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Is Video Worth the Cost in B2B Marketing?

Is Video Worth the Cost in B2B Marketing

93% of buyers “video builds trust in a brand” but success with video in B2B marketing requires a clear purpose, a plan to promote and measure results

If you want to experiment with content, copy or messages, it’s easy to do that with a blog post. Assuming you publish consistently if one blog post flops, the impact is negligible, and you learn quickly how to adapt or modify the message before you spend any more.

By contrast, video is harder to experiment with in that way. A study by PathFactory found marketing videos on average cost $8,448 and earned 2:22 minutes of viewing time. In my experience, these tend to cost a whole lot more and produce a lot fewer results.

This reminds me of a situation years ago, when a couple of colleagues of mine lobbied successfully, to produce a product video. It costs $10,000 to produce, took up lots of time (planning, scripting, shooting, editing, reviewing) and resources. When the video was finally done, it was published on YouTube and embedded in emails and a product page.

I don’t remember the exact results, but I remember it was underwhelming – less than 100 views, let alone anything else measurable. A few months later the video was all but forgotten.

Recent B2B marketing video statistics

A recent survey commissioned by Brightcove and conducted by the research firm Ascend2 got me to thinking about video again. The study yielded some fresh statistics about the potential of video in B2B marketing.

Researchers polled 305 B2B professionals working for organizations in the U.S. and U.K. Respondents wrote for businesses with $50 million or more in revenue and are “responsible for purchase decision-making within their organization.”

Some of the statistics that stood out for me include the following:

  • 93% said “video builds trust in a brand”;
  • 70% reported video has a greater impact “over other content formats such as infographics, e-books and white papers” in raising awareness of a business problem;
  • 58% of respondents said video was “most helpful” when trying to learn about a new product or service; another 40% said learning how to solve a problem;
  • Among the types of videos respondents said they’ve watched in the last three months are product reviews (39%), product demonstrations (39%), tutorials (33%), live video, like webinars (31%), and educational videos (30%); and
  • 97% of respondents said video content and communication were useful after making a purchase.

(click image for higher resolution)

Some of these statistics may be situational because there are other B2B marketing studies where video doesn’t rank at all. For example, having the greatest impact, or being the most helpful, is probably dependent on the context. So, while these statistics aren’t definitive, they do show the video can be helpful in B2B marketing.

3 Prerequisites for B2B marketing videos

These statistics and other marketing surveys I’ve reviewed, in combination with my own first-hand experience, have led me to conclude there are there three prerequisites for B2B marketing videos to be useful:

  • There must be a clear problem the video is aiming to solve. When you look at the six types of videos B2B professionals reported having watched, they are all educational themes.
  • Most marketing videos aren’t going viral. You must have a plan for how you will use these – and just as importantly reuse these repeatedly.
  • Classic video metrics include total views and average viewing time because they are easy to measure. The important part of measurement is tying the metrics back to the purpose.

As a counterfactual to the anecdote described at the beginning of this post, I’ve also worked for a company that had great success with video. It spent gobs of money on a highly produced explainer video, designed to build awareness and drew hundreds of thousands of views over years. The video had been published before I joined the company and had been all but forgotten.

When I saw the traction that video had earned, I began embedding it in relevant blog posts and product press releases. There’s an element of social proof to a video with that level of attention, which is a great fit for PR.

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Image credit: Unsplash

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