Is Video Content Old Hat or an Emerging Tactic

Sure, using video for brand content has been around for a while. Short films, ads, and brand videos have been part of our lexicon for some time--but I believe we are coming into a video revolution, the likes of which we have not yet seen.

Access to the tools necessary to create a kick-butt video campaign are getting cheaper, better, and more accessible by the day. Recently, I interviewed a good friend and colleague, Dooley Tombras, EVP of Tombras, about the emergence of video in the agency business. His company is responsible for some of the most progressive digital campaigns in marketing, including NHTSA's (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) chilling #JustDrive campaign that made kids and parents think twice about texting and driving.

"I would say that video work has doubled every year for the past 3 years," says Tombras. "Three years ago, it was pretty low on our business radar, and now it's a pretty big part of our everyday business."

He says that there are two things driving this change: social media and content marketing. "Our clients are asking for more content, and that is where video comes in," Tombras says. "The other driver is changing media habits. People simply aren't watching traditional TV as much as they used to. Video targeting with programmatic digital buying has gotten so much better in terms of delivery."

He continues, "So not only do clients need video for content, but some of their paid media is moving over to the same video they produce for content. For years and years, TV was the main brand vehicle and still is a major piece of that puzzle, but programmatic digital buying has emerged as ‘TV with direct response' because of the analytics and accountability behind digital advertising."

That doesn't mean that traditional advertising is completely dead, though. "We do a good bit of traditional ad shoots, but content video shoots are exploding," says Tombras. "And not just that, but the behavior of brands about how they manage it has changed as well." As an example, he says, "We are a full-service agency with ad buying, digital, brand, marketing, social media, and many other capabilities. But just this year, some clients have hired us only to do content marketing and have other agencies they work with do their traditional advertising. ..."

Some brands are even turning to online video as their primary marketing channel. "Yes, we have had some clients, as a test, cut out TV advertising during a campaign and moved the money to content videos and featured them in their programmatic digital ad buys and seen not just flat sales, but in some cases 4%-5% increases in sales."

Tombras calls this "really impressive," adding, "Now these were large CPG [consumer packaged goods] brands with high brand awareness so this doesn't always do the trick, especially when the goal is to build brand awareness, but it was highly effective [in these cases]."

"Another caveat was that these were brands with a younger demo where this type of advertising might make more sense. If your brand demographic skews older, then the traditional mix might still make sense," Tombras says. "Nonetheless, content marketing videos are making an impact in not only the social media world but the ad world as well."

I believe video is just at the dawn of its influence. It is a fact that smartphones will only increase their capabilities in the next 5 years, which will put a solid video camera in the pockets of a large block of the world's population.

Twitter now makes it easy for users to post video. Vine is growing in popularity, and its stars continue to rake in big bucks and hefty endorsement deals. Video shops are bursting at the seams with work, and this is not going to stop. Video is huge and only getting bigger.

Get ready for content marketing video to become not only big agency business during the next 5-10 years, but to become a standard in-house brand department by 2020. Will you seize the moment, and use content video for the incredibly effective medium it is? Or will you let the train go by and stay stuck at the station? Your choice.