Video activation vs video production, where should I spend my marketing budget?

21st June 2018

A question I get asked all the time revolves around marketing budgets. How much should I spend on video production versus video activation?

Ultimately, I advise people to get back to basics, examine their video marketing strategy and work from there. What used to be the standard 20:80 rule of TV advertising will not necessarily work for today’s digital campaigns. This split will also vary depending on where your video sits in your sales funnel, with a higher media spend for raising awareness to new audiences than on retention films.

I’ve been advising content marketers to move towards thinking like a publisher rather than an advertiser for many years now. Quality, relevant content, in the context of your audience’s viewing habits, is vital in order to meet your objectives; you need to ensure that your content is not only watched but shared. However, it’s also a pay to play environment, and few video campaigns are successful without a targeted advertising plan in place.

Watch this video I made earlier for the short answer:

Video planning

As a video marketing agency, we often come across businesses with an awesome video that would hit their audience’s sweet spot, but no-one sees it because they’ve run out of marketing budget to promote it. On the other hand, as strategic marketers, we do not want to waste advertising budgets on content that is not well made or conceived and does maximise ROI through earned media or engagement.

So we would ask, what are your objectives for the campaign? Who is the target market? What actions do you want them to take? To maximise your effectiveness, you need to be very clear about your audience and their motivations. If you simply move to the creative stage without clear data-driven goals, then your campaign will not help your business make a profit, raise awareness, or any other objective.

When you have thought about the kind of content that your audience would love, then you need to understand their behaviours in order to get the videos in front of them, whether that’s paid social advertising, paid search, TV ads or YouTube, combined with owned and earned channels.

Where are you in the sales funnel?

When you’re at the awareness stage in the funnel, you will be thinking about spending more through paid placements and reaching your new audiences.  If you’re doing TV ads, then you may want to adapt the 20:80 rule, but you do need to spend at least the same again on media – if not more.

Further down the sales funnel, at the consideration or decision stage, you may go for a 60:40 split. At this time, you are already engaging with your audience via your owned channels (social, blog content, YouTube channel) and therefore you can amplify this with paid content and outreach.

If you do not have a huge budget, there are still ways to get your voice heard. I’ve just written a blog about how help videos are a great way to reach new audiences by keying into long-tail search terms.

Ultimately, content and advertising budgets are inextricably linked and tied to your strategy. Working with an agency which covers both video production and activation can be a cost-effective way to manage the split between amazing content and highly effective video ads. If you’re looking for advice or a campaign plan, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re interested in maximising video marketing for your own brand or business, do check out my Video Marketing Strategy book. There’s 20% off for Hurricane web visitors this month.

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