13 May 2019
Choosing a Video Type

Which video?

The term ‘video’ has loosely come to mean any video type from high-end movies to user generated Snapchat selfies. That being the case, video is pretty much continuously uploaded and consumed on the internet.

According to a 2019 report, 300 hours of video upload to YouTube every minute. And – apparently – people watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos a day!

Safe to say the video ecosystem is a hustling, bustling, content-rich amalgam. Any and every conceivable style, genre, length, subject matter. All contained within an ever-expanding distribution platform to which over half the world has access.

Video is not going away

At all times, this massive soup of moving images morphs and reconfigures. It makes me wonder how businesses can succeed in publishing their own paid-for video content in this environment.

Then I remember the flipside of not competing for eyeballs on the internet. And in particular ignoring video. To bypass a vital local and global channel to potential consumers.

Your business likely has ambitions to sell products and services. You need to leverage the access the internet gives to an audience. Whether they’re looking for advice, entertainment and information.

Without labouring the point; video is a must in this environment.  Video first is becoming a mantra and with reason. It’s the pre-eminent medium on mobile, where more and more purchasing decisions happen.

Chose the video type that works for you

You may have made the decision to use video in your marketing strategy. But how to choose what sort of video will maximise your impact in the channels you need to operate in?

Even realising that there are different sorts of marketing video to select from is a good start.

The truth is video formats are richly varied. Finding the output that will suit your campaign (and your pocket) requires research.

The time-restrained 30-second spot on terrestrial TV has become old news. But the old video advert format has spawned a progeny of styles on the internet. From the classic promotional, to the functional demonstration, to the influencer vlog.

So what are the distinctions between these types of video and are they important?

Video type is important and will depends on two things. 1) what you are selling and 2) who you are selling to. These facts will also govern where you output the content. And whether it will work in the channels on which you need show it. For instance, a 20 second Twitter video won’t work as a conference presentation video.

Add to this the fact that video is creatively challenging. With its layering of many components (visual, audio, graphic, narrative). And it becomes a clear that expert guidance can be indispensable.

Functional vs. promotional

So what type of video will you choose for your marketing?

A quick rule of thumb is to divvy online marketing video into a binary of functional and promotional. Functional videos include demonstrations, how-to’s, presentations and information rich content. Whereas promotional videos are conceptual narratives. They differentiate a brand in viral, influencer and advert formats.

Both types can be effective and often converge in their marketing uses. But generally functional videos exist as part of a series. Whereas a single promotional video can be a content leader across different channels. Take Ford’s high-end commercial vehicle campaign, for example. It featured channel specific re-versions of a single promotional film for the internet and TV.

In any case, prepare to spend time scoping out what exactly you want to show in your video. Whether functional or promotional.

If you are a vet you might want a series of videos showing how to perform simple health checks on your pet (functional). Whereas a pet food company might want to showcase the benefits of its product to animals and their owners (promotional).

Functional videos have the advantage of promoting a brand under the guise of giving out free expert advice. Promotional videos can create engagement and traction and often have longevity as a marketing device.

If you want to succeed with marketing video, work out what type will work best for your audience to maximise the return on investment.

By Nicky Robertson, Director