Declining user attention spans and unforgiving social media algorithms have taken video content from a “nice to have”, to an indispensable pillar of any well-rounded marketing strategy.

Whether it be the success of longer form video campaigns or the 30-second branded snippets we now see dominating Instagram – it’s becoming increasingly clear that video content is poised to be the future of marketing in both the UK and around the world.

The challenge for marketers, however, is figuring out the blueprint to creating videos that drive shares, engagement, and ultimately, sales. With this in mind, Meltwater partnered with Danilo Acquisto, the CEO YouTube affiliates, Special Effects Media South Africa. We tapped into Danilo’s experience as both an esteemed TV personality and consummate digital content professional, to unpack How to Dominate Your Digital Video Strategy in 2019.

The Digital Revolution

We can start by explaining why a digital revolution is occurring with a simple acronym, CLAY: Choice, Laziness, Available Technology, Youth.


There are a couple of shows we might remember, or perhaps that even define our childhoods, that families would gather around the television set to watch at a specific time on a specific day of the week that everyone in the family knew about (unless perhaps you’re Gen Z).

These shows represented routine – they were on the same channel and at the same time every week. And they built excitement and suspense – we were left on cliff-hangers at the end of every episode and had to wait a whole week to watch what happens next. (What was your favourite show growing up? Tweet us @Meltwater).

friends tv show - the importance of choice in the digital video revolution

The digital revolution has given us choice.

At first, of course, there were online sites where you could illegally download series per season, and the power of the internet – specifically how much more potential it has over traditional media – was realised. Today, platforms like Netflix and Showmax are the norm. We are now able to choose what we want to watch when it suits us, and for as long or as much of it as we desire. Consumers have more choice and more interests, and traditional television just can’t keep up with it.


Many companies are spending wasted effort and money on trying to get people to see their captions on social media posts instead of just creating compelling content. Video is the form of content that you can use to tell a story – which is the most effective way to communicate a message, avoid disambiguation – which can often come from static images, and evoke emotion.

For instance, the below image: On a scale from 0 – The Notebook, how emotional does it make you feel?

Probably not very emotional at all.

Compare it to this video, which is advertising the exact same thing as the above image: 360-degree parking sensors.


In contrast to the still image, this short video tells a story – that is particularly relevant to South Africans – and evokes emotion – so much so that it makes us laugh out loud. Therefore, the product, the brand and the story is memorable.

Because consumers are becoming lazier, the more brands make them do the guesswork (i.e. “what is the product they are advertising?”) the less likely they are to engage. Alternatively, when brands spend more effort on entertaining, it makes the lazy consumers’ life easier, and a relationship has been built on memorable storytelling.

Available Technology

The technology we now have available to us at our fingertips is another reason for the rise of in digital media. Only a few years ago, websites were a luxury which many SME’s simply could not afford. Today, as we know, it’s easier than ever to build your own website. Technology has made this accessible to us, and there are countless sources of information to help us with the constructing of an effective, discoverable website.

Similarly, TV adverts cost thousands of pounds so small businesses could rarely afford to produce and broadcast them in the hope that their target market would catch it in the commercials break during Friends on Wednesday evenings. In today’s digital world, marketing is not saved for the elite, or the big corporates with big budgets. Social media is free and advertising on it can cost very little. Because of the availability of technology, marketing has become paramount and mandatory for every business; big or small.


This Bentley ad was shot entirely on two iPhone 5S’ and edited on a Mac in the car. With the number of people that have access to cameras on their smartphones that are in their pockets all day, video shooting and producing is effortless.


Research shows that youth between the ages of 14 and 25 are spending more time watching video content online than they do on television. This trend is unlikely to change anytime soon – in fact, online watch-time is increasing, illustrating the important role video content will play in the digital revolution.

The TV set in a house is not disappearing but changing – instead of being plugged into the wall, with usual television channels to watch, TV’s today are connected to the WiFi router and are being used as streaming service – i.e. the SmartTV.

The youth are a big reason why digital video is not going anywhere, due to their ability to choose, and why brands need to pay attention to video content, as this is how the youth, the trendsetters of the future, are consuming information.

How Do You Implement Digital Video?

When devising a digital video strategy, you can follow what we like to call The Three C’s Strategy. Here they are:

1. Content

Content will always be key. If every other step is perfect, but you’re producing content that isn’t thrilling and people want to click away, you’ll never achieve the content goals you’re aiming for. Most brands, mistakenly, think that camera equipment is the most important part of video creation, and some think that branding it is.

When it comes to creating compelling videos, Acquisto’s best advice is, “Say no to promo.

Sanlam’s “R1 Man” campaign features a series of episodes about a man who decides to print out his salary in R1 coins so that he can better see where his money is really going. With half a million views of the first episode, it was a successful campaign by Sanlam because we can recognise ourselves as this consumer, it didn’t feel like Sanlam was pushing a product on us, and it was incredibly authentic – it had a selfie-style, where it felt like the man had put his phone on selfie-mode on a tripod in his living room, and there were bloopers and imperfections. Engaging content is much more important than production costs and pushing product.

2. Consistency

The second C of your digital video strategy is consistency.

People are creatures of habit. Consumers like to know what to expect and when, and to have it consistently delivered when they expect it. Consistently putting out content will also help you with one of the most vital parts to a brand’s existence – community-building. The occasional viewer will turn into a dedicated audience which will turn into a loyal community that will wait for and watch every piece of content you share, fall in love with your brand and ultimately, be the first to buy from you.

3. Community

This takes us to the third C of the strategy – community.

If content and consistency are King and Queen, Community is the kingdom. Your brand would be nothing without them, and they love great content being shared consistently.

How do you build a community? Mention them in your videos, respond to their content suggestions, reply to their comments, and at the end of each video urge your viewers to join your community by subscribing to your channel. In this way, your community will be notified whenever you publish something new, which will help you with building and maintaining consistency.

Virality: The Holy Grail

The question on everyone’s minds when it comes to content creation is, “How do I go viral?”

There is certainly no strict guidebook that will guarantee you achieving online virality, but there are a few tips and tricks you can implement to get the most traction, shares and subscribers possible:

1. Tell stories

2. Challenge assumptions

For example, the famous Real Beauty Sketches campaign by Dove got women to reconsider how they see themselves and challenge the assumption that they look a certain way. Added to the kindness of strangers – or the fact that strangers see you as more beautiful than you see yourself – it made for a viral sensation.

3. Inspire action: Get fired up

4. Use trending topics (In addition, this will help with SEO).

5. Make people laugh (or evoke any other kind of strong emotion)

6. Create unexpected twists.

With all the talk about Kim K and kale, it can seem impossible to get your brand’s voice heard. But, often, brand virality isn’t accidental, it’s the result of tapping into some of the basic truths of human behaviour and then understanding the life-cycle of hype. By using world-class online media monitoring solutions, you can track and analyse the trends most relevant to you and your business, and together with the right engagement metrics, start to uncover the formula for your own content virality.