Mortgage Marketing: Video Can’t Wait

Guest Editorial - National Mortgage Professional Magazine

August, 2014

If video content keeps getting pushed to next month in your mortgage marketing strategy, you may want to consider this. 17.78 hours - nearly a full day - of the average online viewer’s month was spent watching online video this May, according to comScore data. Viewers only watched 1.09 hours of video ads in the same month - in other words, 94% content, 6% ads.

Still think video content can wait?

Mortgage is a ripe space for video content marketing because of its complexity and volatility; the terms, ratios and policy language that challenge pros to keep up are overwhelming to consumers. But there’s a solid data-driven point that you have to consider, right there in the first paragraph.  The numbers say “We want content, not ads.”  (I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that the ad number would be even lower than 6% without all the technological tricks used to insert video ads in our collective faces.)

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Why video, and what kind of video?

Last month I touched on the key advantages of visual media (including video). They boil down to time, really; visual media convey more information more quickly.  Visual media also fit the way people focus and engage now; short moments of concentration, multitasking and interruptions are becoming the norm, like it or not. Skimming is the new reading (admit it, you’re just skimming this column!) and really getting our attention for a minute or two is tough.

What kind of material does get our attention for a minute or two - more specifically, what kind of video? The answer may surprise you. 

My company had the opportunity to analyze years of data on two comparable sets of video assets for a client. They’d created a library of standard “executive studio interview videos” and commissioned a set of animated “explainer” videos at about the same time.  Both sets were handled the same way - posted without any fanfare or promotion.

The animated explainer videos outperformed the live interviews 100-to-1 on view counts.  The least-effective explainer bested the best-performing studio interview, and the explainer videos continue to gain viewers years later, where the live interviews flatlined relatively quickly. 

The lesson here, I think, is less about style than substance.  Intent drives content.  If your aim is to help, explain or inform, viewers will know.  If your intent is to sell or persuade in the guise of helping, viewers will go away and (by the numbers) refuse to do you the favor of sharing your ad.

If you’re considering video content versus articles or blogging, divide video costs by at least 10 to compare. Video is viewed more, shared more and ranked better in search results.  It’s also (unlike articles or blog posts) relatively protectable.  Copying an article takes about two clicks; copying a video takes time and knowledge.  Video also yields far more valuable marketing data - or at least it can - but we’ll take that up in detail next month.