Whenever any new technology enters the market and becomes widely adopted, it’s met with a chorus of questions about whether or not the preceding era’s devices will continue to retain market share. In some situations – as in the case of the ill-fated 8-track tape – replacement is complete, eliminating the older technology from the market entirely.
However, in other examples, we’ve seen older technologies coexist peacefully beside their modern counterparts. Electronic readers haven’t totally wiped out printed texts, while plenty of DVD movies continue to be sold despite the superior Blu-Ray technology entering the marketplace.
So with these disparate examples in mind, is it possible that videos could replace blogs within the next five years?
My personal opinion is a qualified “No.” In many ways, text-based blog posts and web videos meet different needs for consumers. Because there are – and will continue to be – situations in which viewing video isn’t appropriate (at work, for example), I believe that text-oriented blogs will continue to retain audiences despite the presence of newer, flashier video content.
However, just because they may not replace blogs entirely in the near future doesn’t mean that video marketing shouldn’t be seriously considered. In fact, the rate at which online video is being consumed on both traditional and mobile devices is increasing so significantly that every company competing online should be using this new marketing method.
According to a Nielsen survey of over 27,000 online consumers in 55 countries, approximately 70% of global internet users watch videos online. Interestingly, North America and Europe actually lag behind other countries in online video consumption, with connected users in the Asia-Pacific region being 45% more likely to view mobile videos than the global average!
The conclusion I draw from this data – as well as trends indicating that US-based smartphone penetration is at its highest peak ever – is that your audience is watching video and they want more of it. In fact, I think it’s possible that we’ll even see viewership trends growing more rapidly to catch up with levels seen in other areas of the world.
So, if you’re a business owner trying to determine how to best reach your audience in these changing times, I’d offer the following pieces of advice:
- Investing now in online video could put your business ahead of others that haven’t yet adopted these technologies. There’s always a benefit to being the first mover when it comes to using new tools and techniques effectively, and although viewer participation is up, many businesses still haven’t integrated online video marketing into their arsenals.
- Don’t feel that your marketing investments need to be “either/or” in terms of choosing between text-based blog posts and videos. Pairing an engaging web video with a printed transcript in a blog post can create an effective combination that appeals to both readers and video viewers.
- Be careful when choosing the video production style that will best meet your audience’s needs. If you’re trying to educate viewers on your company’s value proposition or explain complex product dynamics, flashy, “viral style” videos may obscure the point you’re trying to make.
Finally, keep in mind that different audiences respond to online video in different ways. Since there’s really no “one size fits all” approach, it’s important to invest the necessary time to set up analytics tracking programs and metrics that will let you know conclusively whether your website readers respond best to video content or text-based blog posts.