Video usage has enjoyed an exponential rise in recent years. So much so that it prompted this quote from James McQuivey at Forrester Research.

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 1.8 million words."

Dr. James McQuivey, Forrester Research

That's the estimated value of a 1 minute video. Whilst this statement is not based on actual maths or science, I do agree with the point he's making.

Whether it's FaceTiming distant relatives, YouTubing 'how to tie a tie', or capturing your child's first steps, there's no doubt that video has changed the way we live our lives. We can now instantly capture any moment and share it with the world in real time for all to see. And most of this is with thanks to our loyal companion. The one that's with us at all times, through thick and thin - our trusty smartphone. The rapid increase in the quality of smartphone video cameras means that we're now all budding video journalists.

When I went travelling in 2010, I purchased a then 'state-of-the-art' Panasonic HD handheld video camera because the iPhone 3 I had at the time didn't have video capability (can you imagine?). However, upon returning to normal life and wearing more than flip flops and a pair of shorts every day, Apple had released the iPhone 3GS which I upgraded to. With its reasonably good quality video capture and instant accessibility, my video camera quickly became obsolete and was consequently thrown under the bed with my digital camera, iPod, alarm clock, address book and small collection DVDs - all things that have succumbed to smartphone features throughout the years.

Video has not only evolved the way we consume content, but it has changed, and will continue to change, the way we communicate, share, teach and learn. It has even changed our language, with YouTube and FaceTime becoming verbs.

Apple's focus on iPhone video capability

Criticised for a 'lack of innovation' over the last few years, Apple has just launched the iPhone 6s & 6s Plus, with one of its most touted features being the quality of video camera. Hardly a revolutionary piece of technology, one might say. However, the iPhone 6s now packs a 12 mega pixel video camera that can shoot 4k video. Apple understand the importance of video and creating memories in the consumer world and have spent time refining their technology, which I admire and is something we can all learn from. Innovation isn't always about creating something new. Sometimes you have to refine what you already have. It's about getting better and adding more value.

Mobile network capability

Another major impact on our ability to share and watch videos on the go is the capability of the mobile network infrastructure. With the arrival of 4G a few years ago, coupled with the reduction in mobile data plan prices, it has become more accessible for people to upload and share videos, as well as download and live stream on the go. That said, the networks are struggling to keep up with the data demands of users in locations of high density usage. This will continue to get better, and with 5G expected in the next 5 - 7 years, we'll see a major shift in streaming and download speeds as the network moves from hardware to software-based.

So, what are the considerations for your recruitment marketing video strategy?

1. Find the content sweet spot and add value.


First, you have to understand your audience, like any good content strategy should do. Whom are you targeting and what it is that they want to know about? What need of theirs are you going to satisfy? Will the audience be interested in what you have to say? Will they find it valuable? Is video even the right format for them, or should you consider a different approach?

All too often, employers focus too much on what they want to say and not enough on what their audience want to know. They spend lots of time (and money) creating video content that nobody wants to watch.

Your audience may be a passive audience, in which case one of your objectives might be awareness - simply getting on their radar that you are even a potential employer (or just letting them know that your company even exists) can sometimes be the starting point. If it's an active job seeking audience, your objective might be to convince them that your company has an unbeatable culture.

2. Tell a great story, but make sure it's authentic.

Video is one of the best formats for storytelling. Rather than tell your audience that your organisation is a great place to work, you need to help them come to that conclusion themselves. They need to feel that it's a great place to work, not be told so. Job seekers can see through that nowadays.

At AIA Worldwide, we're big fans of website user testing. Having conducted in-person user testing on a number of our clients' careers websites and the content that sits on it, we've found that there's a scale of authenticity and believability when it comes to all content, but especially video, and it looks something like this...


3. Leverage your employees to tell the story

Employee generated video content is one of the most authentic forms of brand storytelling there is. It's what job seekers are more likely to believe because it's transparent. It's easy to tell if something is scripted or genuine, unlike written form. It can also help drive sales for the business too, as customers are more likely to build a bond with the people who work for the company who are telling the company story.

However, it can be a little more difficult for employees to feel comfortable on camera. If you ask your employees to demonstrate the company values or explain what the employer brand means to them, you could end up with some low quality, cringe-worthy video - very few people are naturals when it comes to being filmed. It's about finding an approach that lets your employees be themselves and get creative with what you're asking them to do and not be too direct with what they need to demonstrate. Again, it's often about the audience coming to those conclusions themselves.

4. Hosting your video.

When it comes to deciding where to host your video, there are a few different things to consider.

Going native
Hosting your video natively on your website looks great, and provides a good user experience, but can come with some downsides, such as server bandwidth and associated costs.

Hosting via a third party media site (and embedding on your site)
Using a third party site such as YouTube or Vimeo to host your video can provide benefits. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, so hosting your video there can improve the chances of your video being found. If you decide against hosting your video on one of these sites for the purposes of then embedding it on your website, you should at least consider uploading and optimising it on YouTube for benefits of search engine optimisation.

Vimeo's video player looks a lot slicker than YouTube's. Additionally, videos can easily be downloaded, so might be worth considering if that's important to you. The greatest benefit of both of these, and other video hosting sites, is the reduced cost impact. You can host a lot of video for free, and they deal with rendering on multiple devices really well.

Analytics
Hosting video natively (whether on your website or on social channels like Facebook) can provide deeper, more meaningful statistics on viewer behaviour. You can get stats on complete end to end views, starts and mid-way views, as well as unique and return views. Posting a video natively on Facebook means it is playable within the Facebook feed, whereas sharing a YouTube video via Facebook means it currently gets posted as an external link and directs the user to the YouTube site or mobile app. On Twitter, posting a YouTube link is fine, and actually encouraged as you get richer media via Twitter cards that are embedded on the channel.

5. Live broadcasting & streaming.

Live broadcasting and streaming have been around for years, especially in the form of webcasts. In the recruitment space, Google Hangouts have been popular in recent years - Accenture and Mondelez International use them to educate job seekers on career areas, business departments and graduate programmes. The good thing with this content is that it's evergreen - it can be useful any time, not just when it's broadcast live.

Most recently, the growth of live broadcasting and streaming via smartphones and tablets has really taken off, especially in recruitment - with Periscope (owned by Twitter) and Meerkat being two of the most popular apps for facilitating this.

Mobile broadcasting / streaming is a really great addition to the recruiter's toolbox. It can be used for things such as live Q&A with recruiters / employees, live streaming from events, hosting virtual events, showing behind the scenes at your company, sharing thought leadership, insight and opinion, and daily video blogging.

AT&T used Periscope to interact with potential candidates and encourage questions with their recruiters. As well as a live Q&A, they provided CV & interview tips, and information on their university / graduate recruitment programmes, and proved very successful in terms of engagement and viewership.

Just be wary of possible connectivity and bandwidth issues when broadcasting over mobile networks (3G and 4G).

6. Interactive video.

Making video interactive can really boost engagement and turn storytelling into a tailored user experience. Two examples include, the Wall Street Journal 'Obama Care' video (give it a minute or so to get to the interactive bits) and this Tour de France 2013 promotion from Mark Cavendish.

It gives you an opportunity to add much more value and for the user to explore the interactive subject in more detail, if they want to.

7. 360 degree video.

If you are yet to experience watching a 360 degree video, check out this video from Jay Leno (the number of cars he owns is unbelievable).

I'd also recommend visiting this YouTube channel dedicated to 360 degree video. Watch the videos on your smartphone to get the full effect, or simply use your mouse to browse around whilst watching.

360 degree video is a great way of immersing the user in the story that you're telling by placing them at the centre of the action and enabling them to explore what's virtually around them. This is especially effective on smartphones as it uses the accelerometer to understand what point of view you want to look at as the video is playing. Add something like Google Cardboard to your phone and you've got your own virtual reality hardware.

The possibilities are endless, but at its most basic you could use this for virtually exploring an office or the location and proximity of the surrounding areas, or featuring your employees and making the viewer feel like they're part of the team. They could even experience a real day at the office, with them sat at their desk. They'll be able to see what everyone else is doing as the day progresses.

8. Video interviewing.

Video interviewing has really taken off in the last few years. It's starting to be adopted some of our clients, and it's delivering real results. If you're not familiar with it, the core concept is that the recruiters can ask questions to applicants (either text-based or recorded on video), who then reply by recording their answer on video. The recruiter then gets to review the video and can make a better judgement of the person's cultural fit. There are many different features to video interviewing, depending on which vendor you work with. Interviewingsoftware.com provides a great starting point for comparing the various providers.

The benefits of video interviewing include the following, as highlighted in this article from Launchpad:

  1. Reduce discrimination
  2. Strengthen your brand
  3. Screen more effectively and efficiently
  4. Easy collaboration with team members

I'm personally a big fan of video interviewing solutions - I've used it myself and it is generally very intuitive and can add a lot of value to the hiring process. I think we'll see video interviewing hit mainstream adoption within the next two years.

9. The adoption and acceptance of portrait video

According to Mary Meeker (the authority on internet and digital tech trends), vertical viewing on mobile devices has increased from 5% to 29% in the last five years in the US.

"Video viewing is growing fast, especially in vertical portrait mode."

Mary Meeker, 2015 Internet Trends Report

Meeker goes on to report, "Vertical video ads like Snapchat’s are watched in their entirety 9x more than landscape video ads. That means video content and ad creators need to rethink how they shoot, including fewer long-distance establishing shots and more personal close-ups."

Source: http://techcrunch.com/gallery/best-of-meeker/slide...

I used to moan at my wife for shooting video of our children in portrait mode, explaining that it's a nightmare to edit (when am I actually ever going to get time to do that?) and when viewing it back in landscape orientation it makes the video real estate smaller giving you black edges to your masterpiece. However, I've now realised that not only do I shoot video in portrait (because it's quicker and easier with one hand), but I also watch most videos on my phone in portrait mode. When browsing Facebook or Twitter, rotating the phone every time you see a video of a dog on a skateboard or a cat jumping into a box is way too much effort.

I'm not suggesting that all of your videos should now be shot in portrait mode, but it might be worth considering (or at least, accepting as I have) that portrait video is now 'OK' particularly for social media content, or for certain types of user / employee generated content, especially if short micro-format videos like Vine videos.

Summary

When it comes to optimising, or indeed launching, your recruitment marketing video strategy, remember these key points...

  • Job seekers want authentic content that adds value. Don't create content that no one is interested in.
  • Educational, thought leadership and opinion videos are a great form of attracting passive talent and being seen as the industry experts. Tap into your subject matter experts internally to see how they can help. They may have even created something already.
  • However, be careful with what and how you ask your employees to generate video content. This still needs careful planning and direction.
  • You can get some instant success with broadcasting live via mobile apps such as Periscope and Meerkat, but be aware of connection quality

Consider making the video interactive to enhance the user experience - 360 degree video, virtual reality or interactive video is great for this.

NB: McQuivey's statement about a 1 minute video being worth 1.8 million words is based on the idiom "a picture tells a thousand words", and therefore if there are 30 pictures in a frame of video, then 1,000 words x 30 frames x 60 seconds = 1.8million words.

Director of Digital Strategy

Nathan helps organisations optimise their recruitment marketing strategies by leveraging technology, creativity and data. In his role at employer marketing agency AIA Worldwide, Nathan has played pivotal roles in developing content marketing and social media strategies for large multinational corporations, as well as being a driving force behind a number of careers website projects and hiring strategies powered by the agency’s proprietary automated recruitment marketing software, TalentBrew. Catch him on Twitter, where he tweets all things digital marketing, branding and tech.