At this point, as a business owner, you are probably alarmingly aware that your consumers expect better customer support than ever before. The increasing value placed on “consumer-centric” engagement means not only do you need to deliver a beautiful product, but now your customer expects an experience, product education, consumer knowledge and training, and to feel like part of the family.

In an ideal world, this is great news. We are being challenged to provide exceptional value for a product we love.

But, for smaller businesses already struggling with time and budget management, this can feel like we’re in a pressure cooker.

How can we provide this added value to our customers without going insane or bankrupt? I’ve got you, Boo. Keep reading.

In this recent (and awesome) Google Think article, Google reminds us of the value of video. Since Google owns YouTube, you wanna pay attention to this.

In a world where viewers have total control and an ever-growing array of content to choose from, traditional primetime has been replaced by personal primetimes — moments of engagement that are completely driven by the viewer and their passions, rather than by what may make for the best Thursday night lineup. In a recent survey conducted with Omnicom Media Group, for example, over 60% of respondents who’d watched something on YouTube in the previous 24 hours said it was related to something they were passionate about.

As personal relevance and viewer passion take center stage, marketers need to rethink their approach to video. Inspired by brands that are already embracing this, here are five lessons to apply to your own video strategy.

1. Capture attention immediately

You might have heard that attention spans are shrinking, but the research behind that viral claim has been well and truly debunked. Here’s what has changed, though: with more content choices available than in the past, people are getting increasingly selective about where they focus their attention. If something doesn’t grab them right away, they’re ready and able to skip, scroll, or fast-forward.

In this new era of personal primetimes, then, the job of the marketer is to grab people’s attention from the jump — like Converse did in one of the top-performing YouTube ads of 2018.

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The first frame features “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown asking a simple question: “I mean, who do you think Chuck Taylor is?” The setup — which also features the sole of the iconic Converse shoe reflected in a mirror — was enough to intrigue viewers and keep them watching by the millions.

With content that surprises and intrigues early on, brands have the opportunity to plunge viewers straight into the story, getting them to stop and engage instead of skipping.

2. Be truly helpful

Viewers turn to online video to get a huge variety of needs met in the moment — everything from learning how to hang a picture frame to speaking another language. Increasingly, they’re also heading to platforms like YouTube for shopping inspiration. For example, watch time for YouTube videos on “which product to buy” doubled between 2017 and 2018.

Rules of EngagementSource: Google Data, U.S., July 2017–June 2018.

To stand out in a sea of ads, brands might want to consider creating helpful content that meets these new consumer needs. For example, through a video series, Ikea has been tackling one of the biggest challenges in home décor: knowing how to combine furniture in a way that works. Ikea sent a squad of store staff on a home makeover tour, leaving them to shoot and produce their own video series along the way. The Ikea Home Tour series now features over 100 episodes, has racked up tens of millions of views, and offers the kind of content that YouTube viewers love: focused inspiration and advice for common situations, perfectly tying Ikea to the idea of affordable and beautiful home improvement.

If you can teach and inspire audiences, they won’t just watch — they’ll become loyal, long-term advocates of your brand.

3. Relate, relate, relate

Understanding your audience is table stakes. But new research shows being relevant to people’s personal interests is perhaps the most important thing your content and ads can be. When people are deciding what to watch, relating to their passions is 3X more important than whether content features famous actors and 1.6X more important than whether it has high production quality.

Rules of EngagementSource: Google and OMG, “Personal Primetime” Study, U.S., n=3,200 respondents, Oct. 2018.

The U.S. Navy is a great example of the power of relevance. Initially, the marketing team had assumed that people interested in joining the Navy would probably also be interested in things like military missions and hardware. But Google and YouTube data revealed that they were actually passionate about things like cooking, martial arts, bodybuilding, and rock climbing. Based on this insight, the team created multiple YouTube ads tailored to these interests so prospects saw diverse, relevant opportunities. People who saw the ads two or more times were 16% more likely to consider joining the U.S. Navy, and users who saw the ads at least twice were 19% more likely to search for U.S. Navy keywords on YouTube within three days.

When you can frame your brand in the context of things people care about, it drives results.

4. Lean into YouTube creators

Video is a unique and immersive way for influencers to build relationships with people. On YouTube, creators can break the fourth wall, listen and have a two-way dialogue with their fans, and build relationships based on their personalities. More viewers than ever are becoming loyal fans: the number of YouTube users who follow creators and engage with their channels every day grew by a massive 70% between 2017 and 2018.

Rules of Video Engagement
Source: YouTube Internal Data, Global, Jan. 2017–2018.

When Clorox brand Brita paired up NBA superstar Steph Curry with YouTube creator KingBach, they had one mantra: “Let creators work.” The brand let the duo create their own video explaining the benefits of the Brita Stream water filter to a young audience. The result? A hilarious, catchy, and surprisingly heartwarming video that generated over two million views and led to a 2,000% lift in mobile searches.

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Collaborating with creators is a high-impact way to reach engaged audiences, but you can also reach customers through the creators they love by serving ads alongside the relevant channel.

5. Encourage action

In their moments of personal primetime, viewers are ready to take action. Not only are they in lean-forward mode — which means they’re 1.5X more likely to pay attention than when in lean-back mode5 — but viewers are also turning to YouTube to get things done. Over half of shoppers say online video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy.

Strong creative that has an enticing call to action and makes it easy to take the next step, like visiting a website or making a purchase, allows you to both build your brand and drive business results with video. Consider sharing “secret inside product info” on a series of short videos for your audience. Ask customers to send in questions, and create a raffle on video where you pull a question, answer it “live” and give that customer a free product as a thank you. Create fun interactive conversations, and lead viewers to your website to get the answers or win exclusive coupons.

To drive urgency, take a moment to come up with your own creative hook. Campaigns with a clear CTA can attract a higher click through rate and connect viewership to sales (always key).

Plan your plan and you’ll be fine

If video is new for you, that’s totally fine! Use this article to inspire you to think of ways you can engage your customers. Become consumer-centric in your own way. Here are some first steps:

  1. Create a media plan so you have some sense of organizing your time and marketing budget.
  2. Don’t guess what your customers need to hear. Ask them! Let them participate in your learning curve!
  3. Embrace this direction of consumer behavior. If you can’t fight ’em, join ’em. Fall in love with your ideal customer and know you aren’t alone.

As always, reach out to me with your questions. I am honored to be your G.P.S.! Not a member yet? Become one here.

Greta Rose



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