You’ve seen several video tools promoted quite heavily on your facebook timeline or in the Ads section at the top of google search. There are 5 or 6 'easy video' tools or templates being promoted at any given time.

You’re being targeted by these companies because you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you’re involved in online marketing or are otherwise interested in video within a business context. The marketing is slick, they’re usually priced around the £49 or £97 psychological marks.

They promise great looking video or animation which will in turn, make you look great and generate you lots of business.

They’re half right. They can deliver great looking video...

The trouble is, you don't actually want a brilliant looking video. What use is that? What you want is to sell a product and make a profit. Video must certainly look great yes, but if it doesn't actually work from a marketing strategy point of view, it's a brilliant looking waste of time, money and effort.

Do they look great? Absolutely, no argument there. They will indeed be easy to use – and no doubt they’ll fulfil all of their promises except the one which they cannot actually make.

They absolutely do have their place. There’s nothing wrong with them as such, in fact we use one or two of them ourselves! However, such tools all have two things in common. They share a weak link - the single most vital element which will make the difference between video being effective and utterly useless, and they share a rather obvious drawback.

The weak link:

Money Down The Drain

They assume that you can effectively script and perfectly target a video marketing message.

Video paid for by a business is there to serve a purpose, to do a job. Either it’s intended to actually sell a product, drive traffic to your website, promote your brand or serve any of dozens of purposes, but always it’s FOR something.

Why would a business spend money on pointless video?

All the whiz-bang super-duper animation and fantastic quality video in the world isn’t going to sell a product if the message and target audience have been poorly defined, and that’s the hardest part. It’s where most businesses struggle.

If the message is wrong, the video won’t engage the audience. They won’t watch it to the end (or past a few seconds). If the video doesn’t result in the audience taking some sort of action, the money you spent on buying the software and the time spent on creating videos is wasted. It won’t generate anything like the returns you expected. You’ve lost revenue.

Worse still – most companies sell themselves on the basis of 'we do this, we do that, buy our product / service'. This approach is perhaps appropriate for a brochure, but in video – it’s a total turn-off for the audience. Why would anyone spend 60 seconds of their time on Facebook watching an advertising video that's all about you? The simple answer is – they won’t.

They'll watch a promotional video that's about the benefit to them of knowing all about 'you'. If you talk about 'you', they'll ignore you.

They are less likely to grant your business or brand any attention in the future because of this – and that’s damaging. Once again, you’ve probably lost revenue with an ineffectively scripted video.

The drawback:

By their nature, videos that are produced by automatic software systems are going to look similar. There’s little room for creativity and whilst that’s not always essential, creativity helps immensely when grabbing an audience’s attention.

Clones and more Clones

If every video posted to the Facebook Timeline or on a webpage was the same style of animation, the attention an audience would give to it would rapidly drop to zero.

Audiences become immune and learn to ignore something which is repeatedly put in front of them. Remember banner ads at the top of web pages? People grew immune to them and they became less and less effective. These days, you hardly see them. Online Advertisers need to be a lot more clever.

Fashions come and go. Styles of animation which are currently in favour will look dated before you know it. Until fairly recently, the hand-draw “sketch” style animation was popular – but audiences’ willingness to spend valuable time having their eyes draged through an often painfully slow animation style again and again has disappeared.

Google has made their style of simple cartoon animation almost part of their brand, and many businesses try to emulate it. That does make sense, but the audience is evolving. It’s learning to recognise anything which looks like it as ‘an advert’.

'If it looks like an advert, or sounds like and advert, it's an advert. Stop trying to sell me stuff!'

Audiences don’t usually like being sold to.

So whilst such video tools do most certainly have a place, they must be used with a high level of caution. The one thing which they simply cannot deliver unless you add marketing know-how – is 'results'.