Let's face the facts: People hate ads. We know this. Even if the research didn't prove how overwhelmingly unpopular pop-up and mobile ads have become, we know it from our own private headaches when opening a new website or looking for information on our phones. How many of you have downloaded an ad blocker? It's quickly becoming the norm, because online ads have overstayed their welcome. The obvious question for marketers is, "Well, what do we do now?" and the obvious answer is, "Focus more on organic marketing."
Easier said than done! But in the never-ending search for the next perfect trick, we’ve found something that's poised to change the industry. Yep, we're talking about aerial videography via drones, and if you can't see yourself becoming a drone pilot – well, neither could we. But we've never looked back, and here's why.
A Need for New Social Content
Hubspot's State of Inbound Marketing report tracks the changes in marketing strategies from year to year and has found that – perhaps due to growing negativity toward traditional ads – more companies are seeking new social solutions. In 2016, companies reported that their top marketing challenge by far was generating traffic and leads. And we all know what marketers do when they want more traffic: They make new content.
It's no surprise that many of us choose video as our preferred problem-patcher. Hubspot also reported that, when asked what content distribution channels marketers planned on adding within the next 12 months, the top answers were YouTube (48%) and Facebook Video (39%).
Again, if you're active in the marketing world this shouldn't come as a shock. When it comes to engagement and inbound results, video has long been seen as the go-to solution. Research has indicated that, when asked what type of content they are most likely to consume thoroughly, consumers put video in first place, followed by social media posts and new articles. People watch 100 million hours of video every day on Facebook alone – and they seem willing to watch even more. But this trend also comes with its own set of problems.
As Video Content Increases, Quality Becomes the Clincher
It's easy to throw out buzzwords and video apps as solutions – YouTube channels! Snapchat filters! Facebook Live interviews! – but in practice, creating videos that truly engage is challenging. We’re all privy to the fact that video, within the very near future, will probably be the most important marketing medium we have. But this also creates a problem: Mass production tends to lower quality, not increase it. As the online world gets flooded with videos from desperate marketers trying to meet their goals, quality goes way, way down. Viewer interest falls in response.
The old saying goes that "cream rises to the top." The videos that will prove successful in an increasingly competitive field will be those that offer high quality, engaging information/entertainment – and new experiences. We all love to imagine being on the leading edge of a new marketing field, finding just the right kind of sizzle to tap into something special. Video is the right field. Drones have the right sizzle. If you ask us, it's time to carpe diem.
Enter the Age of Drone Videography
Marketing isn't the only industry that drones are changing, but it is one of the most eager first movers. The FAA released the newest laws pertaining to the unmanned skies a couple of weeks ago, making it far easier to fly drones for commercial purposes; increasing its disruption potential massively. One of the most influenced industries? Videography.
In 2015 the drone industry was estimated at $3.3 billion, and expected to reach $90 billion within 10 years. There are over 300,000 drones registers with the FAA (including ours), and that number is growing so quickly a firm count is hard to tally. The fastest-growing segment of the industry is expected to be agriculture, but right along side it is media production.
Why the growth? Because it works. Drones give us the access to affordable aerial video and photography. You can add incredible perspective to your video projects that otherwise would have required a helicopter, flight crew and a specialized film crew. Now, you need two thumbs and less than $1,000 to get started.
As Tony Carmean, CMO and Founding Partner of Aerial MOB, LLC (the first company to receive an FAA exemption for film production) put it, drones offer "perspectives that you cannot capture with any other film production tools...We can accomplish dollie, jib, crane, Russian Arm Car, and full size aircraft shots, and not only combine them into one continuous shot that cannot be achieved any other way, but we can do it quicker, more efficiently, and for an overall lower cost."
Still About the Wow
Within this drone-oriented field of video content, the possibilities remain vast: Still photos, 4K video, panoramas, aerial sweeps, and over-shoulder viewpoints are all being used. Drones have even adopted livestreaming video feeds, which is arguably the fastest growing and eye-catching forms of entertainment and infotainment.
The development of video-capable drones couldn’t come at a better time…a time when we’ve seen all of the "traditional marketing" techniques overused, when even the engagement over video can flag. But drones give us a "Wow." When we’ve told our clients that we’d be adding drone footage for video, their eyes get big as saucers. They ask us when we’ll be flying so they can come and watch (and hopefully it will be at their business)!
As more people catch on to these new FAA laws that make commercial drone flight more accessible, even the drone video industry will start becoming saturated. But as with every gold rush, those first to arrive are usually the ones who strike it rich.