Over the past month I’ve read a
great deal of trend forecasts and predictions for 2012.

They range from a
renewed interest in advertising on mobiles to connected TVs, more creative
thinking from marketers to the resurgence of email marketing.

But overall it
seems the industry is in agreement over one key trend: online video.

Online video is one of the fastest
growing mediums today. Various statistics from Ofcom and YouGov reiterate the
growing consumption of video content on various connected devices with 27% of
internet users in the UK accessing TV content over the web every week.

There
are 785m visits to online video websites every month and if this growth
continues, it’s been predicted that by 2015 over 1m minutes of content
will pass the web every second.

In 2011 many brands successfully
used online video to not only increase their product sales but their brand
awareness. While the T-Mobile
spoof Royal wedding
viral was beaten to the finish line by a YouTube video
of a “talking” dog as
the number one most viewed video of 2011, it has still garnered over 25m views.

It’s been shown that video can
play a crucial role in brand engagement, customer retention and sales (the Old
Spice
campaign doubled sales of the product). It builds an ongoing and trusted
communication with customers, demonstrating the latest products, innovations
and valued services the brand offers.

So with customers consuming more and more
video across various devices, brands should be looking to use video as an
integral component of their digital strategy in 2012.

No longer can brands create
one-off films, video competitions or the latest “viral”. That ongoing and
trusted communication begins with a lasting video strategy, one that
encompasses the entire spectrum of video, not just the viral.

Whether it’s on a
mobile, in-store, at home on a connected TV, or out and about, from social
video to a branded content channel, the brand must be ever present in some
form.

Consumers are no
longer interested in traditional advertising being ‘pushed’ at them and are
increasingly switching to online channels that provide them a service.

The challenge
for brands is to understand how best to deliver this service in a way that is
relevant to the customer, drives engagement across multiple platforms and
captures a response in order to deliver sales.

There are two key components to
creating and managing branded content. The numerous connected devices now
available mean that brands must provide their digital services across as many
platforms as possible and secondly, create a meaningful content layer that
promotes brand loyalty.

While 2012 should hopefully be the
year that brands really take advantage of online video, there is still a steep
learning curve that many brands must overcome in order to create that ongoing
and successful video strategy.