Last week, I was researching to buy a few new video gears for my shooting—a gimbal, LED light and a microphone. As usual, I started ‘googling’ just like most of us would do with ‘top ten list, best (fill in a product here), (this) vs (that) etc. Inevitably the search was grouped into three main categories; e-commerce, the blogs, and YouTube videos. E-commerce sites to me are about having the right price and delivery and the consideration for it will come later after I made my shortlist. To begin I need to know which products actually suit my needs.
Blogs and video are the two main categories in my initial buying discovery. While the former provides a huge amount of insights and information about the gears, it was the videos that make my research fun, educational and convincing. Compared with reading product reviews, I’ll rather watch any good video reviews instead. And so, I watched videos after videos of the ‘best under USD50’ (or whatever the range is), ‘comparison and shootout’ videos, reviews and in-depth product testing, product demonstration, and unboxing to ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube. Product experts, vloggers, celebrities right up to just about anyone who has a camera and a point-of-view will be happy to share their experience and knowledge on the videos. This is where the quality of content and video optimization is critical to ensure when consumers are searching for your keywords, your video comes up top.
The stages of video marketing funnel; awareness, consideration, conversion and finally retention role in my decision-making process is nothing short of the extraordinary study of human behaviors. For non-marketers, the funnel is a model used by brands to understand the stages customers go through to discover the product that would eventually lead to a purchase decision. I couldn’t find another form of the medium so succinctly puts across the points in an entertaining and engaging manner so effortlessly like video could. Don’t get me wrong. I love my research through blog sites, statistics, read the relevant articles or make some educated comparisons between one specification with another. But none of these engaged me more than a vlogger so expressively making his/her point-of-view while showing some cool video moves under some hip music track.
The science we call marketing funnel.
This blog attempts to break down the human behaviors and the marketing funnel into simple layman information. I hope this could explain the relevance of why video is a key marketing tool for the Gen C. According to ThinkWithGoogle, Gen C is YouTube Generation, empowered in a consumer culture which describes people who care greatly about creation, curation, connection, and community. This is not an age group categorization but an attitude and mindset unlike Gen Y, X or Z. Millennials make up 80% of the Gen C audience, and that’s what makes YouTube relevant even more so today. At the topmost of this funnel, building brand awareness is a priority. Your customers don’t know what they don’t know, and as a brand owner, it is your principle job to let people learn about you.
What videos during this stage should I be thinking about? Well, no one knows about your product existence and no one really cares. Not until you tell them there are reasons they should. To do this brand needs to let customers find them where they are searching. To buy, I need to know what to look for and I may start my generic keywords like ‘gimbal’, ‘LED light’ or ‘video mic’. This is when the video starts to make the first impression for your brand. As they say, first impression counts and with video, it solidifies that impression. When people are entertained with visual stories they tend to lower their guard and inhibition. This leads to better awareness. According to statistics, the video is proven to help people remember your brand better with 64% of customers more likely to buy after watching at least once. The key metric for video at this stage is on view count as a brand needs to cast a wide net to build an audience and in general, brand awareness.
So at this stage, I probably was already exposed to few variation and categories of the gears. I cast a wide google search in the awareness level earlier and keyed in the relevant searches to discover within my expectations and needs were followed by budget. Comparing the shortlists, I spend hours watching more of the similar categories of videos as I needed my reasons to choose one over the other. Video provides tons of entertaining information that I was looking for and needed to make the decision. The key video metric to look out for is duration spent watching the videos, for every video. Obviously, the more time spent watching, the more it is an indication of the quality of your content. Make a convincing story and you may just stay in your customer’s mind for a little longer, enough to be recalled when they needed them at the next stage.
Further down the funnel, my customer journey has reached a stage where I am now deciding the final product from my lists. Imagine when brand A has videos but brand B doesn’t, my decision process is made so much easier. As I traveled down this path, I have forgotten or ignored thousands of other brands that probably make the same comparable products as the ones I decided upon. Regardless, as I have not met them from the start of my journey, I won’t know they existed at all even though I am now ready to make my decision. Videos at this stage provide justification for that final decision. I am now checking out e-commerce sites and the brand’s main URL that carry the products I wanted. This is where I buy after series of evaluating the products, reviews, prices and even delivery. Key metrics may include play rate, engagement rate, unique visit, bounce, and conversion rate i.e sign-up to buy.
There are a few convincing and high-quality YouTube channels which I now subscribed to. I picked them out during my journey to discovering the products. This is where the video re-engagement helps the brand to maintain a relationship with its customers. They help to justify my initial decisions were right while continuously building on that connection with quality content. It is time I want to share the experience with my friends. By keeping the communication going, I am a better brand advocate for the products I bought.
To me, the video played the critical role in my decision-making process throughout in a big way. It appeals to me especially when I see products are being evaluated and tested right in front of my eyes. Which gimbal gives a smoother view, which light is softer yet powerful or which mic actually records sound that I personally think is better. If an article can put forward these arguments and sound convincingly, a video would give me an even bigger boost of confidence because seeing is believing especially if it is from a trusted source.
For now, I have decided on a Zhiyun Smooth 4 gimbal, shortlisted a Movo VXR10 Universal video mic and torn between two LED on-camera lights, the Aputure MX or the Aputure F7 (no stock and pricing at the time of writing for microphone and led lights). You can bet I would continue watching the videos of subject matters to learn how to use them. I suspect my engagement with those channels are going to grow even stronger as I continue to buy other products in the future. My consumer purchasing habit is unlikely to alter much, leaving lots of room for brands and advertisers to engage and fight for my attention so long as they are doing it right.
Meanwhile, I will do an unboxing video of these products on my Facebook at a later date and I’ll look forward to probably catching you there. The video marketing funnel is a proven study of customers behaviors and applying the concept to your own product journey with video is vital to creating a rich and engaging experience for your audience. Like I mentioned earlier, the consumers don’t know what they don’t know, and that includes your brand too. It’s about time you do something about it.