Why Video Marketing is About the Audience Not the Marketers

Why Video Marketing is About the Audience Not the Marketers

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Ogilvy & Mather just published a Red Paper about “The Digital Social Contract” that will make other agencies green with envy. It explains why traditional advertising like the pre-roll doesn’t work on YouTube and it also outlines why collaborating with YouTube creators like Michelle Phan does. Whether you work for a video marketer, a brand, or an MCN, you’ll want to download the report, and read all 100 pages before anyone else in your organization. Then, you will be a hero for bringing this seminal document to everyone else’s attention.

The paper, a collaboration between Ogilvy & Mather, and Victorious, addresses the fact that many brands and media companies are still racing to keep up with the changes in digital marketing. The new paradigm is that the industry no longer makes the rules, the community does, and the real fact is that the “real digital natives don’t need the old ways anymore”. The paper argues that old-school broadcasters, and media institutions are so out of touch with the new social and digital rules that they risk ending up as outcasts.

John Green said this first at YouTube’s Brandcast event back in April and he passionately made this point again in his keynote address at VidCon 2015 in July. But I haven’t read such hard-hitting criticism of the industry from someone working at an agency since I read Ogilvy on Advertising back in 1985. The authors don’t pull their punches. And, as a result, they’d earned my trust by Page 13. Then, they went on to explain the way we were, the way we are, today’s digital social contract, and the way we can be.

By 2019, 81% of Online Audience Will Watch Video

The Red Paper is loaded with critical data. Did you know that everyone in first-world countries aged between 12-30 is more media savvy then any other generation? Of course, being born and raised with the Internet will do that to a person, but that amounts to 50% of the U.S. population, a demographic with an estimated purchasing power of $150 Billion.

On YouTube, the authors confirm that video marketing still focuses upon the massive usage metrics of the site. With over 400 hours of video uploaded every single minute, consumed by 1 billion users across 6 continents, more content is uploaded then any one user can watch in their lifetime. The repurposing of resources to video marketing is on the increase, and with stats like the following, investments in video content seems inevitable:

  • Users will consume around 76 minutes of online video each per day in 2015.
  • Of those 76 minutes, 39 will be spent watching video on mobile devices.
  • By 2019, 81% of all Internet users (including 67% of Americans) will regularly watch a video online.
  • In the US, 93% of children between 12-17 watch online video regularly. For 18-24 year olds the figure is 96%, for those aged 25-34 it’s 90% and for GenX it is 88%.

Yes, regular ReelSEO readers have already seen many of these statistics, but it’s reassuring to know that the Red Paper’s authors have seen all of them too.

Video Marketers Risk Being Out of Step

It’s little wonder that “the olds” are still spending way too many advertising dollars on network TV. The only thing they know is how to reach people like themselves! And the authors of the Red Paper don’t mince their words when it comes to telling it like it is:

“Something is askew here, and it’s not the audience, the platforms, or the creators. Advertisers and agencies are the ones out of alignment. Marketers are still grasping to understand digital video on every level, from platform decisions to talent assessment, from audience preferences to basic digital courtesy, from intermediate metrics to nonexistent effectiveness data”.

I’m going to skip over the part about the way we were, which looks at the rise of television back in the 1950s. All I can say is that I’m a Baby Boomer and they’ve nailed my generation with more force than Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door. And the scary truth is that the key decision makers at most brands, agencies, and media companies are Baby Boomers – “the olds” – and most of us don’t have a clue when it comes to flipping the funnel from exposure to engagement. I only learned about YouTube because I hired my middle child to work for me during the summer of 2006 while he was still in college. He’s the one who showed me what this video-sharing site could do.

This post is just a sample of the strategic insights and critical that I found in the first 41 pages of the Red Paper. Later this week, I’ll share some of the trends in the digital video marketing business and tactical advice that I discovered in the next 59 pages. But don’t wait for me to do that. Check out “The Digital Social Contract” stat (embedded below) so we can have an animated discussion of the Red Paper. It’s must-reading for video marketers.


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