John Koetsier’s recent report, “Marketing Clouds: How the best companies are winning via marketing technology,” was full of great insights into where marketing clouds are headed. It also found that marketing cloud users have barely scratched the surface when it comes to video, revealing that only about 20 percent of the 1,500 marketers surveyed use the video marketing tools featured in their marketing cloud solutions.
Some of the commentary I’ve read on the report made me think I would need to find a new career path. (I’m the CEO and cofounder of the video marketing and analytics platform Vidyard.) But rather than see this as a sign that video hasn’t caught on, I see the results as an opportunity for video. Five years ago, if someone had asked marketers about their use of social media technology, only about 20 percent would have said they were invested there, too. Look how far social has come. Just about every company now has a person, if not a team, dedicated to social. We’re already starting to see the same thing with video, and adoption is hitting an exponential curve.
Video is poised for huge growth in both B2B and B2C marketing. That’s what I see in all the other data and anecdotal evidence about video. My own company has seen 1,000-percent growth in customers using video platform technology in the last two years. Last year, a joint report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that video ranked higher than white papers, infographics and research reports for content marketing, and was up 6 points over 2013.
And that doesn’t even take into account the big picture statistics on online video. Internet prognosticator extraordinaire Mary Meeker predicts that, by 2017, 74 percent of all internet traffic will be video. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all made bets on video recently.
So clearly video is working, and there’s going to be more of it. Then why is the 20 percent number so low?
There are a couple of things going on here. First, video capabilities within marketing clouds and marketing automation platforms are pretty minimal at this point. While they support the ability to embed videos within marketing campaigns and web pages, most do not even offer video hosting capabilities, let alone tools to track audience engagement or detailed viewer analytics. With little native video functionality, it’s not surprising to see that most marketers haven’t adopted the video technology offered within their marketing cloud. But that doesn’t mean solutions aren’t out there or that customers aren’t adopting video technology as a fast pace. Third-party video marketing platforms offer rich integrations with marketing clouds such as Hubspot, ExactTarget, Salesforce, Eloqua and Marketo to help marketers integrate video with their various campaigns and digital channels, and even track the second-by-second viewing behavior of each customer and prospect to enhance qualification and nurturing. Other technologies help to serve video ads to targeted accounts across multiple networks while still others enable marketers to generate 1-to-1 personalized videos to boost audience engagement.
Meanwhile, many companies that are doing video are doing it without getting the full benefits. They’re posting videos to YouTube or even on their own websites, but they aren’t taking advantage of the tools that would come from a video marketing platform. Analytics are often a big part of the marketing cloud sales pitch (and the most-used feature according to John’s research), but when it comes to video, marketing clouds don’t offer very impressive analytics. Like YouTube, they might give you vanity metrics such as total views, views-by-day or even views-by-device. Those are nice and all, but they don’t necessarily help turn prospects into customers, and isn’t that ultimately the goal of marketing? When marketers fully commit to video, they want to know by name who watched their videos. They want to know whether the person watched the entire video or turned it off after 10 seconds. They want to be able to use an entertaining top-of-funnel video to point potential customers to more detailed materials that guide them along the buying journey.
Marketing clouds simply aren’t there yet, so it’s no wonder only 20 percent of marketers are using marketing clouds for video. But with the incredible success marketers are seeing with video to boost SEO, engagement time and conversions rates, you can bet that adoption of video and related technologies will continue to grow rapidly. We’ll just have to wait and see if the marketing clouds bring advanced video technology natively into their platforms or if it remains the domain of those solution-providers that offer core expertise in video marketing.
Michael Litt is CEO of Vidyard, a video marketing and analytics platform based in Kitchener, Ontario.