The incredible popularity of digital video has completely reshaped the way we consume content. But it’s not just about YouTube anymore.
Facebook sees eight billion average daily video views from 500 million users, and has already overtaken YouTube in terms of both videos uploaded and viewer interaction. The social network giant is now looking at ways to monetise this trend further, giving users personalised video recommendations based on what it knows about their preferences and other content they have liked.
Cisco Systems has predicted video traffic will reach 79% of all consumer internet traffic by 2018, so this is a trend that marketers ignore at their peril.
Producing and distributing great video content helps brands connect with customers in a positive way, but research suggests not having any video content could actually have an equally negative effect.
In 2015, video creation specialist Animoto conducted a survey of more than 1000 consumers to explore in detail their attitudes towards online video.
It found that four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and that two-thirds believe companies that use video know how to reach their customers. But, crucially, one in four people said they would lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video.
Another key finding from the research has implications for email marketing. This was that respondents were almost 50% more likely to open and read an email newsletter if it contained links to video.
Consumers will like or share an especially good video on their own social media networks. But they’ve got to be punchy and get straight to the point – two-thirds of consumers prefer videos which run to less than 60 seconds, the research found. This certainly presents a challenge for marketers trying to get their message across.
Let’s look at how some of the big fund groups are using online video content with a few examples.
Asset managers can’t push individual products as obviously as other brands can because they are bound by regulations around product promotion. But they can build more general brand recognition using informative, topical and educational videos.
Aberdeen Asset Management is one group that has been putting a lot of effort into producing animated infographic and explainer videos, as well as the traditional fund manager talking heads. Its Seven Deadly Sins of Multi-Asset Investing, for example, is a series of 30-second lighthearted animated videos narrated by Joanna Lumley, which are fun to watch but convey important and useful messages about multi-asset investing.
— Schroders (@Schroders) March 15, 2016
On Schroders’ YouTube channel there are some really nice video series ideas featuring different fund managers, including ‘Investment weather forecasts’, and ‘60 seconds with…’ but the Schroders Talk Twitter feed links mainly to written thought leadership articles rather than videos, from what I could see.
Fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown’s YouTube channel has a good mix of animated instructional videos showing people how to do things on its own website and answering questions on retirement topics, for example, but it also has longer interviews and things like Budget analysis and market updates. The instructional videos have a strong call to action at the end, encouraging people to phone the company or visit their website.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Henderson Global Investors both do a similar thing on YouTube, with animated videos explaining key concepts alongside lots of short video interviews with fund managers on different investment topics.
M&G has a nice playlist called M&G Community, which shows its employees running ultramarathons and raising money for charity. This gives a human face to a very big brand, something which is especially needed in the FS space because the young people who are most likely to consume this video content are the ones who might mistrust asset managers or simply lack brand awareness.
All these fund groups have some great content, but they could do more to show it off. This could include repurposing and promoting their videos (whether in teaser format or in full) across other social media channels rather than confining them to YouTube. They could also embed videos on their social network feeds so they play automatically rather than making people follow links to external sites to watch the content, which might put them off.
Consumers’ appetite for video is voracious, so asset managers will need to make sure they are thinking beyond YouTube, and are ready to rise to the challenge.