Before your firm invests thousands of dollars on a video campaign, you should understand that promoting a video is just as important as producing one. If no one sees it, it's money wasted.

Wealth management firms aren't shy about using videos to promote their advisors. In July, for instance, Fidelity began offering digital marketing services for advisors who custody with them.

There are many examples of very successful campaigns using online video to tell stories and engage consumers. For example, Charles Schwab launched its 'Own Your Tomorrow' video series that shared the personal journeys of customers, with one of the videos alone receiving over 300,000 impressions on Vimeo and YouTube.

Advisors who want to use video as a marketing tool then should be aware of the challenges in getting potential clients to actually watch, and how to overcome them.

GENERATING AN AUDIENCE

Most marketers use video distribution platforms like YouTube or Vimeo to reach audiences. The primary reason is the global reach and engagement of these platforms. YouTube alone has over 1 billion users, with 100 million people taking a social action on YouTube every week. The hope is to tap into YouTube's reach and hit viral growth.

However, this approach needs a closer examination, since viewership and engagement is not evenly distributed. Being online doesn't mean clients will see the content. Google notes that 56% of all online ads aren't even seen and roughly 46% of web video ads are never viewed. This is borne out by reviewing the websites of many wealth management companies that have invested time and money to create high quality videos.

For example, Vanguard has uploaded 37 branded videos in the last six months of which twenty-seven (over 70%) had fewer than 1,000 views. Please note this figure is views, not uniques (so the actual number of visitors is probably half of this). One notable example is a video called, 'Why Communication is Key' that has received only 340 views since April 1.

Another example is Chevy Chase Trust, ranked first in Forbes ‘100 Top Wealth Managers.’ The company’s success does not extend to its social media strategy, where a link from its web site to its Facebook page shows 47 visits (170 likes) and a video by the CEO describing the company’s approach has received less than 200 views since it was uploaded in August 2013.

The problem with uploading videos to YouTube is broader than just unseen content. Since it is very difficult to successfully implement a call-to-action tool into the YouTube video, the path to customer acquisition is not clear. This is even more the case with audiences viewing YouTube videos on mobile devices, where there are no CTA opportunities during the video play.

OPTIMIZE YOUR MARKETING

So what should wealth management companies do to address these issues?

A number of wealth management firms have leveraged YouTube by embedding links on their own site. This results in the best of both worlds – benefiting from SEO value of placing a video in YouTube and opportunity of potential viral growth, while driving customers to a brand’s web site.

One example of this is Monument Wealth Management, which has successfully integrated embedded YouTube video links on its web site introducing the company, its products and vision.

Moreover, when the video is hosted on a company's website, data collection opportunities for marketers are almost limitless. For example, brands can create profiles of the audience and optimize at each step of the path to purchase.

Also, if marketers want to try and retarget the audience profile from YouTube they have to pay Google for the privilege of running media campaigns. When companies host videos on their own websites, however, they do not incur any additional costs using the audience data gathered for retargeting potential customers.

ANALYZING AUDIENCES

Current third party sites provide interfaces on video viewership, but most of the analysis is skin deep. For example, there is no A/B testing (a form of comparative analysis) available for videos on the YouTube platform.

Furthermore, many of the third party sites use different definitions for viewership and engagement metrics, making it hard to create a common understanding. Placing the video on their site, allows marketers to swap in/out vendors that analyze consumer engagement (e.g. Lucky Orange) or tie the data directly into their own marketing analytics systems (e.g. SugarCRM).

For wealth advisors willing to address this themselves, they should first build out a content strategy for on/off-site distribution and start small and iterate through consumer A/B testing to determine what video content works for their audience.

Some of the vendor partners to consider include Contently for helping a brand build a content strategy, Nibbler to test web site usability and Google consumer surveys for A/B testing. To increase audience engagement with your content, there are services offered by Outbrain, Facebook and (the author’s firm) acuteIQ. Pricing for these services varies based upon how much functionality an advisor wants, and I recommend starting with a test campaign.

Ian Foley is CEO of acuteIQ, a digital marketing firm.

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