Stop looking at video as a cost – it can be a real revenue driver

Video content is now an all but ubiquitous tool for marketing teams, but can be seen as an expensive investment of time and money. With the right approach, however, you can turn video into something that drives revenue and accelerates other critical business objectives
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In a recent survey on the state of video marketing, 91% of businesses reported using video, with 96% valuing it as an important part of their strategy. It’s clear that almost every marketing department understands that video is a key tool in their arsenal, a medium to connect with their customers across different channels, in myriad different ways.

However, though there may be a top-level understanding that video is important, there’s a big gap between that and understanding how to get the most out of it. Video can be seen as an expensive cost and time-sink, so it’s important to understand how to maximise the return on what you put into it, rather than treating it as a ‘necessary evil’.

The most obvious way that video drives revenue is as part of the sales process - helping to sell even when you don’t know who the buyer is. “The sales process doesn’t start when someone speaks to sales”, says Meta Karagianni, vice-president of enterprise advisory practice at Brightcove, a platform that helps companies leverage the possibilities of video.

“In a B2B environment, a very small percentage of buying decisions are taken by one or two people - typically they may involve five, six or even more stakeholders. You may be directly engaging one of those people, but you don’t have direct contact with the others; increasingly key parts of the buying group will be unknown and video is often the way these anonymous buyers engage with a potential supplier.”

But it’s important to understand that video isn’t just about pushing out your message - it can also help you understand who your customers are, what they want, and where your products are meeting, or failing to meet, their expectations. Rather than seeing video as an unfortunately necessary expense, CMOs should look at it as a potential driver of cost savings - if they can use it in the right way.

Rather than seeing video as an unfortunately necessary expense, CMOs should look at it as a potential driver of cost savings - if they can use it in the right way

Pushing out video to third party platforms like YouTube or social media is obviously important in terms of reach, but can leave much to be desired in terms of what you can learn from your video content and what’s engaging your customers. Especially as privacy laws have started to (and will continue to) come into play, depleting the amount and quality of data available through third parties, video can be an opportunity to collect first-party data and ensure you’re not missing crucial insights.

If you can get customers to engage with content that you host, using a platform that provides you with in-depth, one-stop analytics, you can understand which elements of your content they’re engaging with across all distribution channels - for example, where do they drop off? What do they skip? This can not only help you refine the video content you’re pushing out, but potentially even help you to understand which parts of your product offering they’re interested in.

And the better you understand what’s working about your video content, the more efficient you can make it - if your customers are responding to a certain type of content, you might want to create more of it, or look to repurpose existing examples of it when pushing content out into new channels. Karagianni points to a different way of thinking about this kind of content. “Often video is treated as a monolithic asset that’s expensive and cumbersome to produce but, once you have that video, you can slice it and dice it and use it throughout the sales journey or the customer lifecycle to meet specific audience needs and objectives, having positive impact on the buyer or customer experience.” Rather than viewing each video as a single costly asset, see it as the starting point for multiple potential assets that could serve you and your customers in multiple different ways.

Demonstrating the ROI of video has traditionally been thought of as a nebulous exercise, but collecting the right data and paying attention to what the data is telling you can absolutely drive revenue and reduce costs. In Karagianni’s view, it’s important to treat video as part of a wider strategy. “If you integrate the data and analytics you’re collecting through your video into your other marketing platforms, it becomes a signal, a piece of the data puzzle that you can use to decode intent and optimise your campaign, messaging and content strategies”.

Customers of all sorts consume a massive amount of video; around 96% of people report having used an explainer video to learn about a product or service. If your customers are engaging with you via video, that’s where you can get key insights about what they’re interested in. Where companies use metrics like the Net Promoter Score to understand customer satisfaction, they could equally be looking at what percentage of an audience is watching different videos to completion and what percentage continue their journey after watching.

CMOs could be leaving real money on the table by not taking advantage of the potential of video. In a study run by research company Forrester, Brightcove’s customers reported an average ROI of 225% for what they’d invested in improving their video experience, analytics and operational efficiency.

What has been seen as a difficult and costly endeavour can and should be a key part of a marketing strategy: video can reap real returns if you ensure that you are presenting it at the right time, in the right way, with the right data, to the right audience. Instead of making the case for what they need to spend on video content, CMOs should be making the case for just how much revenue video can drive.

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