If you’ve chosen to pursue video for B2B marketing efforts, you’ve made a wise choice. Over 80% of businesses are using video to reach customers, and that statistic is likely a conservative representation of video’s importance in 2021 and beyond. But what do your target customers in IT departments and other corporate spaces really think about product-related videos?
We recently surveyed IT departments and other technology buyers in your customer base to find the answer to that question.
Our sister sites, My TechDecisions & Campus Safety, are focused on technology buyers within corporate, education, retail, government and related industries and helped supply the audience for our survey.
Demographics of those surveyed
Over 40% of our respondents said they work in education, while a little over 20% work in corporate settings.
The next-most represented verticals were healthcare (over 10%) and nonprofits (over 8%), followed by government (over 7%), manufacturer (5%), and hospitality (1%).
Over 30% purchase security technology for campuses and businesses, while just shy of 30% work in IT/AV/Technology-related departments
About 14% are either executives or administrators, and over 6% handle building operations. A few respondents work in marketing & sales, and about 10% identified their job as “other.”
A surprising preference for the written word
Something we could not have predicted when we conducted this research is that the preference for written articles would rank so similarly with the preference for videos.
When prompted with the question “What information formats do you most enjoy?” written articles barely beat out videos by a few percentage points.
We expected these results to skew opposite; but the third-most ranking response was PDF download, suggesting this customer base still appreciates the written word when they consume content.
That doesn’t mean videos aren’t worth the time to create — after all, these numbers may have skewed much more heavily in the favor of “articles” if our survey was conducted only a few years ago.
If anything, it seems safe to postulate that videos will overtake articles in popularity sometime in the next few years as more young people enter the workforce.
Webinars trailed closely behind the top three, despite the fact that some research suggests marketers are investing more in webinars than video. We can’t tell you what is best for your specific marketing strategy, but our latest research favors shorter videos (which obviously can often be created from pieces of longer webinars).
Beyond that, it seems infographics and podcasts are still relatively niche interests among the tech pro audience.
The ideal length of product marketing videos
According to our research, if you’re creating videos in excess of five minutes, you may only be appealing to about 15% of your target tech pro customer base.
Likewise, don’t assume that the “short and sweet” approach is always best, either. Even fewer respondents — roughly 13% — said they prefer videos to be under a minute long.
By far, the most popular video length option was a “sweet spot” between the two timeframes: over 71% of respondents said they prefer videos to be between two and five minutes.
This suggests that very short videos may risk coming off as unsubstantial and salesy; while longer videos may be taxing on viewers’ patience.
Where & what are they watching?
A whopping 93% of respondents said they watch videos on YouTube, once again proving the importance of the video platform to the state of B2B marketing and consumer video consumption.
Once on YouTube, technology professionals tend to split their time between technical how-to videos for personal use and how-to videos for work purposes.
This makes sense for buyers who already chose to work with technology in their career, as it stands to reason they may also take interest in technology outside of work.
But they also make plenty of time for videos about hobbies and personal interests not having to do with technology.
Most importantly for manufacturers: this audience doesn’t make much of an effort to seek out videos regarding specific manufacturers or software companies.
The takeaway from that is to keyword your videos wisely and topically. Don’t assume the audience wants to find you, no matter how comprehensive your solution is. Instead, focus on what your audience needs and how they phrase what they need.
Keyword-finding tools like keywordtool.io/youtube allow you to search for popular video tags by topic on YouTube, Google, and other platforms.
What they want to see from manufacturers
Think customer testimonials, Q&As with industry experts, and executive perspectives should be the bread and butter of your B2B video marketing approach? Think again if you’re targeting technology professionals.
Those were the three lowest-rated content types when we asked the question: “What kind of video content would you most like from manufacturers/software companies?”
Instead, those surveyed seem to vastly prefer a simpler, more straightforward approach.
In order, the type of content those surveyed said they most wanted from manufacturers/software providers are product overviews, how-to technical information, and to a lesser extent, product comparisons (something which received very split responses).
It would seem technology manufacturers should spend the most time creating comprehensive product overviews which answer market-specific questions — all within two to five minutes — if they want to tailor their B2B video marketing strategy towards tech pros.
Rounding-off your YouTube channels with more technically-granular how-tos may also help earn more pageviews, commenters, and leads.
This obviously does not mean that the aforementioned testimonials, Q&As, etc. aren’t worth the time. A diverse approach to content will help you reach different types of consumers.
But some brands may be making a mistake by focusing almost entirely on those types of videos.
While YouTube is an excellent place to host video marketing content and potentially be discovered by your audience, marketers should also consider this content’s value when posted to social media.
The survey results rated social media posts with either images or videos incredibly high compared to posts with just text.
Posts with video are almost just as preferable to this audience as posts with an image, suggesting a sense of self-awareness regarding what tends to catch their eye when they’re scrolling.
Even though produced videos seem to perform well in this audience, live streams don’t seem to rank as highly right now.
This could be due to a sample size which skews older, given live streaming’s popularity with younger generations. But no matter why it didn’t rank as highly in this survey, there is reason to believe it could be an important part of your marketing strategy in the future.
According to TVTech, 91 million subscribers will utilize live streaming by 2024. Therefore, you should be tracking age as it relates to live streaming consumption and your customer base.
We hope the results of this survey provide you with a springboard for your next B2B product-related video.
These results insinuate a customer base that values poised, thoughtful content that hits a sweet spot in length and simplicity. If your videos are too long or too short, you risk losing your viewers’ attention. If they don’t immediately answer a technical question, they may not apply to your viewers’ motivation for watching in the first place.
We understand that creating video campaigns involves walking these fine lines, but if this research proves anything, we hope it is that there is more market share to be had by investing the time and patience needed to produce effective video.