It’s no surprise video has become the preferred method for candidates and campaigns to share their message with voters. By 2022, 82 percent of all online traffic will be video. That's up from 75 percent in 2017, according to research by Cisco. The combination of sight, sound, and motion in video engage users at much higher rates than standard text or pictures alone.
President Trump’s post of an edited clip of a CNN logo being body slammed in a wrestling ring generated over 39 million views, while video of Beto O’Rourke skateboarding helped put him in the national spotlight.
As video content has grown, so too have opportunities to share them. Campaigns can share video on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, over-the-top TV, text, and in-app on mobile devices. The list goes on and on.
But with so many ways to build and distribute video content, where should campaigns focus their resources? How do you create an authentic and engaging video strategy that resonates with your targeted audience?
Creating videos and GIFs can be time-consuming and at times expensive. Operatives need to weigh costs versus benefits of creating original content and the resources they require. Still, campaigns should absolutely make video a key part of their digital communications strategy. There are several easy and low-cost methods to ensure your video strategy is successful.
Campaigns should use videos to promote short updates from the candidate such as upcoming events, milestones, or fundraising deadlines. Don’t worry about polishing these videos. Authenticity is key. In fact, more organic-looking videos often perform better than high-end, TV-quality produced videos.
Take advantage of positive news coverage. Clips from local news are easy to post and share, and they provide third-party validation when originating from a trusted news source. If funds allow, consider investing in a media monitoring service subscription.
All campaigns should use video for rapid response. When you get punched, you need to respond, and video is a great counter. Video has a higher likelihood to be shared, which will ensure your rapid response reaches more people faster than a text post.
Use what you have.
Campaigns should not spend hours and hours trying to create original and complex content from scratch. That includes those funny GIFs that get a few laughs around headquarters. Use the footage you have that is going to give you the greatest return.
No milquetoast messaging.
With video, content is king. You must have something interesting to say, otherwise, voters won’t engage with your video no matter how slick. If a video isn’t persuading voters or raising dollars, it is not worth your time.
Don’t be hesitant to state opinions or speak plainly. Too often, we see campaigns with bland messaging. Voters react much more emphatically to a tagline like “Build the Wall!” versus “Reforming our broken immigration system.”
Pick the right medium.
Picking the right medium is also important. Instagram is one of the best platforms for organic visual content. Twitter is excellent for disseminating news and reaching the media. YouTube, in-app mobile and CTV/OTT are great ways to push video content using paid advertising to reach target audiences.
Think mobile first.
When you are going to cut the spots, there are a few technical tips to keep in mind.
First, think mobile first. Shoot the video vertically so it will appear well on mobile devices, where most video content is consumed. Also be sure the video can be understood with the sound off, as many users watch videos with no sound. Captions or subtitles of text on the animation will ensure your message is still delivered.
Video is going to be a must in 2020. The strategy doesn’t have to be intimidating. It needs to be authentic and engaging.
Reid Vineis is VP of Digital at Majority Strategies, a full-service data, digital and print firm.