Analyzing the ROI of Video Marketing is the intriguing title of report from the Aberdeen Group that is fairly bullish on content marketing in general, and video in particular. It finds that that “Best–In-Class companies are more likely to use video in their content marketing mix than any other media.” Somewhat disappointingly, it does not present any calculations or examples of actual returns on investment. But it does suggest some analytical approaches.
Conversion rate measurement
Here are the most interesting numbers in the report.
- The average cost per marketing-generated lead is $93 for companies using video, compared with $115 for non-video users.
- The difference in website conversion rate for sites with video: 4.8% vs. 2.9%
- Video users needed 37% fewer site visits.
The percentage improvements noted above refer to “website conversions” — like responses to calls-to-action — that can be measured. But, of course, video gets used in lots of places besides websites (e.g., conferences, sales meetings, training sessions, email). Here are some other ways video contributes to ROI:
- Unlike other media, engagement with video content can be effectively measured — by how long the viewer watches it. This is significant, since content marketing itself is effective only to the extent that your content holds someone’s interest.
- Video links in emails have been shown to double the click-through rate.
- Videos tend to be shared. For example, someone “converted” by a video may well use it to introduce colleagues to the subject. They may be persuaded to buy, but their “conversions” won’t show up in website analytics or calculations of video ROI.
Video content management platforms
When you start to think about all the things that video can do, issues of managing scale arise. Video management and marketing solutions e.g., Brightcove, Kaltura, and QUMU, provide distribution across channels and analytics from all those channels. They also offer cloud-based or private video capture and production capabilities far beyond what most companies would undertake to provide for themselves, like all-employee live webcast meetings, facilities for building an in-house knowledge base, even collecting viewer feedback during video playback.
Salesmanship in video
The oft-quoted saying “advertising is salesmanship in print” is attributed to the early 20th Century adman John E. Kennedy (who actually wrote “advertising is salesmanship on paper”). As the Aberdeen Group report notes, in the “hidden sales cycle” content is often the first, second, and third sales call. The more engaging the content — whether on paper or on video — the more effective the salesmanship.
Investment in video — or in video strategy?
That said, this does call attention to the deficiencies of all “ROI” calculations like the ones Aberdeen offers: in business, worrying about the “ROI of video” is a little like worrying about the “ROI of paper” — as if the utility and versatility of the medium itself were in doubt. Clearly, it’s the message, not the medium, the produces, or fails to produce, ROI.
It is probably true that, other things being equal, the more video you use, or the more different types of video you produce, the bigger the return. But it’s certainly true that producing a good video requires a bigger investment of time and resources than producing a good blog entry or PowerPoint presentation. Mapping out an “investment strategy” for video, as it relates to the objectives of the video itself, and the content around it, is what will deliver ROI.