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Video Grows in Importance But Doesn’t Reach Full Potential [New Research]

Editor’s note: Looking for the latest findings? Browse the 2023 Video & Visual Storytelling Survey

Video is a critical piece of many successful content marketing strategies, but is it being used to its full potential?

That’s the question we at the Content Marketing Institute set out to answer in the newly released 2022 Video & Visual Storytelling Survey sponsored by Vidyard.

The unfortunate answer is no.

Only 12% of content marketers say their organization uses existing videos to their full potential. Nearly a quarter (22%) say they have a long way to go before they can do that.

Only 12% of #Content marketers say they use #video to its full potential, according to @CMIContent #Research via @LisaBeets. Share on X
Is your organization using its existing videos to full potential?

Fortunately, 66% say, “Not yet, but we’re getting there.”

Let’s look at some of the other key findings from the report.

Video importance increases

Seventy-three percent of marketers say video has become more important to their business in the last year. Twenty-seven percent say its importance is about the same. No one says video has decreased in importance.

In the last year, has video become more important to your business (27%) or about the same in importance (73%).

This finding aligns with CMI’s annual content marketing research, in which 78% of marketers expect their organizations to invest in video in 2022.

Sixty-four percent of respondents expect their #video budget to be greater in 2023 compared with 2022 via @CMIContent @LisaBeets. #Research Share on X

Marketers want a video strategy

With video’s increase in importance, a corresponding positive return on investment is vital. However, 85% of marketers say they get average or below-average results. When asked what they need to get better results, the most frequently cited answer (59%) was a video strategy.

Author and keynote speaker Andrew Davis stresses the importance of a video strategy. “Video is a ‘show-me’ medium. Without a strategy documenting how you will show instead of tell, a clearly defined outcome, and the resources you require, much of your time spent on video won’t bear fruit,” he says.

#Video is a show-me medium that needs a documented strategy, says @DrewDavisHere via @LisaBeets @CMIContent. #Research Share on X

Surprisingly, only 21% cite better quality as necessary to get better results.

Other responses included:

  • More budget (52%)
  • More human resources (46%)
  • Better distribution (33%)
  • More training on best practices (33%)
  • Better measurement (28%)
  • Better on-camera talent, including more subject matter expert participation (27%)
  • Better equipment, production, and editing tools (25%)
  • Other (6%)
  • Unsure (2%)
What would your organization need to get better results with video?
59% of #Content marketers say they could get better results with #video if they had a video strategy via @CMIContent @LisaBeets. #Research Share on X

What about the 15% who say they’re getting excellent results? To what factors do they attribute those results? These excerpts from their responses explain:

  • “Engaging content, storytelling, finding topics that the audience is looking to watch videos about; length one to three minutes.”
  • “We’ve made good videos; our competitors don’t have a similar quality, and our audience doesn’t have the time for longer content.”
  • “Storytelling … real, authentic stories told from the people the stories are about.”
  • “Understanding the audience and what they want/need. If something doesn’t work, we discontinue it. We also serve the content up at times our audience is active on the various channels.”

Excellent results hinge on delivering something above and beyond what your customers can produce themselves, says Amy Balliett, senior fellow of visual strategy at Material. “Don’t deliver content that leaves your customers thinking, ‘I could’ve done that myself,’ or worse, ‘I could’ve done that better.’ To earn the attention of today’s media-savvy buyer, you need to wow them with quality over quantity.”

To earn the attention of today's media-savvy buyer, you need to wow them with quality over quantity, says @AmyBalliett via @LisaBeets @CMIContent. #Research Share on X

Video budgets continue to increase

Sixty-four percent of respondents expect their video budget to be greater in 2023 compared with 2022. Of those who expect an increase, over one-third (38%) plan for a 1% to 9% boost, and one-quarter (26%) say they may see an increase greater than 9%.

Only 1% of respondents expect their video budget to decrease between 1% and 9%. Another 2% expect a decrease greater than 9%, and 21% expect their video budget to remain the same. The remainder (12%) aren’t sure what to expect.

How marketers think their 2023 video budget will change compared with 2022.

Is more budget the answer for more video success?

Seventy-four percent of respondents say their organization needs to invest more in video.

“Marketers will gladly welcome more budget, as it provides more options and possibilities. What marketers don’t think as much about, however, is that more budget means higher expectations,” says Dennis Shiao, founder of the marketing agency Attention Retention. “When you’re given a budget of $100,000, the expectations from the C-suite are far different than when you’re given $5,000.

When you’re given more budget for #video, the expectations from the C-suite are higher, says @Dshiao via @LisaBeets @CMIContent. #Research Share on X

Like many video consumers, Dennis says he favors lower-budget solutions over Hollywood productions. “The beauty is that it’s easier to create and edit video than ever before. Fifteen years ago, you needed a studio, high-end video cameras, and high-end editing tools. These days, you have smartphones (and editing apps right on your phone) and laptops (with webcams and browser-based editing tools). Yes, the video won’t be as snazzy as one shot in a studio, but that’s fine. In most contexts, users prefer authenticity over perfection.”

Lights, camera, strategy

What’s the way forward?

One survey respondent says it’s quick wins and buy-in.

“Cultivate a culture of quick video wins by spinning off what you’re already working on to augment current campaigns to win buy-in slowly and organically (and educate internal stakeholders) on what can be done for more robust video projects,” they write.

But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. As the respondent continues, “Video is an alternative way to present content that you’ve already found to be effective. It doesn’t have to be flashy or necessarily unique. The point is to optimize your story.”

Robert Rose, CMI’s chief strategy advisor, says video marketing success in 2023 will be based on understanding what audiences are asking for and delivering that – “providing less information to make the research process fuller – and more content designed to make the buying process easier.”

Ultimately, content marketers already have the know-how to get the most out of video investments. They’re just missing one thing, says Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina.

“The data shows that marketers know video works. We know how it works, where it works, and why it’s effective. We even have the equipment. But the plan is missing. Fifty-nine percent say they need a video strategy.

The data shows that marketers know #video works, but the plan is missing, says @Crestodina via @LisaBeets @CMIContent. #Research Share on X

“The data itself suggests the strategy: Publish short videos that humanize the brand and showcase your value, starting with case studies, demos, and thought leadership. Measure success in the website conversion rate lift. Do it all using your in-house team and the gear you’ve already got.”

Interested in learning more about how content marketers produce videos, the types they use and where, how they measure success, and more? Check out the 2022 Video and Visual Storytelling report today.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute