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Why the world's biggest publishers are investing millions in video

Moving pictures: The new Golden Age

The power and reach of online video is a no-brainer, but why is this medium so powerful and who is actually doing it well?

According to the 2015-2020 Visual Networking Forecast from Cisco, video is set to account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017. YouTube already gets more than one billion unique visits per month while Facebook now sees 100 million hours of videos watched each day.

We’ve come to associate certain brands with their amazing video campaigns. Consider Red Bull. They’ve taken a standard energy drink brand and turned it into a behemoth that completely owns the world of extreme sports, with a strong focus on their target audience of 18-34 year old men. Much of the credit for this is owed to their hugely successful video marketing campaigns. In fact, Red Bull was one of the first brands to create content that its audience actually sought out, rather than being forced to watch. This pull marketing is a key difference from traditional intrusive pull marketing, and a core pillar of video marketing strategy. The Red Bull Stratos Jump was the perfect example of the power video marketing; with its 8 million concurrent views on the YouTube live stream breaking all previous records. The stunt went down in history, making the $30m it cost wholly justifiable for the brand.

According to Dr James McQuivey, formerly of Forrester Research, ‘a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words’. Big brands are learning that investment in video yields results, and that means more traditional TV budgets are being moved to digital. Publishers such as the New York Times, Conde Nast and Hearst Magazines have all announced significant investment in digital video content in 2016. Brands are also increasingly partnering with online influencers, individuals with an existing following within their own online niche, identifying the power of these ‘stars’. Kelloggs’ recent campaign with YouTube star Zach King is a great example of this.

A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words

Successful video marketing companies such as Buzzfeed are also recognising that our content access has changed irrevocably. Unlimited internet availability across numerous devices has changed the way we both distribute and consume content. Nowadays you are as likely to see popular footage through social media as you were on your TV a decade ago or in print before that. Major events are trending within news feeds on social first; they are our go-to platforms for our latest updates. Buzzfeed publisher Dao Nguyen recently wrote an article explaining how the company launched a distributed strategy in 2015 where “instead of focusing primarily on our website and apps, and using social networks as a way to send traffic to them, we were going to aggressively publish our content directly to platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat.”

The Buzzfeed video formula is all about shareable content not just consumable content. This is key to their success and a crucial takeaway for video marketers. Buzzfeed has a strong focus on the data and statistics behind its shared content. The scientific approach to video content creation may sound less than glamorous but it is this combination of investment in both creativity and data-focused strategy that ensures its success, particularly when working with investment in the millions.

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Annabel Hodges
Annabel is a digital marketer and seasoned writer with 15 years' experience working with global agencies and finance brands. With a particular love for SEO, analytics and all things data; Annabel draws on her industry experience and enjoys writing about growth and marketing solutions that tackle the challenges of finance marketing in a holistic manner.