Marketing Strategy
The Role of Video in Influencing Consumer Behaviour

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Angie Smith
October 16, 2019

The fact that today’s digital landscape is cluttered with content vying for consumer attention has had some marketing professionals scrambling to reformulate their strategy. It’s true, though, that consumers continue to be hungry to buy, even in a market flooded with options. The role of communicators, then, is to find a way to break through the noise, get noticed, and engage their target market.

Through the years, since the explosion of digital technology, research on the influence of various marketing channels on consumer behaviour consistently mentioned video as an effective marketing tool.

However, not a lot of marketers took heed, focusing instead on historically performing channels like website optimisation, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), social media, and content marketing. But, of course, what used to be clean boundaries among these channels have begun to blur as integrating all these strategies is now recognised as a superior formula for campaign success.  

Lately, however, it has been found that video content such as ‘how-to’ videos (which feature actual product users) have a profound influence on consumer behaviour. So, aside from online reviews posted on independent review sites as well as online shopping websites, consumers also depend on these videos for making buying decisions.

Video content continues to gain traction

Consumers today are usually pressed for time, and appear to have developed a greater preference for easily accessible and digestible video content that they can ‘consume’ in a hurry.

The August 2019 report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for Facebook called ‘Video Consumption in Australia,’ reported that in the over-14 age group, five main video platforms reach over 7 million people in this age category: 

  • 17.3 million for free-to-air and commercial TV
  • 15.7 million for Facebook
  • 13.5 million for YouTube
  • 11.3 million for Netflix
  • 7.9 million for Instagram

For marketers, this data can mean a lot of things. One thing is certain though, to reach a wider audience, you need to tap into those channels where you can maximise audience reach. But since viewers and consumers are growing weary of seeing their favourite programmes interrupted by TV commercials (which is why video streaming services have quickly grown), where should marketing communication be focussed?

Videos drive consumer decisions

In one study, it was revealed that 62 percent of consumers watch consumer tech videos on YouTube. Moreover, ‘how-to’ video content was found to be nine times more important than videos posted by celebrities or influencers to shoppers. How-to videos took the lion’s share (52 percent) of the most-watched consumer tech videos, followed by product reviews (26 percent), and unboxing videos (25 percent). Consumer electronic shows only received nine percent of video views.

This means that tech consumers watch more than one type of video content, but more of them watch how-to videos to guide them in making buying choices. But, you may say, this data is more relevant to companies producing tech products. What this data teaches us, in general, is that the effect of video on consumer buying decisions is undeniable, and that video is a marketing channel which needs to be further explored.

Not just any kind of video, though…

A 2019 survey involving 1,590 consumers across the US, UK and Australia, as well as 150 B2C marketers, revealed that consumer purchasing decisions are mostly derived from user-generated content – this includes videos and images.

Today’s consumers are highly discerning. They no longer care for obvious marketing tactics that push them to buy or avail of products and services. And, as mentioned above, celebrity influence has already begun to wane – mainly due to common knowledge that influencers make money off of their product endorsements.

In the same study, 90 percent of consumers said that the most important deciding factor in their support of certain brands is authenticity. Among the marketers covered in the study, 83 percent said that authenticity is very important to the brands they represent, whilst 61 percent said they believe authenticity to be the most essential element of impactful content.

Furthermore, in global terms, 79 percent of consumers agree that user-generated content has impacted their buying decisions (up from 60 percent in 2017), with 13 percent saying brand-generated content directly impacts their buying decisions, and 8 percent being influenced by celebrity/influencer-created content.

What’s next?

Ad-exhausted consumers today want authentic user-generated content which resonates with their experiences, wants and needs. What companies need to do is support their high-quality products and tap into the power of video, especially trustworthy user-generated video content that leads to buying decisions. If you have questions on how to use video to effectively market your brand, or are looking to build or revamp your brand, you may want to speak to us at MediaSmiths at hello@mediasmiths.com.au.

About Angie Smith
Before founding independent agency MediaSmiths in 2007, Angela had worked on the agency, broadcast, and publishing sides of the media industry and has an incredible insight into how each world works. Since then, Angela has worked across numerous well-known brands covering the whole spectrum of media, and leverages this know-how with her experienced wider team to get the best results for clients.

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