I own/run a video marketing production company, just over 6 years now.
In response to your questions:
- At what stage of growth do startups start looking to produce videos (seed, series A, etc) ?
Majority are Seed onwards.
Pre-Seed is used to aid in conveying the concept and validation, so can either be for the target audience or investors.
- What is the typical budget one might have for these types of spots?
Live action: 20k – 100k (known figures from contacts, I don’t provide this service)
2d animated: 2k – 20k (although if Pre-Seed or Seed, I will cap it off at 5k, for a multitude of reasons)
3d animated: tricky, complexity can vary considerably so the cost obviously does.
- How do startups go about looking for production companies to make their spots?
No different to how they go about looking for other things they don’t have in-house or when they need more one-off (ish) specialised services. Social Media (Facebook and LinkedIn groups are the most prevalent), occasional shout-outs on Twitter. Out-sourcing sites, forums, some put out an RFP that is indexed by Google, word of mouth, etc.
- Do startups value these types of spots?
Yes, but degree varies considerably:
a) Some put way too much value on it. It isn’t a case of getting a video, and Bob’s your uncle who funded you in your FFF round. There needs to be a reason, an aim, objective, etc as to why they want a video, where they want to use it (both in terms of where on the web, and where in the funnel) and what they are hoping to get back from it. Video needs to be part of an integrated push, analytics, measurements, refinement, ROI, etc. If the video is on a homepage then it needs to be focused on the objective of that homepage, if on a landing page, ditto.
b) Some want to tick a box, I stay away from them for the most part.
In terms of efficacy of objective attainment:
1. Some saw great returns, increased sales, conversions, etc.
There was one client that had a series of videos, as use cases for some very big names, they got M+A very soon after those videos. I like to believe the videos aided in whatever small way, hahah. Actually I know they did play a small part, for I stay in contact with the startups for a period of time after the project.
Some saw absolutely nothing at all, but upon checking how they actually used the video, it was no surprise. Just dumped it on Youtube and that was it, not present on the home page, not on any landing pages, no mention on other social media, no promotions, no seeding. Bit of a shame actually.
Some saw mild results, but then if you lack the courage needed to stand out from the crowd, then what do you expect. They are innovating, disrupting, etc, etc, but when it comes to video, oh, can I have it like my competitors: message, look, hook, line and sinker. Thankfully If they ask for a whiteboard video, I can say I don’t make them, which I don’t. If there are legitimate reasons to have some degree of similarity, no problem, can still do things to drive a wedge, but if there is no reason other than fear, then no point making the video.
Some should have done better, but they did some background research, video analytic white papers, etc, 60 second video please. So, instead of being focused on the amount of information needed to increase the probabilities of the required response, they adhere to generalized consolidated data taken out of context (niche, audience, funnel stage, etc), and so the video isn’t able to provide all the necessary information. I am all for shorter the better, but shorter based on what does the audience need to hear.