Before Shooting for Video Marketing Success, Learn to Hit a Moving (i.e., Mobile) Target

Originally published on CommPRO, September 29, 2015

CommProbizFrom D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation to the recent Mad Max reboot, the chase scene always has been a staple of movies. Part of what makes the chase so exciting, of course, is that heroes and villains spend much of the chase jumping from horse or vehicle to horse or vehicle – or sometimes both. The understood difficulty of hitting a moving target at high speed creates tension and thrills that really get your heart pumping.

While perhaps not as exciting to watch, the ability to hit a moving target while operating at high speed now has become critical to another group – Internet marketers. A recent infographic – “2015: The Year of Video Marketing” – tells this tale. An international software firm compiled some stunning statistics about the growing impact of video as a digital marketing asset. For example:

  • Experts believe that video will take up 57% of consumer internet traffic in 2015, which nearly is 4x as much as web browsing and email;
  • 65% of video viewers watch more than 3/4s of a video;
  • And, here’s the most striking stat, online video already accounts for half of all mobile traffic.

Talk about jumping from horse to vehicle in short order. Midway through 2015 came a report from eMarketer. According to BIA/Kelsey data, mobile search will overtake desktop search in 2015. Not just by a little either. They expect to see 81.8 billion U.S. local searches conducted via mobile devices this year, an increase of 23%, while desktop searches drop slightly to 64.6 billion. Those trends are expected to continue, with mobile search reaching 141.9 billion searches by 2019.

Why the incredible increase? The ubiquity of mobile devices is one big reason. Research firm IDC says mobile device sales in the U.S. will decline one percent this year. But the reason isn’t that we’ve lost interest in mobile. It’s that we’ve reached the saturation point. Mobile devices are so popular that everyone who is going to own one probably does, and they’re hanging on to the ones they have longer than they once did.

Another driving factor is the growth of the Millennial generation. There are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers (87 million v 76 million) – the first time the Boomers have been out-paced by any generation since they were born. Millennials have never known a world without readily available mobile devices, and they continue to rely on these devices as their method of choice for communication and connection.

So, like a movie chase, one megatrend in digital marketing is chasing another, grabbing one market driver after another to carry them at breakneck speed into the future. A whole bunch of Boomers and Millennials buy cell phones and then – no surprise – mobile search rockets to the head of the pack. And then, all those cell-carrying consumers start streaming video to all those screens in the palms of their hands, and – hold on tight – video starts zipping by one online marketing technique after another, drawing neck and neck with mobile.

But before marketers start laying bets on video to win it all, they need to review the facts presented in this article and understand that, in this movie analogy, mobile and video are not rivals but allies. And mobile is the teammate that will beat back all comers.

If marketers have, to date, paid little or no attention to their customers’ mobile experience or developing mobile-search strategies must re-think their mindset. And quickly.

The user experience is critical, especially given the lack of patience the Internet has created. When users go to a site, whether it’s via a desktop or mobile device, they expect it to work quickly and seamlessly – with or without video. If the site doesn’t, they’re only a back button away from checking out a competitor. And once they hit that back button – whether because a site isn’t loading fast enough, or isn’t readable on their mobile device – you don’t just lose that sale. It could have a significant effect on the lifetime value of that customer or prospect.

Think of what that does to your investment in paid search. You spend many months and dollars developing ads – maybe animating some as video clips — researching keywords, testing and analyzing to determine what will be most effective in driving customers to your website. Then when customers arrive, what they find immediately drives them away. That’s like spending millions of marketing dollars to draw viewers to an action flick and then when the audience arrives the focus is blurry, the sound is garbled and the scenes are edited in reverse order. Few would sit through five minutes, let alone 90 or 120 of them. All that marketing investment would be lost.

So, how do you know if your online experience is welcoming visitors or driving them away? One good way is to use your analytics package to get into the details of user behavior online. By analyzing every step in the buyer’s journey you can determine not only how many visitors your search campaign is drawing, but also what they’re doing when they get there.

A high bounce rate, for example tells you people are coming to the site but they’re not clicking through it. That could be because your campaign isn’t drawing the right people, or because the right people are having a poor customer experience. A little investigation should help you determine which one is the actual cause.

Now here’s the big question: With all of this happening, what do smart marketers need to do to ensure they’re hitting those 81 billion mobile targets?

The good news is, much of it is the same. You still need to create ad groups and keywords. Those really don’t change between desktop and mobile, so the work you’ve already done can still pay off. As mentioned previously, the analytics are largely the same as well.

You may, however, need to make other adjustments. For example, ad extensions for mobile may need to change from “click for more information” to “click to call.” Using a mobile device’s ability to place a call can have a huge impact on moving prospects through the funnel and improving your conversion rates. And if you do use video, you’ll need your call to action as early as possible in the content rather than running as a close.

You also may need to change your bid strategy. Getting the #4 position on a desktop might work. On a mobile device it won’t be enough. If you can, you may want to change your bid modifiers so you’re showing up in the top three instead.

In addition, you may need to change your web development strategy. Even if your site is optimized for mobile using responsive design, it may not be delivering the desired experience. Again, check the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your analytics to ensure your mobile site is delivering the appropriate experience.

One final word of note: these principles apply to B2B advertisers just as much as B2C. Don’t assume a B2B buyer will be office- or PC-bound. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement has created a tectonic shift in the workplace, and many B2B searches now begin on a mobile device – even if they are ultimately fulfilled on a desktop. A poor mobile experience means they’ll never get to that desktop.

Hitting a moving target is far more difficult than one that’s standing still. But it’s not impossible. Use what you’ve learned already, make the proper adjustments, and you’ll find yourself leading the pack in our increasingly mobile, vid-friendly marketing chase.

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