Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Video As Part Its Communications Strategy – Guest Post by Michael Hoffman, CEO of See3
It’s obvious to anyone who spends time online that video is taking over the internet. It is the dominant form of content we all engage with – on our desktops, our tablets and now our phones. And when video is paired with a continuous strategy and clear metrics for success, there is overwhelming evidence showing that it is a crucial, important investment for nonprofits.
And so it continues to surprise me that nonprofits invest far too little in video content, as if they are somehow exempt from this general trend.
In the Into Focus report, See3, YouTube and Edelman surveyed nonprofit staff and found that the clear majority recognizes the power of video. In fact,
- 80% of respondents said video is important to their organization today,
- 91% believe video will become more important in the next 3 years, and
- 92% value the investment they have made in video.
So, you would think that budgets would be going up accordingly. Not so.
Fully two-thirds of respondents reported that their budgets for video would be flat or decline!
Finding the ROI
One reason for the disconnect between stated belief in video and video budgets has been the lack of hard data about the return on investment (ROI). Video is cool, but it is also expensive (in time and money). It’s no surprise that a tactic with a cost is high and unclear ROI gets minimal resources.
But we have reached an inflection point. There is enough data today to warrant a major investment in video.
Not A Video but a Video Strategy
From my conversations with organizational leaders, I have found that there is too much focus on one video, rather than a video strategy. If you spend a lot of time and money on one video, and that video has poor results, it is no wonder that you hesitate to do more.
When we say video works, we don’t mean every video works, any more than we mean every email works or every direct mail piece works. To know that your email works you have to be sending email regularly – and developing clear metrics for what success looks like. The same is true with video. To see the impact of video, you have to be using it as an ongoing means of communications, not a one-off project that carries all your hopes and dreams.
An ongoing investment in video starts with strategy. When we create video strategy we answer the questions like what has worked for you, what assets and resources do you have, and what stories are there to tell.
With the big picture in mind, lets look at the recent evidence for a video investment.
Video Stats: How Video Impacts Constituent Behavior
You can see how much video dominates YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. But the evidence that people are watching wasnâ€™t enough to convince most organizational leaders to make significant investments. Now we have evidence that gets directly to the level of user behavior.
These stats were culled from many different reports, most meant for corporate marketers. You can use these stats with your leadership to secure some video resources.
- When the word video is used in an email subject line, open rates double. (Experian Digital Marketing Report)
- Click-through rates increase 2-3 times when a video is included in an email. (Digital Sherpa)
- Companies using video require 37% fewer site visits before a person responds to a call to action. (Aberdeen Group and Brightcove)
- People who watch video are 85% more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t. (Kiosked and Brightcove)
- If you ever hope to reach a younger audience, you need to be using video. According to a 2013 ComScore study, 83% of 12-17 year olds and 91% of 18-24 year olds are watching online video on a regular basis.
Large companies like Zappos and Cars.com have impressive case studies showing how video has helped them reach their goals. While nonprofit video case studies are harder to come by, the overwhelming direction of the evidence is that video works.
There aren’t excuses any more. Our nonprofit organizations may not be equipped with the talent or the mindset to use more video, but we have to change. We have to adapt and jump in, or the most valuable currency of all — attention — will be in short supply for the important work we do.
Michael Hoffman is the CEO of See3 Communications and an authority on developing video strategy for social good.