Five uncomfortable truths about video you may not want to hear

I’ve never been one for fluffy marketing speak. I like to talk straight about how I see things without any of the faff, and thought you’d like to hear some things that most video marketing bods won’t tell you.

The audience is not on your side (yet)

Video is a medium that naturally brings out a lot of engagement. With that, however, is usually a healthy serving of scorn too. Here’s something I find REALLY fascinating about video audience behaviour; I’ve noticed that if a viewer has any grievance with a brand, they are more likely to air that on a piece of video content than an image or text post. It’s something about the connection that video makes that brings out both the best in people, but also the worst. The thing that surprises me most is how optimistic many brands are about how the audience will react to content. It’s my job to plan for this when working with clients and make content that will not only engage positively with the majority but not exacerbate any pre-existing negative brand responses.


If anyone says they’re a video marketing expert, they’re not

I’m very proud to say I’m not an expert. Why? Because it’s impossible. The landscape of video is changing so rapidly each day. How could you know it all? The way I see it is that making great video requires a constant open-ness to refining and re-learning. I like to think I know a fair bit, but I think a mind-set of discovery, experimentation and refinement is more important for my clients than shouting from the hills about how much I know.


Targets and metrics can kill a great experience

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Having objectives is great, but brand teams should try to focus not just on conversion, but how content marketing can entertain, inspire or educate. Not every video needs to convert. Not every bit of content requires a click to go with it. Sometimes video is just about creating an experience and leaving it at that. A fancy restaurant may put beautiful artwork on the walls, but do they focus on how many dessert orders each picture converted? The artwork helped build the overall ambience and experience, but it doesn’t need to be measured critically in the conversion of the product. Video is the way we create a meaningful connection with an audience, and sometimes it’s worth doing just that and nothing more.


You can’t please everyone, so don’t

The amount of strategic squeezing that goes into a video campaign in an effort to please everyone sometimes results in a safe, sanitised experience. If you listened to the average video marketing expert, they might advise you that the “perfect” video has specific characteristics to achieve MAXIMUM reach. They may say it must be mute-friendly, in a square format, with baked-in subtitles and a clickable call-to-action. But in reality, each brand’s audience is different and I like to lead my clients towards a good balance of reach and experience that is right for them, and their viewers.


Beware of the bandwagons

Video equipment and software has never been more affordable. Gone are the days that edit suites used to take up an entire room. This is wonderful for enabling brands to make their own authentic content in-house. However, it also means there are a few new members of the world of filmmaking masquerading as experienced professionals. Beware of the agencies that say they do web design, SEO, digital marketing…and video. Web design companies that suddenly offer video should be approached with caution. It saddens me to see a brand’s investment being diverted into agencies where video is a recent trendy and in-experienced afterthought, rather than a lifelong love of the craft.

Neil Rostance
Posted by Neil Rostance
Partner & Creative Director
Neil is Creative Director of Fat Free, passionate about leading clients towards meaningful moments through video. Neil's specialisms are in concept development, content strategy and creative direction at Fat Free.
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