Making B2B video content work: marketers from Linkedln, Dailymotion and The Smalls share best practices

The ability to upload videos straight from phones also enables marketers to be more flexible and timely in pushing videos out.

More B2B brands are using video to achieve various objectives; from building brand awareness, to product and service promotion, boosting conversions and lead generation.

According to a poll by LinkedIn, 62% of B2B marketers believe that video should be the primary platform of any creators.

Delving deeper into what types of video that work best for different B2B marketing objectives, Assaf Tarnopolsky, director of marketing solutions for Southeast Asia, North Asia and Japan at LinkedIn tells The Drum the poll also found that video content which are energetic (16.90%), inspiring (13.50%), informative (12.60%) and humorous (11.90%), works best for B2B marketers.

“Native videos, in particular, help with brand-building and results in higher brand lift and trust. They are often designed to be less disruptive and deliver better user experience; the user can choose to scroll right by them without being disrupted. With such control given to the viewers, they are more likely to stop and watch. They also often mimic other content on the platform, being formatted specifically for the platform that is hosting it,” he explains.

According to Tarnopolsky, a good video content strategy is one that takes into consideration the audience, the environment and the content. In addition, as there is more flexibility when it comes to capturing videos, there is a lot more room for marketers to start thinking more creatively about the kind of content that goes into their videos.

“Instead of the conventional “talking-head” interview that simply features a spokesperson spewing one buzzword after another, how about switching it up by recording views on current affairs with an off-the-cuff style?” he asks, highlighting another LinkedIn research which shows that nine out of 10 of its members watch video on mobile devices, which means that chances of engagement increase significantly when the video is also optimised for viewing on mobile phones.

The ability to upload videos straight from phones also enables marketers to be more flexible and timely in pushing videos out to better set the agenda around news and events. As the orientation of the video also impacts the viewers’ experience, Tarnopolsky recommends that it is always best to shoot a vertical video for mobile optimisation. “Changing the orientation of the video halfway through shooting is a massive turnoff for the viewers, so refrain from doing so. The attention span of today’s audiences is very short, and this influences the optimum lengths of videos.”

Tarnopolsky also points out that as senior audiences, in particular, do not watch more than three minutes to find out what the video is trying to say and are more likely to check the length the video before deciding to view it, it is helpful to keep things short to ensure they make the decision to watch the video.

“Additionally, get text and video working in partnership – text can be used to introduce, tease or frame the content shared. Video isn’t always the best format for communicating detailed information in-depth, so leverage its strengths around engaging, compelling and entertaining content for better results,” he adds.

When it comes to the duration of B2B videos, video-sharing technology platform Dailymotion believes that short videos work very well on mobile and short pre-rolls (six to 10 seconds) work very well on platforms where brands have short-form content, Todd Brizendine, vice president of sales in Asia Pacific for the platform explains to The Drum.

“Short videos that are very concise and straight-to-the point, have a greater impact and serve brand recall very well. Because they are more affordable, they allow brands to blast the creative more widely and achieve awareness,” he explains. “If recall and awareness are your main goal, and if you want to make an impact very fast, we also suggest using interactive video formats.”

What are brands not doing with well with video?

While videos can be a great medium to amplify the messages about the brand and its products and services, marketers have become too focused on bringing forth the benefit of their products or services, such that it becomes deemed as overt selling, observes Tarnopolsky.

In addition, even though information and education are always more useful to B2B customers and good storytelling can make the difference, he stresses that this can sometimes be counterintuitive, especially when brands are too immersed on creating a good story, such that they unconsciously side-track their brand’s purpose and market demand, which can be exemplified by the lack of a strong call to action.

“A B2B customer who has watched the whole video is likely to be a strong potential lead, and without a call to action at the end, this potential lead will not know what the exact next steps are,” explains Tarnopolsky. “That said, some marketers are also under the impression that video for B2B brands cannot be as much fun as those for B2C audiences – and this is absolutely not true. Video marketing is about creating meaningful engagement with your audience on an emotional and visual level, and this can be done through compelling content.”

Dailymotion’s Brizendine agrees with Tarnopolsky, adding that in the current market, there is room for improvement when it comes to digital adaptation as presently, the platform feels that B2B brands are taking video ads made for TV and making it fit to digital. “We believe there should be more campaigns with creatives specifically done for digital, for example: designed from the very start to be enhanced with interactivity, to be super straightforward and high-impact in a short amount of time or even starring digital influencers.”

What is the solution then?

The solution for these problems is that B2B brands need to make use of the targeting capabilities available to them in new video formats, according to both executives.

For LinkedIn, it offers website retargeting, which allows brands to re-engage with people who have visited their website, contact retargeting, to market to prospects and known contacts by a seamless and secure upload of current contacts list, and account targeting, which allows marketers to match their brands against pages on the platform to target large lists of companies or email contacts.

“A LinkedIn Insight Tag that is added to a brand’s website for website retargeting, which allows our campaign manager to create a list of an audience to retarget based on those who have visited your website. Contact retargeting facilitates the specific tailoring of content to prospects who are already familiar with the brand, and accurately addressing their needs in the different junctures of their buying journey,” explains Tarnopolsky. “For account targeting, ads can be subsequently tailored to scale the company and targeting initiatives to reach key audiences, which can be further filtered with demographic targeting that enables brands to refine audience by metrics such as job function, or seniority.”

For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines wanted to attract more business travellers to their brand, as well as drive social action. The objectives of their video marketing efforts were to increase engagement, improve cost efficiency of the campaign by lowering cost-per-view and to create a stand-out video that connects with the audience at all stages of the funnel.

Their creative video ad featured their holiday jumper fashion show on a moving walkway and immediately stood out on a platform that was typically filled with business content. By leveraging LinkedIn’s targeting precision for a full-funnel marketing strategy, KLM was able to attract customers with their creative videos, which resulted in action to their social subscriptions and even the recruitment of cabin members.

Dailymotion on the other hand, before it helps brands and marketers build their campaign strategy, it asks them three questions of who their targets are, what do they like or should like about the brand and how does that resonate with their personal interests. Based on the answers that advertisers and media agencies provide it with, Dailymotion then tailors the targeting of the campaign by combining two major criteria of socio-demographics and contexts.

This is done as Dailymotion believes that one does not go without the other. “As a result, we always suggest targeting contexts that are indexing highly against a specific target. Because we have such a large portfolio of premium publisher content, we are able to build targeting segments that are based on the content of interest first and then we verify them against socio-demographics thanks to our data and thanks to audits from renowned third-party audience measurers,” explains Brizendine.

There are also merits to B2B brands creating video content in-house, due to the ever-growing demand for video, says Kate Tancred, co-founder and chief executive officer at The Smalls, a video commissioning platform. “Typically, what we are seeing is a good combination of clients working with agencies, publishers, SMEs and creating their own content,” she adds.

While creating in-house videos will help with consistent storytelling and optimisation, Tancred stress that the key is to ensure the in-house team knows how to connect with exceptional talent from a great documentary director to a director of photography who can shoot hyperlapse.

“Emphasis must be on the storytelling but also finding the best talent to execute it,” she explains. “Without that, it would be very challenging. There’s also a huge gap between filmmakers who specialise in glossy, above-the-line TVCs and those that were born to tell narrative-heavy stories. The skills are very different. Having something or someone to help you navigate this is the key.”

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