Common mistakes with video marketing (and how to fix them)

17th July 2018

When advising brands to improve their video marketing campaigns, it’s often useful to turn things around look at the common mistakes that people are making with video content, and more importantly, how to fix them.

If (like most of your customers) you’d prefer to watch a video rather than read on, I’ve pulled together a short video with key pointers.

1/ Ditch the Sporks

One of the most common issues is not being focused enough and clear on your objectives. It is important to clarify your campaign aims which will often be about understanding the problems faced by your customer and addressing them.

I call it the “spork effect” – it’s neither a fork or knife, so what good is it? With video content, if you don’t have clear objectives then you end up meeting none of them. We often go into meetings where more and more things are added to the film, and then the messages become so distilled, they are almost meaningless. As a brand, you have lots of things to say about your product but it is important to choose the strongest message and weave that through your film. The other messages can be used to back up your product further down the sales funnel.

This is where the power of “So What?” comes in. For each message, ask yourself, is this adding to the central focus of the video. It can be tough to cut down the factual content in your video which is working to back up your emotional messages. But I advise using fewer facts; it’s a classic case of “say less, do more.”

What to do instead? Have one clear message that runs through the film and then track that with the right metrics. Which segues nicely into my second common mistake…

2/ Video metrics

Often people do not use the most appropriate metrics to track their campaigns. Video views are the most common metric to use, but it may not be the best one to track. It does indicate reach but not the engagement levels. Another consideration is that views mean different things across platforms; on Facebook, a view is triggered after viewers watch 3 seconds and then on YouTube, after 30 seconds.

With regard to YouTube, the Watch Report will show impressions, impression CTA, views, average view duration, which can be filtered by content, region, subscription etc. This gives a more textured account of how your video is doing and can help you identify drop-off points and triggers to improve your content.

Engagement metrics are also useful in order to show how well your content is being received and messages understood. On social video, you can look at content which is getting more likes, shares and comments; these could also be candidates to boost with a paid post.

Finally, it’s fine to set up KPIs that are sales-specific as long as you also focus on metrics which track your long-term brand-building.

3/ What’s the perfect video length?

A third issue can be video length. While there isn’t a perfect video length in all circumstances, as a rule of thumb, shorter is better. In a study by Wistia (where they looked at data from 564,710 videos with more than 1.3 billion plays) it becomes clear that view rates drop off dramatically after 2 minutes.

I’m not saying that long-form content is out; it can be a great way to gain engagement further down the funnel or raise awareness as a piece of content marketing. Indeed, with YouTube’s algorithm favouring watch time, many influencers are creating longer content to take advantage of this. And of course, we can no longer say one video length fits all. With the numerous video platforms out there, you need to tailor content so that it’s the right length for each format. Success is not just down to length; ensure that the video has an interesting hook to give viewers a reason to stay tuned; 45% of people who watch the first 3 seconds of a video will keep watching for at least 30 seconds.

 4/ Don’t forget a Call to Action

Here’s a bonus mistake and easy fix; it’s forgetting to add a CTA to your video. You would add a call to action to an email or blog piece, and it’s just as important on a video to encourage users to move down the sales funnel.

It’s essential to match your content, and its place in the buying cycle, with the action you want them to take, whether that’s subscribing to your channel, signing up for a newsletter or ebook, watching another video or visiting your website.

Ensure that the CTA stands out, is written or narrated in clear language, and that it’s easy for the viewer to take action. The CTA doesn’t always need to be at the end of the video as not all your viewers will see it; test adding your message earlier in the film to improve ROI.


What video mistakes have you noticed? Let me know in the comments below. If you have a specific video marketing question, do get in touch and check out my book, “Video Marketing Strategy” for more tips.

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