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Digital Video Marketing 1 | Digital marketing for digital dinosaurs

We talked a lot about Youtube video ads and given the importance of videos in our everyday usage of social media and internet in general, I believe it is crucial to talk about video marketing in more details.

In order to introduce this discussion I would like to start from reflecting upon what normally do online, why are we there?

I believe that every time we go online we are there to solve a specific mission, OK the word mission sounds a bit exaggerated but pls stay with me one minute.

We are online to accomplish a mission, this mission has different nature from time to time

Sometimes we are on internet to learn about something, mission education.

Sometimes we are on internet to waste some time, mission entertaining.

Sometimes we are on internet to find information about a product, mission research.

Sometimes we are on internet to buy something, mission purchase.

OK you get the gist of it.

Now, this mission dictates what we do online, it defines our journey.

A lot of those missions either start or at some point end up in a video

Maybe we want to learn to play guitar and we end up on YouTube following a tutorial

Maybe we want to buy a mosituriser and we end up in a video of an influencer

If we go broad for a minute, when it comes to online, especially for videos, we are there with two mega missions in mind: either to search for information or to browse for entertainment.

Search is a very active behaviour that is underlined by a specific intent: i want to find out something that i am really interested in.

Browse is more passive behaviour; here we jump around from content to content until we are kind of hit by something that interests us.

The two approaches lead to very different kinds of content and therefore inspire video marketing activities in different ways.

Generally speaking, as a brand, in order to be relevant, in one case you want to be useful, in the other one you want to be interesting even if you are planning to support your stories with media money.

We want to make sure we create useful content for our customers with right amount of accurate information to become relevant to them when they are actively searching for something that in some way refers to our product/brand

We want to create inspiring, entertaining, engaging content that will be exciting for our customers in other stages

Google and YouTube refer to this type of content with different terminology, How and Hero content; let’s look at what they mean.


How”content is all that kind of content we produce when we want to make sure we provide the right information to our customers

Think about all the times you had problems with your laptop and you reached out youtube to see if anyone could you explain in simple words how to fix it?

How does this relate to video marketing and advertising?

Well, although to different extents, we are all searching ways to solve big or small problems in our lives, and products / brands are at the core of it, all the times.

From how to fix some part of the car, to how to cook a specific dish, to how to perfectly shave and so on, there are millions of how to searches every day.

As traditional marketers we are very good at understanding what are our customers’ pain points.

It’s time to make our ability work here, how can our brand provide useful solutions through video marketing?

Providing people solution means to establish authority. People trust those who solve a problem for them.

Second because we can have the opportunity to show how our product can be used to solve this problem. No other channel has this power to establish a privilege connection with customers

Lastly because becoming an authority you become relevant and visible for people who are not necessarily buying you today.

When we look at this “howcontent, we look at simple videos that are produced starting from consumers’ pain points.

We don’t expect super big million views there, we don’t put advertising budget behind them but we want to make sure that we have enough content that answers consumer questions with steady views over time.

Consider this example called All things hair, from Unilever a channel that they describe like this:

“On All Things Hair, you can search through a directory of fresh hair ideas, brush up on your styling know-how and learn game-changing maintenance secrets from our talented editors and experts.”

All things hair is a great example of providing useful content to people based on their pain points.


Let’s look at the other type we mentioned, the Hero content.

Here we are trying to do a completely different job. Here we are trying to intercept the need of people of being entertained. But we’re still a brand, how do we entertain?

As a brand we have the means to produce big quality video stories that will get visibility and will attract people to our brand because of the quality of the storytelling, as well as the power of our media money.

Here we are in the realm of the old traditional advertising, just in a different channel for which we must know the rules of the game, not lastly the fact that people here are in command, they can decide what to watch and what not to watch to a certain extent.

Hero content are few big events in a year when brands produce interesting and entertaining video online communication and push it through the platform with the support of media money

From hero content we expect big number of views, talkability, visibility. Hero content is planned to go viral (if such a thing can be planned!)

We hope that through PR and distribution techniques, our content is viewed in millions and makes people share it.

In other words, we are looking at deploying at the best the power of advertising.

Now, clearly, although we look at unleashing the power of advertising, we must be conscious that one thing is to broadcast advertising in TV and the other one is to create communication that will engage people online, even if it is advertising

I want you to watch this two VDO to understand what I mean.

I like this example because both VDO refer to the same product but the way they communicate is very different.

Video 1

Video 2

What do you see here?

On one side we see a very rational story that goes directly to the point. Rightly so, it has been built to go as straightforward as possible because in the space of few seconds it has to persuade people to buy a product due to its features

It starts from some consumer insight and goes to show how the product fits in it

The second one takes a very different approach. It’s an experiment based on the unique feature of the same product. Because it is so flexible and sensitive to your control, then you can use it to play a piano

The main story in both cases is the same, Gilette fusion proglide has a new technology. The flex ball allows you full control. But the way they tell the story is however very different.

The piano story has been developed with the platform in mind, internet video.

To be even more precise, probably this video was created with the objective in mind to become an hero video (branded) that had the potential to be shared.

Maybe it wanted to be a “viral video

What is a viral video?

A viral video is a video that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media and email.

from this we take that a viral video or a hero video.

It needs two elements:

  • A story that’s interesting to watch

  • A distribution strategy that helps the viral effect, whether organic or paid


We talked about “How” and “Hero” content and we saw that we can produce very different types of videos, even when addressing the same topic.

This distinction helps me introducing the idea that when we look at online, there are different types of videos we can use in Video Marketing strategies.

Let’s look at the main ones:

  • Digital ads (video format): we discussed this to some extent in YT section, for here we need to think whether are we developing digital advertising video (following the rules of online) or is it a TVC adapted for online? Within digital ads, a special place occupy skippable ads for one specific reason, they can be skipped after 5 sec. And this leads us to the big question, How do you keep people watching until the end?

  • Viral videos: as we have seen before, a video becomes viral because people share it. Now, can we really plan for a truly viral video? Do people want to see content from a brand? What’s the role of the brand here?

  • Video content: series of branded content (ex. a program). This can be entertainment content, how to’s, series, experiments, documentaries etc Now as brand marketers, how to use this type of content? How do you ensure people watch different episodes? Do we have enough content and creators? Does it make strategic sense for the brand to invest in this type of activities.

  • Live Video: video of performances, events, even sales that people can follow in real time in the various platforms.

Different types of video mentioned work in different ways and we want to make sure we use them for the right purposes.


From this first level of analysis we derive a few important implications:

  1. Our video strategy must be inspired by our objectives and the type of brand we are working with

  2. According to what we are trying to do, we can use one or more types of approaches to videos

  3. Content and storytelling is crucial: “In a digital world where anyone can ignore anything, advertising must be as valuable as a good book, movie, or news story.” Kirk Cheyfitz, founder of Story Worldwide

  4. Last, as brand marketers we must plan for what we call distribution of the video to make it visible and popular. In other more extreme words, in 99% of the branded video cases, there’s no such a thing as viral effect online, we must plan to ignite it.

So, let’s get ready to dive into two big areas in next posts:

  • How to say it: content and storytelling in digital video

  • How to distribute it

Hope this is useful for you, please feel free to get in touch.


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