Cut a Print Ad. Create a Video.

Capacity Interactive AUTHOR: Capacity Interactive
Mar 16, 2015
Min Read

We all know print is dying, if it’s not already dead.


So where are you investing your former print dollars? In creating and distributing video, I hope.

Facebook and YouTube are at the intersection of the two biggest trends in digital media: mobile and video. On average, more than 50% of U.S. users who visit Facebook daily watch at least one video. In a typical day, 98% of 18-to-34-year-olds report using smartphones to watch video content. More than half of YouTube views are on a mobile device and 65% of Facebook video views are on mobile, as well.  

Have you noticed when you post native video to Facebook, you get significant organic (free) reach? Facebook is taking on YouTube to become the web’s top distributor of video content.

YouTube videos on Facebook are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Facebook is doling out far more organic reach to videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook- far more than links to YouTube, and far more than images, text, or link posts. Facebook reports more than one billion video views per day and that number will only grow.

We are seeing that this “war” between Facebook and YouTube provides massive benefits, in terms of reach and engagement, to our clients. Jacob’s Pillow reached one million people on Facebook in a seven-day period by simply posting compelling video content. They spent $0 promoting it. The New York Times weekday print circulation is around 700,000. Think about that for a second.

Cut a print ad. Create a video.


I often say, “the content of your videos must be as compelling as the work you put on your stages.” A talking head video might be interesting to your most engaged patrons, but it probably won’t move the needle for acquisition. You must create compelling videos that tap into human emotion and showcase bold images and gripping music.

Here’s a handy checklist for video creation from YouTube:

  • Does it inspire?
  • Does it entertain?
  • Does it inform?

This checklist might seem daunting at first, but it’s possible to hit the mark in all of these areas. 

I find that arts organizations worry too much about using the exact music and imagery from the piece they are promoting, but I encourage you to be more flexible. Last year at our Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Karen Girty, NYC Ballet’s Marketing Director, discussed the company’s flexibility when creating videos. This stunning video was produced to promote a ballet that wasn’t even finished being created yet:

Google released a study last year surveying more than 3,000 live event ticket purchasers. 68% of those ticket buyers indicated that watching a video influenced their purchase consideration. Personally, I will always look for video to see what a show is going to be like before I take out my credit card to purchase tickets. Don’t you?

I recommend you create at least one short, promotional video for each production you are selling (I know some organizations, like PACs, have major limitations so this is “in general”). These videos should be shared and promoted heavily on social and in YouTube pre-roll ads. Ideally these videos are around :15 or :30 or slightly longer (if they are really compelling). The point of these videos is to capture attention and to get people to your site to learn more. I just came across this awesome video from Oklahoma City Ballet via the Clyde Fitch report:

Yeah, I know “dance is easier” so check out this promo video from Steppenwolf Theatre:

And this one from Playwrights Horizons, which is a great example of when you have no actual show content available:

You can also check out this promo video from Seattle Opera, and this one from the Goodman Theatre.

I also recommend creating more in-depth videos that are a minute or two or longer (if they are really compelling) to go on your production detail pages. These are for the more engaged user on your site who is deciding whether or not to make a purchase. The point of these videos is to excite and educate. Like this video from NYC Ballet.

These longer videos can also be promoted on social, YouTube, and via email to past buyers or people more “mid-funnel,” but generally aren’t ideal for acquisition.  

fascinating study about retailers and video shows that video content actually increases average order value and conversion rates.

This study concluded that the average order value (AOV) for customers that watch video on a product page is at least 50% higher than a site’s overall AOV for more than half of the retailers surveyed. Additionally, 88% of respondents reported an increase in conversion rates when video was added to product pages. Retailers with video on most of their product pages have a 79% higher conversion rate than those with video on just a few of their product pages.

So are you ready to cut a print ad and create a video?

Do you have some examples of great arts promotional videos to share?  Please leave links in the comments below.