Video has become a crucial element of digital marketing and SEO. 2016 emphasised this with its influence spreading to mobile and thriving, and with its rise as a trendsetting medium set to continue into the foreseeable future, you may be wondering how you can best implement video into your marketing strategy.
Here’s a look at where it is today, what can be expected from 2017, and how to ensure you are optimising video effectively for best results.
The time that consumers spend watching online video is always on the rise and its power as a social influencer cannot be understated. YouTube has reported that almost a third of all internet users watch videos through its platform, soaking up millions of hours each day. As for onsite placement, figures show that video gets results. The placement of video on landing pages can increase conversion by a whopping 80%, with 88% of visitors staying on a site longer when it showcases appropriate video. What's more, having a video on a landing page makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of the SERPs.
While onsite video is a great way to boost sales for retailers, when it comes to optimisation, consideration should be given to where these videos are being hosted. By using platforms such as Wistia, Brightcove, and Ooyala to host your videos onsite, (instead of hosting externally on YouTube and Vimeo and then embedding links on landing pages), you can ensure that your web page and domain will rank instead of the external YouTube or Vimeo URL. Hosting in this way will give you access to better performance insights, as well as the option to customise the appearance of your video player so that it appears on-brand.
Having a video on a landing page makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of the SERPs.
There is still a place for externally-hosted video, especially YouTube where videos rank above all other platforms due to Google’s ownership and preference. Strategise your video placement so that teaser content is used on YouTube and Vimeo, to both provide a brand presence and drive traffic to your website. Visitors will click through in order to view the primary content and subsequently boost SEO. As always, remember to implement keyphrases throughout video titles and descriptions.
Videos hosted on YouTube have a range of additional features that can be employed to make your videos that much more engaging. One of the most useful features are "Annotations" - small blocks of copy overlaid on your video. An annotation can be set to appear at a certain time and then disappear, with the additional functionality to link to other sites. As a result, you could link from YouTube to specific products or content on your website, as and when they are mentioned in the video. EDIT 17/03/2017: YouTube have today announced that they will be discontinuing annotation support in May. Annotations are only supported by desktop, which has seen a rapid decline in use, in line with the rise of mobile viewing. End Screens and Cards are increasingly replacing this feature.
Once your video is live, you should create an XML video sitemap and submit it to Google’s webmaster tools. Creating an XML sitemap will help ensure that Google is made aware of your video content sooner rather than later.
You can further help search engines understand the content of your video through implementing structured data; a type of markup that can be used for online elements. Here is an example:
This markup provides search engines with additional data attributes that they can display in search results, such as thumbnails and descriptions. Custom thumbnails increase the visibility of videos in search results and boost CTR. While Google has reduced the number of these thumbnails appearing in searches, they are still recommended. Custom thumbnails should also be used for YouTube videos as they are reported to increase the rate of plays by 35%.
Live video and social media amplification
A key development in online video over recent years has been the popularity of live streaming. Launching with apps such as Periscope and Meerkat, live video has quickly spread to become a ubiquitous feature of social media platforms. Brands and consumers alike have embraced communication through the likes of Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
This in-the-moment aspect of live video creates a sense of raw uniqueness that is exciting for consumers, and turns videos into an event, even if they are ad-hoc and not thoroughly planned. Perfect for storytelling, live video also gives your audience the chance to interact with your business and get a taste for the personality and face of the brand.
While spur-of-the-moment broadcasts can be effective, you can also maximise the success of your live video through pre-show promotion. Letting your audience know beforehand is an effective way to create hype and ensure that people will be around to see it. Sponsored Facebook posts and tweets are a good way to spread the word and encourage cross-platform migration. Try experimenting with broadcasting brand events and Q&A sessions to see which format best engages your followers.
The future of video
Video content and frameworks for playback are expected to become more bespoke to the brands communicating through them, which ties into the continued consumer demand for personalised content online. Producing in this way reinforces the previously discussed benefits of self-hosting, giving brands access to more features than YouTube, and enabling them to stand out more from competition.
Retailers are expected to implement a wider range of video elements at the point-of-sale on their websites. This could see short and possibly interactive videos aimed at engaging visitors and boosting conversion rates. For example, fashion outlets are beginning to use clips of models wearing products rather than just still imagery.
Paid video as a medium is becoming more accessible across social media platforms, with it now being possible to run targeted video campaigns across everything from Facebook to Pinterest. Video is also going to strengthen its position within the mobile platform. There had been doubts about whether 'vertical video’ would be able to engage viewers, but the popularity of video on Snapchat and Instagram has proven that it can thrive across all formats and platforms.
There’s a lot going on in the world of video marketing and it's set to continue rocking the world of SEO. If you need help optimising your video content or any aspect of SEO, get in touch - we can help!
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