30-second summary:

  • Video marketing makes up 82% of all consumer traffic. It’s a vital part of any communication strategy.
  • Despite some similarities, each channel (from TikTok to YouTube) has distinct requirements. Delivering content that works across multiple channels is daunting.
  • Failure to plan results in increased time and cost post-production. This lowers campaign performance and ROI.
  • Mark Pontrelli, Director of Content Creation at Wella Company, provides a playbook for planning video content.

Video marketing content being filmedIf you want to get your consumer’s attention and tell your brand stories, your content needs to include video and a lot of it. Since the dawn of cinema in 1895, video has drawn eyeballs to screens like no other medium. Fast forward to 2022 and online videos have been predicted to make up 82% of all consumer traffic.

The consumer has been gravitating to video because it’s a compelling medium. It elicits an emotional response.

Moreover, people have more options than ever to consume content. This presents a challenge to marketers looking to include video as a vital component of their media mix.

Each new platform brings its own feel. TikTok and Instagram Stories use vertical aspect ratios, whereas YouTube is a more traditional 16:9; each platform has its base with its own demographic; and with this, preferred average lengths of time that work better with a platform’s given algorithm.

It’s not as easy as making a video and putting it out on all of your social media accounts. If you’re doing that, stop. Instead, customize your content to each platform to ensure it resonates. It sounds daunting, but it will save you time, money, and tears down the line. Here’s a playbook for video marketing success:

  • Seek diverse perspectives from your target audience
  • Be selective with your choice of channel
  • Have a strategy when planning to capture different aspect ratios
  • Use video marketing best-practice guidelines

A playbook for video marketing success

Planning video content that works across multiple channels isn’t easy. Although platforms such as YouTube are trying to make it easier for creators to transform their content, it’s far more effective to plan ahead.

Creators and audience members value the differentiation between platforms. Instagram recently reverted some changes to its platform which even the likes of Kylie Jenner felt were too reminiscent of TikTok.

By following this playbook, you can learn how to embrace the differences between each platform; recognize the platforms that apply to your audience; and plan impactful content.

Seek diverse perspectives from your target audience

Filming content you can leverage horizontally and vertically is tough, but it can be done. But it may not resonate the same way. Each platform is nuanced. Content that looks native to the platform feels more authentic. If you do not understand the platform culture, your content will look out of place.

Fender guitars are an excellent example of knowing what their audience will enjoy on each platform. Their video marketing on TikTok and Youtube, for example, are worlds apart; but it performs extremely well on each medium with videos racking up millions of views and likes.

Far too often, marketing leaders already have an idea of what content they want to film before the planning process has even started. They have a personal stake and want their idea to perform well.

Turn that process on its head. You need to start the process agnostically and be unbiased from the beginning.

Spending time on each one of these platforms is important. But your perspective is not enough. Your viewpoint is biased and skewed to your demographics. Look within your network and speak with different generational demographics to understand their point of view. I might, for example, have a 20-minute conversation with a 12-year-old about why they watch certain things on YouTube, what video length appeals to them, or what catches their attention.

Perhaps the most interesting case is Generation Alpha who are 12 years or younger. If you expect to be targeting this audience within the next five years, the time to start learning their habits across platforms is now. The way this generation will engage with video content will once again be unique.

Consider your audience and which demographic(s) you are targeting. How do they behave across different channels? If you have these individuals within your network, build a focus group and take the learnings back to your research. You’ll find you’re noticing quirks and nuances you’d missed before.

Be selective with your choice of channel

Creating content for each channel is tough. However, you don’t necessarily need to go “all out” with a bunch of video content on each channel. Instead, look at your strategy and your target audience or customers.

Where do they sit? If your audience is Gen Z, naturally TikTok is a suitable place to be, as 60% of all people on TikTok are from this generation. What is your data saying? It’s important to recognize which channels are appropriate and authentic for you to appear on.

@fender You can’t go wrong with Taos Turquoise! What other colors do you want from the #FenderCustomShop? #Satisfying #OddlySatisfying #Fender #FenderGuitars ♬ original sound – Fender

People panic and think they must customize video content for five or six different platforms (and add in an e-commerce site for good measure) without stopping to question whether it’s strictly necessary. Throwing the net out wide and hoping to catch is not going to yield the best ROI.

It will also guide what you are filming. For example, if you were filming a 15-second video for Instagram, your fonts and your graphics will play a very large role. The video marketing that you include might end up only being the background. It might only involve a quick product shot with a text overlay. You may not have to film as much as you think.

Having a clear picture of what you are filming (and why) will help you ensure the streaming process is far more streamlined. It is immensely easier to focus on filming one piece of 15-second content than editing 15 minutes of footage down to 15 seconds.

Have a strategy when planning to capture different aspect ratios

It can be cost-prohibitive to create a custom piece of content for each channel, but marketers should be thinking that way when they begin to ideate.

Aspect Ratios for Video MarketingWith a solid plan, you can outline your content productions and capture the platform’s native aspect ratio. It’s worth noting, that if you’re going to film in only one aspect ratio and change it afterward, always start with 16:9 and crop to 9:16. You can’t do the other way around.

Plan and think about what platforms you will be using, and what aspect ratios you will need to capture your content.

This is also one of the crucial factors in defining how long your content may last. Typically, videos with a 16:9 aspect ratio will last longer than 9:16. Think about how long you need to deliver your message to your audience.

Use video marketing best-practice guidelines

Each platform has its own set of rules, regulations, and practices that define how a given piece of content with performing according to the platform’s algorithm. Ensure you look at best-practice guidelines for each channel, especially if you’re putting paid dollars behind your video campaigns.

Following on from the example above, when filming a short 15-second video for Instagram that includes a text overlay, it’s important to be aware of rules that limit the text you can have on one frame, specifically how large it can be and how much it covers up the video in the background. You could be making impressive content that Instagram won’t even push to your audience’s feed because it violates their rules.

This might seem like common sense, but when was the last time you revisited the best practices? These platforms are constantly evolving.

Facebook recently rebuilt its feed to add more looping videos. Back in 2020, YouTube announced ‘Shorts’ in a bid to bring greater short-form content to their platform. TikTok updated its video length from 15 seconds to one minute in 2017, and from one minute to three minutes in 2021.

With each feature release and update, the best practices for these platforms will change. Marketers should constantly be educating and re-educating themselves on best practices. Each platform will release and update its guides. Don’t be too proud to revisit them!

But don’t just stop there. There are many fantastic resources available online that might cover something you’ve missed in a 50-page dossier that inherently nudges you towards increasing your spending on paid.

Futureproofing for video marketing evolution

It’s good to get into the weeds and understand the video marketing process and the platforms that they live on, but you’ll also recognize that they do have similarities that you can exploit.

It’s also worth noting the importance of supplementing your video strategy with other mediums. Think about the journey you are building for your target customer. The video could be part of a broader email campaign before ending up on YouTube, for example. As we look to embrace omnichannel, consider that video is just one part of the vast range of customer touchpoints. They are not necessarily standalone but part of a bigger picture.

With the emergence of AR, VR, and metaverse activations, building agility into your plan is a vital step to preparing for these changes. The future for the metaverse is ill-defined. Being adaptable is a necessity. These tips can help you create content plans and develop talent that is responsive to the evolution of existing platforms and the emergence of new ones.

Mark Pontrelli is the Director of Creative Content for The Wella Company in North America. From NBC to P&G and now Wella, Mark has over 20 years of production experience.

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