Top 6 Video Marketing Trends in 2021 For Small Businesses
In the case of marketers who are not using videos currently, about 69% of them are planning to start in 2021. All of this data is a clear indication of the growing importance of video content for marketing a brand effectively. As more and more brands use videos in marketing campaigns, it will become difficult to stand out in the market.
The only way a business/brand can stand out in the market among the plethora of other videos is to keep up with the latest trends. Adopting the latest video marketing trends will ensure that all the time, money, and effort is invested in the right direction.
GoodFirms interviewed 162 marketing executives to find out the latest video marketing trends that should be followed in 2021.
What Type of Marketing Videos Can Give the Best Returns?
Today, powerful videos are the best way to stand out from the crowd. Every marketer is aware of the importance of using videos in their marketing campaigns. But different types of videos serve different purposes and should be used accordingly. Also, brands need to create videos keeping in mind their target audience and the ultimate goal of their marketing campaign.
For instance, demo or how-to videos are believed to generate the most ROI for small and medium businesses. Brands should use such videos when they want their audience to take some action. Second in line is the branded videos which include ads, customer testimonials, reviews, etc. These types of videos not only help build brand awareness among the audience but also helps them in decision-making.
Similarly, educational or explainer videos can help brands to pique the interest of potential customers in their products/services. Taking into consideration the different purposes of videos, brands should use them accordingly for different stages of the sales funnel.
Videos Vs Written Content: What Gives Better ROI?
People have accepted videos as a popular way of delivering as well as consuming information. The traditional means of portraying content will always remain important but delivering the same in a video format can have a better impact. Additionally, visuals in a video work wonders to get the message across to the audience. Hence, if the traditional forms of content are also converted into the video format and released to the audience there are better chances of them connecting with the brand and taking relevant action too.
For Case Studies, Videos Bring the Best Results
The primary reasons for case studies to be effective are that they allow the existing clients to tell their stories. Video case studies enhance this storytelling process. After all, personal recommendations from an impartial third party will always be more convincing than a brand posting its own praises. Moreover, case studies also act as social proof.
As people quickly connect with stories in case studies, 57.3% of surveyed respondents agree with the relevance of case study videos. There are other reasons for case studies to be effective too which are as follows:
The best thing about case studies is that they are niche-specific. There are hardly any case studies that have a general tone. Case studies will be precisely about the goal related to the brand’s offering and so there is little risk in it missing the mark. A properly created case study will meet the target audience where they are.
The brand is positioned as authoritative
There are very few things that people will trust more than statistics and facts. As case studies are prepared on the basis of researched conclusions, publishing such case studies will help a brand in being perceived as an authoritative figure in the industry niche. Regular publication of such case studies will enable businesses to quickly establish a reputed position in the market.
Explain how a problem is solved
Case studies are meant to discuss problems and offer solutions. A product page will only highlight the problem that a product/service will resolve in brief. But a case study will back it up with facts or statistics. Some customers will buy the product/service after looking at the details on the product page. But most of them will want to know the ‘why’ behind it. Case studies help brands/businesses present exactly that.
Which is the Right Platform for Marketing Videos?
There is no denying that certain platforms are more suitable for an industry niche to promote video content. For a B2B product/service, own websites, emails, and events are the best platforms to promote its educational or branded videos. While a B2C company should promote on social media, YouTube, and its own website. These are the platforms where their relevant audiences are.
Email Is an Excellent Choice for Promoting Marketing Videos
In the case of the B2B industry, 73.2% of marketers are of the opinion that emails are the best platform to promote video content. Whereas, for the B2C industry, 74.4% of marketers voted emails as the right platform for promoting video content.
When emails are already being used by a substantial number of marketers to distribute their other types of content then video content would not be any different. Moreover, emails are also a reliable platform for nurturing and converting leads throughout the customer acquisition process.
As marketers continue to use emails for marketing, it is important to take into account the use of emails by Gen Z. As per a study, 58% of Gen Z check their emails multiple times during the day. So, it is only inevitable that brands with a younger target audience should use emails to promote their video content.
Last but not least important data is about the click-through rates of emails. If a brand includes video content in their emails then the click-through rates will improve by 65%. That is certainly a significant number and cannot be ignored, especially by small and medium businesses.
Thus, it can be said that emails are definitely the best platform for promoting video content.
Top 6 Video Marketing Trends in 2021 for Small Businesses
Videos have proven to be a powerful tool to capture the attention of the audiences. But there are reasons for the video marketing trends that have emerged in 2021. People are wanting to see more authentic content because they are bored with airbrushed and professionally created videos. Also, user-generated content continues to gain traction as people prefer seeing other people just like them using a product/service rather than some larger-than-life superstar.
1. Casually Created, Authentic Videos Gain More Trust
Unfiltered conversations are on a rise in 2021. It simply means that the veil between brands and their customers has become thinner. Brands have to give customers insights into their core values. Marketing now places emphasis on creating a sense of belonging among the customers rather than just sales pitches.
There is a reason for the increasing need for authenticity in marketing. Artur, an Assistant to CBDO, at Code Inspiration, explains, “The situation is that users are tired of the advertising flood they face every day, which describes features of this or that product or service and aggressively encourages buying. Users expect videos that describe products, services, and small business "as is", without any embellishment. More and more users would like to see people behind products and services.”
To address this growing trend, Artur suggests small business representatives “should spend some efforts on recording videos. It might be a short video of a CEO with a word of salutation, sharing a company's mission or describing value the company is able to deliver to customers, videos where managers can introduce themselves and tell what questions customers can contact them with, etc. To do this, no professional equipment is required - smartphone camera recording in Full HD is enough. Actually, many users like such a "default", transparent video format showing everything as is, instead of expensive video with excessive post-processing, color correction, effects, etc.”
There is no denying that videos are a powerful tool. If used correctly, they can help a brand to tell authentic stories. Brands can use videos to create awareness and build, trust and transparency among the community.
Kerri Feazell, the CEO of Concurrent Productions states what needs to be done to form a bond with the audience. Kerri says, “You're not in the game if your video doesn’t answer the question “Can I trust you?” As brands are held to greater accountability and transparency, brand leaders need to be proactive about communicating a thoughtful and authentic message in every touch, especially in video. You must humanize your brand and make a real connection.”
The overflow of online advertisements is one reason for customers to have trouble trusting a brand. They don’t know when they may end up watching just a commercially created advertisement. To some extent, influencers are a part of this problem too.
Founder & CEO of WebFindYou, Robert Blankenship, discusses, “Have you ever followed a Youtube or Instagram influencer because they initially provided content you could learn from, but then their following starts to grow and they suddenly shift to doing more sponsored posts about products they are being paid to advertise? Of course, this is part of an influencer's job and how they make a living. However, even with the disclaimer, "I only work with brands that I believe in and truly love," it's hard to tell whether a product being promoted by an influencer is actually a good product worth checking out or if there is a paycheck behind the admiration. We need more transparency in video marketing, and in such a competitive online landscape, being authentic and transparent will rule in 2021. We go to YouTube or, in some cases, even Instagram to learn and expand our knowledge. The last thing we want is to be deceived by a misleading video trying to hook, line, and sinker us.”
Brands who truly want to grow a sense of belonging should use authentic videos in the following ways:
- Video in email
- Video landing pages
- Video/GIFs for personalized social replies
- Product videos for eCommerce
2. Short Format Videos Are More Preferred, Better Engaged
The primary reason for this trend is obvious - the reduced attention span of people. Furthermore, this trend got a push with the rise of TikTok and the launch of Instagram Reels. And the Instagram Reels algorithm is all set to become more sophisticated. Other possibilities in the improvement of this feature include monetization opportunities for creators, the introduction of shoppable reels, and improved video editing capabilities.
Amber Reed-Johnson, a Content Marketing Assistant at Giraffe Social Media states the perfect reason for short-form videos being the right choice. She says, “Short-form video is easy-to-digest, engaging, and entertaining, making it a brilliant video marketing option for your business.”
Not to forget the role of TikTok here. It is not only one of the fastest growing social media platforms but also set to reach 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2021. Inspired by TikTok, other social media giants followed the lead.
Uscreen’s Head of Marketing, Tamara Ceman briefly mentions the contribution of all platforms in keeping the trend of short videos alive. “Small and medium companies need to get on board with this snappy new format that grabs attention and deviates pretty far from what we’d consider a typical marketing messaging. TikTok revived the glory of the short video with an unprecedented reach, and giants like YouTube are launching features to counter it. Edutaining short clips are here to stay.”
Short format videos are easy to hold on to the customer’s attention but they also make the work of social media managers and marketers a little easier.
The Owner of Tubefluence, Daniel James has rightly observed the ease of publishing on different platforms that comes with such type of content. In Daniel’s words, “This is due to the introduction of YouTube Shorts to the market. More small businesses are creating short-form videos and achieving success doing so, and business owners are starting to notice the trend. Along with this, short videos can also be published easily on other platforms, such as IGTV, which makes it much easier to repurpose and syndicate content.”
By now, it is quite clear that short-format videos are here to stay. But, what type of short videos can be posted to garner maximum engagement from the target audience?
The Head of Social Media, Content, & Branding at Giant Partners, Inc., Annika Lile, said, “The #1 video marketing trend for small businesses is creating short videos sharing quick tips in a numbered format. Almost every social platform has integrated some type of video sharing into their applications, shifting the way users consume information. However, users tend to look at how long a video is before deciding to watch it. Instagram reels are incredibly popular and limited to 30-sec content, while its primary competitor, TikTok, caps video content at 1 minute. However, we are observing that the current trends are leaning in favor of shorter videos. These are a few trends within content creation that engage your audience:
- Behind the Scenes (BTS): this could be a day in life, or just behind the scenes of packing an order.
- Lists + Recommendations: Making numbered lists of information is a great way to organize your points in a video as well as keep the audience member engaged.
- Trending Sounds: It is important to utilize trending sounds on Instagram and TikTok in order to boost your exposure in the algorithm.”
Vouching for short-format videos, Alina from CocoDoc gives a sneak peek into how their organization achieved success with the same. In her words, “One of our new marketing tenets is creating short, funny videos. We’ve done fifteen videos over the period. Within six months, we’ve seen a plus 100% increase in brand engagement on our platforms. Needless to say, we’ve also had an increase in conversion rates. Short Form videos have the ability to transform the way marketing is done.”
3. Live Video Streaming Is the New Normal
In 2021, an average US consumer is expected to have about 9.5 video streaming apps installed on their smartphones. If this is considered in the context that users on average have about 51 apps installed on their devices, then more than 10% of this number is of video streaming apps. From these numbers alone, there is no doubt that live streaming is one of the major video marketing trends of 2021.
Dave Nilsson from ConvertedClick brings up valid reasons, “It’s predicted that live streaming will attract nearly 91 million subscribers by 2024. Live streaming is highly popular because it facilitates real-time interaction and instills consumers with a sense that you’re authentic. This builds trust and opens a window of smooth communication with consumers. Moreover, it promises a better ROI. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are free and ideal for small businesses. It's important to understand that customers are becoming receptive and this makes live streaming an ideal way to sketch genuine conversations for real growth.” Dave is the Founder & Director.
As per GoodFirms research, 69.5% of surveyed marketers believe that live videos can garner the best ROI for small and medium businesses. Jon Morgan, the Founder & Executive Producer of Ryval Studios, gives reasons for the popularity of live videos and suggests some platforms that small businesses can use for the same.
“Small businesses that want to connect with consumers on-demand could greatly benefit from a live video strategy as that has some of the best organic reach on mobile platforms. I would credit the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge of live video chats/calls as a big reason why live video has increased in popularity. More specifically, small businesses can utilize platforms such as Facebook live, TikTok and even Linkedin is rolling out a live video feature as a way to reach consumers instantly. Because live video is becoming more available and also growing in its demand, these platforms are prioritizing live video content over other types of content as a way to meet demand and push consumers in a live-first direction,” said Jon.
Moreover, in 2021 there is already a surge in live videos combined with real-time shopping. Right now this feature is available only to a limited number of creators but soon it will be made available to more of them. Instagram has also hinted that real-time shopping feature with live video is not limited to just online businesses that sell physical products. Instead, they are working on ways to make it available for all types of businesses.
Other reasons to prefer live videos over pre-recorded content include:
- Live Chat. Viewers can type their questions and brand representatives can respond to them in real-time
- It is a far more personal and public-facing option
- On Facebook, Live videos get 6 times more interactions than the regular ones
- Live videos are quick to make as compared to pre-recorded videos
4. User-Generated Video Content Are More Related To
In general, user-generated content is playing a key role in marketing strategies. Video marketing is no different. In fact, as per 82.9% of surveyed marketers, branded videos that include customer testimonials and reviews can generate the best ROI for small and medium-sized businesses.
Another important piece of data to consider is from the report by Econsultancy in partnership with Bazaarvoice. The report states that a user who visits a website through UGC will spend twice as much time on the site.
Communication Director at Talk Big Limited, Peter Russell-Smith, accurately describes how UGC evolved and the “general adoption of User Generated Video (UGV) for Demand Generation and Sales Enablement. UGV in 2021 is a bit like Zoom in 2020- we started the year aware of it and using it occasionally and ended the year relying on it to drive our business. As we look back on 2021, the same will be said of UGV. UGV is of particular relevance to Small to Medium Businesses as it is free to get started using Chrome extensions like Soapbox and Vidyard. The difficulties associated with UGV are overcome with a well-structured, scripted, and rehearsed ‘message’ designed to optimize the 200 words that make the story and connect with the audience.”
After briefly stating the importance of user-generated content, Caroline mentioned how their brand is using it in their own marketing campaigns. “It will be used the most as prospects prefer hearing about your products/services from a third-party, to understand if your business is worth their time and investment or not. Yes, we have produced and used 5 very short testimonial videos and created one big video by combining them. We are using them separately as well collectively in our different pages and campaigns. We have added relevant testimonials to our different service pages. Prospects are actually viewing those videos. The pages with videos are doing far better than the pages with no video content in them,” said Caroline Lee, from CocoSign.
Greta Salvesen, a Digital Marketing Executive at Team RH Fitness also discusses the need for adopting user-generated content and its benefits but in more detail.
She said, “It’s time for brands to get on board with more user-generated content. It’s genuine and offers a signal of authenticity to viewers that your product/brand is being organically endorsed. In an increasingly digital world, it’s still the case that people like to buy from people, and there’s no better brand advocate than real-life customers! While there is certainly a requirement for high-quality, professional video in today's online space, there is also something quite endearing about the slightly more budget UGC that comes from genuine customers, without videography qualifications and a production team. It’s non-salesy and can help your brand cut through the noise.
There can be a real sense of community around a successful UGC campaign and when executed successfully it can significantly improve brand exposure and awareness. Plus, you and your customers can have some fun along the way too!”
The above-mentioned Econsultancy report also mentions that people who visit a website through a UGC video are 184% more likely to make a purchase and tend to spend 45% more.
Lauren Locke Paddon is the VP of Marketing at Vocal Video. She stated the process of their organization using user-generated content and the results it has generated. In Lauren’s words, “Customer testimonial videos: We regularly collect customer videos at various parts along the customer journey. Some of these are ad-hoc - we'll request videos when we get unsolicited feedback via email or social channels and some are built-in programmatically when customers hit specific important milestones with our product. Putting this social proof from real people using our product on our website tripled the conversion rate of our website visitors to free trials.”
Examples of some brands who tried user-generated content campaigns:
5. Explainer Videos Would Continue to Remain Popular
These are short online marketing videos that explain a company’s product or service. Usually, brands put explainer videos on the landing page, website’s home page, or on an important product page. About 80.5% of marketers think that explainer videos can bring the best ROI for small and medium businesses, as per GoodFirms research.
A Senior Marketing Executive at Chartman Marketing, Carla Hartman explains, “Gone are the long sales pitch videos. People want to learn something and learn it fast. By teaching the audience in bite-sized amounts, organizations can enhance their credibility and lead generation. We are getting more and more accustomed to consuming our information on social media platforms that restrict video length. Over the years this has also modified our attention spans. People don't want to be sold to, they want to learn something. Video marketing for business is most effective when text is accompanied because the video is continuing to be viewed more and more from mobile devices and sound is not always used,” said Carla.
Another category of the umbrella term, educational videos, is the how-to or demo videos. According to 84.1% of interviewed marketers, these types of videos have the capability to generate the best ROI for SMBs. While such videos existed even before the pandemic, the COVID 19 induced lockdown just made them a more popular option.
Ann Young from Fix The Photo precisely traced the reasons for the increasing viewership of such videos and how brands can leverage them. In her opinion, “So many people have been at home that they have started to get creative. People are by nature curious. There are plenty of online guides now to products, so it's only natural that how-to videos are taking the forefront in video marketing in 2021. Traditionally how-to videos are carried out by consumers. People who have used the product/service and want to share their experience and tips with others. What will be important is for companies to jump on this thought train and develop their own branded How-To/Demo Videos.”
While creating an explainer or demo/how-to videos, the brands need to carefully select a topic. Every and any topic of the video will not get the desired results. The Chief Marketing Officer of Better Proposals, Petra Odak, discusses this by giving an example of the kind of topics to choose. She says, “We’ve created a number of videos for our product in the last year or so and most of them have performed really well. The thing that helped was that the topics weren’t selected by random. We chose the most frequent questions our customers had about our product and used videos to guide the users and answer their questions.”
6. Animated Videos Are Back
32.9% of marketers believe that animated videos can help small businesses achieve the desired ROI. The concept of animated videos is not new. It has been around for decades. The only thing is that the trend of animated videos is picking up again in 2021. Already a lot of companies are using animated videos to promote their products, guide customers on how to use them, or for dozens of other corporate and marketing purposes.
The Stock Dork’s Marketing Analyst, Adam Garcia highlights the benefits of animated videos and the reason for this format to catch up in 2021. He said, “Animated videos have always been one of the most actionable video marketing techniques for effective marketing. It helps you show actions that are not possible otherwise. Animated allows brands to use creativity and form a unique brand image. Many brands use animated videos to explain how customers can use their products or services and benefit from them. Animated videos will now be a trend for marketing because of the limitation of physical gatherings that cause hindrance for physical video shoots. Small businesses can find animated videos to be very budget-friendly.”
There is no doubt that including animated videos in the overall video marketing strategy will reap immense benefits. However, using animated videos in certain ways can garner more attention than expected.
Keep in mind the following tips for using animated videos:
- Keep the videos short
- Be mindful of autoplay
- Make the audience feel good about themselves
- Use different types of videos on different platforms
The experience of Noah Vertefeuille of using explainer videos for their clients reinstates the suggestion of keeping animated videos short. He says, “We recently produced an animated explainer series for one of our clients that focused on specific problems/solutions for the core industries they work with. These videos were a minute and a half each and covered what most people in that industry faced and then how their software solved each of those problems. With a very modest budget, the videos were each viewed at least 5,000 times and generated 10-15 high-value leads. Additionally, these videos were used by the sales team in order to introduce new prospects to the industry expertise.” Noah is the CEO of Outside the Box Design.
8 out of 10 marketers think that videos have a positive impact on their sales. Keeping this in mind, it will be safe to say that small and medium-scale companies cannot afford to ignore them in their marketing efforts. A major trend in video marketing that is expected is an increase in authentic, and user-generated content.
Furthermore, taking into consideration the reduction in the attention span of people, short-form video content is all set to rule in 2021. Live streaming for real-time connection with the audience and explainer videos to make a product/service more understandable to the customers will be the other important video marketing trends to expect in 2021.
About The Video Marketing Trends Survey
GoodFirms surveyed 162 marketing executives to gain a better understanding of the video marketing trends for 2021.
We offer our sincere thanks to the Research Partners who provided their valuable contributions to the research.
A mix of senior-level executives and content professionals participated in the survey. These include CMO/Director of Marketing (25.6%), Founder (19.5%), CEO (18.3%), Content Creators (14.6%), and Others (22.0%).
The respondents belonged to various sizes of organizations - 17.1% of small businesses (1-49 employees), 53.7% of medium scale businesses (50-249 employees), and 29.3% of large businesses (250+ employees).
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