will help you with this.

5. Stay transparent and believable: Do not use stock videos or underline statements with images that have no message. More often than not, background information and genuine pictures will serve you better than staged advertising videos with perfect pictures.

6. Actively offer solutions for certain problems and illustrate by using examples of how you can significantly improve things.

Video types

When planning the content of a video, it is helpful to know the following popular video types:

Image video
Usually extravagantly produced; an image video aims at conveying a positive image of the company at hand. To achieve this, the company and its services or products are presented in an extremely positive way.

Example: This image video of the city of Innsbruck shows the beautiful nature around the city and all the activities you can do here.

Video: Image video of the city of Innsbruck

Product video
A product video shows how a product works in an impressive way and which advantages it offers. Here, benefits to the customer should be most important and advertising slogans should only be used discreetly. In this compact video, special features of a camera are explained with practical examples. This way, amateurs can also grasp the advantages that hide behind technical terms like "45 point AF system" or "NFC connectivity".

Video: Product video for the Canon EOS 80D

Explanation video
A very good way of explaining complex products or processes in a simple manner is offered by so-called explanation videos. They are mostly drawn or animated and put across information with specific diagrams and motions. Experts predict a great future for our "internet of things", but how can this topic be defined for a public not familiar with the industry? This explanation video does the trick.

Video: An explanation video on the topic "internet of things"

Interviews with experts
An expert answers questions about a certain topic, explains special features, or discusses a problem. Of course, this specialist could also work at your own company. Videos with experts offer an easy way of quickly producing a video. However, interest in such videos is generally rather limited.

Video: Example for interviews with experts

Tutorials/how-to videos
In a tutorial video, a specific process is explained step by step. This way, for instance, possible problems that could arise when using a product can be dealt with beforehand. Especially for already established customers, this can be very helpful (and a relief to the support team at the same time). But even things like baking a fancy cake can be facilitated by a tutorial video, as shown in the example.

Video: A tutorial on creating a theme cake

A report is a detailed account of a subject that gives background information. This way, a story can be told, grievances can be addressed, or education can be provided. The organization behind this example video wants to point out certain issues of livestock farming. The choice of video format is perfect for this matter. No one can doubt the presentation, since the problems are unmistakably visible in the video. In addition, it is very touching on an emotional level.

Video: Example for a report on grievances in livestock farming

3. Using videos for SEO

Google’s "Search quality rating guidelines" prove that videos can enhance a website’s quality and thus significantly influence its ranking. Supplement your website’s contents with a video (in a sensible manner) and Google as well as potential customers will thank you for it. Very suitable in this context are explanation, product, and tutorial videos.

For YouTube videos as well, Google has a ranking that possibly decides their position on the YouTube portal and also in the Google search results. It is therefore sensible to optimize your video specifically on YouTube itself. Important details to add are video title and description, file name, tags, description of the YouTube channel, and, of course, the number of views. Those are easy to add below the video while uploading it or afterwards by using the video manager.

Bonus tip: A video’s thumbnail is showed before the video is turned on and is extremely important. Do not just trust YouTube to pick a picture, better pick your own. This is an easy thing to adjust using the respective video settings of YouTube.

4. Utilizing videos for conversion optimization

If a product description includes an additional short video clip, conversion rates can increase by more than 80%. In addition, a video will ensure that users stay on the website much longer.

By watching a video, the customer (subconsciously) deals with a brand much longer and more actively and perceives it as more positive. A Google study shows that 3 out of 4 YouTube users will recommend a video if they like the brand.

5. Incorporating background videos

Background videos on websites are currently a huge trend for web designers. A background video can convey emotions and create a bond between customer and brand – much more so than static images. It can tell a story or create curiosity to watch a more detailed product or image video. Product pictures in motion can often convey a product’s or service’s advantages more effectively.

A website jazzed up with background videos is often perceived by users as very contemporary and modern – characteristics that will certainly boost most companies’ images.


As illustrated by the examples above, videos can support the development of a company’s image in many cases and help to increase the conversion rates of landing pages. Many website owners shy away from the elaborate production of an image video. However, more easily produced videos like tutorials, product videos, and interviews with experts are just as appropriate to start with.

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Published on Nov 7, 2016 by Nico Westermann