vzaar - The professional video platform blog Min vzaar site
vzaar is an online video hosting service with fantastic features that are designed for business. Deliver to mobile or the web straight from your site.

Archive for Video Inspiration

We get it. Teaching can be (and usually is) every bit as exhausting as it is inspirational.

Constantly scrambling for new ideas and tools to keep the students engaged, scouring the jungle of the world wide web to see what others are doing and trying to stay on top of the game with all the edtech updates… Boy, don’t we know how mind-melting that is!

And then you have to listen to all that “teachers don’t understand the new tech” stuff. Exhausting. So we went away and collected some refreshingly creative examples of using video for educational purposes – just for you. Trust us, some classy things out there!

#1 The Smith School of Business & the scribe animation. Rocking success.

Seeking to be recognised as the number one source of timely and reliable research, the Smith School of Business has turned to video tools to spruce up its research findings with some beautiful scribbles. Keeping it warm and authentic, they used the professor’s voice to narrate the story and produced the first scribe animation. Then chucked it into their weekly newsletter and started counting clicks & likes. Guess how it went?

The videos are made for Smith Brain Trust.

The videos are made for Smith Brain Trust.

Right, it went awesome. Using whiteboard animation, the Smith School of Business were able to appeal to and engage a much wider audience. Internally, too. Soon after the great start, professors started requesting these videos for distance and blended learning.

Real-time drawing is one of those can’t-take-your-eyes-off experiences, and that’s why it works so well for educational purposes [click here to tweet]. You can turn any infographic, experiment, story or case study into an eye-catching whiteboard animation. And you don’t need to reinvent anything – just repackage. Here’s one of their brilliant videos:

#2  English grammar lessons meet PowToon. Explain in style.

There’s nothing worse than a boring presentation. You can only use it if you’re punishing your students for spoiling your favorite TV show. So, unless you’re a design pro, please stay away from bullet points and depressing PowerPoint backgrounds. We’re serious. It’s not healthy. [click here to tweet]

Here’s a simple and effective way to turn your presentations into animated stories that are bound to catch your students’ attention. You’ll find that it’s hard not to like them.

In this example, Paola Brown discusses the most typical grammatical mistakes students make with semicolons. It’s quick, and simple, and captivating. And students definitely like it more than grammar textbooks.

#3 All you need to know before flipping your classroom. Or learn before you teach

Crazyforeducation is an online platform designed by flipped teachers for flipped teachers.


These guys excel at showing you why & how you should experiment with the flipped classroom approach. And if you’re just starting to look around for success stories and interesting examples, it’s probably where you should start anyways. Just saying. [click here to tweet]

Simple, integrated system, no ads, accessible on all devices, everywhere. Plus, something extra you’ll be pleased to learn – it’s free for teachers and their students. But see for yourselves.

#4 Hands on learning for all tech lovers. You won’t believe this stuff

We’ve stumbled upon a wonderful initiative – Technology will save us – that aims to help teachers introduce tinkering with technology education into any classroom, after school club or home school. With easy-to-follow video instructions and out-of-the-box DIY projects, it’s a go-to hub for those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and try something different. [click here to tweet]

We all agree that teaching needs to be fun and thought-provoking. Yet, we don’t always agree on the best tools to achieve the desired result. So how do we know who and what is right? We go out there, have fun and then decide!

#5 Spanish for beginners. With a little bit of drama

12 weeks of pure Spanish drama. That’s what you’ll get, if you sign up for the BBC’s interactive learning project. Or 12 weeks of real Italian adventures. But if you really have to choose, pick the drama of language learning.

Yes, it’s a bit too extravagant for a school project, but it’s an idea worth exploring. See how your class feels about adding a pinch of theatricality to language learning. If you decide not to pursue the mini video series project, you can always use the BBC’s resources to refresh the class’s knowledge and end a long week with a wordy bang. Because why not? [click here to tweet]

Enjoy the drama and learn real Spanish

Enjoy the drama and teach real Spanish

. . . 

That’s all we’ve got this time, but we promise to keep it coming. In the meantime, we’d love to hear more about your experience of #teachingWithVideo. Click on the image below to tweet us @vzaar with your questions, ideas, pains & joys. Let’s talk education!

Let's talk education! @vzaar

Let’s talk education! @vzaar

Categories eLearning, Video Inspiration
Comments (0)

Often when it comes to businesses using video we think about its external uses: brand awareness, social sharing, leads and conversions. So this week I wanted to take a different track and think about how video can be used internally within a company (and to great effect)…

1. Training Videos

Face to face training for all of your employees can be very time consuming – not to mention expensive! And, if you’ve got a global team it can be very difficult to organise.

Using training videos alleviates this pain. Your team can watch at their own pace, whenever and wherever it suits them, fitting it into their existing work rather than taking entire days out to complete a specific course.

Video demos are particularly handy if you’ve got a piece of software or a particular platform which your team need to be able to use. They can refer back to the video whenever they need to jog their memory, instead of relying on notes taken on a course they took a year ago.

It’s something we actually use ourselves at vzaar. Whenever we welcome new vzaarians to the team we need to be sure they know how the platform works. Screencasts like this one are quick to put together (we use ScreenFlow and love it), easy to distribute among the team, and can be watched again and again, as needed.

And I know I said this post was going to be about using video internally but I couldn’t skip by the subject of training videos without mentioning how great they are for external use as well. Why not repurpose existing video demos and send out to your existing customers to teach them how to use your product?

2. Build Relationships

If you’ve got a large workforce, or perhaps people are in different locations, often it can be a struggle to make sure that everyone feels included and part of the team.

And this is bad for business.

The more you can encourage your team to build strong relationships with each other the happier and more productive they’ll be. The team that videos together, stays together :)

At vzaar, for example, we have a US team and a UK team. And it’s vital we ensure everyone communicates with one another. Often this takes the form of just plain old silliness. Like this video outtake:

Or the time Gus the poodle visited and we all got a bit excited:

This is another internal use that can be repurposed and used externally. Blooper reels are the perfect example, they’re good fodder not only to raise a smile within the team, but also to show the human, more social side of your company to external viewers.

3. Company Wide Updates

Again, one for if you’ve got a larger team or people working in different locations/remotely. It can often be hard to make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands key points in your company.

Wordy emails can sink to the bottom of inboxes, whereas your team are much more likely to engage with a quick 1 minute video. And to retain the information within.

Poor employee engagement is one of the top reasons for a high staff turnover. According to the Society for Human Resource Management engaged employees are those who (among other things) understand the link between their job and the organization’s mission. Video messages from managers and directors not only help build those relationships I was talking about earlier, but also help to provide that link.

In Summary

The use of video within a company can be very effective to help develop not just personal connections, but connections to the organization and its mission.

Providing training, support, updates and sharing a joke or two work wonders for team morale and productivity. Not to mention saving time on expensive and time consuming offline training courses.

The new age of corporate communications and internal training takes place online, and video is a powerful tool for any business to use.

Are you using video for corporate communication and training? vzaar can help you share internal videos safely and securely with your global workforce. To try it out for yourself, check out our 30 day free trial and enjoy :)

Categories Video Inspiration
Comments (0)

Climbing the metaphorical hillWhen it comes to making video work for your publishing business, a lot is often written about how to produce the video. And yes, of course, creating a compelling video which resonates with your particular target audience is really, really important.

But if video success were a hill, you’d only be about halfway to the summit. A successful video campaign needs more than just a great video. How do you climb the last half of that metaphorical hill? Hang tight, we’ll get you there.

So, in the spirit of reaching loftier heights, today I want to focus on what you should do when you have your finished video. To be clear, we’re not talking creating the content here. I’m working on the assumption that you’ve already done that part (but, if you haven’t check out our video interview with the video PR experts at TNR News for some tips & inspiration).

Before you even think about setting your video loose, be sure you’ve considered the following:

1. Does Your Video Playback on Mobile, Tablet & Desktop

Did you know that video is expected to account for 72% of all mobile data traffic by 2019? (CISCO)

If your video doesn’t play on mobile devices you’re missing out on a lot (like a lot, a lot) of views. You can’t really afford to let this audience pass you by.

The solution is to use a video hosting platform which includes an HTML5 player. That way if Flash isn’t present (i.e. on mobiles and tablets), the video will still play via the mobile compatible H5.

2. How Will You Drive Traffic To Your Videos?

No matter how awesome your video is, it can only start to work it’s magic if people watch it. And for that you need to make sure your driving lots of relevant traffic to it. There’s a few different ways you can do that:

Video SEO

Create and submit a video sitemap to tell the search engines what your video is about. That way Google will know that when somebody queries “insert your golden keyword” they should display your video.

Video search result example

In fact, Moneyweek grew their traffic by 136% once they started following these video SEO best practices.

Social Sharing

Share your videos on social media. Video posts tend to see more engagement than text alone, so depending on how big your following you could rack up a pretty healthy number of views.

Even better, encourage those viewers to share with their own networks, too. For this, you’ll need to include social sharing buttons directly in the player. This removes any friction from the process. It’s no harder for your audience to share than simply clicking a mouse button.

3. Have You Branded Your Video Player?

Once you’ve got all that lovely traffic hitting your video pages, it’s a good idea to be sure that your video is reflecting your brand image.

After all, why spend time attracting visitors only to have them wind up landing on a video that’s peppered with another company’s branding (YouTube I’m looking at you).

Be sure that the video player you use can be customized with your own branding. Change the colours so that they match your current web design, and overlay your logo so that when the video does get shared, everyone knows where it came from.

4. How Will You Monetize Your Videos?

OK, so you’ve made sure your videos play back reliably, in great quality, and that lots of people are viewing them.

Crunch time – how do you translate that into revenue for your business? Well, there’s plenty of ways you can do this, but I’ve pulled out a few examples from our own client base. Here’s what some of the publishers we work with tend to use…

Video Advertising

In a nutshell, adding pre, mid and post roll video ads means that you can generate an extra revenue stream from your videos. In the same way that you (may) sell advertising space on your website, you can also sell advertising space on your videos.

If you have a lot of traffic to your videos (which you will if you use the techniques outlined above), you can really bring in some healthy revenues.

As an online publisher advertising is critical as it’s a main source of revenue. Running vzaar allows us to further monetize our videos – Mike Lepore, Spine-health.com

Email Capture

Perhaps your model is more like that of Moneyweek (the UK’s largest financial magazine).

Our ultimate aim is to build a large audience of highly engaged readers. To that end, we produce informational videos on the hot financial topics of the day as a way of encouraging people to sign up to our biweekly newsletters. – Andrew Williams, Moneyweek

Adding an email capture form into your videos is perfect, here. It allows viewers to subscribe, straight from the video player. Once again removing any friction. The fewer number of clicks your viewer has to make to complete a goal – the better!

Video Security

CISI is the largest professional body for those who work in the securities and investment industry in the UK. Members benefit from video seminars, which aim to support members in their professional development.

CISITV is an exclusive member benefit so we really need to be sure that non-members cannot access the video content- Jade Clarke, CISI

If you’re doing something similar you’ll need a platform with:

  • Domain Control: so the videos won’t play on any unauthorized domains
  • RTMPe Streaming: so that the video stream is encrypted and much more difficult to download
  • In Summary…

    Before you set out on any video campaign be sure you’ve thought about how you’ll distribute it. Be sure to have a promotional plan in place so that you get plenty of video views, and don’t forget the mobile audience.

    Whichever video hosting platform you use, it’s vital that you make sure it has the features you’ll need to achieve your goals, whether that be monetizing your content via video advertising, growing your mailing list, or providing exclusive content for members. Think carefully about what you want to do with video and evaluate any platform so that you’re confident it can give you whatever tools you’re going to need for success…

    …That’s exactly what we designed our 30 day free trial to do. For 30 days you get access to all features, and 5GB of bandwidth to play with. Plus, we don’t take any credit card details when you sign up for your trial. So there’s no need to worry – you’ll only be charged if and when you decide we have everything you need.

    That’s a full MONTH to test out all the various features, chat with our video experts and start to see the results of your video campaigns. If you’re looking to get kick your video strategy into hyper gear, there’s no better time to get started.

    Categories Video Inspiration
    Comments (0)

    This week I flipped through my copy of Internet Retailing and happened upon this article on how brands can build relationships with customers, inspire trust and engender loyalty.

    As I read, it struck me how well video plays into many of the strategies outlined in the article. If you’re looking to connect with your consumer, it’s the perfect thing to add into the mix. So, I thought I’d pull out a few of the ideas the article mentioned and explain how video can be used to achieve them.

    1. Marry Content With Commerce

    “The latest thinking suggests that putting content alongside commerce is key in giving shoppers reasons to return to a website. David Walmsley, director of M&S.com, says it was crucial for its new site to weave content and commerce together. ‘For us it was critical that we didn’t create something that could feel like a content ghetto: turn left to shop and right to read,’ he told InternetRetailing Conference 2014.”


    Often, when brands use video they immediately think: YouTube. And, of course, there’s many good reasons to upload your videos to YouTube. The mistake occurs, however, when this becomes the entire video strategy.

    If your content exists in isolation – how can you expert it to convert? Your content should sit right alongside your product. It’s vital that you embed videos directly on your website – don’t just leave them gathering dust on YouTube. Only then do your visitors have a reason to keep coming back to you (not YouTube).

    Cosmetic retailer Illamasqua, provides online video tutorials so that visitors learn how to use the make up properly. The videos are embedded on site (rather than uploaded to YouTube), so that the audience can then go on to buy whatever products are featured in the video. Plus, by creating an online video hub right on the website they attract more visitors straight to site, and keep them coming back for more.

    David Walmsley sums it up pretty nicely, so I think it’s worth repeating: don’t direct visitors one way to access your content, and the other to buy your product.

    Sound good to you? You can learn more about how Illamasqua use video as part of their marketing strategy here.

    2. Find New Ways To Communicate The Brand

    “‘Our objective is to be a destination of choice,’ says David Kohn, head of multichannel at Snow + Rock. “What we stand for is being the ultimate authority on products and advice.”… In store, that means giving helpful and expert advice. Online, that means finding new ways to advise.”

    Video is a fantastic way to bring the expertise of your in store staff, online. The key is to provide helpful information that’s of real value to your visitor. They’re more likely to trust an honest, personal review than an overt sales pitch.

    It’s something that baseball bat store Justbats.com have pretty much nailed. On each product page the team provides bat reviews and information so that the visitor can be sure that they’re buying exactly what they need.

    Justbats.com example video

    Interested in learning more? Check out our full case study to learn how Justbats.com use video to improve the customer experience.

    3. Do the unexpected with social media

    “[Mulberry], best known for its handbags, came up with a tongue-in-cheek video in which relatives vie to outdo each other in giving Christmas Day presents to one particularly lucky young woman….’our tongue-in-cheek Christmas video #WinChristmas has been viewed well over one million times,’ said Mulberry chairman Godfrey Davis in the company’s interim results, published in December.”

    Remember that YouTube is a social platform. So be social. The YouTube audience is there to be entertained, so the videos you upload here should be top of the funnel content only. The “tongue in cheek” Mulberry campaign is the perfect example of a brand using YouTube, and using it well.

    But YouTube isn’t the only social network on which you can use video to great effect. Add video into your Twitter and Facebook feeds and you’ll see a lot more engagement. For example, we see around a 4 times the amount of engagement when we post video tweets, compared to text only.

    Bonus: Use The Right Tools

    Now that you’ve got a better understanding of where and how to add video to your website, the last step is to use the proper tools so that the video will achieve it’s ultimate goal: to convert.

    Use a call to action

    We always recommend using a call to action o so that the viewer knows what action they should take. It’s important to display this call to action prominently on the page – you don’t want them to miss it. The very best place to do this is within the video player itself – the very place their attention is already focused.

    Use a reliable video host

    If your videos don’t play, they can’t convert. Your videos should work on every device (mobile, tablet desktop), and should load quickly – even if viewers have slow Internet connections.

    Secure your videos

    Your videos should attract people to your your website – and not somewhere else. Be sure you have the proper video security in place so that your valuable videos are safeguarded against unauthorized downloads. Make sure your content works for you – and only you.

    ecommerce video hosting solution

    There’s a lot to be said for video advertising, done successfully your videos can start to bring in a lot of extra revenue.

    But, did you spot the key phrase? Done successfully. Our video advertising tool is a very simple way to get started with video advertising – but it’s not enough to just slap an ad tag into your video and expect the pennies to come rolling in.

    The more views your video gets, the more you’ll earn. And there’s a few smart ways to maximise your video traffic…

    1. Create A Calendar of Key Dates

    Who are you targeting? Once you know this you can start to think about the dates that are relevant to them, and plan advertising campaigns around that.

    Take Futbol Sites for instance, Latin America’s largest network of football websites. Pretty clear audience here: football fans. And what was one of the key dates in every football fans diary last year? The World Cup of course.

    During the World Cup, Futbol Sites saw its traffic increase by a pretty humungous 300%. This huge growth, teamed with the team’s ability to add advertising tags to their videos, made them a very attractive option to advertisers like Ford, Gatorade, Pringles and more. The video adverts added an extra revenue stream for the business and meant that all of those extra views didn’t go to waste (full story).

    2. Drive Traffic With Video SEO

    Ok, ok not every industry will have massive global events that they can use to their advantage. But, you can still nudge up your video views with video SEO.

    By submitting a video sitemap to Google you will ensure that your pages are returned whenever anyone types in a relevant search term. Try including the word “video” in your titles and descriptions. This will act as a sort of pre-qualifier of your traffic. People searching for videos should be actually interested in watching them. You’ll not only drive up traffic, you’ll also drive up view counts too.

    3. Use An Attractive Poster Frame

    Before your video adverts can start bringing in the advertising revenue, they first need to be seen. And for that to happen you have to get your audience to hit the play button. The poster frame image is crucial, it needs to be attractive and compelling.

    • Human faces or graphics?
    • Bright & colorful or black and white?
    • Lots of copy or none at all?

    Our usual preference is to use a title so that the visitor has a rough idea of what the videos about. We team this with a…let’s say… “quirky” image. The familiar title with an unusual image piques the curiosity. For instance, in the video above. How does the poster frame relate to the title “Video Advertising”? It just tempts you to click play and find out how the two fit together.

    Here’s some more examples so you can see what I mean.

    Video Poster Frame Example 1

    Video Poster Frame Example 2

    Video Poster Frame Example 3

    Typically, you should make sure your video play button is always visible, so that your visitor knows there’s some video goodness waiting to be unlocked (instead of just an image).

    4. Hold Viewers Interest

    This tip is more relevant if you’re using mid or post roll video advertising. The challenge here is to keep the viewer watching long enough for them to hit the ad.

    I strongly recommend cutting down any “blank space” in your video. Keep introductions to a minimum and make sure your visual varies. What you don’t want is a long static shot while your presenter rambles: “hello I’m Jane and today I’m going to go into the various problems, but also look at the solutions, of the three types of ways you can use….yada yada yada”

    See? I even got bored typing that.

    5. Stream Video Reliably

    The video hosting platform you use is really pretty critical to your success with video advertising. If the platform isn’t fit for purpose you’ll run into trouble. Here’s a checklist of things you should check:

    Encoding Control

    You need to make sure that your videos load quickly with minimal buffering. You can do this in one of two ways. Either, reduce your videos bitrate. This will keep the file size down. The lower the file size the faster it will load.

    Or, you could use dual encoding. This basically gives you two versions of the same file. One in standard definition which is smaller and will load quickly for viewers on slow internet connections. One in HD which looks great and keeps viewers with high speed internet connections happy.

    More on that here.


    Global CDN

    Your videos should be accessible to a global audience. For this, you need a global CDN with points of presence all over the world. This means that wherever your viewer is located, the video is streamed from the server which is closest to them.

    Mobile Video

    CISCO predict that nearly 3/4 of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2019.

    Takeaway? If your videos don’t play on mobile you’re missing out on a massive audience. Your video hosting platform should be compatible with all devices; that’s desktop, mobile and tablet.

    You should also check that the html5 player comes with video advertising – it’s not always a given. You’ll need to be sure that your ad tags are compatible.

    In Summary

    Making money from video advertising basically involves two things.

    First, you need to have enough video views to generate significant revenues:

    • Key campaign dates
    • Video SEO
    • Attractive poster frames
    • Engaging videos

    Second, you need to choose the right video hosting platform, to ensure your videos (and their adverts) play back reliably. Be sure that it gives you:

    • Mobile compatibility
    • Global CDN
    • Control over encoding

    And, the number one thing you need: an easy way to add your ad tags.

    We all have busy working lives, it really doesn’t need to take hours and hours to get started with this. Just grab your ad tag, paste it into the interface and adjust one or two settings. If it’s harder than that – you’re doing it wrong.

    Video Advertising Tools For Publishers