It's well established that video has been one of the breakout trends in the marketing world for the past decade.
But how is that assertion standing up to the twists and turns of a global pandemic?
The challenges — and changes — brought about by this most surreal year have affected us all.
At Wyzowl, we've released an annual State of Video Marketing survey every year since 2015, charting usage, spend, channels and opinions among video marketers and consumers.
We recently released our seventh State of Video Marketing report and, in light of the chaos of the past year, it's perhaps our most fascinating set of findings yet.
Our research suggests:
Video remains a key priority for marketers with usage and spend both, overall, increasing slightly throughout 2020, and plans to increase again in the next 12 months.
The pandemic has impacted the video marketing landscape in contrasting ways — while video is generally seen as a more necessary tool by both marketers and consumers, many have seen budgets restricted and plans shelved.
The pandemic has overwhelmingly increased the amount of online video people watch.
Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding.
Consumers continue to use video as an integral part of their journey with brands, and are excited to see even more video content in the year ahead.
About the Survey
Wyzowl's State of Video Marketing Survey is an annual report, now in its seventh iteration. Every year, we ask a range of questions — many of them the same from year-to-year — to evaluate how the video marketing landscape is changing and growing.
This time round, our survey was taken by a sample of 813 unique respondents (our highest ever sample) consisting of professional marketers and consumers.
The key findings …
86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, increasing slightly from 85% in 2020.
This is the high point in a general story of video usage growing which can be traced back to 2016 (the first time we asked this particular question in this way).
What's more, 93% of marketers who use video say that it's an important part of their marketing strategy — an increase from 92% in 2020, making this the highest percentage of any year since 2015.
Perhaps most strikingly, 87% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI — a world away from the lowly 33% who felt that way in 2015. This could well be attributed to greater understanding of how to use video, as well as how to track and quantify its impact.
Most marketers feel that video is a great investment for lead generation. 84% of video marketers say video has been effective for generating leads, up 1% from 2020.
Nearly eight out of ten marketers feel that video has a direct, positive impact on sales.
94% of marketers agree that videos have helped increase user understanding of their product or service, with 43% reporting that video has reduced the number of product support calls their company has received.
On measuring success, most marketers (63%) consider video engagement the top metric. Views or plays were a close second (58%).
While only 29% of video marketers consider sales as a measurement of success, 78% report that video marketing has improved their company’s bottom line — meaning that videos will have a positive impact even if the focus remains on other metrics.
So what about the impact of the global pandemic?
Let's begin with the fact that 91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands.
A fairly considerable 40% of video marketers said their plans to create video were affected by the events of the last year — with around 74% of these saying they were more likely to use video, and 26% saying it was less likely.
Around 60% of video marketers say they expect their budget to be affected for 2021, with around 70% of those people expecting a higher video marketing budget, and the other 30% expecting it to be lower.
68% of consumers say the pandemic has impacted the amount of video content they've watched online, with the overwhelming majority (96%) saying this has increased.
Looking forward …
All the signs suggest that usage and spend are on course to continue their growth in 2021.
More than 99% of current video marketers told us they'll continue using video in 2021, and 96% plan to increase or maintain their spend (again, up slightly from 95% last year).
What's more, from the people who told us they don't currently use video, 69% told us they expect to start in 2021. (This is 10% higher than last year's figure of 59%.)
The net result of this is that we can all expect to see more noise and competition for audience attention in the coming 12 months.
In fact, 92% of marketers feel this way, with 51% agreeing that companies will make more videos because they’re easier than ever to create in-house. Nearly half say that competition will be tougher because the pandemic made video a necessary investment.
Of course, while oversaturation is a challenge, it isn't an insurmountable one. It simply raises the bar in terms of content quality. Your videos will need to be well-planned, and very well-executed.
The big opportunities …
You'd be forgiven for looking at these numbers and feeling that video might be on the verge of reaching saturation point. Most of the data around usage, spend, and consumer opinion are in the 80s and 90s — where they've held, consistently, for a number of years.
But the good news is that there still seems to be underutilized opportunities for marketers to explore around video.
Unsurprisingly, YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used platforms among video marketers — used by 89% and 70%, respectively.
But some of the lesser-used video tactics also seem to be reaping real results for video marketers.
Explainer videos have seen huge success. An overwhelming majority of people (94%) report watching explainer videos to learn more about a product, with 84% being swayed to make a purchase.
The product doesn’t have to be physical, either. Eight out of ten people say that they’ve been convinced to purchase an app or piece of software because of a video.
Most notably, perhaps given global events and an increased desire for remote connection, 2020 seems to have been the year of the webinar. In our 2020 survey, we found that just 46% of marketers used webinars in 2019 — but in our 2021 survey, this number rose significantly to 62%.
What's more, an overwhelming 91% of webinar marketers say they've been a success, making it the most effective video marketing channel of all those listed.
As a result, more than half of video marketers plan to continue using webinars for their company.
To Sum Up
The events of 2020 did, and are doing, little to slow the rise of video.
Nearly nine out of ten people report wanting to see more videos from brands in 2021, making video an excellent tool for lead generation and brand awareness.
In many ways, with people being isolated in their homes, and some teams working with less budgeting and resources than pre-pandemic, the demand (and consumption) of video has been accelerated.
Video looks set to continue its ten-year overnight success story into the coming decade. These stats paint a picture of a media type that's almost universally popular among both marketers and their audiences, helping achieve a number of incredibly important goals.