Video Marketing Trends for 2015: Insights And Predictions From 15 Experts

Bet­ter sto­ry­telling and longer videos among keys to suc­cess for brands next year.

Greg Jarboe By Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Join the discussion » 0 comments

We recent­ly dis­cov­ered that 300 hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube every minute and mobile makes up almost 50 per­cent of YouTube’s glob­al watch time. Mean­while, Face­book has rolled out spon­sored video ads for brands with­in the News Feed with a $1 mil­lion-a-day price tag, Yahoo recent­ly acquired BrightRoll for approx­i­mate­ly $640 mil­lion in cash, and AOL has just acquired Vidi­ble. Senior mar­keters should already be gear­ing up for next year’s cam­paigns, but what will be the top video mar­ket­ing trends in 2015 that will pro­vide new oppor­tu­ni­ties? Here are insights and pre­dic­tions from 15 of the top video mar­ket­ing experts.


Jonathan Allen, Founder of L&T Co.

Jonathan AllenWhat do I think will be the biggest trend (or top trends) we can expect to see in video/YouTube mar­ket­ing in 2015? In short, cre­at­ing a video strat­e­gy that is designed to be host­ed on a domain, rather than cre­at­ing it specif­i­cal­ly for oth­er net­works that you must then rely on for expo­sure.

With con­tent that you believe could go viral, resist the temp­ta­tion to imme­di­ate­ly release your video to the largest audi­ence. The best videos aren’t always found first on YouTube, as low view counts can dis­cour­age shar­ing. Instead, pub­lish to small­er, more lim­it­ed audi­ences via niche net­works that don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly dis­play view counts, let­ting the work speak far more for itself.

I’m refer­ring to a video hosts like Vimeo and Wis­tia. You can even indulge the impor­tant few by exclu­sive­ly releas­ing the video to a cadre of friends through Face­book or a pri­vate view­ing for indus­try influ­encers on LinkedIn.

If peo­ple are delight­ed to find it, they’ll be delight­ed to share it. More­over, when it’s hard­er to find a qual­i­ty video, it cre­ates more incen­tive to share it. That’s how you “get it out there.”

And if your video still doesn’t take off at first, rest easy: the peri­od dur­ing which your video remains “undis­cov­ered” is the ide­al oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach out to all kinds of dif­fer­ent blogs, irre­spec­tive of how well-known they are. Test out a vari­ety of angles and ways to talk about the video when you con­tact them, even on pub­lic forums like Red­dit and Twit­ter. That rel­a­tive­ly few peo­ple have seen your video pro­vides a huge incen­tive for influ­en­tial blogs and com­mu­ni­ties to scoop up the sto­ry and share it exclu­sive­ly with their audi­ences.

In my expe­ri­ence, a video can remain in an “undis­cov­ered state” for months before sud­den­ly going viral and rack­ing up a mil­lion views. But you might stop me there and ask, “How do you know the view count if you’ve not been pub­lish­ing to YouTube?”

This brings me to the final part of my tip. In the peri­od between being a zero and being a hero, pub­lish to YouTube right at the tip­ping point—when the video starts gen­er­at­ing respons­es online and shows the poten­tial to go viral. You’ll cre­ate extra momen­tum and assure your­self that the low view count of a new upload won’t stay low for long.


Rob Ciampa, CMO at Pixability, @robciampa

Rob CiampaThe bat­tle between YouTube and Face­book will be the main focus in 2015. In this war though, every­one will win. It’s not going to be a choice of one video plat­form over the oth­er; instead, suc­cess­ful brand mar­keters will put a com­bi­na­tion of the two to work.

At the prac­ti­cal lev­el, in 2015 we will enter the age of trans­paren­cy. As a result of the cor­rup­tion and ad fraud of 2014, we’ll see adver­tis­ers shift toward more main­stream video ad plat­forms in 2015, opt­ing to part­ner only with trust­ed adtech sources. Video ana­lyt­ics will play a much more impor­tant role, and we’ll see demand for more robust report­ing.

We also antic­i­pate more video ad inter­ac­tiv­i­ty, includ­ing smarter, dynam­ic anno­ta­tions and cus­tomized, geo-based anno­ta­tions. We’ll see an over­all increase in ad spend on YouTube, and more sophis­ti­cat­ed mobile video adver­tis­ing. We also expect to see bet­ter orga­nized and more effec­tive­ly man­aged chan­nels, includ­ing a bal­ance between adver­tis­ing and con­tent. We’re past the age of throw­ing spaghet­ti on the wall and see­ing what sticks.


Crystal Dahlen, Global Communications & Public Affairs at Google

Crystal DahlenEach year, we take a look at the top ads that res­onate with peo­ple on YouTube. This year, we found that:

  • On aver­age, ads are near­ly 50 per­cent longer this year, but peo­ple watched them 50 per­cent more.
    • Peo­ple watched more than 1 bil­lion min­utes of just the top 10 ads this year – 54 per­cent more than last year (2014 vs. 2013).
    • The top 10 ads were 47 per­cent longer this year – aver­ag­ing 3 min­utes in length (2014 vs. 2013).
  • When we launched the YouTube Ads Leader­board in 2012, the top 10 ads earned 200 mil­lion views. This year, the top 10 ads more than dou­bled that view count, earn­ing 425 mil­lion views.

Com­mon themes of the top ads:

  • From 30 Sec­onds to 3 Min­utes: Ads on YouTube have gone from tra­di­tion­al 30 sec­ond ad spots to much longer videos that tell a sto­ry. In fact, the top 10 ads this year aver­aged 3 min­utes in length – more than five times the dura­tion of a typ­i­cal ad spot. The Nike Foot­ball “Win­ner Stays” video, which earned the num­ber one spot with near­ly 100 mil­lion views, clocks in at 4:12.
  • Sports events have gone YouTube: This was a big year for live sports with the Super Bowl, Olympics, and World Cup. We found that brands are increas­ing­ly using YouTube to reach fans before and after the games. And for good rea­son – the top 10 Super Bowl and World Cup ads this year earned a remark­able 14 mil­lion hours of watch time, with 75 per­cent of those hours con­sumed before or after the events them­selves.
  • Cre­ator col­lab­o­ra­tions have explod­ed: We’ve seen a dra­mat­ic uptick in the num­ber of brands col­lab­o­rat­ing with YouTube cre­ators to devel­op orig­i­nal con­tent on YouTube. Since there were so many to rec­og­nized, this year we broke out the top col­lab­o­ra­tion videos for 2014.

To cel­e­brate this year’s top ads around the world, we teamed up with Kurt Hugo Schnei­der to remix them into an orig­i­nal video to the tunes of YouTube cre­ators Scott Bradlee from Scot­tBradleeLovesya, Tay­lor Davis, Mike Relm, and Michael Thurber. You can watch “2014 YouTube Ads Rewind: A Glob­al Look Back”:


Rob Davis, Executive Director of Content Marketing at OgilvyOne

Rob Davis2015 will be a year of reck­on­ing for video strate­gies across a wide swath of brands, as a matur­ing mar­ket­place increas­es busi­ness expec­ta­tions for cus­tomer engage­ment, con­tent effec­tive­ness and clear ROI. This dri­ve for per­for­mance will result in three spe­cif­ic trends to watch in 2015.

1. The Return Of Sto­ry­telling

Con­ven­tion­al wis­dom has been telling us that cus­tomers have short atten­tion spans and the only way to reach them is through short “snack­able” con­tent. Our indus­try seems to have accept­ed as fact that low video view­ing rates are the result of this con­sumer trait.

Rarely have I heard any­one sug­gest that maybe cus­tomers don’t engage because so many videos are… well… not very good. It is eas­i­er to blame the audi­ence than to force the kind intro­spec­tion that results from an hon­est assess­ment of how a brand com­mu­ni­cates.

Yet, here we are deep in the hol­i­day sea­son and the hot brand video is not a Vine. It is not micro. It is a two minute long, emo­tion­al sto­ry of a UPS dri­ver and his 4 year-old friend (full dis­clo­sure, UPS is an Ogilvy client).

2. Under­stand­ing The Val­ue Of Build­ing And Main­tain­ing An Audi­ence

Brands are wak­ing up to the fact that the most suc­cess­ful video pro­duc­ers are those cul­ti­vat­ing their own audi­ences. The top YouTube cre­ators have invest­ed in build­ing a last­ing bond between sto­ry­teller and view­er, a bond cement­ed sim­ply by click­ing “sub­scribe.”

As brands become more com­fort­able with their new role as direct com­mu­ni­ca­tors, they will also take own­er­ship of devel­op­ing and main­tain­ing a direct video-based rela­tion­ship with their cus­tomers. Sub­scribers become ambas­sadors that the brand can reach sim­ply by pub­lish­ing new con­tent. Only a hand­ful of com­pa­nies are focused on this now, but it as a cus­tomer engage­ment trend that I expect many brands to fol­low in 2015.

3. Full Fun­nel Video Mar­ket­ing

2015 will be the year of full-fun­nel video mar­ket­ing. We are already see­ing signs of this trend, as brands that have played in the top of fun­nel “viral” space become more adept at using video for con­ver­sion and loy­al­ty.

At larg­er brands, we will con­tin­ue to see upper fun­nel mass mar­ket con­tent, while those with mature video strate­gies will simul­ta­ne­ous­ly align con­tent pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion to CRM and mar­ket­ing automa­tion sys­tems. For small and mid-mar­ket brands, I expect to a see a greater focus on low­er fun­nel video con­tent where met­rics around con­ver­sion are more impor­tant than views, likes or shares.

Our indus­try is done with the race to the bot­tom to make the short­est or cheap­est (or short­est and cheap­est) videos pos­si­ble. 2015 is the year of cus­tomer engage­ment and renewed video strate­gies. It will be inter­est­ing to watch these trends devel­op and see which brands rise to the top by this time next year.


John Follis, President / Creative Director of Big Idea Video

John FollisFor 2015, one trend I see is the con­tin­ued explo­sion of ani­mat­ed, explain­er-type videos.

A cou­ple of years ago, the term “explain­er video” didn’t even exist. In 2015, I think most busi­ness­es and orga­ni­za­tions will have one.


Brendan Gahan, Founder of EpicSignal, @brendangahan

Brendan Gahan2015 is going to be a wake­up call for many brands. Those who have forced them­selves to aban­don old habits, adopt­ed dig­i­tal video aggres­sive­ly and learned to adjust their approach­es to fit the plat­form best are going to win.

Today the major­i­ty of brands are still try­ing to find their foot­ing on YouTube and beyond. The needs and expec­ta­tions of video on one plat­form vary dras­ti­cal­ly from the next. It’s not one-size fits all.

With the launch of Google Pre­ferred this past year we saw that there is still an over­whelm­ing desire for brands to buy media the same way they bought TV 50 years ago — buy­ing media months in advance with few oppor­tu­ni­ties to opti­mize. Adver­tis­ers have tak­en a sys­tem that worked in the ear­ly days and applied it today where the same rules no longer apply.

Brands are con­tin­u­ing to fol­low old TV habits on the pro­duc­tion side as well. Pro­duc­tion is becom­ing com­modi­tized and it’s no longer nec­es­sary to spend hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to cre­ate some­thing great — although many brands still con­tin­ue to spend as if that’s the case. While brands are spend­ing mil­lions, the top YouTube cre­ators are gen­er­at­ing mil­lions of views and sub­scribers using only their web­cams and cell phones.

This kind of change is hap­pen­ing every­where with the advent of new tech­nol­o­gy — this cre­ates oppor­tu­ni­ty in the space between the pos­si­bil­i­ties which new tech­nol­o­gy pro­vides and the incum­bents unable or unwill­ing to adapt.

The same way Uber dis­rupt­ed the taxi indus­try by cap­i­tal­iz­ing on new tech­nolo­gies to con­nect pas­sen­gers direct­ly to dri­vers – so too is the new ad ecosys­tem dis­rupt­ing old adver­tis­ing habits by effi­cient­ly con­nect­ing adver­tis­ers to con­sumers, with­out all the bloat and over­head costs of a bygone era. The effi­cien­cies tech­nol­o­gy has made avail­able to brands in the media and pro­duc­tion spaces weren’t pos­si­ble until recent­ly — much in the same way the tech­nol­o­gy for order­ing a cab over a mobile phone wasn’t pos­si­ble until just a few years ago.

How­ev­er, the same way taxis missed the oppor­tu­ni­ties which Uber has cap­i­tal­ized on, many incum­bent brands are miss­ing out on pos­si­bil­i­ties avail­able to them today.

The brands that are going to win are those that embrace this ecosys­tem and explore new ways of buy­ing and cre­at­ing con­tent. This means col­lab­o­rat­ing with influ­encers, opti­miz­ing media buys, and cre­at­ing con­tent that audi­ences are ask­ing for.


Cortney Henseler, Director of Consumer Insights at AOL

Cortney HenselerWhen con­sumers are dis­tract­ed, adver­tis­ing pays the price. Dis­tract­ed video view­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly impacts adver­tis­ing effec­tive­ness from ad recall to per­sua­sion.

On aver­age, when peo­ple are dis­tract­ed by a device, their ad recall went down by 43 per­cent­age points. When a view­er is dis­tract­ed by anoth­er per­son, their recall went down by 52 per­cent­age points.

Mea­sure­ment, how­ev­er, has not adapt­ed to take this frag­ment­ed atten­tion into account. Reach and fre­quen­cy alone are no longer suf­fi­cient for video plan­ning and mea­sure­ment.


Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of SEO-PR

Greg JarboeLast year, most online video mar­keters spent a lot of time focused on the bat­tle for short-form video con­sump­tion. Mobile apps like Vine and Video on Insta­gram forced us to rethink a lot of assump­tions even if we con­tin­ued cre­at­ing mid-form con­tent for YouTube or Vimeo.

Next year, many of us will want to spend a lot of time focused on the bat­tle for long-form con­sump­tion. “Pre­mi­um” video con­tent offered by Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime Instant Video will prob­a­bly force us to rethink more assump­tions even if we con­tin­ue cre­at­ing mid-form con­tent for YouTube and Face­book.

In fact, if you want to see one of the open­ing clash­es in this glob­al cam­paign, then you’ll need to watch Mar­co Polo on Net­flix, which pre­miered on Dec. 12, 2104. It’s worth not­ing that the first offi­cial trail­er for the new Net­flix orig­i­nal series appears on YouTube. It shows you a glimpse of the lit­tle-known begin­nings of the leg­endary explor­er, whose life of adven­ture began as a ward of the pow­er­ful 13th cen­tu­ry Mon­gol emper­or Kublai Khan.


Laney Lewis, Senior Director of Marketing, Clearleap

Laney LewisIn 2015 we’re going to see a much greater push in online video mar­ket­ing and more pro­por­tion­al spend­ing. Not so long ago adver­tis­ers were spend­ing 45 per­cent of their adver­tis­ing on TV when peo­ple were only watch­ing it 38 per­cent of the time.

Next year, I think we’ll see more of a shift toward bridg­ing this dig­i­tal divide and align­ing adver­tis­ing with con­sumer habits. Some brands have already start­ed. Take Ruf­fles, for exam­ple – they went from spend­ing about 29 per­cent of their adver­tis­ing bud­get on dig­i­tal to near­ly 100 per­cent.


Carla Marshall, Managing Editor of ReelSEO

Carla MarshallBrands are start­ing to real­ize that, beyond paid and owned media, there is a third way to reach their tar­get audi­ence. And that’s via earned media.

Cur­rent­ly, the ratio of fan-gen­er­at­ed video con­tent vs brand­ed con­tent on YouTube stands at rough­ly 9:1 across most of the major ver­ti­cals like beau­ty, gam­ing, and how-to and style. In the beau­ty cat­e­go­ry alone, major brands have only gen­er­at­ed 3 per­cent of the 14.9 bil­lion beau­ty-relat­ed video views on YouTube, with the oth­er 97 per­cent of views going to inde­pen­dent cre­ators. With 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, I can only see that per­cent­age grow­ing.

There are a huge num­ber of cre­ators that are native to the YouTube plat­form, and have devel­oped their con­tent along with the needs of their audi­ence. These Influ­encers are the ones dri­ving views, and the unbox­ing videos, haul videos, walk-throughs, and reviews they cre­ate are the ones that are get­ting the atten­tion, the views, and the engage­ment. I see a lot more brands tak­ing advan­tage of this, and team­ing up on col­lab­o­ra­tions with YouTu­bers to lever­age the audi­ence these cre­ators have built up.


Devra Prywes, VP of Marketing & Insight for Unruly

Devra PrywesMoment Mar­ket­ing will take off.

What is moment mar­ket­ing? It’s not about react­ing in the moment (e.g. not cre­at­ing anoth­er Oreo/Super Bowl event) – but rather iden­ti­fy­ing the moments that are mean­ing­ful to your cus­tomers and plan­ning in advance to add val­ue at that par­tic­u­lar point in time.

Mar­keters will use real-time data and real-world sig­nals to set rules that pro­gram­mat­i­cal­ly boost ads (or spe­cif­ic cre­atives) against real-life events that affect con­sumer behav­ior. Here’s a few to con­sid­er:

  • Weath­er: Increase the pres­ence of your Caribbean resort video adver­tis­ing when the tem­per­a­ture drops 10 degrees overnight in New York and your island has a temp over 80 degrees;
  • Sports/events: Boost when the ath­lete your brand spon­sors makes a game-chang­ing move in a tele­vised sport­ing event
  • TV: Inten­si­fy the reach and fre­quen­cy of your video ads for a set peri­od of time after your TV ad airs, ambush cus­tomers when your competitor’s ads are on TV, or even sched­ule your dig­i­tal spots against the ad breaks in spe­cif­ic TV shows (at a frac­tion of the cost of the TV buy).
  • Shopping/location: Mes­sage con­sumers on their smart­phone in a spe­cif­ic loca­tion in or near a point of pur­chase using bea­con­s/­geo-fenc­ing.

Dan Ripoll, Co-Founder & CEO, ContentBLVD.com

Dan RipollBrands will cede more con­trol to YouTube tal­ent.

The pow­er of YouTube is its authen­tic­i­ty. Fans feel direct­ly con­nect­ed to their favorite YouTube stars, mak­ing YouTube an incred­i­ble influ­encer mar­ket­ing medi­um.

As brand inte­gra­tions like prod­uct place­ments, prod­uct reviews and spon­sored videos become more pop­u­lar on YouTube, brands are learn­ing that to col­lab­o­rate effec­tive­ly, they can’t dic­tate the terms of the agree­ment.

Most mar­ket­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions have been demand-dri­ven: brands tell media part­ners what kinds of place­ments they want to buy, either through RFPs, or media buy­ers, or good old email out­reach. But a bro­ker mod­el, where buy­ers are out say­ing what they want to pay for has nev­er worked as well as a seller’s mar­ket­place where the peo­ple with some­thing to sell run the show. Think of eBay, Ama­zon, or your local gro­cery store; the inven­to­ry they have avail­able dic­tates what you get to buy.

Why does this apply to YouTube? Because YouTu­bers with pop­u­lar chan­nels are in demand and get­ting pitched by brands all the time.

As demand grows, sup­ply becomes more valu­able, and YouTu­bers know it. They also know their audi­ence and what kind of inte­gra­tions will play best. They have their own cre­ative vision to pro­tect. It’s what got them their valu­able audi­ence in the first place!

The brands who let YouTu­bers sit in the driver’s seat will be the ones who reap the rewards of con­nect­ing with their audi­ence in fun and authen­tic ways.


Manny Rivas, Online Advertising Director at aimClear

Manny RivasExpect brands’ reach into YouTube com­mu­ni­ties to widen, not only through native adver­tis­ing, but through col­lab­o­ra­tion cam­paigns with YouTube influ­encers via Mul­ti-Chan­nel Net­works (MCNs) and oth­er bud­ding ser­vices built around demand.

Devices used to access video will con­tin­ue to diver­si­fy, mak­ing a tru­ly device agnos­tic view­er. This con­flu­ence also has impli­ca­tions for expand­ed ad inven­to­ry as well as con­tex­tu­al tar­get­ing options.

Third-par­ty (ad, reporting/analysis, com­pet­i­tive) tools will in all like­li­hood con­tin­ue to sur­face designed to meet needs and demands of MCN’s, brands, agen­cies, media companies/publishers and emerg­ing cre­ators.


Tim Schmoyer, Founder of Video Creators

Tim SchmoyerIn 2015 I expect to see a greater shift toward sto­ry­telling among YouTube video mar­keters. Prod­uct endorse­ments and brand inte­gra­tions have been suc­cess­ful for many brands, but mar­keters are learn­ing that YouTube audi­ences build emo­tion­al, human con­nec­tions with cre­ators through the sto­ries they’re telling.

This will play out in two ways.

  • Instead of just work­ing with cre­ators who share the brand’s tar­get audi­ence, brands will look for cre­ators whose sto­ries inter­sect with their own. The cross sec­tion of shared beliefs and sto­ry with cre­ators and audi­ences will result in not only the best results for the brand, but also in a cam­paign that’s extreme­ly valu­able to the cre­ator and their view­ers.
  • Brands will take more ini­tia­tive to wrap their own videos with sto­ries that are mean­ing­ful to them and their cus­tomers. This kind of native adver­tis­ing will help brands cre­ate an emo­tion­al, human con­nec­tion with their own audi­ence.

In 2015 I hope many brands will use this pow­er­ful con­nec­tion with audi­ences to not only gen­er­ate rev­enue, but also to change lives for the bet­ter.

Those will be the brands that win in the long-run.


Jeremy Vest, Founder & CEO of Vidpow

Jeremy VestIn 2015 I think many brands are going to stop using YouTube as a dump­ing ground for TV com­mer­cials and oth­er types of con­tent that large­ly don’t work well on YouTube.

Brands are start­ing to real­ize that they have to cre­ate con­tent worth watch­ing. Con­tent that is good enough to enter­tain, edu­cate or inform and con­tent that is worth a like, share or com­ment. The only way to gain con­stant views is to devel­op an audi­ence by con­stant­ly releas­ing con­tent that peo­ple want to watch.

I also think that in 2015 large sums of mon­ey com­ing from tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing like TV, mag­a­zines and radio will find its way to video adver­tis­ing. With­in video ads I think the indus­try will get very smart with tar­get­ing cus­tomers and mea­sur­ing ROI.


What do you think will be the top video mar­ket­ing trends for 2015?

Greg Jarboe

Written by Greg Jarboe

President, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is President and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency that was founded in 2003. He’s the author of YouTube and Video Marketing and also a contributor to The Art of SEO, Strategic Digital Marketing, Complete B2B Online Marketing, and Enchantment. He’s profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and writes for Tubular Insights and The SEM Post. He’s an executive education instructor at the Rutgers Business School and the Video and Content Marketing faculty chair at Simplilearn.

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