ROI Killed the Video Star: Combat Social Media Algorithms with Email

In 1980, The Buggles lamented the death of radio with their classic one-hit wonder, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Nearly 4 decades later, despite the persistence of internet radio, satellite radio, and a constant stream of dudes asking you to check out their sports podcast, video is still seemingly taking prisoners: one writer even declared last year the onset of the “post-writing web.” What does that mean for publishers?

Remaining competitive on social media requires committing to the growing resources demanded by their video-centric algorithms, but platforms have been slow to return the favor with adequate monetization. Even worse, though live video and other trends are getting tons of attention, text routinely outperforms video in audience engagement. Ultimately, when social media algorithms are pushing publishers to go all-out on video or perish, is it worth it for publishers to keep prioritizing platforms at the risk of neglecting their email programs?

Video is a Resource Hog. Email is a Lean, Mean ROI Machine

Facebook wants you to make live videos. Now Instagram wants you to go live on their platform. Snapchat wants 10-second vertical videos. Now Instagram wants those too. Actually, Facebook changed their mind: they want you to focus on long-form video content now. It’s a time-consuming, expensive chore to produce the amount and type of video social media platforms demand, and it’s certainly not getting any easier. With more video floating around than ever, you really have to step up your food deconstruction game to stand out among all the recipe videos.

When social platforms is stretching your video resources thin, it’s nice to be able to fall back on an old stalwart with proven returns. Email’s famed 3800% ROI makes it a necessary supplement to any publisher sinking precious resources into a big platform push, especially when the platforms’ answers to monetization woes are often a resounding shrug.

Turn That IOU into ROI with Email

As Facebook’s live video push proves, social hasn’t been shy about encouraging publishers to provide certain kinds of content and promising to figure out monetization later. Even when Facebook delivered on their promises with mid-roll ads, it became clear that the length and structure requirements dictated by the new format would require even more work to create live video content that fits these guidelines. Publishers barely had a second to breathe before Facebook started asking them to shift to long-form video instead. Oh, and don’t forget the ever-diminishing returns of organic reach.

In the meantime, email has ample opportunities for monetization, including an array of in-email advertising solutions that have the added benefit of avoiding adblockers. It’s also an easy way of driving traffic directly to your video content, so don’t hang around waiting for that flaky friend to come through; email’s got your back.

Email: A Cure for Algorithm Deficit Disorder

Although video is all the rage, it’s still not as much of a rage as people suspected it would be. It turns out that video is popular, but it’s not as popular with engaged viewers as text content is. A Parse.ly study found that both long- and short-form text content held onto audience attention more effectively than video. Video’s attention problem isn’t just with the audience; the platforms suffer from lack of focus as well. When the priorities of social media platforms seem to come and go as quickly as Snapchat stories themselves, publishers who live by the algorithm will certainly die by the algorithm.

While video remains popular with advertisers and the pursuit of “likes” can be tempting, it’s important to focus on the value of content that truly engages viewers. Email newsletters routinely boast publishers’ most engaged audiences, and they provide a constant channel of communication with these audiences when social media platforms can’t decide what they want.

Email, Lies, and Videotape

As platforms prioritize video content more than ever, it’s worth it to take a step back and reevaluate where you’re allocating your digital resources, especially if you’re neglecting email marketing. While assembling an email might not look as cool as the food in those overhead recipe videos, it offers the chance of an unbeatable ROI that is hard to ignore. In fact, intent signals among marketers indicate that interest in email marketing outpaces interest in video. Perhaps those marketers are starting to learn what email marketers already know: technology that’s declared “dead” is usually anything but.

Email Monetization Solution Guide

Editor, PostUp PlayBook