Drone marketing strategy is quickly being adopted by many businesses. Drones have many different facets in that they can be used as a physical medium, or even to deliver things. They can easily integrate with other technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, the cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to market to target audiences. The potential for reaching new customers has risen thanks to drones, and the possibilities are endless: drones make more fun and cost-efficient “flying billboards” than the chartered jets of the past, can deliver everything from cupcakes to books to customers, and take video steadily while reaching areas that humans just can’t.
Best of all, drones are affordable for small, local businesses so it’s not just large enterprises reaping the benefits of drone technology as it relates to taking photos and video. Here’s what you need to know about using drones to promote your business.
Why Businesses and Marketers are Looking to Drones
Small business owners and ad executives of large companies alike are looking to drones for videography and photography purposes. Aerial filming is incredibly expensive and often out of reach for most small business marketing budgets. Drones are more compact that people and aircraft and can get angles and shots that humans just can’t.
In the never-ending drive to create more innovative content, drones have become more heavily adopted in the video advertising sphere. People are inundated with video ads every day and often click through them: drones are a game-changer in that people are not only watching ads more because of these perspectives, but even sharing the videos. Sharing is the cornerstone of a successful content strategy.
Drones aren’t just being used in commercials. Videographers and content marketers who create and edit video content are starting to make drones mainstream, opposed to a novelty gadget.
Major Brands that Successfully Employed Drone Marketing
As more marketers start adopting drones into their overall marketing strategy, especially if that strategy happens to be video-rich, drone marketing will start to become more ubiquitous. Many major brands such as Red Bull, GE, Coca Cola, and Amazon have used drones to take incredible aerial shots. Among the most prolific was the death-defying extreme sports shown in Red Bull’s film-vertisement “The Ridge” featuring pro mountain biker Danny Macaskill in Scotland’s Isle of Skye. The video received over 43 million views on YouTube.
In 2014, Twitter and the Cannes Lions Festival created the @Dronie Twitter account to use drones that voluntary took pictures and footage of attendees, calling the shots “dronies” opposed to selfies and the #dronie hashtag not only took off, but so did the account. GE used the #DroneWeek hashtag to give viewers a “drone’s eye tour” of their facilities that the public usually doesn’t see, such as their jet engine test site in Appalachia and a manufacturing plant in Texas. GE successfully engaged audiences by showing them the sides of their business that most people don’t get to see.
Even small businesses are making innovative use of drones, such as Yo Sushi in London that delivers food to customers with drone-powered trays which results in free advertising from customers fascinated by it and taking video for later promotion. Real estate agents have been using drone photography to help showcase exterior improvements in their online listings.
Drone Price Ranges and Specs
Drones are readily available on Amazon and other retailers specializing in technology and film equipment. Drones suitable for marketing videography range from $250-500 on the low end with a max flight time of 10-12 minutes and 50-75 meter operating range, to anywhere from $1,500-3,000 for drones that can fly and film for up to 30 minutes and an operating range of 2,000 meters. Given that drones can go more places than a 360 camera, this makes them an excellent investment if you require many aerial and location shots.
The XIRO Xplorer is a popular choice for both large and small businesses seeking a cost-efficient drone that can go long distances (500-1,000 meters) and can film for up to 25 minutes.
Best Practices for Using Drones
The FAA is the agency that sets most of the rules for how you can legally use drones, but your state or city may also impose additional rules if your drone is a long-range one. Since drones can be used for data collection, you also need to pay heed to privacy and data protection regulations. If you’re using drones primarily for filming, keep the following in mind:
- Ask an FAA-certified drone pilot for assistance if you’re unsure how to use your drone. They are professional operators who can also help you find the right type for your business.
- Live events are a great time to use drones, but make sure that they are not being intrusive to the attendees.
- Drones aren’t well-suited to taking interior shots in small spaces, or external shots where you are trying to hide an undesirable feature.