July 24, 2017

Video costs WHAT?! The Truth about Value and ROI

corporate video production costs
The “Shock and Awe” of getting a video quote. Photo Courtesy: Ben White

Never fails. A client new to video excitedly calls to request a quote for their video project. Delivery of said quote results in radio silence.  Why? Because they are experiencing a severe case of sticker shock. It’s one that plunges them from the highs of creative excitement to the depths of empty-pocketed despair.  People want video. They understand the need for video in a crowded internet marketplace. They get stuck on what video costs. What they don’t understand is its value.


It’s time to flip the mindset. Don’t consider video as an expense. It’s an investment.


Take a moment to soak that in, because it’s not just self-promotional backslapping, as that’s just not our style.  If your video is done in the right way, with the right message tailored to your audience’s needs, it can actually save and yes, (yes!) make you money.  Like any advertising or marketing, you expect to spend money to make money.


A recent study by Unruly shows the impact of video on brand metrics is strong. Among 18-34 year olds, video increased brand association by 139% and purchase intent by 97%.


Here are some examples of different videos that can save or make you money.


Fundraising Videos

Forgive stating the obvious, but the most straightforward example of a money-making opportunity is a fundraising video. Non-profits can find success by telling stories that invite your audience to empathize.



Product Videos

People do all of their research online now before they decide to purchase. Make sure the benefits of your product are clearly and concisely explained. It also helps to wrap it up in a sexy treatment:



Video costs can easily be calculated by an increase in sales. Was the product video part of an email campaign? How many people opened the email, clicked through to the video and then to your e-commerce site?  Chalk that purchase up to a “win” for video.


Animated Videos

Explain something complicated. Especially for manufacturing or technology clients, an animated (or partially animated) video is the simplest way to explain your value proposition.  If people don’t understand what your product or service does, they most definitely won’t sacrifice their hard-fought marketing budget for it.



Training Videos

Save your brand time (and therefore money) in training. No, they’re not the Maserati of video, but they serve a distinct purpose and promote efficiency and safety. So… the Volvo of videos. Still valuable.


Internal Communications

Employees are an audience like any other. They’re people.  They’re busy. They have lives. They want to be engaged and a spreadsheet just doesn’t make people hula hoop over your content.  If you want to make sure they’re ingesting and internalizing your messaging, you have to make the communications interesting.  Your employees can be your strongest advocates and megaphones to the outside world. Don’t forget them.


Branded Entertainment

We’ve been touting the benefits of branded entertainment for more than ten years, and it’s finally catching on with more brands. They understand this kind of content offers near- complete escapism from standard advertising where the mantra is an aggressive “Sell. Sell. Sell.”  Branded entertainment is the opposite.  It’s a handshake. A hug. A warm introduction to your brand.

The goal is to actually engage with your audience through content that enriches their lives in some way. Give them something they can’t get elsewhere, like a behind the scenes series. American Express did this wonderfully with Taylor Swift:


Branded entertainment can increase brand awareness, affinity and loyalty. You don’t have to sell your product all the time. Be relatable. Be funny. Be real. (Check out recent blogs on using humor in advertising and content here; on authentic storytelling here.)


The level of brand inclusion in these pieces can be diverse. It’s as involved as your team wants it to be. It can include something as simple as product mentions or product placement, sure, but consumers are experts by now in spotting the obvious, as satirically eviscerated here:




Sometimes, the plot or storylines can have nothing to do with the brand. You can just have a “sponsored by” tag or title card. To us, that’s dangerous territory because the audience isn’t necessarily going to connect the dots between, say, an aspirational message of going on journeys with your lampshade brand. It just won’t make sense. It won’t stick.


The best branded entertainment includes the brand organically by becoming true co-creators in the storylines.  Show talent (hopefully real people) using your product or service in their day-to-day life. That journey example works with a tire brand, a travel brand, or even a retirement brand.


Brand awareness is nice and an important tool in your marketing toolbox, and even though I just told you not to sell, sales can, and should be, an expected result.


Proving ROI in video

Video metrics have come a long way. People used to say, “I need a video” without considering the cost, maybe because it was the new hot marketing tool (ah, how I miss those days). But, like any marketing, video has matured. Like a teenager turned adult, you now expect more accountability.


Tools are in place to not just track vanity metrics like likes and shares. For example, you can also figure out the device and operating system a person was using when they watched; their location; average percentage watched and average finished.  You can do user experience testing and optimization, and track conversion rates. Did people do what you wanted them to do at the end of your video?  That’s definitive proof it worked.

Still concerned about video costs?  Consider the cost of not having video in a marketplace that’s clamoring for it.

Information is power.  Now that you know the benefits and some of the available metrics behind video, take this knowledge to heart and go after those video projects. Rip off the band-aid and embrace the spend. You’ll be happy you did.


Have you seen or created a video campaign with amazing results lately? Share the case study with me. I’d love to share it in a future blog.