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Maybe brands putting their all into video isn’t the answer after all

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As it turns out, video marketing isn’t an effective tool for everyone. To best serve your business, figure out if your audience think video is hot or not.

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For a hot minute, we’ve been hearing marketing gurus hammer home the point that video is the wave of the future, for several reasons.

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However, this magic pill is anything but, and it’s important for your business to understand when video does and does not work.

PIVOT!!

According to data gathered and published in a piece by Digiday, a pivot to video didn’t reverse declining traffic trends amongst publishers who switched to video. They demonstrated the cases of Mic, Fox Sports and Vocativ, all of whom laid off editorial staff to invest in video.

Data from comScore shows their traffic numbers drop by at least 60 percent year-over-year.

Additionally, “over the past six months, the Alexa ranks of Vocativ, Fox Sports and Mic have also plummeted.”

The story isn’t all doom and gloom; Digiday rightfully points out organizations that have seen traffic lifts correlated with a focus on video, such as Vox Media, Buzzfeed, Bleacher Report and Mashable. However, it still leaves you wondering, what gives? Let’s dive into the potential causes and discuss some ways to avoid those pitfalls.

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Ahead of the Curve, Or Behind the Ball?

Content exhaustion is real and problematic for media companies. Video is no exception, and many brands that are reportedly doubling down on video are too late to the party. The party began in early 2016, “when Mashable laid off editorial staffers to focus on video.” This was likely spurned by the fact that “video ad spend grew to more than $10 billion in the U.S. last year.”

Buzzfeed followed earlier this year, while several publishers mentioned above didn’t make a major pivot until this summer.

Naturally, as more players enter the space, congestion creates competition, a race to the bottom of the public attention span where fewer people win in the end. Be aware of how that competition affects your strategic decision-making. If you’re late to your industry’s video party, you’ll need to be creative and lean to win the day. If you’re in a space with less competition, you’re in a better position to dominate video content in your vertical.

Social Media, the Double Edged Sword

This point can apply to other distribution platforms, but Facebook is the best example. On the one hand, these platforms (and their users) love video content. Publishers can build and reach a large audience through this channel. However, much like publishing on Medium, content companies lose a lot of equity in return. Using audiences on different platforms for monetization is much harder than it is on owned and operated properties. Furthermore, companies can’t control how Facebook lets them play in their sandbox, and we’ve already seen several examples of the squeeze that occurs when they start pushing you out.

Naturally, the key here is to diversify; look for ways to pull referring traffic in from different sources. Also, make sure users have a reason to come back to your site when they watch certain videos. By relying on Facebook as a way to capture top-of-funnel attention, you can be shielded from some of the consequences of dependence on their platform.

#DiversifyYourMarketingPortfolio

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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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