Formal vs. Informal Video Content

Posted: April 26, 2021

Knowing when to invest the extra time and money into polished video marketing content

We normally talk about property marketing videos here on the Four Tens Blog but that isn’t all that we do. We like to consider property marketing videos our bread and butter, but we love spicing things up with other forms of marketing video content. Branding videos, how-to videos, and social media video content all have an important place in a brand’s digital marketing strategy.

The differences between what can be referred to as “formal” and “informal” video content can be stark. Think about a luxury car commercial and compare that against a celebrity’s Instagram story where they are talking casually into their cellphone camera. Almost everything about them is different, other than the fact that they are both video content.

What constitutes as formal video content?

Generally speaking, property marketing videos, branding videos, and how-to videos will all fall under the formal video umbrella. While there are exceptions to that, most companies are looking for a highly-polished, well-edited, fully constituted video to fulfill the goal of their campaign strategy. ​

You may be thinking, “Well, I saw a commercial on TV that looked like it was filmed on someone’s cellphone.” Correct, it looked like that. But the process of creating that video was done formally, with a budget, actors, a marketing strategy, and distribution strategy.

Formal video content may also have a longer shelf life than informal video content. A very high-end brand video would constitute as evergreen content, until there’s a need for an update (world events, rebranding, new campaign or products, etc.). This multi-use content makes it worthwhile to supply the additional resources for formal video content.

In the end, it does partially come down to intent and process. ​

What constitutes as informal video content?

Informal content occupies much of the video content that you’ll see on social media. Because the original purpose of social media was to connect people across the entire globe, that sense of unfiltered interaction continues to permeate social media networks (though some could argue that changes as social channels age and are infiltrated by parents, grandparents, and brands).

Informal video content can take many different forms. On Instagram, for example, a company may have posts comprised of product photos and videos that went through a traditional marketing and advertising process (formal content). But the brand’s Stories may be filled with influencer takeovers, interns filming product demos, or the company’s marketing leads doing informal Q&A sessions live with their followers. These are all excellent examples of video content and they all tend to be forms of informal content.

Informal video content makes sense for time sensitive content as well. Reacting or commenting on current events, a hot meme, or recently launched product/service all have short shelf lives. Larger companies with hefty budgets might be able to use the resources to make formal videos at the tip of a hat, but for midsize and small businesses, informal video content allows them to move quickly and create content as necessary.

Why make the distinction between the two?

For digital marketers, or marketers looking to be more effective with their video content, distinguishing between the two types of video content can have multiple benefits.

Knowing that the resources are different for each type of content can help build better campaigns and more accurate budgets in the planning stages.

Determining performance metrics for specific pieces of video content can also be gauged by the type o video content. Engagement with a TikTok video will be different than a video posted to LinkedIn, for example.

Timeliness is an important distinction. A quickly moving campaign may not have the luxury of going through the full process to create formal video content.

We can't all afford to make our video content with a super serious filming set up.

The benefits of formal video content

As this is what many people are more familiar with when it comes to video content from brands, the benefits are more apparent. Resources and budgets can be flush for a high-end video campaign. Brand videos can be shared across a variety of formats and outlets, from television commercials to social media accounts to digital advertisements and website pages. Their usability and scope justify the means for their creation.

The benefits of informal video content

While advertisements, slick branding videos, and how-to videos all make their way on to social media channels, there is a huge amount of informal video content as well. Video content performs incredibly well against text and photo posts and needing to constantly churn out new video content means that brands need to move quickly. Informal content can fulfill the need for constant content creation, while also matching the more informal tone of social media channels. It’s a win-win for brands so they can keep up with the content cycle while also addressing their consumers in a way that encourages engagement.

How to create the right video content

Now that you know the difference and benefits between the two types of video content, you can use that knowledge to better prepare your future digital marketing campaigns. A social media campaign might benefit from a series of informal videos that are spaced out throughout the week on your company’s Instagram page. An email marketing campaign could use a solid how-to video embedded on a landing page. If you can make that distinction early on while you’re planning, you’ll be that much closer to building out your plan of action.

Don’t feel like you have the resources to create the right video content that you are looking for, informal or formal? Four Tens can help! We help small and big businesses alike with all their video content creation needs. Reach out to our video experts to learn more.

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