They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If this is the case, a video must be worth a million.

The popularity of video has surged on social media in recent years, especially with the prevalence of mobile devices. The ease and accessibility of video has led to this type of content being favourable among many. According to Cisco, by 2020, online videos will make up more than 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic.

It has become commonplace for users to roll over in the morning to watch news clips posted on social media rather than turn on the TV. Consumers are more likely to search YouTube for a “how to” video rather than read through a lengthy instruction manual. And features such as Instagram Stories are becoming the go-to source of entertainment for influencer-hungry users.

As a result, video marketing has become one of the most prominent tactics in the modern marketers’ playbook – and this is for good reason. Video is more engaging, more memorable, and easier to consume by audiences far and wide. Video content has transformed how businesses market, how consumers around the globe shop, how customer service is delivered, and so much more.

According to Social Media Today, 90 percent of consumers say video content helps them make buying decisions and they spend nearly a third of their time online watching videos.

With this in mind, it is clear that having a video marketing strategy can no longer just be an option for brands. With its domination across every platform, creating engaging video is essential in order to survive the competitive business landscape of today.

But what does it take to create a successful social video? As an agency providing a whole range of video content to a portfolio of clients, here are our tips on what brands should consider when thinking about video marketing.

Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach

The number of social media platforms available today is on the rise. From Facebook and Instagram, to the rapidly growing user-presence of TikTok… there is certainly not a shortage of destinations for brands to market themselves.

But what’s key to consider is that a video which may be successful on one platform may not work so well on another. And so, when creating your video marketing strategy, it is vital to be platform-conscious. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work here.

Ensure you tailor your video according to the platform and in line with the overall aims of your video marketing. For instance, if you’re wanting to educate, your video may work well on LinkedIn. If you’re creating a video simply to entertain, YouTube may prove to be better.

The sizing and format of your video should also be tailored for the target platform. Facebook alone supports over five different formats. It’s vital to optimise your content for each platform you post to in order to avoid stretched images or blank spaces around your content.

Be mindful about time

While social video is the hot topic right now, the question is, how long should each video be? Keeping your audience engaged from start to finish can often be a challenge, especially with buzzing notifications tempting people to switch apps every minute. The human attention span is rapidly diminishing; some studies even claim that it is now shorter than that of a goldfish.

But keeping the attention of your audience is not impossible. The key is to keep the video short, snappy and relevant. Try to stick to a 60-second limit if you can. Research has shown that, while only five percent of people will stop watching a video after one minute, 60 percent of people will after two. Shorter video is faster to consume and also eats up less data, making it perfect for mobile viewers.

While shorter videos have been shown to gain more engagement, this doesn’t rule out the effectiveness of lengthier videos. On platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, videos that range from 90 seconds to 60 minutes can still be effective.

Harness the power of storytelling

The key to audience engagement lies with the ability to make an emotional connection by telling a relatable and compelling story. Video storytelling has the unique ability to engage viewers on multiple levels such as emotional reach and clarity.

Today’s marketers are competing for the eyeballs of users who are being constantly overloaded with information, so capturing the attention of users with your content is by no means an easy task. Yet chances are, most people can recall an online video that made them cry or laugh hysterically. If making an emotional connection is the most effective way to get a consumer to take action, videos are the most powerful vehicle to deliver this message.

Leverage analytics

Leveraging social media analytics tools to track and improve your video content is becoming essential. In fact, 36 percent of businesses are now using some form of video analytics – so don’t risk falling behind.

It’s important to create goals with regards to what you are hoping to achieve with your videos and track your results accordingly. By doing this, you will not only provide important direction but also show the ROI for your efforts.

For instance, your goal may be to increase brand awareness or to generate leads. Based on these objectives and specific video goals, you can then determine the metrics to track. For the brand awareness goal, some of the key awareness metrics you may consider are view rate and play rate.

When asked his opinion on what makes a successful social video, JMPUK videographer Patrick Bethell said: “It’s key that we work with the client to focus on their target audience. We can then tailor each video in regards to story, style and length. Another vital point is that we grab the audience’s attention in the first five seconds. We can then hold their attention with the strength of the storytelling – which is a key aspect of all video content. How and why we tell a story will help to captivate an audience.

“The devil is in the detail, so we have to ensure that we take this approach to every client so we can tell their story in an engaging and captivating way.”