To pivot, or not to pivot: The truth about video

In the last couple of years, video has become the new crude oil of digital marketing: advertisers have chased after it relentlessly, and often at any cost.

And they’re still doing it, with one report saying marketers are planning to increase their video spend for mobile in 2018. 

But beware, intrepid prospector. If you’re planning to go “all in” on video content – or, to use a corporate catchphrase, “pivot to video” – you could be mining fool’s gold.

The truth about the Great Pivot to Video

As the Columbia Journalism Review notes in this excellent piece, there’s a dark side to the video gold rush.

Lured by “faulty metrics ” from Facebook, writer Heidi N. Moore says, publishers have laid off “hundreds of journalists” to save money for video production (a costly and time-consuming endeavor). But the sacrifices were in vain, as publishers ultimately failed “to effectively turn video views into either higher readership or ad dollars.”

Moore also states, in no uncertain terms, that “the pivot to video has failed.”

What went wrong

Much of this “pivot” happened on Facebook, and as Digiday says, “publishers are making a risky bet when they cast off their own websites and rely on (social media) platforms.”

After all, views and engagement do not always equal clicks.

And indeed, Digiday notes, the sites that bet all their chips on viral video last summer experienced an “at least a 60 percent drop in their traffic” in August. Ouch.

Don’t dismiss video yet

This does not mean video is not worth your time.

The Columbia Journalism Review recommends that publishers “focus on good video”:

It should be original, clever, entertaining, and part of a balanced multimedia approach to digital journalism that includes well-written, well-reported stories, strong data and graphics, and good art.

In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re considering a smart pivot to video, contact us first. Our experts and consultants are happy to discuss content and production strategy, so reach out to Fluency Digital for a FREE consultation today.

Declan Desmond