As I wrote in last month’s column, video offers enormous opportunity for local SMBs to market online more effectively. Admittedly, some folks differ with that point of view. For example, one commenter wrote that “although the technology exists for businesses to deploy video online, SMBs can’t compete with big brands on creative work.” This person argued that it will take more than lowering the barrier-to-entry cost of video for SMBs to compete with bigger brands.
I beg to differ. Why? From what we have seen, successful online video advertising involves more than glitzy, expensively-produced commercials. Successful video ads offer relevant, informative, and authentic content about a brand, product, and service: In short, the type of content that search engines love. Also, SMBs have the mobility, which larger competitors may lack, to optimize and adjust their videos for greater relevance, ultimately making them even better for search engines.
That’s an example why online video advertising gives SMBs the chance to compete with big brands; and the lower entry costs should give SMBs the confidence to try different video creatives to see what works and what doesn’t. Combine this with the discipline to make video ads that are truly relevant to a designated product, service, or topic, and the odds of the ads being picked up by search engines go up significantly.
We have been working with a number of local SMBs to define the most effective deployment of videos online, including search engine deployment.
One of those SMBs is a luxury real estate broker in Canada. This broker is one of the top real estate professionals in North America, with more than 100 listings and awards that mirror her achievements and reputation. In an example like this that involves video search, relevance is so important, especially as it relates to keyword selection. We recently launched a VideoAd keyword search campaign on Google for this real estate broker and our initial findings show that certain words and phrases that relate to the broker’s specific area of focus are driving more clicks. We’re also testing key phrases in the ad copy and finding that including the lines “See video” or “Meet me” pull much more favorably, implying that viewers are seeking out video.
By testing different creative executions (that is, a profile video of the agent against a property video), we’re also seeing a 15 percentage point lift in “more information” clicks from the property video.
Context and relevance matter regardless of where VideoAds are placed. Some of the dozen or so VideoAds on the same client’s site have achieved view–to-impression rates of more than 70%. In excess of 50% of viewers watched VideoAds of more than 4 minutes in length all the way through.
Granted, these VideoAds were on the client’s web site. The main driver of the VideoAds’ success, however, was highly focused and contextually relevant content for the topic, product, or service for which the viewers were searching, either on to the client’s site directly or discovering the site through search engines.
In summary, we’re finding that when VideoAds are presented in a relevant context, such as search results, people not only click on the VideoAd but also frequently interact with it either by watching it all the way through or clicking for more information or an email inquiry. For small businesses, this again underscores the importance of striving for relevance, as without relevance you can have the greatest video in the world, but the search engines simply will not care.
These VideoAds were not particularly expensive. In the case of the real estate, the video was produced for under well under $1000. In others, they were high-quality property photos stitched together into a video slideshow with music and captions.
Economics like this do indeed level the playing field, provided there’s a parallel commitment to relevance. If SMBs can combine this low cost-to-entry with the discipline to create videos that are topically focused and relevant to search engines, they have a great opportunity to succeed. In coming months, I will provide some tactical advice, based on feedback from the frontline that we are receiving and evaluating every day.
Glenn Pingul is VP of marketing for Mixpo, an online video advertising company dedicated to small- and medium-sized businesses. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.