As you know, video marketing is a highly effective tool for promoting your brand and your offers through attractive, memorable and engaging content. However, the large-scale production, distribution and consumption of online videos is becoming harmful to the planet, and a source of pollution for our air, water and soil. So how do you create marketing video content that makes your brand shine, while reducing its environmental footprint?
It's possible to combine digital sobriety and high-impact content! When well thought-out, the creation of marketing videos can be in tune with the times, combining relevance, moderation and... positive impact! Here are 7 ways to energize your brand with video, while integrating the best practices of digital sobriety!
As a marketer or creative expert, you're well aware that video has become an essential part of any brand's content marketing strategy. Marketing video can take many creative forms to showcase your product or brand:
- Video advertising
- Product presentation or demo
- Announcement or teaser video
- Video tutorials
- Behind the scenes videos
- Webinars and replays
- Motion design,
- Stories, shorts, reels, etc.
Ultra-connected and on the lookout for easy-to-consume content, Internet users are becoming ever more adept at using this format, which has become a reflex in their purchasing process when it comes to finding out about different offers. According to Wyzowl's State of Video Marketing in 2023 report, more than 9 out of 10 people say they want to see more online video from brands, a figure that has risen in recent years.
Video marketing is becoming a prime tool for raising awareness of your brand and generating leads. In fact, it's a great way to gain the attention and trust of your audience, by offering them content that's both attractive and informative.
If 91% of companies use video as a marketing tool (source: Wyzowl), it's because of its multiple superpowers:
Seduce and engage: properly mastered, video has everything it takes to hook and captivate web users
Tell stories: the perfect format for storytelling, creating a close relationship with your target audience
Go viral: it arouses emotions, creates buzz and can be re-shared on social networks to increase its reach tenfold
Be memorable: combining images, sounds, infographics, etc., video is ideal for easily conveying key messages, which are more likely to be remembered
Increase conversion rates: videos, especially short formats, are highly effective in getting your prospects to take action
Enhance search engine optimization: web pages containing videos are favored by search engines, encouraging users to spend more time on your site, and so on.
It goes without saying that video marketing is an essential tool for capturing your audience's attention, differentiating you from your competitors and amplifying the reach of your messages.
As powerful it is, video marketing is not ecologically neutral, contributing to the pressure exerted on the environment by the digital sector. Indeed, as a digital product, video requires equipment that has to extract raw materials, transform them into electronic components, assemble and transport them, and so on. Each stage in the production of a video is a source of impact and pollution, with consequences such as:
-depletion of abiotic resources (non-renewable natural resources),
-greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change,
-acidification of water and soil, which damage ecosystems and lead to the collapse of biodiversity (source: GreenIT).
And let's not forget that the digital sector is also energy-intensive: in particular, it consumes large quantities of primary energy used to generate electricity, extract minerals from the ground, refine and transform them, and so on. And the sector's energy needs are growing at a rapid pace. According to think tank The Shift Project, the impact of the digital sector accounted for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, a figure that could double by 2025.
Online video (VoD, porn sites, tubes, and other videos hosted on social networks) makes a major contribution to the environmental impacts of digital technology. In 2018, it was responsible for more than 300 MtCO2, equivalent to almost 1% of global emissions or the total greenhouse gas emissions of a country like Spain (source: Th Shift Project, L'insoutenable usage de la vidéo).
Still according to The Shift Project, video streaming accounts for almost 80% of global data flows; the remaining 20% is made up of websites, data, video games, etc. In terms of usage, video is at the forefront of digital overconsumption.
By way of example, YouTube accounts for a large proportion of online video usage, being the 2nd most visited site in the world after Google and the 2nd most popular platform in the world after Facebook (source: We Are Social - Meltwater). According to YouTube statistics in 2022, more than one billion hours of video per day are viewed by its users (70% of which by mobile use). Another striking fact is that no less than 500 hours of video are uploaded daily in the space of a minute on the platform (Domo, Data Never Sleeps 10.0), a figure that has increased by 40% between 2014 and 2020 (statista).
Where does the impact of online video come from?
- The consumption of energy and resources to manufacture the digital equipment used to produce and edit videos: cameras, lighting devices, computers, etc. For example, a laptop computer generates an average of 156 kg of CO2eq per device (source: ADEME)
- Electricity consumption for online video distribution, including powering and maintaining data centers and network infrastructures (submarine and terrestrial cables, relay antennas, satellites, etc.)
- Electricity consumption to run the digital terminals used to play back video (computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.), while the majority of electricity produced worldwide comes from fossil fuels, and their combustion generates CO2
- The production of electronic waste (WEEE) at the end-of-life of the equipment used, which is recycled very little: worldwide, only 17% is collected for recycling (source: - The Global E-waste Monitor 2020). The rest is buried in the ground, incinerated or dumped illegally.
The problem is that video use continues to grow.
But does this mean we should give up on the video format? That's not what we're about here: we want to encourage initiatives that promote more sustainable marketing. The good news is that it is possible to benefit from all the advantages of video, while taking care to limit its environmental impact. Whether upstream of production, during creation or during distribution, here are the levers you can activate to give your video content greater impact while demonstrating digital sobriety!
It all starts at the content strategy stage: this is crucial to ensure you create the most relevant and impactful content possible. Instead of adopting a quantitative approach, make sure to produce and distribute content that is adapted to your audience, and that brings them real value.
Start by setting clear objectives (SMART), and the results you want to achieve with each of your video marketing contents: is it a gain in the number of subscribers to your channel? The number of clicks redirecting to your online store? The building of a close relationship with your audience?
You also need to understand your target audience, rather than trying to reach as many people as possible. Model your content according to their tastes, preferences, consumption habits, etc. Developing a video marketing strategy will help guide your choices, so you can tailor content to your audience and focus on qualitative results.
Reusing existing content is an excellent way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to a study conducted by fifty-five on the carbon footprint of digital advertising campaigns, favoring content recycling in order to avoid filming would reduce emissions by almost 30 tCO2eq compared to an average budget shoot. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, this is the equivalent of 30 round-trip Paris-New York flights for one person (selectra).
To achieve this, you can use the "snacking content" strategy, for example, to give your content several lives. What does it involve? It involves cutting up content you've already produced and editing it to produce different, shorter and more targeted formats, based on what already exists. In the case of a video interview you've shot, you can give it several lives: ultra-short "teasing", an extract with shocking or funny phrases, a behind-the-scenes look at the production, and so on. There are no limits to your creativity! You can also plan multiple shots from the outset, so that you can vary the format later on: square, vertical, 16/9, gifs, etc.
By transforming your content in this way, you meet the codes of the various platforms that require a variety of formats (Stories, Reels, videos, etc.) and you reach a wider audience by offering a varied and interesting experience to your targets. Finally, you increase the lifespan of your content and thus your ROI.
Using a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform helps you to optimize the lifecycle of your content, saving time and resources while reducing your environmental impact. Its functions, for example, enable you to "snack" your content to make the most of your video assets (trim a video sequence, export in Gif format, etc.).
You can also create video templates in your DAM: they facilitate the creation of new videos from templates already designed, and help you industrialize your content production by mobilizing fewer resources.
The creation phase of marketing videos is the highest-risk source of emissions, especially when it involves moving people and equipment. If you can't reuse what already exists, you can limit most of the video's carbon footprint by thinking about a sensible, local shoot.
Here are a few tips:
- Choose a suitable shooting location, close to production facilities, and rent equipment locally to limit greenhouse gas emissions caused by the movement of people and equipment;
- Reduce waste: consider reuse (outfits, sets, props, etc.), avoid waste and recycle production waste;
- Use energy-efficient equipment, such as LED lights, energy-efficient cameras, etc., and if possible, reconditioned equipment;
- Favor the use of renewable energies to run equipment on location, and avoid energy losses during production, etc.
To reduce the carbon footprint associated with video shoots, you can even go a step further and dispense with the shooting stage! This is made possible by using an image, and tomorrow video, generation tool such as Wedia.ai, which enables you to produce original content thanks to artificial intelligence, and offers marketing teams countless creative possibilities.
Since video size has a significant impact, working on a shorter format and better quality can help reduce the video's carbon footprint.
Without compromising the performance of a marketing campaign, good practices can be followed to limit the weight of videos, such as:
- Favoring the shortest possible formats, especially for Trueview-type formats: we recommend 12 s rather than 15 s (or 30 s!). What you gain: your video's conciseness will engage your audience right to the end, and make it more impactful. In terms of impact, going from a Trueview of 15 s to 12 s for the same video campaign reduces emissions by around 3 tCO2eq (source: fifty five the data company);
- Define a suitable video resolution: 720p or 1080p is recommended rather than HD. Going from 1080p to 720p resolution reduces emissions by around 4 tCO2eq, equivalent to the emissions of a round-trip plane journey from Paris to New York (source: fifty five the data company).
In the same vein, you can significantly reduce the size of the videos you've already produced. Being gighter, they will consume less energy during broadcast, and therefore emit fewer greenhouse gases.
Easy-to-use online tools, such as a video encoder, enable you to significantly reduce the weight of your videos before broadcasting them, while preserving their quality.
The Shift Project provides a clear and concise guide to reducing the weight of a video while maintaining good quality. An effective way of contributing to a more sober Internet, without affecting the user experience.
Optimizing the weight of your videos is also possible when they are broadcast, thanks to a solution like Digital Asset Management, which dynamically adapts the format or resolution of your videos. For example, when a video is published from your DAM, the adaptive streaming functionality chooses the most appropriate resolution to suit the bandwidth or device on which the video is viewed. This ensures the best possible viewing experience, and that the resolution does not exceed the capabilities of the device or network delivering the video, so as not to waste energy.
Did you know that a large proportion of marketing videos never reach the right target? According to a Nielsen study, 66% of ads included in videos promote products of no interest to consumers. This waste of resources and energy could be avoided with better targeting.
While targeting has obvious economic benefits, it also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of your campaigns: choosing to fine-tune your targeting means generating the maximum number of relevant impressions and useful views, in order to generate qualified leads. This in turn reduces the carbon cost of your campaigns, as you significantly reduce unnecessary impressions on different channels, and directly cut the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
This work can help you select the most appropriate platforms for your target audience, and offer them a quality user experience.
Once you've selected your channels, distribute your video content across all channels directly from your DAM solution, which is your Single Source of Truth (SSOT) for centralizing, organizing, managing and distributing all your multimedia content. In this way, you avoid downloading and uploading the same video to different channels, which limits the associated carbon footprint.
When it comes to network impact, it's possible to favor broadcasting video via Wi-Fi over the mobile network. Indeed, according to a study by ARCEP, watching a video on 4G consumes ten times more electricity and emits 23 times more CO2 than using Wi-Fi.
While it is above all the user who decides on which network to load content, advertisers have various options for influencing this decision:
- By primarily broadcasting advertising content at times of the day when its audience are most likely to be at home
- By configuring the campaign to broadcast only to consumers who use Wi-Fi; most advertising networks make it easy to do this.
For example, by choosing to broadcast 50% of content via WiFi instead of 30% for the same Social campaign, emissions can be reduced by around 4 tCO2eq (source: fifty five the data company).
Finally, adopting a digital sobriety approach starts with a carefully thought-out content strategy based on serving your objectives accurately and precisely. Video marketing is a powerful, high-impact tool for reaching your target audience.
So, let's not forget that the use of devices to produce, distribute and view marketing content has a significant impact and needs to be rethought to consume digital more soberly. Favoring reconditioned equipment and extending its lifespan helps avoid the extraction of metals and materials needed to manufacture user terminals, and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.