How valuable would it be to have an accurate forecast of where the digital video marketing business is headed in 2020? Well, among other things, an accurate forecast would help you:

  • Develop a business case for allocating more budget to video marketing.
  • Create a successful video marketing strategy.
  • Improve by experimenting with new initiatives.

So, where can you find the equivalent of Grays Sports Almanac for our industry and era? Well, the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast for 2015 to 2020 is a good place to start. Among other things, it predicts more than one billion new Internet users will join the global Internet community, growing from three billion in 2015 to an estimated 4.1 billion by 2020.

The Cisco VNI forecast also predicts that internet video will account for 79% of global Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 63% in 2015. It estimates the world will reach three trillion Internet video minutes per month by 2020, which is five million years of video per month, or about one million video minutes every second. And it estimates that HD and Ultra HD Internet video will make up 82% of Internet video traffic by 2020 – up from 53% in 2015.

The Cisco VNI forecast Internet also forecasts video will increase four-fold between 2015 and 2020. It predicts that video traffic will be 82% of consumer Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 68% in 2015. It forecasts business Internet video traffic will be 66% of business Internet traffic by 2020 – up from 44% in 2015. And it notes that virtual reality traffic quadrupled in the past year and estimates it will increase 61-fold by 2020. This report represents the culmination of months of data gathering, analysis, due diligence, and crosschecking with syndicated and direct data sources. But, I can hear some of you saying, “Okay, so now what do we do?” Well, as I indicated at the beginning of this column, having an accurate forecast of where the digital video marketing business is headed in 2020 can help you accomplish at least three things. I’ll explore the first one this week – and the next two in the coming weeks. Hopefully, this will provide you with a roadmap for getting from here to 2020 successfully.

The Case for Increasing Video Marketing Budgets  

Even if you have an accurate forecast of where the digital video marketing business is headed, and you’ve taken the time to learn about the top trends and insights for video marketing in 2017, this doesn’t mean that the members of the C-Suite in your organization will buy into your vision. Why? Well, it’s complicated. Let’s avoid the stereotypical assumption that they’re just dumber than the dinosaurs. Instead, let’s give them credit for being smart and experienced executives, who are probably Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). This means that when they were your age 20 years ago, the online world was very different.

As a Baby Boomer myself, I remember what the online world was like in January 1997. I was the director of corporate communications at Ziff-Davis and we had just launched The Site, hosted by Soledad O’Brien, with MSNBC. Back then, I had a Toshiba laptop with 166 MHz processor chip, 8 MB of RAM and possibly 1 GB of hard disk. I also had the privilege of using a company-paid dial-in modem at 14.4 kbps – 28.8 kbps. And I had an early-generation cell phone – that was more than 3 cm in thickness – so that I could be available for any urgent communications related to my business responsibilities.

Popular Internet applications were basically nonexistent. Almost every app I relied on was PC centric – the mystery of World Wide Web was still in very early years of being woven. There was no streaming media over the Internet – most of the apps were text driven and any rudimentary webpage animation represented an awe-striking contrast to the volumes of static content. Online gaming was limited to games downloaded to your PC. Voice was the main application over cell phones. Television was delivered over analogue signal and rabbit ears.

Netscape was the popular Internet browser. Internet service providers (ISPs) were moving from charging by the hour for Internet connectivity to flat monthly fees. Amazon.com had been launched as an online bookstore but e-books had still not appeared on the scene. Google had begun as a research project but the popular online video platform, You Tube, was almost a decade away.

So, even if some of your corporation’s top senior executives are venturesome, I suspect that more members of the C-Suite are deliberate, just as many are skeptical, and some are downright traditional. This means that even an idea as good as allocating more budget to video marketing will need a champion who has the respect of management to make this happen.

That’s why one of the venturesome senior executive will often ask you to make the business case in order to convince the other deliberate, skeptical, and traditional members of the C-Suite that shifting money out of other budgets and into video marketing is a good idea. So, you need to learn how to think like they think and speak like they speak in order to get buy-in from the management team.

And, that means building your business case on objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) that they value. Let’s explore four goals and metrics that might do the trick:

  • Brand awareness
  • Engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Sales

As I’ve said several times, some video marketers mistakenly think that the right metrics for measuring brand awareness is “impressions” or “views.” If you doubt me, than ask yourself the question: “How many impressions or views do we need to increase brand awareness by 17%?” If you don’t have an answer, then it’s dangerous to use these metrics as KPIs. What happens if you claim that your new video marketing initiative will generate a ton of eyeballs, prompting a deliberate, skeptical, or traditional member of the C-Suite to ask this question?

So, what’s the alternative? Well, as I’ve also said several times, Google’s “brand lift” solution and Facebook’s “brand lift” offering provide advertisers with a better set of metrics. Now, I realize that the ad budget is generally different than the organic video marketing budget – except in small businesses. But, if there are lessons that video marketers can learn from advertisers, then they should learn them.

For example, video marketers can also use Google Surveys to get fast, reliable opinions from consumers across the internet and on mobile devices — allowing you to make more informed business decisions, understand content marketing’s impact, and keep a pulse on the health of your brand. Here’s how it works: You need to choose your target audience, type your questions, and watch the results roll in within hours. Pricing is 30¢ per complete for 1 question surveys, and $3.00 per complete for 2 or more question surveys. Each respondent answers all questions in a survey. When it comes to picking an audience, you have several targeting options like women and men ages 25-34; Android smartphone users with the Google Opinion Rewards app; or audience panels, which are a way to target groups of respondents that are generally difficult to find, such as students.

Next, you can ask up to 10 questions at a time and select from a variety of question formats, like single answer, two choices with an image, multiple-answers, and multiple answers with an image, which can all be used to screen respondents. You can also select other question formats, including: rating scale, rating scale with text, rating scale with an image, open ended, numeric open ended, open ended with an image, side-by-side images, and a menu with an image. Finally, you can get real answers from real people. Your questions live across a network of news, reference, and entertainment sites, as well as within Google’s mobile app. There, people answer questions in exchange for access to premium content, and credits to Google Play.

Google Surveys accurately determines the age, gender, and location of online respondents based on their browsing history and IP address. While on mobile, app users answer demographic questions up front. Which means you get a representative sample of thousands of respondents without having to ask demographic questions. You should use Google Surveys before your new video marketing initiative is launched to establish a benchmark and then conduct follow-up surveys on a quarterly basis. If the C-Suite says your organization will focus on brand awareness over the next 12 months, then they should also put their metrics where their mouth is. That’s the right way to measure brand awareness

Smart Ways to Measure Video Engagement

What’s a better way to measure video engagement? I’ve also mentioned before that “conversation, amplification, and applause rates” are better measures of “engagement” than “social media sharing” by itself. And Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google recommends using these metrics as KPIs for the top of the sales funnel – or the early stage of the customer journey – because they measure the “See” audience intent cluster, which is the largest addressable qualified audience. That’s a better way to measure the real active engagement of users with your video content.

What’s a better way to measure lead generation? Google Analytics does a pretty good job of measuring micro conversions. These are activities that users frequently engage in before purchasing. Websites commonly have several kinds of micro conversions, so it’s likely that you will want to set up at least two or three goals, including:

  • Email signup: Create a URL Destination goal and define your “Thank you for signing up” page as the goal page. Establish a value for this goal. This value will be used to calculate Average Session Value in your reports. To determine a value, evaluate how often the users who reach the goal become customers. For example, if 10% of email signups eventually result in a purchase, and your average transaction is $50, you might assign $5 (i.e. 10% of $50) to your “Signed up for email” goal.
  • Browsed site extensively: Create a Pages/Session goal. The number of pages that you set as a threshold for this goal will depend upon your site and what you consider to be extensive browsing. Ask yourself how many pages eventual customers view before purchase and set that number as your threshold.
  • PDF Download: You’ll need to track each download as a Google Analytics event. Edit your site code and add an onClick event to the download link. The onClick event needs to send a Google Analytics event. Then, create an Event goal which refers to the Google Analytics event category/action that was triggered by the link.

In my presentation at VidSummit 2016, which updated the best practices and strategies for “Schmooze Optimization,” I shared an additional way for you to improve performance over time by giving credit where it’s due. You should use the Campaign URL Builder tool to easily add campaign parameters to URLs to track Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics. All your video production team has to do is enter the website URL and campaign information into the form and a URL will be automatically generated for them. Although only the campaign source is required, I’d recommend using the campaign medium and campaign name, as well. I’d also recommend using Bitly or the Google URL Shortener to make these links more sharable in social media.

Then, the results of a new video marketing initiative or an influencer marketing campaign don’t get blended or buried somewhere in your organization’s Google Analytics Reports. Using the Campaign URL Builder will enable you to measure each of the channels and tactics that are part of your new video marketing initiative – which should combine existing storytelling assets as well as new ones – using these KPIs:

  • Acquisition – aka website traffic,
  • Behavior – aka time spent on website,
  • Conversions – aka micro conversions.

Is there a better way to measure sales than completed purchases? Well, sales – or completed purchases – is a great way to measure sales. But most marketers aren’t expected to generate sales; they’re expected to generate leads that the sales department will close. Which is why the sales department typically gets all the credit for sales. Meanwhile, most marketers are expected to focus on “higher conversion rates” and “sales lead quality” – even though this puts them in a lose-lose scenario: If their leads convert, then sales will get all the credit; if their leads don’t convert, then marketing will get all the blame. I’ve been the VP of marketing in that kind of organization, so been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

The Link Between Sales & Marketing

Now, I don’t know what the relationship between marketing and sales is like within your organization, so I can’t provide you with any useful advice about office politics. But, I do know a way that you can earn some credit for a KPI that’s even more important than sales: The return on investment in marketing (ROMI). ROMI isn’t like return-on-investment (ROI) metrics. Instead of money that’s “tied” up in plants and inventories (capital expenditure or CAPEX), marketing is typically expensed in the current period (operational expenditure or OPEX). But, here’s the formula for calculating your ROMI: Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) = [Incremental Revenue Attributable to Marketing ($) * Contribution Margin (%) – Marketing Spending ($)] / Marketing Spending ($).

Usually, marketing spending will be deemed as justified if the ROMI is positive. For example, if you spend $48,000 on a new video marketing initiative and it delivers $240,000 in incremental revenue, and the contribution margin for that $240,000 in revenue is 60%, then the ROMI is ($240,000 * 60% – $48,000 / $48,000), or 2.0. In other words, every dollar expended on the new video marketing initiative translates into an additional $2 in profit on your organization’s bottom line.

Is this even doable? Well, in my book, YouTube and Video Marketing, I share a case study about a campaign by DigiNovations, which launched the PiperSport for Piper Aircraft. Their budget – which covered creating a Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as a YouTube channel – was under $50,000. And their social media marketing campaign generated 15 orders for a $140,000 product in the first 90 days, with a value of $2.1 million. To calculate their ROMI, let’s do the math ($2,100,000 * 30% – $50,000 / $50,000), or 11.6. In other words, every dollar spent on the social media marketing initiative generated $11.60 in profit for Piper Aircraft. That’s a better way to measure sales than completed purchases.

If this seems like a foreign language, then may explain why the members of the C-Suite in your organization appear to be dumber than dinosaurs. But, they aren’t, are they? And if you want them to buy into your vision, then you need to learn how to think like they think and speak like they speak. And that will be good for your career as well as for improving the odds that the C-Suite will allocate more budget to video marketing.