Last month we wrote a post about how, surprisingly, most affiliates don’t incorporate videos into their affiliate marketing plans. As noted, only 30% of affiliates surveyed by the 2011 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report said they use video marketing.
In comparison, more than 70% of affiliates say they use social networking sites in their affiliate efforts. Social networking – from Friendster and Myspace to Facebook and Twitter – has always been seen as a more common and popular marketing tool, but recent statistics show that video isn’t far behind.
And now more than ever, it’s clear that video marketing is an important piece of the affiliate marketing puzzle.
The Continuing Rise of Video
Earlier in 2011, YouTube became the second largest search engine behind Google, seeing more queries than Yahoo, Bing and all other video and search engine sites. Now, according to a recent ComScore survey, YouTube is getting more action than ever, with more than 20 billion video views in October 2011.
That accounts for nearly 50% of all online video views in October (42.6 billion) and should send a clear message to affiliates: video marketing is here to stay. Search engine marketers have long known the benefits of video marketing, but the gap between search engine marketers’ use of video and that of affiliate marketers is expected to shrink in 2012.
Why Videos are Ideal for Affiliate Marketing (and vice versa)
Affiliate marketing, though still in its infancy as a marketing industry, has been around long enough to produce millions of pieces of content. Of the many websites, blogs, forums and email lists monetized by affiliate marketing, most offer content that is text-based.
To this point, text-based content has been perceived as the most effective use of time, money and resources for affiliates. But it’s also been abused by keyword spamming, duplicate content and other content-related shortcuts. With videos, affiliates have a new avenue to produce content, reach audiences and provide value to interested customers.
And although there are already those abusing video, the level of quality is often higher because of time and skill needed to create quality videos. When done the right way, videos can build trust and signal to the audience that they are dealing with a reputable online company.
Another reason videos and affiliate marketing work so well together is that many products and services promoted through affiliate programs are those that can be presented effectively with visuals. Loans, credit reports, mortgage offers, insurance: these are all extremely popular online topics, but they also produce very dry, unentertaining content.
With video, you can make these topics come alive in a way that’s not possible with text. You can create a video that highlights the features and benefits of your product/service and boil down the basics of your affiliate efforts into a visually entertaining piece of content.
The same way many people enjoy watching a movie rather than reading the book on which it’s based, many people like watching videos than reading text. Today’s Internet-goers are far more likely to use the “too long; didn’t read” mantra when it comes to text, so video marketing is just another way to connect to your audience effectively.
Videos as Value, Not Commercials
Affiliates just getting started in video advertising need to realize their goals shouldn’t reflect their own, but rather, those of their audience. Don’t produce video content just to promote yourself – create videos that offer tips, resources, advice, information that’s helpful and valuable to your audience.
On the other hand, if you’re creating a commercial for your product or service, you’re missing the point. Audiences are smarter than ever, and they recognize hard advertising from a mile away. Instead of going this direct route, keep in mind what your audiences want and create videos that reflect their needs.
Optimize Your Videos
Although creating a video and putting it on YouTube is a good start to your video marketing campaigns, there are plenty of ways to optimize your videos for maximum reach and impact. Whole books can be dedicated to optimizing videos for online exposure, but here’s a brief summary of how to quickly optimize your videos:
- Use titles, tags and descriptions. Don’t just ignore these or hurry past them. Use your keywords to create coherent titles, tags and descriptions that will make it clear – to both search engines and human viewers – what exactly your video is about.
- Make them accessible. Offering video sitemaps, media-based RSS feeds and other accessibility options will make it easier to have your videos found, indexed and tagged.
- Get the most from your video content. Don’t settle for having a video on your site. You can embed, transcribe and share your video to get the most power from your content. Using a video host like Wistia allows you to do many of these things with ease, and in the end, these are the aspects of video marketing that put your videos strides ahead of your competitors.
Join the 30%
If you’re not doing video marketing, now is the best time to get started. The 30% of affiliates that use videos will only continue to grow, so the quicker you can get into that group the better, and the more time you’ll have to churn out videos, amass views and ultimately, reach a greater percentage of your target audience.