Video Gone Bad: The 8 Worst Video Marketing Mistakes

Video is becoming increasingly ingrained in our lives. Today, video marketing is poised to take over as two-third of Millennials report preferring watching videos over reading text-based advertisements from brands they like. By some accounts, video marketing results in 10 times the engagement than non-video marketing content. 

If you want your digital marketing strategy to stay relevant in 2020 (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), then you must invest in video marketing. The trick, however, is to produce high-quality videos that don’t turn off, annoy, or polarize your audience. These days, that’s no easy feat.

To help you nail your video marketing strategy, we’ve put together a list of some of the worst video marketing mistakes to avoid. By knowing what not to do, you’ll be that much closer to creating the next viral video marketing sensation.

Mistake #1: Solo-Posting

You’ve probably heard the expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This saying certainly applies to video marketing. Under no circumstances should you be posting your video content to only one social media platform—or, as we call it, “solo posting.” 

Video marketing is all about maximizing your brand’s reach. If you only post Snapchat stories, you’re going to miss out on roughly 1 billion Instagram users. Likewise, if you neglect to post to Snapchat then you’re going to miss out on a userbase of 186 million. For the best reach possible, we suggest posting to all the following social media marketing platforms:

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok (optional for Gen Z target demographic)

Mistake #2: Focusing on Sales

As a business owner, your motive is to make sales and generate leads. As a video producer, your goal is to conceal those motivations. Your video marketing content should focus on building brand awareness rather than making sales. In other words, your video shouldn’t feel like a TV commercial. 

The best return on investment for video marketing is to concentrate on providing value or entertainment for your target demographic. In return, your company will benefit from brand recognition by a large segment of the market. 

Take, for instance, Red Bull’s wildly successful stunt video campaign. Their viral video of stuntman Felix Baumgartner’s 128km skydive generated tens of millions of views on YouTube and plenty of positive press coverage, but at no point did Red Bull attempt to advertise their product. Instead, Red Bull plastered their signature blue and red branding and logo virtually everywhere.

Mistake #3: Posting Un-Optimized Video

The video content you post should be optimized for the platform you’re posting it on. In the case of YouTube, for example, you can post high-definition videos with 4K60fps resolution and frame rate. For Instagram, you’re going to have to export the video using different settings. 

For instance, Instagram cannot display HD video. Instead, Instagram only allows videos up to 1080 by 864 pixels and maximum file size of 15 MB. Anything above that file size and your video might be automatically compressed, which would cause your video quality to suffer. 

Mistake #4: Run-On Videos That Never End

Your video content shouldn’t feel like a remake of the 1984 film The Neverending Story. Ideally, your videos won’t exceed a minute in runtime. However, videos between 30 and 90 seconds tend to fare better than super-short videos. If your video runs longer than a minute and a half, you’re almost guaranteed to lose your viewer’s interest. 

Mistake #5: Not Cutting To The Chase

Far too many YouTubers make the mistake of adding in 10-second introduction reels that include a jingle, logo, catch-phrase and other elements that your audience has no patience for. Stick out from the crowd by starting the video in the middle of the action. 

In an attention economy, it’s crucial that you make every second count. Within the first 10 seconds of your video, your audience should be able to gather what your video is about and how they can derive value (or at least entertainment) from it. 

Mistake #6: Forgetting Your Message

Even if your video is silly and not to be taken too seriously, it should still have a message. Although it doesn’t necessarily have to advocate for anything, your video should promote a theme (e.g., “Spend more time with your loved ones,” or “Make time for the things that matter most to you”). 

Your video should focus on a single message, without splintering into several somewhat-related messages. Otherwise, your video might become too complex and will confuse your viewers. We recommend sticking to a simple, universally-relatable theme that your viewers will sympathize with no matter their background or their beliefs.

Mistake #7: Pushing Your Message Too Hard

On the flip side of that coin is the opposite problem: pushing too strong of a message. When done correctly, your video can be heartwarming and pose great potential for sharing across social networks. However, when your video is too forthright with its message, such as the Gillette 2019 toxic masculinity ad, it can generate negative press and polarize half of your audience because the message is too political or too extreme for your audience’s tastes.

Mistake #8: Forgetting Your CTA

Just like an email marketing campaign or any other aspect of your content marketing strategy, your video content should include a subtle, yet prominent, call to action (CTA). At the end of the video, be sure to include a link to your website’s landing page or social media profile so they can learn more about your brand and the product or service that you provide. Without a clear CTA at the end of your video, increasing your company’s brand awareness won’t improve your bottom line.

Tying It All Together

Video marketing is quickly becoming the world’s preferred way to make, consume, and share content. For a brand to stay relevant in tomorrow’s market, they’ve got to invest in a video marketing strategy. However, to succeed in an increasingly competitive market, videos have got to be concise, multi-channel optimized, and stick to a simple, non-polarizing message that creates real value for the viewer. 

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