Q&A: Jon Mowat, MD Hurricane

Ahead of YMS18 LDN we spoke to Jon Mowat, of Hurricane Media about his upcoming talk and what is the key when it comes to video content and youth marketing.


What’s your advice for brands who want to create quality video content but have a limited budget?

Quality video content does not necessarily refer to high production values, but rather how well the video hits your goals. For me, it’s about spending money on planning and activation rather than just pretty pictures. It’s important to be clear on your targets and what you’re measuring, and use a selection of metrics in order to justify a bigger budget next time.

You also have to be realistic; if you have a limited budget, it will be easier to connect with people you already know and measure engagement. It is more challenging to reach new audiences without paying.

How can brands integrate personalisation into their video marketing strategy?

The tech is available to personalise video easily and effectively now, and it is a great way to cut through the noise and grab attention, and subsequently offer a more memorable experience for your audience.

There are phenomenal results coming in. In a study from our tech partner Vidyard, videos with personalisation were shown to improve click-through rates by an average of 4.5 times and the average click-to-open ratio by 16 times. There are a few pitfalls to avoid though; don’t prioritise the tech over the message and think carefully before repurposing content for personalisation. The video content also needs to be appropriately targeted, feeling friendly and relevant, rather than intrusive.

Which social platforms are the most effective for promoting video content?

It’s a video-first world and video is working hard for brands across all the social channels with the youth market consuming more and more video content. Social video is not just a way to pass the time and be entertained but to connect with friends, get shopping recommendations, how-tos, and so on. The effectiveness of social media channels depends on what your brand is trying to achieve and where your audience is in the sales funnel. At the top of the funnel are YouTube and Facebook, and then in-the-moment content and conversations on Snapchat and Instagram.

What’s the most common mistake that digital marketers make with video content?

There are so many mistakes, but here are three common ones:

1. When content is created by committee to the extent that the point of the video is watered down. It is important to have one clear objective and use a video that does one thing well. I use the spork as an example – it’s not a spoon or fork, so who really needs it?

2. When brands are looking for an agency to work with, it seems to me that it’s a mistake to not clarify the budget. If brands do give a realistic budget, then they get three strong ideas tailored to their budget giving them more choice, rather than a low, medium and high option with none being quite what they need.

3. Setting views as a key objective, when it is not always the best metric, and is really just a first step in measuring the success of a video.

And finally a few fun questions…

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

I know that my publisher would like me to say my new Video Marketing Strategy book and that is a definite highlight …

… but genuinely it’s building a strong company of like-minded, warm, friendly, creative people who like working together. I enjoy going into the Hurricane office.

Favourite app? Why?

It’s definitely Waze, which gets me where I need to be on time. This GPS software app creates a genuine community on the road and uses AI to give the best routes. It’s a lifesaver.

Something few people know about you?

For three years, I worked with the wonderful John Craven on Countryfile and on documentaries for the BBC visiting far-flung places, from Chile to Rwanda.

What are you most looking forward to at YMS?

It’s a great line-up at the event, so I’m looking forward to gaining insights from the other speakers and getting feedback on my book.

Finally, what should we have asked you that we didn’t?

What is the number 1 winning tip when marketing to young people?


Catch Jon on the Digital, Mobile and Video stream at YMS18 LDN on Thursday 22nd March.