Video is King – When Done Right: The Rules for Using Video in Marketing

In 2016, video accounted for 73% of web traffic.

By 2021, that number is expected to grow to 82%.

These numbers from Cisco's recently published white paper are bananas. We all knew video was important, but 82% of all web traffic? If that doesn't get your head spinning, maybe we should try a more relevant medium given the topic of this blog:


That accent is nice, right?

Ok, so video is important. Got it. Let's talk about how to make it good.

using video in marketing

The Rules for Using Video in Marketing 

Anyone can shoot a video and upload it. They might even show some excellent videography. But the true power of video for businesses (like a big boost in marketing ROI) isn't unlocked until you expand the way you think about the entire process.

These concepts separate those who "do video" and those who use video to drive major growth:

  • Always measure
  • Use video through the entire buyer's journey
  • Think beyond the player
  • Personalize it
  • Give viewers ways to engage
  • Go live
  • Expand your reach – expand your ROI
Always measure your video 

Getting this right starts before you even turn on the camera. Set your goals for the video and then pick specific metrics that let you measure your progress. Maybe you want to reach new audiences, maybe you're using video to drive traffic to your site, maybe you're advanced enough to use your video for bottom of the funnel objectives like driving sales – whatever it is, get that straight first, then find the right metric. 

Popular video metrics:

Views – How many times did people hit play?
Engagement – What percentage of your video did people watch?
Social Sharing – Did people like it enough to share? How many new audiences did you reach?

Here's a larger list of video metrics.

The actual mechanics of how you get that info will depend on your video platform. YouTube, Wistia, Facebook... they all have different analytics. Whichever platform you use, there will be plenty of blogs with tips on how to measure your video's success. Find them and read up. 

Use video through the entire buyer's journey

Video is a great tool at each step in the buyer's journey. But what makes a video successful in the awareness stage is different than what makes a good video in the consideration stage. Same with videos made for users who are trying to make a purchase decision. 

using video in marketingVia HubSpot

We don't have time to break down the best practices for video in each stage, but luckily HubSpot has already done that.  Here's a free guide to creating video for each stage of the buyer's journey.

Is it really worth your time to learn all this?

Take it from Carren Cioffi, the EVP of Brightcove. Carren gave a great presentation at INBOUND 2017 that included this example of what one of her clients saw after launching video for each stage of the buyer's journey:

using video in marketing 

Need some help coming up with a plan before you commit to video? Let's talk.

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Think beyond the player to create experiences

Evergreen advice: put yourself in your customer's shoes. That counts for when you're designing your product, building your website, and when you're making a video.

What's on the page around the video? Do you have pop-ups that will ruin the experience? If your video asks them to do something, is there a link nearby (or, better yet, on the video itself) that lets them take that action? Where does this video fall in the customer's journey – where did they come from – where are they going?

There are more issues than just want's on the player window that determines a video's success. Thinking through them all will help you improve your user's viewing experience which should improve just about every metric listed above. Learn more in our post, 5 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Video.

Make it personal

Good email speaks to one segment of your users – good video does the same. Trying to be everything to everyone drastically lowers your video's effectiveness.

Making video personal starts with knowing the audience. You need personas for many reasons. This is one more. Your video will never be personal if you don't know the person (their pain points, needs, how they interact with your brand...) you're making the video for.

Your video will also feel more personal if it reflects where the viewer is in their buyer's journey. If they're just learning about a problem and aren't seriously looking for help picking a solution, your video should reflect this. If they've done lots of research and are looking for info on which solution will best help them solve their problem, your video should speak to that.

Another example from Carren's INBOUND 2017 presentation:

using video in marketing

Give viewers ways to engage

This one is a little more advanced, but the results make it worthwhile.

Videos that give users ways to engage drive huge increases in sales. CTAs, lead forms, chapter menus, quizzes, resource links, survey, and polls are excellent features to add to your video toolbox. 


Giving viewers a call to action link right in the video makes it super easy to turn desire into action.

Lead Forms

Require users to submit their video to start watching or suggest they sign up for updates at the end. Either way, using your videos to generate leads is good business. 

Chapter Menus 

Great for longer videos, especially when you can capture data on what viewers clicked and use that info to hone your marketing further down the funnel.

Resource Links 

Give the user more ways to stay engaged and, guess what, they'll probably stay engaged longer. For instance, if this blog were a video, we might include links in the description to helpful, related content, like 12 Storytelling Tips to Master Your Video Marketing.  


Surveys are great ways to get feedback after someone has made a purchase. This info can help you turn customers into brand advocates. (Same with polls.)

Take it live

Live streamed events have 3x the engagement as on-demand video and are ridiculously easy to turn into video content.

You do need to consider the pre-event stream and post-event stream, though.

Is your screen black while people wait for the event to start? Consider going live leading up to the main event to give those arriving early something to watch and drive a little excitement. And once the event is over, don't just cut the feed and leave if you still have an audience. Switch the feed over to other brand videos – preferably something relevant to the audience that has tuned in. You can also just give a live recap of the event where you reiterate the next steps for the viewer.

Expand your reach. Expand your ROI. 

Don't sleep on the importance of social media in your video strategy. If you need to drive awareness or site traffic, you need to be creating videos specifically for social sharability. 

What makes content shareable is a big conversation, but learning Buzzfeed's viral video methodology would be a great place to start. Remember this building your brand with video: People share things that are exceptionally funny or educational. If your video is just your sales pitch, it's not getting shared. 

Create videos for social that drive viewers back to your site. According to Carren, 53% of people who viewed videos on social end up becoming customers. 

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