Most people understand the value of having great content on your website - words and pictures can create a compelling business story. But increasingly we're being encouraged to add to the words and pictures with engaging video content. It's great for SEO (Google loves it) and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos, generating billions of views.
Taking on the mantle of the first guest blogger on our website, Howard Jackson of Open Door Multimedia builds a strong case for online video content. If you weren't sure about it before, you will be after reading this...
When I launched Open Door Multimedia five years ago I believed that the way to develop the business would be to build relationships with web designers who would introduce me to their own clients who wanted promotional video on their web sites. I was wrong or at least I was “a bit previous” in my thinking. Things had not got to that point and in those days web designers told me that though they themselves did see the value of video on websites, their customers were not asking for it. Since then I have developed some really productive relationships with PR/ Marketing/ Web design companies but it took a very long time and the delay was difficult to understand. Puzzled? Me too!
So what was going on? And what is still going on to perhaps a slightly lesser extent?
Well let's take a look at the benefits of using video on your website. If you want a detailed picture you just need to Google the phrase 'Facts about video on your website' and you will find lots of information and some very impressive statistics. For starters check out an article from Video Brewery. It’s all in there. But forecasting the cash value of a video is much more difficult to do because the variables are so complex. So let's take a look in a little more depth.
How much income will a video on a website generate? I have no idea.
Pound for pound will video on a website be more productive than other forms of marketing? I have no idea.
And the reality is that we probably never will have because it depends on many things. How good is the film? What are its messages? Is there a ready-made audience to tap into? How receptive are the audiences? What will a company do with the video? How many times will it be watched? What is the conversion rate? And in a way I think those questions might be the wrong ones to ask.
Perhaps a better question is how much new business/ how many new sales will this video have to generate before it pays for itself? Another good question is how much new business would this video need to generate to beat all the other ways to spend my marketing budget? - the opportunity cost question.
A couple of years ago I made a film about salmon fishing on a private beat of the River Tay. It is a really nice watch and I have had some great feedback about it. I made it for myself so there was no fee involved but if it had been commissioned the price would have been in the £800 to £1,000 region. So let's take a look at that.
The average price of a day’s fishing is around £80 so to break even that video would need to generate just 12.5 bookings in total. The film is pretty timeless so let’s say it will be valid for at least three years and that means that the break-even impact has to be approx. 4 bookings per year - four days that would otherwise have not been sold. The reality of decent salmon fishing is that it is in short supply and good, descriptive, honest information is hard to come by. Traveling distances to Tayside from Manchester, Liverpool and London are 250 to 450 miles. Fishermen don’t travel that far for one day, so 4 bookings in a year could be a single person on the river for four days or two pals fishing together for 2 days each year. On top of that repeat bookings are common - you go once, like it and book for the following year. So converting a couple of fishermen could be all that is needed to get to break-even with that film. So now let's take a look at the percentages.
This film has been viewed 14,994 times in the three years since it was uploaded to You Tube on 30th May, 2013. The viewing audience will be exclusively people who are interested in salmon fishing - most, but not all, will be resident in the UK, mainly but not exclusively men, a lot of them will be silver-haired with a reasonable amount of disposable income and plenty of spare time - there is a big correlation between retirement and salmon fishing. In terms of conversion rates what percentage of those viewers would need to book a day’s fishing for the film to break even?
14,994 views - let's say some viewers watched more than once and assume 10,000 individual viewers are involved.
We need 12.5 bookings over three years to break even - with a very conservative average 2 bookings per person so we are really talking about 6 people.
6 people from 10,000 viewers requires a conversion rate of 6/10,000 which equals 0.06% (let me know if the maths is wrong!).
I would say that makes it pretty much a no-brainer and interestingly availability on that piece of river is practically nil from now till the end of the summer. That runs in the face of a comment made by the Gillie (fishing guide) at the time the film was made. He said that there is always fishing available. Well there ain’t now! The fishing has been there for decades - the film has been there for three years - draw your own conclusions.
Of course this is just one example but the approach is relevant to other sectors. So how much business would your company need to do to break-even on the price of a promotional video for your website? How many items would you need to sell, how many hours of service would you need to deliver before it paid for itself? Oh and the other thing to remember is that films about salmon fishing take longer and are more expensive to make than most promotional films. Salmon are a lot less co-operative and predictable!
Stop Press - I just got back from fishing this beat and on the first morning I met four guys from South Wales (round trip 1,000 miles) who were fishing with me. They had watched my video and said that it was one of the main reasons for them fishing that beat. So four guys times three days @ £80 = £960. Oh and they fished there last year too - I rest my case!