Online video is the most effective marketing tool in online marketing history, but if the cost of producing videos outweighs the sales returns, something needs to be tweaked.

The answer? Make more videos, less expensively, more frequently, more targeted, and more sales-driven.

Video Production Will Become Cheaper in 2017

My creative agency / production company Supercool Creative Agency has written and produced hundreds of online videos, from promos and trailers to explainers and web series – for brands, businesses and startups, and here’s what I’ve learned.

Video marketing is all about the creative concept, targeted audience, marketing execution and call to action – not just the amazing cameras, size of the crew, or the special treats at the craft services table.

All videos, when shared, no matter how much celebrity, marketing dollars or production value, go through an arc of popularity, and then trail off. That’s to be expected.

With social media videos, there are ways to boost their visibility via video seeding, social media sharing and paid promotion, but at some point you hit a point of diminishing returns when your audience has become saturated, and sales even off.

With video ads, you can theoretically keep pumping dollars into the same video ad, maybe something you’ve run on TV, but at some point the “Skip Ad” ratio exceeds the watch ratio, viewers actually start getting irritated, social media backfires, and sales decline.

So, why don’t marketers just make lots of fresh videos all the time? Because it can be expensive and the cost-to-reward ratio isn’t always there.

The Answer? Stop thinking like TV advertisers, with one-off online Super Bowl ads, and start thinking like regular content producers. TV shows and magazines have been thinking this way for years.

Brands are starting to catch on, and businesses and startups are following suit.

Every video doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Match the customers’ needs to the video content you’re producing, be creative and think in terms of what you’d like to watch.

Marketers Will Focus More On The Creative in 2017

The key to getting your videos seen and acted upon, is no longer just high-quality video. High quality video is now simply expected.

The real key is in the creative vision. ANYONE can produce high-quality video these days. Just point a CANON DSLR, RED cam or ARRI ALEXA at pretty much anything and it’s going to look good.

Creative for video production and marketing involves three things! Establishing the target consumer, addressing their needs and doing it in a super clever way to get their attention and move them towards a call to action – CTA.

The most effective creative approaches involve humor, emotion, value and immediacy.

Immediacy, especially, calls for a lower production cost since the sales offer may only be for a day, week or a month. Then, the marketing team can focus on the next “immediate” promotion ;)

Video Production and Marketing Frequency Will increase in 2017

The real value of producing more videos, less expensively and more frequently is that you can measure how effective they are.

You can measure soft goals like likes, follow and shares, but the true measure of any marketing campaign is sales.

By producing and marketing more videos, you have the opportunity to measure which approaches work best with your target demographics in terms of tipping the sales needle without breaking the budget on each video launch.

Video Targeting Will Be More Focused in 2017

Targeting tools are becoming increasingly more accurate and brands, business and startups are going to have to start investing creative and analytical capital into identifying who their customers are, appealing to them with the right messaging, and then targeting those potential customers across online platforms.

Depending on your industry and your customers’ needs, they may respond amazingly to super-funny videos, they may appreciate informational content, or they may purchase on an emotional level.

If you’re producing more videos, at a cheaper rate per video, you can experiment.

The value of targeting, is in limiting wasteful viewers who watch your videos with no inclination to buy.

They may share videos that eventually find their way to a buyer but that’s a low-probability numbers game that doesn’t look good on a Q1 marketing spreadsheet!

Analytics are also going to play a huge roll in tying video targeting to sales, and defining video creative direction and production.

Video Marketing Will Be More Sales-Driven in 2017

Enough of the soft sell. Marketing teams are having to prove ROI to senior management and the only, ultimate way to do that is through sales numbers.

Soft video marketing goals like increases in social media interaction and media mentions can only go so far, but eventually CMOs, SFOs and CEOs are going to want to see the cause-and-effect between online video marketing and sales.

In addition to creating more, creative, targeted videos, with less budget, we all have to be mindful of our CTAs – calls to action.

Far too many videos are created, produced, promoted and shared with little or no result because the videos didn’t ask for the order.

Ask for the order!

Marketers can put Calls to Action in video descriptions, titles, or in the video content itself, but the call to subscribe, join and most of all BUY, has to be clear and compelling.

Ultimately, sales will be the make-or-break, defining line item for video marketing success in 2017.