As with most creative disciplines, the range of cost can vary dramatically. For this reason, the answer to “How much does marketing production video cost?” can be frustratingly vague.
Before delving into ballpark figures, we want to emphasize something: No matter the size of your budget, video marketing can work for you. For instance, Blendtec spent less than $50 producing their first YouTube video - and so far has just over seven millions views.
If you ignore video entirely because you can't afford the highest quality level of production, you will miss out on several key benefits - such as:
- Enhancing relationships with prospects through establishment of the know-like-trust factor;
- Increasing organic search traffic by upping backlinks and social shares; and
- Increasing conversions on landing pages by as much as 80%.
However, according to a recent survey, the two biggest challenges that keep businesses from using video are time and money. However, it's important to recognize that companies of all sizes have successfully implemented video in their marketing campaigns, for a variety of budgets.
How Much Does Marketing Video Production Cost?
A company's decision as to how to proceed with video marketing ultimately comes down to finding the right balance between:
- Hiring projects out
- Tackling projects in-house.
For example, an explainer video communicates a business unique selling proposition in a compelling way. Since this video will essentially be working on your behalf, 24/7, and will probably be on your website homepage, you want it to be the highest quality you can afford.
If budget allows, hiring the project out is probably best.
Conversely, if your primary goal is to build organic search traffic with video, you will be publishing a lot of content! Obviously, calling upon a video production company for help with every video blog would be expensive. In this instance, you'll want to invest in the right equipment to produce high-quality videos in-house.
The good news? Videos that are featured on your company blog or YouTube channel won't be held to the same standard as explainer videos.
The Cost of Outsourcing Explainer Videos
Fantastic explainer videos are designed to convert leads into customers; they are in essence, lead generating machines. For this reason, they are often a better investment than most companies realize.
The cost of outsourcing an explainer video varies dramatically, according to:
- Video length
- Video style
- Videographer quality
Costs can range anywhere from $1,200 for a basic video, to $50,000 for a premium video.
We know, that's a pretty significant price gap. However, it's safe to say that, for most companies, a project can be completed in 4-to-5 days, for less than $10,000.
The longer the video, the more work will be required in post-editing; the more work required post-editing, the higher the cost.
Animated videos can be particularly time-consuming, which is why animated video studios typically begin the pricing conversation discussing video length. Doing so allows the studio to budget the amount of animators and designers they will need from the beginning.
Length will ultimately affect turnaround time, production schedules, and storyboarding.
Videographers don't typically charge by the hour. That's because the majority of the work being done actually happens outside of shooting.
Most videographers provide estimates based on day rates. Thus, if a production studio with a $1,200-a-day rate estimates your project will take 5 days, your total cost will be $6,000. Again, day rates can vary significantly according to experience level and region.
How many days your production studio needs will depend on your creative concept. A simple 3-minute video might take 3 days (at $3,600), while a more complex 3-minute video might take 14 days (costing more than $10,000). Total cost depends on the time required to accomplish objectives.
Here's a list of what typically happens from conceptual planning to post-production, courtesy of T60 Productions:
- Outline the approach to the video
- Discuss with customer the subject matter and raw video that must appear in the video
- Discuss how many on-camera interviews will be conducted; select interviewees and discuss plan for contacting and coordinating each person
- Create necessary shot lists (based on the concept meeting)
- Prepare interview questions (based on the concept meeting)
- Prepare equipment (checking/testing the camera, lights, media cards, tripod)
- Videographer visits each site to shoot everything on the shot list
- Videographer also shoots other raw video he/she finds relevant or beneficial
- Videographer interviews predetermined people
- Review all the raw video that was shot
- Transcribe sound bites from interviews
- Notes regarding sound bites and raw video are reviewed
- Sound bites are selected, then arranged into story form to create a script
- Script is emailed to customer
- Minor changes are discussed by phone, changes requested by client are made
- Edit video according to the approved script
- Relevant graphics are created
- Preview video is provided to customer for viewing
- Minor changes are discussed by phone, changes requested by client are made
- Digital files are created
There is a "hidden option" here, and that is hiring a semi-professional videographer. Whether that person is a freelancer trying to build his portfolio, or a student fine-tuning her craft, you can sometimes find talented videographers on the cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from $200-$750 per video for someone from this group. Just make sure to thoroughly vet their portfolio before hiring them.
Is It Worth It?
Again, whether or not a professionally produced video is worth it to your business depends on several factors:
- How well do you know your target market?
- Are you answering the right questions (spoken and unspoken)?
- Do you have a solid promotional plan for driving traffic to this video?
Assuming you have thoroughly done your homework, investing in high-quality video production can pay for itself tenfold. Dollar Shave Club became famous for the success of their explainer video, and Crazy Egg reportedly boosted their monthly income by $21,000/month after releasing theirs.
However, without any other form of content marketing in place, outsourcing an explainer video is probably a huge waste of cash!
Interestingly, the folks at Idea Rocket actually created an ROI Calculator for businesses considering using their video production services. Just plug in your profit margin, sales totals and other pieces of information to find out if a premium explainer video is a solid investment.
2. Do It Yourself (DIY) Costs
As previously mentioned, vlogging is a fantastic way to both build brand awareness and increase organic search traffic. The two biggest misconceptions about video are that a good video takes weeks to create and is too expensive to produce.
However, thanks to increasingly affordable technology, regularly producing decent quality marketing videos is within reach for most companies.
What You Will Need
- Video camera (iPhone or DSLR; $800 to $10,000)
- Tripod ($20-$200)
- Backdrop ($50-$300)
- 3-Point Lighting ($300)
- Lapel Microphone or Rifle Microphone ($140 to $220)
- Editing Software (Final Cut Pro $300)
TOTAL COST: Less than $5,000
Our advice? Don't try to cut costs on any of this! Use the highest quality camera, microphone, and lighting you can afford.
Your biggest hurdle will likely be the technology learning curve involved in video marketing. The good news is that once you master that, and understand how to create the kind of content your audience is actively searching for, the whole process becomes a lot of fun.
Target the keywords that are easy to produce. For example, producing a video demonstrating “how to tie your shoes” requires lower cost resources than “how to build a car."
For less than $50/month, you can use a service called Animoto to create videos in a few quick steps. Unfortunately, with limited styling options, these won't work for every purpose.
Video Marketing Is The Future
Video marketing is the future.
Over the past decade, YouTube has gone from a video sharing website predominantly used by teenagers to the world’s second-largest search engine. With more than a billion users, it’s a marketing platform that’s too big for any business to ignore.
In 2015, Facebook reported 1.5 million small to medium-sized businesses shared videos on the platform. That number is a small fraction of the 40 million small businesses with Pages on Facebook.
Translation: The opportunity is ripe for the taking. Whether you sell a product or service, there is probably an eager audience who would love to hear from you via video!