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Archive for Video Marketing

Think Strategically When Video Marketing

I heard something this week. Something that got me more than a little frustrated. A friend asked me for some video hosting advice, “Our agency told us the best way to get video on our website was to use YouTube”

Hmm, well, maybe. But I dived a little deeper.

My first question was to ask what the business was aiming to achieve with the video. The response? Lead generation. Cue the frustration. Not at my friend. At the agency. It just bamboozles me to hear advice like this. Stick with me, I’ll explain why…

A lot of people hear the words “online video” and immediately jump to YouTube. This is a knee jerk reaction. It isn’t a video marketing strategy. And your video marketing efforts will amount to nothing if you haven’t gotten your strategy straight first.

I want to make this very clear: every decision you make when you’re creating a video is determined by your goal. The content, the distribution, the various different tools your use. Everything.

Goal 1: Leads/ Conversions

Video Content: You need to create a video that matches the content on your page. Are you trying to sell a product? Include a product review video. Are you pushing a new online course? Show how amazing your subject matter experts are with a teaser trailer.

Video Hosting Platform: Embed on your website using a secure video hosting platform.

Why not just upload to YouTube and embed that video on site? Well, a few reasons.

  • Traffic. Embedding video on site is good for your search rankings. Google likes quality content, and video is an important ranking factor here (SearchMetrics). But, if you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube you’ll actually find that the video drives traffic to YouTube, instead of your site. And once your customer hits YouTube you’ve basically lost them to the black hole that is cute cat videos. In fact, click through rates from YouTube are just 0.72% ( Optimizing Videos For Engines)

  • Control. In order to convert a viewer you need them to visit your site, and stay on it. You need to reduce the leaking points on your page, that is links that take visitors away from you. And the youTube player has a very big one – just hit the logo and off you go back to those cat videos.

Video Tools:

  • Video Sitemap: Yes, there’s been some changes recently to how Google shows videos in the search results. Gone are the heydays of beautiful rich snippet content (sob). But video SEO is still important. Be sure to tell Google there’s a video on your page, and what it’s about, so that your pages start to rank for a given search query.

  • Speechpad: Including a video transcript on your page will mean you’ve got lots of keyword rich copy. Hello search results :) Speechpad is an inexpensive way to do this.

  • End Screen Text: Use a call to action and link to a page of your choice (could be an add to basket, for example) and you could increase conversions by 144% (Quick Sprout)

Goal 2: Links & Social Shares

Video Content: For people to share something they need to feel something. Emotions that work particularly well here are hilarity, exhilaration and personal triumph (The Science of Video Sharing)

Video Hosting Platform: Embed on your website using a secure video hosting platform.

When someone shares your video you want them to be sharing the link to your specific site – not YouTube. You’ve put time and effort into creating shareable content so make sure it’s your site that’s getting the lovely linky goodness.

Video Tools:

  • Social Sharing: Make sure you’ve got social sharing buttons within the video player itself. This will act as a prompt for your viewers to share, and also just makes it super easy for them to do so.

  • Branded Video: It’s also a good idea to overlay a brand logo or text onto your video. This means that every time the content gets shared everyone knows which business lies behind that fantastic content.

Goal 3: Brand Awareness

Video Content: Think about the business videos that have gotten the most views in recent years. Dollar Shave Club and BlendTec’s “Will It Blend” Series instantly jump to mind. They were humorous, they took an interesting angle. They weren’t your regular corporate videos. Entertainment is key here.

Video Hosting Platform: YouTube really comes into its own here.

YouTube has a huge global audience. If the aim of your business game is to get as many eyeballs on your video as possible, it’s a great choice. Just make sure you’ve produced the aforementioned entertaining content, of course. Uploading a very dry client testimonial (for instance) isn’t likely to get you the huge viewing figures that YouTube is capable of.

Video Tools:

Optimize for YouTube. Make sure your video gets found among the countless others. Using keywords in titles and tags is key.

In Summary…

Stop thinking of YouTube as the one stop shop for business video marketing. Instead use your video content intelligently. Create content suitable for different stages of the funnel, and then host it in the place that makes sense for your goals:

  • Top of funnel content aimed at raising awareness of your brand – YouTube.

  • Bottom of the funnel content aimed at conversion – secure video hosting platform.

Happy video-ing :)


Categories Video Marketing
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Help With Video ConversionDid you ever launch your video only not to see the same conversion rates that you were expecting? You may conclude “well, video just doesn’t work for us” but it may be that you haven’t implemented it properly. Sometimes when something isn’t working, it’s hard to understand why. Online video is still something a lot of businesses are grappling with; best practices are still emerging and it can be tough to do video well.

As a video hosting company we see all sorts of companies doing all sorts of things with their videos. So we’ve got a pretty good understanding of what works, and what doesn’t.

One of the most common video goals is conversion. And in general there’s 3 traps that can catch people out. If you’re finding your video isn’t converting, don’t immediately write it off. Spending time working at video, researching and experiementing can pay dividends. When done right, video can really pack a punch (all the stats here).

To help you troubleshoot what’s going wrong with your video strategy, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Where is your video hosted?

First things first, since your goal here is conversions, do not upload your video to YouTube. YouTube is great if you want to raise brand awareness, but it’s not great at sending traffic to your site. Phil Nottingham of Distilled actually did some research into this and found that the average CTR from YouTube is a measly 0.72% (check out his deck on optimizing video for search engines for more.)

Think about it: the YouTube audience is there to be entertained. As soon as a viewer is done watching your video they’re much more likely to click on to the next video, and the next and so on and so forth. Uploading your video to YouTube and you’ll lose your viewers to cute cats.

Instead, embed your video on your site. Only then will you have complete control over the viewer experience.

2. How long is your video?

You need people to stick around long enough to process your message and get excited about buying your product or signing up to your course. Take another look at your video content. Or, ask a friend or two who won’t mind giving you an honest, critical appraisal. To maximise your video conversions, make sure that you:

Get the the point.

Most people switch off after the first 8 seconds (National Center for Biotechnology Information) you really only have a short time frame to hook your viewer.

Tell a story.

The good news is that once you have successfully hooked your viewer, it is possible to maintain their interest. Simply by telling them a story. We as humans are hard wired to appreciate stories – they were central to our evolution. In fact, telling a good story can increase levels of Oxytocin in the brain. And it’s this chemical that makes people motivated to cooperate (Harvard Business Review). Hello extra video conversions!

Keep it snappy.

Our research shows that the average length of a promotional video is less than 60 seconds. Of course, for different types of videos different lengths may be more appropriate. But as a general rule of thumb make sure you convey your key message within that 60 second window.

Average Video Length

3. Have you used a call to action?

What happens at the end of your video? If your answer here is “nothing”, you need to fix that. It’s important to tell your viewer what they should do next. If your content has been successful at motivating them to buy, provide the “add to cart button” there and then – don’t make them hunt for it.

In fact, using a call to action can increase conversions by 144% (Quick Sprout)

It’s such a simple trick to add some end screen text to your video (check out the demo below), and yet it’s one that is very often overlooked.

Of course there’s TONS more you can do with your videos. And loads more tools you have at your disposal. To find out how vzaar can help your videos meet their business goals, sign up to a free trial or get in touch – always happy to help.

Until next time, bye for now :)

vzaar new video shoot outdoors

Virginia stars in our latest video

You may remember last month we wrote about our video mistakes and how we fixed them. Well, I’m (err kind of) pleased to announce that on our latest video shoot for Tinypass Integration – we made a few more! But it wasn’t all doom and gloom on this video shoot – we also tried out some of the techniques we learnt from our last video efforts (you can read about those here). Here’s what went right, and what we can do better next time…

What Went Right

Avid blog fans will remember that the last time we made a video we wound up having to reshoot huge chunks of it. Once we saw the actual footage we realised it just wasn’t clear what on earth was going on.

We didn’t fall into this trap again. Instead, we added a pre planning phase to our video process. The aim of this phase was to sort the wheat from the chaff. I’ll admit it; sometimes we’re guilty of becoming fixed on an idea and then just going with it (hence last month’s heavy reshoot). If you go straight into planning you often don’t realise the silly ideas – until it’s too late. The pre planning stage helped us to get over that, simply because it wasn’t the planning stage. We went through 4 stages of pre planning:

  • Video Conceptualisation

Throw a few ideas around and discuss how they work. You’re looking for any idea – no matter how crazy it sounds – so don’t create a hyper critical atmosphere. Everyone involved should feel comfortable to share. Jot all the ideas down and move on.

Ok, now you can criticise. And when I say criticise I don’t mean “that would never work!” or “that idea is a load of rubbish”. Take each one in turn and simply ask questions about it. Start off with some higher level questions:

Video Pre Planning

  • Is this relevant for my audience?
  • Will this make the viewer feel something?
  • Is this likely to meet my goal?
  • If an idea makes it through this first pass you can get into the nitty gritty:

  • What would the location be?
  • What props would we need?
  • How do we create x, y z?
  • Simply by asking the right questions you can often weed out which ideas you should scrap.

    • Test Your Concept

    Sometimes it’s difficult to see on paper how something actually looks in real life. Having the footage in front of you brings things to life in a way that words on a page can’t. It makes it easier to tell if something is a particular idea is a non-starter. We used an iPhone to just walk through a few of the shots.

    • Do Nothing

    Seriously, take a break. Enthusiasm for an idea can sometimes get the better of you. When we went back to review our test footage we scrapped the initial idea and went in a different direction. If you’d asked me before the break I would have told you I loved the idea and I was really excited to get going on the video shoot. Not so much when we went back and reassessed. If you give yourself a break and you STILL love what you’ve come up with, the chances are it’s not half bad!

    • Reassess

    Our initial idea was “cash for clicks”. Our lovely video star Virginia would set up the Tinypass integration on her vzaar videos (with a few clicks of a mouse button) and in the cash would roll. To demonstrate, we decided we would show people watching various videos. Virginia would click, and cash would appear. Still with me? If that sounds confusing, it may explain a little about why we scrapped it.

    The problem was, the cash really appears when your viewers click to pay. So in that case shouldn’t the viewers be the ones clicking? But then, we also want to show that it’s really easy to set up the pay wall so we kind of need Virginia to click as well. Maybe everyone could click? Or maybe no-one…? Or maybe…?

    We were tying ourselves into knots to try and make the clicking for cash work. This is a bad sign. If we couldn’t understand the link between the clicks and the cash, how could we expect everyone else to?

    Despite our initial enthusiasm we realised we were just forcing the concept to work. So we just came up with a new one. And then we went through our questions again until we were confident it could work: “Does it achieve our goal?”, “Does it make people feel something”…

    What Can We Do Better?

    We may have learned from past mistakes, but that didn’t stop us making a few new ones:

    1. Plan For Bad Weather

    For this video we decided we’d shoot outdoors. In the UK. In November. Perhaps not so surprisingly, on the day of the shoot we were met by very dull, gloomy skies.

    This gave us the chance to learn something new: how to brighten a shot – even when the conditions are dull. We added extra bits of colour and interest to the shot and used all the light available. Then in the edit we experimented with a bit of color grading. You can watch our in house video producer Terry explain the specifics here.

    I’m not saying that we’ll never make this mistake again. Even in the Summer it can be pretty hard to predict the British weather. But, if this does happen to us again, we know exactly what to do about it (and now so do you!)

    Take Away: if something goes wrong don’t panic. Fixing it gives you the opportunity to learn something new.Tweet this

    2. Collaborate Earlier

    Video Overlay Graphics

    In this video we decided to overlay some graphics as a way of showing what was going on on the computer screen. We spent quite a lot of time trying to fashion a good looking set of graphics to use. And then we asked our designer and she did it in less than half the time.

    It’s always great to learn new skills, but since we were editing to a deadline it would have been better to get our designer in from the get go. We would have saved time, and given her longer to prep. Lesson learned.

    Take Away: when you’re in the planning stage ask yourself who from the rest of your team needs to be involved to bring your vision to life. Tweet this

    Final Thoughts

    Analysing what went wrong in our video production efforts is helping us to make or whole process much smoother, and hopefully resulting in some much more interesting videos! I highly recommend adding an evaluation stage after you’ve created the finished product. You’d be surprised how much clarity it brings, you can really see the crinkles that need to be smoothed. By sharing our own successes (and failures!) we hope it helps you too.

    Here’s to our next video! In the meantime you can check out the final version of our Tinypass video here. Enjoy :)

    Categories Video Marketing, Video Production
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    5 Ways To Increase Video Views

    article by:

    You did everything right. You followed all the advice. You researched your audience, you understood their needs, wants, desires. You created a video that answered one of their typical questions. It was all about them and less about you.

    And then you put your video live. And it was crickets out there.

    All the hard work you put into creating the content just isn’t paying off because nobody is watching it. You know that if you can just get the eyeballs up this video can’t fail to engage and convert. But how?

    What if I told you there are 5 practical steps you can take to increase video views. No, not 6 magic bullets that will fire your content into the stratosphere, but 5 tools that if used correctly can steadily build an engaged audience….

    1. Embed Video In Plain Sight

    Take a look at the page on which you’ve embedded your video. I mean realllllly look at it. Where’s the video? Is it tiny and pushed into a corner? Is it lost because there’s just SO much else on the page you can no longer see it?

    If people can’t find your video they can’t watch it. One of the simplest ways to increase video views is just to make the video more noticeable.

    MediaPost have put the percentage of people who watch a video when it is available on a page at 12%. If your play count is less than 12% of your page views, go do the following:

      1. Move your video up the page and make it larger
      2. Change your poster frame. It needs to compel the visitor to hit play. Try an image that generates curiosity or posits a question
      3. Make your play button stand out. The play button is a strong call to action – willing the visitor to hit play. Be sure it’s present and isn’t obscured by the poster frame image. You could also further draw the eye to it with arrows or animation.

    Making the video more prominent on the page will also improve your SEO. But we’ll get to that…

    2. Follow Video SEO Best Practices

    If you can get your video pages into the top search positions you’ll be rewarded with extra video views. The good news is that Google likes videos. It may have removed video rich snippets from search but that doesn’t mean you should abandon your video SEO efforts. All the evidence we’ve seen thus far is that the removal of video rich snippets is a cosmetic change only. Pages that include video are still ranking highly.

    The first thing you you need to do is build a video sitemap. This will tell Google what the video is about so it knows it’s a relevant result for a given search query. If all this has you scratching your head in confusion I recommend you go check out this video from SEO pros Distilled which goes into more detail on this whole video sitemap thing.

    Once you’ve created your video sitemap I recommend:

      1. Use the word “video” in your meta titles and descriptions. With video thumbnails no longer appearing in search results you now need to tell searchers there’s a video on this page, rather than relying on the visual cue.
      2. Include a video transcript on the page. Chances are this will contain plenty of lovely keywords that will indicate to Google that this is a super relevant result.
      3. Keep an eye on your bounce rate. Google loves sites that deliver great user experience and a high bounce rate is a sign that your content delivers anything but. Making your video more obvious on the page will help. Searchers who click on a video result will expect to see said video, so don’t make it hard to find. Video is also a very engaging piece of content and will keep visitors on your page longer – a very good sign for Google. In fact, when Moneyweek changed their page design so that the video features more heavily time on page shot up by 40% AND they saw an increase in organic traffic by 136 per cent overall!

    3. Send Video To Mailing List

    What’s your mailing list for? Isn’t it to tell people about all your latest news and offers? Doesn’t that include when you’ve posted a new video? If you’ve got a mailing list and you AREN’T telling them about it, you’re missing an easy way you can increase your video views.

    • Email can drive 24 times as much traffic as social media (DIYthemes)

    • Video is particularly engaging content for newsletter subscribers and can increase click through rate by 96% (GetResponse)

    To maximise the amount of traffic you get through from this channel you need to:

      1. Add video poster frames to your emails and make sure the play button is visible. This will act as a strong visual on which to click.
      2. Include the word “video” in your email subject line – the research shows that this will increase email open rates.

    If you’re reading this thinking “but I haven’t got a mailing list”. It’s time to grow one. There’s an old saying that pretty much sums it up, “The best time to plant a seed was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” There’s no time like the present. Create valuable content, gate it with email capture forms, get the SEO ship shape and promote it socially. Those subscribers will come – steadily and over time.

    4. Share Video On Social Media

    How can you expect people to know you’ve got a video waiting to be watched unless you tell them about it? You’ve got to post it in the places that your audience hang out. Be that Twitter, Facebook – wherever.

    Of course, everyone is doing it. 350,000 tweets are sent in a single minute (Internet Live Stats). So how on earth will your single, solitary tweet get a look in?

    The trick is to draw attention to it. And the best way to do that is to make it bigger. Make it take up more real estate on that twitter feed.

    Enter Twitter cards.

    Let’s focus on the player card (this being a post about how to get video views up, after all). Twitter player cards let you post your video directly into the news feed. There’s no need for people to click off to your site to view the content.

    And it can be pretty powerful. When we ourselves tweet using player cards we see about 4 times the amount of engagement (that is retweeting, favouriting and post clicking) than when we tweet without ‘em.

    A step by step on how to enable player cards for yourself is here.

    5. Make Your Video Easy To Share

    People are far more likely to watch a video when it has been recommended to them by a friend. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, rather than you having to promote your video, your audience did it for you?

    Well, the first thing you need to do is actually create content that’s worth sharing. And for this, you need to make your viewers feel something. According to the great minds at Unruly Media you should:

      1. Make it emotional
      2. Be positive
      3. Focus on personal triumph
      4. Brand it
      5. Exhilarate the viewer

    Once you’ve got your content in tip top shape for sharing be sure you’ve got the technical implementation down, too. You need to make your video easy to share. Add social sharing buttons into the video player itself to kick your audience into action.

    Remember: There’s More To Life Than Increasing Video Views

    Yes, it’s important that your videos are getting viewed. But don’t make this the only metric that you track. Views in themselves don’t bring you money (unless of course you add adverts into your videos). You should be playing close attention to how well your video is converting, too. A lot of views aren’t worth anything if those viewers don’t eventually become customers.

    That being said, the first step to a conversion is a view. Your videos don’t get the chance to convert if they never get viewed. Work on increasing video views with these 5 steps and then make sure you’re making the most of that extra traffic with video tools designed to convert viewers to customers.

    Video Hosting For Marketing

    We’re really excited for Thursday October 2nd. No, not because it’s it’s National Name Your Car day. But because iiiit’s…

    Video Marketing and Production Meetup, day (cheers)

    We’re hosting our very first meetup and we’d love you to come join us :)

    When: Thursday October 2nd, 6:00pm

    Where: RMP, 22 – 26 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TJ (map)

    What: How to make the most of your budget

    Corrina Stegner casual films

    Update: We’ll be joined by Corrina Stegner from Casual Films. In her 4 years at Casual Films, Corrina has produced hundreds of films with budgets ranging from £2,500 to £250,000. So whether it be a 2D animation, stop frame, talking heads or something more creative, she believes there’s always a way to make your budget work.

    Corrina’s clients include EY, Bloomberg, Tesco, HSF, Roche, Rolls-Royce and Breakthrough Breast Cancer to name but a few.

    Don’t miss out – RSVP now.

    Can’t make it?

    Not to worry, we’ll be filming all the action on the night and we’ll post a video following the meetup. Sign up to our email newsletter below to make sure you don’t miss it.