Choosing the Right Video Platform

As video is becoming more and more essential to how businesses communicate with their audiences—whether potential customers, current customers, or employees—a video platform has become a necessary and useful tool to manage, optimize, measure content, and learn about different audiences.

Outline Your Needs First

There are many platforms from which to choose: Wistia, Vimeo, Kaltura, Brightcove, Limelight to name a few. But before you commit to one you’ve got to consider what’s important to YOU and YOUR team. Let’s consider shoes for a moment. If you’re looking for a running shoe you are going to place value on certain features that someone looking for a dress shoe won’t. Video is no different. For marketers, a few features on a Video Platform may be key, while another team may need their own unique features.

Things to Consider:

Of course there is a laundry list of things you should consider, but for brevity’s (and sanity’s) sake we’ve taken some of the bigger attributes you’re going to want to evaluate your Video Platform short list on:

▪ Content Management: If this is a BIG priority, look for things like the ease with which you can upload and manage new video content. Do you have to involve IT every time? Can you upload directly from your YouTube channel? As your library grows in size and complexity of topics for different audiences, is it searchable and taggable?

▪ Optimization: How high does this rank for your team? You’re always looking for ways to improve your video content so how will this Video Platform help you do that? Does it have built in optimization features like A/B split testing and insights on actual audience engagement?

▪ Content Distribution: If you’re in charge of this one, ask yourself: is it a simple task to share your videos to multiple channels from within your Video Platform? And even more importantly: if changes are made to your video in the Video Platform, are they automatically updated in all locations where the video has previously been shared.

▪ Reporting, Analytics & ROI: Video Platforms should be more than a place to keep all of your videos. Investigate the detailed metrics offered by a Video Platform. More than video views, look for a platform that will provide you insight on viewing behavior. What portions are people re-watching? What are they skipping? How is this viewer engagement information gathered? And as a whole, how is video contributing to new business? Can you track how a specific video may have played a roll all the way to a closed deal?

▪ Scale: Sproutvideo, Oculu, Brightcove, Limelight, Wista, Vzaar, Kaltura, and Ooyala are known for their large storage space, specialized video uploading and high-bandwidth packages.  Most of these services can be great for larger companies.  You can customize the player to suit your branding, logo, and styles as well as access great tools for development and customer support.  Vidyard offers a Pay as you Go Plan at $5 a video per month with certain viewing limitations along with more structured professional plans ranging up to $499 per month.  They offer basic social media integration as well as some simple customization. However, the more uploads you have the more it’s going to cost.Vimeo Pro is a staple in offering businesses an affordable account at $199 a year.If you don’t require extra features like the customization of a player and your only goals are embedding your video on your own website, or reaching a wide and often undefined demographic, there are options for your business that don’t require monthly fees. YouTube is the most widely known free option.  YouTube allows for basic metrics such as what led your customers to your video and overall plays as well as allowing you to set up a channel and background wallpaper for collections of videos. Other popular free alternatives include Facebook Video, and Flickr.

▪ Sales Enablement: The ability to privately send videos and track whether a prospect viewed it, how much they consumed, and when they did so can make a big impact on the next sales call with that lead, so look into whether or not your shortlisted Video Platforms can do that. As well, can your sales team take advantage of your video marketing content? The easier it is for them to access and send it (like directly from their email!) the easier it will be for your sales team to engage prospects with accurate and creative content, and close more deals.

Don’t forget to define success for the adoption of this new technology. If you’re embarking on this investment, you’ll want to make sure you’ve defined KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) beforehand so you can evaluate its success for your business even after you’ve made your selection.

Don’t forget to define success for the adoption of this new technology. If you’re embarking on this investment, you’ll want to make sure you’ve defined KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) beforehand so you can evaluate its success for your business even after you’ve made your selection.


Got a question about something you’ve read? We would love to hear from you! Just hit reply and ask us.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.
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Video Strategy Part 2 — Distribution

So you have this incredible video. You sent it out to your internal teams, encouraged everyone to share, uploaded it to YouTube and now you wait. You wait for the marketing fame to roll in. You wait some more. Unfortunately, each time you obsessively check, your view count wasn’t nearly as impressive as you’d hoped and no one is sharing it. Don’t stress!
qtq80-JKQvGMAfter you’ve spent time, energy, and money to create this awesome video, it’s all about making sure your video(s) get in front of YOUR target audience (not just your mom). You need a  distribution strategy to ensure everyone sees your masterpiece. One of the first spots you’ll immediately think about to is YouTube. As the second largest search engine (behind Google — which also owns YouTube), it’s imperative for your brand to use YouTube strategically to showcase your videos far and wide.

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We could write a book about the different ways to use YouTube to distribute your video, but it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. So here are three:

1) A common approach is to use the channel to gain attention and drive viewers back to your website where they can consume more content free from distraction. (As a bonus, once they’re back on your website you’ll also be able to track their behavior with video engagement data.)

2) You can also use YouTube to build an audience and then use it for its true social media power (i.e. comments, shares, etc..)

3) Get your videos monetized and start earning revenue off of those YouTube ads by enabling them on your content.

 “Just remember, YouTube loves YouTube. So if you embed a video on a landing page from YouTube. Your landing page is not getting the love, your YouTube channel is…if you want your landing page to get some Google love, consider using another video hosting/sharing platform like Vimeo or Wistia.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

Your website or campaign landing pages

Nowadays buyers can go through most of the buying process before ever talking to anyone in sales. So you’ve got to include videos that are going to make a human connection and keep you memorable. The benefit is two-fold. Not only do videos embedded on your site increase the probability of a sale, but Google takes note when a click leads to longer time spent on a page. What this means is when your viewers click and watch a 90 second video, that 90 seconds makes the content on your site more recognizable, and more likely to appear in Google search results. Winning!
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“Create your landing page with a very specific goal in mind and make sure that the content that surrounds the video is very clear and includes button of some kind to make it very easy for your viewers to embrace your call to action… and take action.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

Email campaigns

No other marketing medium can communicate as quickly and effectively as video. So it makes a ton of sense to use video in your email marketing to increase brand awareness customer education and, of course, sales.

Approximately half of the marketers who use video in email campaigns experience an uptick in click-through rates, an increase in time spent reading the email, and an increase in sharing and forwarding. (Source: eMarketer)

It’s a common misconception that when you use video in email, that the video will simply play, right from inside the email. That would be a unicorn. Unfortunately, most email clients  don’t support the need to play video right inside the email. While you can drive them directly to the page on which your video is hosted, it’s better to create a landing page specifically for the video. This ensures that your audience won’t be distracted by the other content. Once you do that, take a screenshot of your video WITH the play button. Then add the screenshot to an email, and link it to the landing page with your video. Now, when your audience gets your email, they’ll see a big screenshot of your video, and when they click on it they’ll be taken directly to a page where they can immediately consume your video content.

“One simple way of adding moving video into your email campaign is to utilize an animated GIF. These can be fun and simple. They don’t have any sound but they still can say a lot and inspire action. in your viewer.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

 


Social networks

When distributing your videos, social channels are your best friend. And you have MANY best friends from which to choose.

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We spoke briefly about YouTube, but there are many more options in the social world. Twitter and Facebook allow you to post videos directly to their platforms. This is always the way to go in order to maximize each platform versus linking from YouTube or another video hosting platform.

Periscope (owned by Twitter) and Facebook Live lead the charge with live video streaming platforms and are increasing in popularity for their easy ability to bring your viewers someplace live easily.

You’ll also want to consider a clever use of Instagram, which has a one minute time limit on videos. You can create teaser videos directing viewers to your longer-form content.

“Whether we are talking about the cutesy brand building found on SnapChat or the Live video meets conversation found on Blab, video is clearly at the forefront of Social Media 2.0. But in all cases marketers are seeing the largest leap in video viewership on mobile. So keep this in mind when building and distributing your content.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

Remember, always think about the intended audiences. For example, if one of your videos highlights your company’s business services, it may perform better with your LinkedIn networks versus your Facebook page.

And sharing is caring! Consider posting your video to your press releases, company blogs and maybe even contact your partners and ask if they’ll feature your video content on their blog.

We are truly just skimming the surface when it comes to this topic. So if you have a more in-depth question about video distribution just reach out to us!

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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How long should my video be?

You’ve probably heard people joke about human beings having a shorter attention span than goldfish, sadly it’s kind of true. If your content doesn’t capture a viewer’s interest in the right amount of time, they’ll move on to something else. We have to hold our audience very tight and not let them even think about moving, not even a tiny little inch (or pixel) from our content.

Video too long

In one of Wistia’s video lengths analytics, it’s clear shorter videos are better for getting people to watch the whole thing. Also, if you go to your YouTube accounts dashboard you will find an option to view your videos analytics. Their research supports the idea that  shorter videos produce a more engaged audience. That said, not all videos are created equal and you can’t always live by a one size fits all rule.

Length Matters

TV Commercials are generally 30 seconds in length. When they first came out, the spots were very expensive. So advertisers shortened their ads and that’s one of the main reasons why most commercials today are very short. And generally speaking that length works very well with human attention span.

Online Video Content Length is an important factor to consider when creating online video content. Viewers will only stick with your video for so long, but the optimal video length tends to vary depending on the purpose of your content.  There are so many different rules when it comes to the length of online marketing videos, it’s difficult to come up with a steadfast strategy. For example, we are in the middle of a campaign right now where we are dealing with videos that are between two to three-and-a-half minutes. THAT’S LONG. The completion rate is VERY low… uh oh.. you might think, BUT what we are finding is that within 20 seconds a higher than normal percentage of people are clicking the “learn more” link and as a result we are driving traffic early on in the video. Driving traffic is the goal, so the full length of the video does not even matter as long as the call to action is taken by the viewer.

With that said keep in mind that when it comes to snack-able video content, shorter is better.

Our "Brands We Love" social media campaign

Our “Brands We Love” social media campaign. Click and watch!

 

Crowdfunding Videos are meant to create credibility around the project, so there is       usually a “talking head” involved. And it’s usually the founder or inventor speaking about the product, and another part of showing the product and how it works. These videos can be a bit longer than commercials. The audience is looking to learn more. Think of this one as the Goldilocks of videos. One minute videos are usually too short. Five-minutes is too long. Two to three minutes is just right.

Crowdfunding Campaign

One of our crowdfunding campaigns for Trakbelt360. Click and watch.

Testimonials are informative, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be creative. You    want to show your customers and/or employees talking about your product or business. Keep in mind the audience watching this wants to learn more, so it’s more about listening than watching. While longer form testimonials aren’t terrible, if you’re going to use them for marketing purposes you wouldn’t want the video to last more than two minutes.

Our client testimonial for Wilson HCG. Click and watch!

Our client testimonial for Wilson HCG. Click and watch!

Campaigns/ Brand Videos The rule here is quite simple. In fact you can equate it to a rule of writing. Your copy can never be too long, it can only be too boring. The minute you stop being engaging, you’re going too long. So for these videos — make them as long as it takes to get the point across.

Our branding video for Italio. Click and watch!

Our branding video for Italio. Click and watch!

That’s all for now. Best of luck with your video production. It can all seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Allow the Mad Bear team to help. Start by clicking here.

__________________________________________________________________

About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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Its Not Just About the Clicks

Hurray … You just got 25,000 views on your video!
Wow that is good stuff!
You are excited!
You are proud!
But now what?

Or better yet: what did your achievement get you on the business front?

My point here is: how many views a video receives is really only a part of the full story (and sometimes it is a small part).

Yes… Video views get the most amount of attention and are important but without a more granular look at your video’s reach it might not get your business what it needs.

Looking purely at a video’s clicks would be like stacking a baseball team with only home run hitters without any thought about on base percentage, pitching or even defense… Your team might pack a punch but not be able to win the big games.

By themselves the number of clicks is just a marketing tool to give a sense of exposure but the clicks do not suggest anything about who watched the video, did they watch the whole video/just a part and what they did after watching it.

1) Who Watched the Video?
If you do video strategically, the video is created for a specific audience. So how are you making sure the intended audience is in fact watching the video?

Much of this has to do with where the video is publicized and how you tag it. To get the most lift out of a video, it should be designed for a specific audience and then marketed in places where they can easily find it. Or better yet, deliver it to them using AdWords for Video as just one tool.

2) How Did They Watch It?
This is about viewing patterns. We have found as videos are viewed by more and more people, obvious patterns tend to emerge.

This is huge because the video can then be adjusted to better speak to your audience. This may mean how the landing page is organized, the call to action or even the way the video is constructed.

Then you can take this information and use it to make your next video campaign even more effective.

Platforms to help you monitor your video’s viewing patterns include: uStudio, VidCaster and Wistia (to name a few).

They each have different strengths but all can adequately accomplish the goal of knowing how your video is watched.

3) What Action Did They Take?
An obvious way to track this is to include the video’s embed code in your Google Analytics profile. That way you can see how people found your video and what they did after watching it.

The three steps are really about being strategic. American Express and Google launched a program last year called “My Business Story.” Click here to see a recent article to show the results of the campaign (thanks Erica Klein). The article shows how video can be monetized but it also emphasizes the need for a strategy behind the images.

All three of these points are important by themselves but together… the information you get gives you a complete profile of how well your videos are performing for you. Perhaps what is more important is how to take this information and then improve on those results for your next campaign.