With more than 75 million people watching online videos every day in the U.S. alone, video has become a driving force in delivering marketing messages. Increasing brand awareness, explaining products, optimizing landing pages, developing social media content, and providing educational tutorials are just a few of the ways that video is used as an effective marketing tool. The fact that viewers are likely to retain around 95% of a video message vs. 10% of written text is one reason that video works.

On the other hand, attempts at using video content for marketing can go awry if some of these aspects don’t get enough attention:


Wrong Channel

While YouTube does maintain activity for at least 1/3 of all internet users, other video channels may be more effective for your particular target audience. Since Facebook is the most popular social media channel in the world, you may be missing out on your target audience if you’re not using it. Demographic studies can help to better understand the preferences of your audience and pinpoint which channels will perform best.

Bad Titles and Poor SEO

Just because content is video form, doesn’t mean that SEO can be tossed out the window. Titles, descriptions, categories, and tags all act as critical identifiers to draw your target audience in. Of course, using misleading tags in order to get more views is a really bad idea. Remember that it’s not massive numbers of people you want watching—it’s the right people.

Too Long

Most people today have a short attention span and want instant gratification. Around 2/3 of viewers prefer videos that last one minute or less. Time is a commodity and asking people to use their time by watching your video should offer some sort of payoff. Creating content where the first few seconds grab the attention should help earn trust. Be sure to maintain trust by making your video short, to-the-point, and valuable.

Ho-Hum Content

Striking the perfect balance between a boring video and ridiculous hype can be a challenge. Videos should send a message. Whether it is meant to be helpful, entertaining, or moving, your video should provoke the viewer to feel, think, or respond in some way. Enthusiasm and emotion are what make videos share-able and gain traction online. Building curiosity by using cliff-hangers may be an effective way to lead viewers on the buyer’s journey.

Morphing into a Sales Pitch

Remember, the last message you want to be sending is that you are trying to sell something. Video content that resembles infomercials makes it about your needs (selling stuff) rather than about meeting the viewers’ needs. Video content included within a larger marketing plan is part of the whole picture of leading your potential clients through the buyer’s journey, without a pesky sales pitch.

Forgetting the Call to Action

When you can identify the direction you are taking your viewers, you can help lead them along on the road toward conversion. A video should move the audience toward a call-to-action without fading to black so there is no opportunity to back out prior to the call-to-action. Driving viewers to watch another video, sign up for a free trial, download an eBook, or respond to some other type of CTA will lead them further along on the buyer’s journey.

Missing Analytics

Determine who is watching your videos, which ones they watch, how long they watch, and which parts they watch. This information is critical for measuring effectiveness, telling you where the viewer is in the funnel, and allowing insight into what type of CTA and/or follow up would be most effective. For instance, if viewers are consistently dropping off about halfway through then you can assume either your videos are too long or that your titles and tags are not leading them to what they want. In the same way, knowing that viewers are skipping certain sections but watching others repeatedly helps you to optimize the content you already have.

When well executed, video has the potential to be one of your most effective marketing tools. But if you aren’t researching, planning, analyzing, and optimizing, then your efforts will likely fall flat.