How Video can Help Brands Tell Better Stories

The stats around video’s reign as content king are hard to argue with: by now, one-third of all online activity is spent watching video. The average user is exposed to 32.3 videos in a month, and 75% of online video viewers have interacted with an online video ad this month.

Smart social marketers are refining their video strategies daily to keep up with and stay ahead of trends. So Spredfast’s Director of Agency Partnerships and Business Development Dalyn Ward sat down with someone at the forefront of social and digital strategy—Matt Holliday, Associate Director of Social Strategy at DigitasLBi—to discuss how brands can and should use video to tell better stories.

Dalyn Ward: To start, it would be great to learn a little about you and your role at DigitasLBi.

Matt Holiday: I began my career connecting people through journalism, moved into brand building for several retailers, then started exploring the marriage of the two through brand and digital strategy at agencies. I currently provide social media and digital strategy for DigitasLBi.

How do you think video content is impacting your role and the social content space in general?

Video content is a necessary consideration in every strategy or campaign we create and execute. If we aren’t thinking about a video-centric solution, we are at the very minimum thinking about how to incorporate video to tell an aspect of the story.

Video content is a necessary consideration in every strategy or campaign we create.


Is video a critical component to a brand’s social and content strategy? If so, is that impacting how you plan organic and paid content?

Yes; video demands that we more closely consider the split in investment between organic vs. paid, knowing that we need to allow a little more for the actual development and production of the video. But there are, more often than not, bumps in performance metrics on the back end that help justify those up-front costs, for both paid and organic content.

Speaking of paid: What about budget? Does a brand need serious funds to make seriously good video?

Budget depends on the platform and the medium, but there are too many individuals out there creating amazing content and sharing it through their personal accounts for us to say it can’t be done for a brand on a larger scale. That being said, talent and production value will always add zeros to any project, even if you’re just shooting on a phone.

How do you ensure video content resonates and does not fall flat with your client’s audience?

Know the audience. There is no substitute for understanding how and where the people you want to speak to are communicating. Once that’s established, we can tap into existing behaviors, use language familiar to those communities, and then make sure the content delivers the message in a way that’s easy to understand - with clear next steps for the viewer.

There is no substitute for understanding how and where the people you want to speak to are communicating.


What impact is live video and 360 video having on your work?

We have yet to scratch the surface on how it will change the way we deliver a message, but it has given us a new dimension when showing consumers how the products we represent can benefit their lives. As a consumer myself, I’m excited to be able to engage with content in new ways, and that’s obviously an area that is so important to the success of social and digital in general.

How do you adjust your plans—from lead time to execution to talent—when video or live video is involved?

There is a lot to consider, but it really boils down to practice. And there are things even in live videos that have been rehearsed and practiced, because they are recurring elements. We’ve been doing this long enough that we know those elements, and we know how to incorporate them in an efficient way.

What clients have you worked with or brands you have seen that are pushing the limits and doing it well either with live video, or video in general?

Dunkin Donuts is a client that has been a great partner for us – they are happy to explore the latest ways to produce and share video, and their product lends itself so well to fun, short form videos. They are using video to capture attention and deliver messages that haven’t traditionally been exciting or engaging. For example, sharing an offer to customers tends to become white noise in the social space. Video allows us to make the message more interactive and more expansive. We did this for #PerksWeek.


In a more general sense, I’m very impressed with how some individuals are using 360 video to create these unique music videos where I can experience the performance from the perspective of an audience member or the performer in the same video.

How are you measuring success and reporting? What role does Spredfast play?

Obviously there are metrics directly associated with the video itself, like views, completion rates, or clicks on any links associated with the video. But when sharing content on social media (or any media, for that matter), it’s as important to listen to conversations about the ad, brand, or segment that occur away from the actual content. Spredfast gives us the ability to track key words or phrases to find those conversations and get a more genuine reaction to the content. That intel allows us to adjust and adapt, as needed.

What tools are you using to find best in class examples of video content? How is Spredfast playing a role?

Of course there are the sites that are the wellsprings of the internet like Reddit and Vimeo, but we also do a lot of listening to identify not only what we think is cool, but more importantly, what the audience we want to reach thinks is cool. That’s where Spredfast comes in, by helping us find those conversations, links, and comments that show us how a specific group likes to consume and engage with video.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.