Guest Post: Exploit video’s power as an authentic marketing tool

Guest Post: Exploit video’s power as an authentic marketing tool

By Kim Willis, Strategy Director at Cedar

Video is a powerful tool for brands – it’s a rich medium for communicating ideas and information in an engaging way in a short timeframe. Innately shareable, it can adapt easily across devices including mobile. All of this makes it incredibly valuable in a marketer’s toolkit.

It’s no wonder then that nearly 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute while Facebook has reported over four billion video views on the social network every day. Video is growing at such a rapid rate that by 2019, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic .

This rapid growth in video consumption is significant within the travel sector – for both business and leisure. Research conducted by Cedar revealed that close to 50% of UK YouTube users (47%) used video content to help them research a travel journey or brand to help them make a purchase decision.

A fifth (22%) of these users also said they have watched travel-related videos in the last 12 months and over twice that amount (56%) said they are likely to use travel focused video content to help plan a trip.

Google reports that online travel videos are influential in the early stages of researching and deciding to take a trip, both for leisure and business travellers with 66% viewing travel videos when thinking about taking a trip and 65% when choosing a destination. It’s no question that video has become – and is becoming – ever more vital for brands in the travel sector.

However, whilst video is a persuasive marketing tool to attract consumers as they plan their journey, it takes more than a picturesque horizon panning shot to be used successfully. It takes really compelling, high quality content to drive engagement and make an impression on audiences.

Creating effective video content is all about great story telling – travel brands tapping into this awareness are producing more visual content that’s truly engaging.

It’s no longer just about destination inspiration, but offering something deeper, videos such as South African Tourism’s ‘Meet South Africa’ take the viewer on an emotive journey which leaves them feeling something powerfully visceral, serving to capture the imagination and inspire.

Travel brands that are making good use of video in their marketing toolkit are those who manage to tap into driving forces that motivate people to travel. British Airways recently relaunched its On Business loyalty programme with a video campaign using the real stories and people that are part of the programme.

The videos give watchers a window into the lives of these individuals, creating an inspiring portrait of their creativity and passion, as well as showing the impact travel has on them in a candidly relatable and genuine way.

A focus on real people and authentic content is a powerful theme that is making an overt impact with audiences in this sector. Brands like Airbnb have even devoted entire sections of their websites just to feature the real stories of its community members.

The travel brand also actively involved its audience in its storytelling, and made social media history when it used a collective of user-generated content to create the world’s first crowd sourced short film ‘Hollywood & Vines’.

Airbnb aren’t the only brand to have created such effective stories involving its audience – Expedia adeptly tapped into the highly emotive chord of identity discovery with its ‘Find Yours’ videos. The campaign allowed users to create and share their own content in a personalized way that put them at the centre of the story, which drew a multitude of hits and high levels of engagement.

Putting the audience at the heart of this kind of visual story telling means that brands can connect and engage audiences on topics that really resonate with them on a deeper and more intimate level.

While the role of video within the travel sector grows ever bigger, the landscape of video is transforming at such a rapid pace as new platforms and tools continue to emerge. From high definition capable equipment such as GoPro cameras and broadcasting in real time over Periscope to 360-degree virtual reality video experiences – the possibilities are only getting more diverse.

What remains the same however, is the value of good strategy. Knowing one’s objective along with the target audience and developing a plan to reach them is the strongest foundation to build a campaign on. From that start point, the great ideas and storytelling will follow.

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