When it emerged that the much-needed upgrade to Holborn Underground Station was in doubt earlier this year, inmidtown chose to use online video to educate users around the issues.

Online video is an effective way to communicate a message that connects with users in a way that text or static images alone cannot. Placing a clip into an environment such as Facebook brings a host of opportunities that can be surprisingly cost-effective.

We used a 90-second video to communicate the issue and the urgency of action. The clip was part of a larger online campaign but our primary focus was to educate users through the GoToMidtown Facebook page.

The #UpgradeHolborn campaign was part of the overall strategy with inmidtown in to educate people about the area and the cultural, recreational and commercial opportunities there. Our use of the clip illustrates the effectiveness of online video in reaching and engaging an audience around a particular issue.

Here are the stats:

  • To date, the video has been loaded 7,708 times by 7,163 unique viewers.
  • 95% of these loaded the video a total of 7,134 times.
  • On average, viewers watched 69% of the video.
  • Viewers spend 123.4 hours watching this 90 second clip.
  • A cost of 10p per engagement
    (vastly lower than an equivalent Pay Per Click campaign with Google)

Why it works

The Right Medium: We needed to convey several messages succinctly. People needed to be aware of the threat, they needed context and they needed a prompt to action. This information could have been communicated with text or a graphic, but the video allowed us to mix text, audio and imagery to compress a lot of content into 90 seconds.

Reach: The information had to reach the people who would be affected if the upgrade was cancelled. Our Facebook Page has several thousand subscribers who can be reached directly and quickly, which alongside traditional means of communication such as posters or radio/TV spots, provides an efficient method of targeting the right people.

Facebook: The video was embedded directly in Facebook, so users could click and watch immediately in an environment where they have made time to watch. The Facebook environment encourages engagement through likes and comments, which in turn reinforces the message in the clip and causes Facebook’s algorithms to serve the video more frequently to users.

Mobility: The most shared content on Facebook tends to have an associated visual element such as a photo. We could have used an infographic, but the complexity of the content in this case would have resulted in a large image which might be not be optimal for mobile users. Short video can contain a lot of content and be is ideal for viewing on smartphones.

Measurement: A fascinating aspect of using video whether on YouTube or Facebook or other proprietary platforms is the ability to see how much of the video viewers actually watch. Our clip engaged viewers quite consistently throughout with a slight drop in the final seconds. This suggests that the vast bulk of the message was delivered to the majority of viewers.

Return On Investment: The outlay for the video was in production and in promotion within Facebook. The clip we wanted to communicate was viewed by over 7,000 relevant people at about 10p per viewer, which represents excellent value for money. A similar PPC campaign with Google’s AdWords would have cost considerably more.

Incidentally, the Holborn campaign was successful and the upgrade to the station is going ahead, with around £240 million earmarked for upgrades. And that’s not just a coincidence; compelling online video reaches the right people with your message in a highly cost-effective way.

Marketing ROI

Facebook video can achieve excellent ROI compared to traditional advertising or Google pay per click advertising. The Holborn campaign was successful and the upgrade to the station is going ahead, with around £240 million earmarked for upgrades.