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Archive for Video Marketing

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.”

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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

GC_Med As the online video market matures, like any technology, it becomes more segmented. Online video platforms (OVPs) are like a full set of tools. Whereas as recently as five years ago, the question businesses were asking themselves was whether to use on-line video, now the question is about choosing the right combination of tools to achieve the desired business objective.

The best-known OVPs are those that command huge audiences, first and foremost being YouTube, of course with over a billion visitors a month. Platforms like YouTube have opened the floodgates to creative talent that used to be tightly controlled by tv or newspaper and magazine commissioning editors. They also bring audience sizes bigger than anything previously conceived of in publishing or broadcasting. But, as Mark Suster at Upfront Capital warns us all, these are challenging businesses to succeed in, not just because so much of the income has to be shared with the platform, but because they require a daunting combination of top creative, technical and commercial skills (Both Sides Of The Table).

Most businesses are using video to market something, not producing creative content to captivate large audiences. For most of us, platforms like YouTube are incredibly cost-effective lead generation channels. Suster observes, “YouTube is a distribution and marketing channel like any other.” Except that it delivers vaster audiences, more cost-effectively than any in history, and for some content, it even shares revenue while it does it. However, YouTube is optimised to make money for YouTube. As Suster concludes, “YouTube is simply the top end of your profit funnel.”

YouTube Sits At The Top Of The Funnel

Many of us have read with interest the story that the fashion eCommerce business Bottica posted about their Christmas campaign. They published a brand-building video on YouTube combined with targeted remarketing to those who watched the video but didn’t click through to their site. The original click-through was pretty standard for YouTube, about 0.7% of viewers clicked through to the Bottica site. But combined with the remarketing, the click-through rate was above 10%. For less than $5,000 direct marketing cost, Bottica attracted almost half a million views, and the campaign was undoubtedly profitable and a success on its own terms. This is YouTube doing its job as a phenomenal lead generation tool. So far so good.

But this is not the whole business story, what about further down “the profit funnel”? Because, as Bottica themselves observe, the conversion rate to sales was lower on this campaign than they normally get from their website. In fact, less than 1% of those who viewed the video went on to purchase. This could be in part because the video itself was a beautiful, high-level branding video; visitors were not moved on to more specific sales or product content. And it is also probably because even on the website, the video is hosted on YouTube, so the audience is always being drawn back into the YouTube world optimised to make money for YouTube. If you come to the webpage or video via Google search, you are back on the YouTube video with 0.7% click-through.

Brilliant lead generation is just a cost until and unless it leads to the acquisition of customers.

The Right Tool For The Right Job

The video platform tools needed to convert and retain leads, or to sell and deliver products and services are as different as is a hammer from a chisel. Businesses with specialised and tightly targeted audiences, of which the world of video publishing and online tv is full, need tools to market tightly to a known audience.

MoneyWeek, the UK’s best selling financial publication, are a good example of a company that recognised that “a lot of YouTube views go to waste. After watching our videos a huge chunk of people head off into the rest of YouTube. As our viewing figures mounted we weren’t seeing a difference in our bottom line.”

They want to draw interested parties to their website, keep them there, share valuable informational or educational content with them securely and convert as many as possible to paying customers who they retain. MoneyWeek’s Andrew Williams explains, “We still post a lot of our videos to YouTube. But we annotate those videos, advertising one exclusive video on MoneyWeek each week. Because we have secure video hosting at vzaar, we ensure that the videos we embed on our site cannot be made available anywhere else.”

The “narrow neck” of the marketing funnel needs video platforms that are integral parts of the the business’s website, over which they have much more control over branding and playback, and greater security over their proprietary content.

Categories Video Marketing, Wider World
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Real People On VideoFor a long time now, we’ve been big fans of showing the real people behind our company. In fact, I think pretty much every member of our team has made some sort of appearance on camera. Not only in our videos, but right the way through our site. We want to show the personality behind our brand.

And in the January issue of Figaro Digital I was pleased to see that the experts agree…

“People still respond best to people” – Georgia Marshall-Brown, Origin.

“Nobody likes a faceless brand – employees have a vital role to play, whether in the physical retail environment or within your digital spaces.” – Alex Murray, Waitrose.

Hear hear.

If you’re looking to bring the personal touch to your own website, video makes the perfect medium. Why? Well, it’s very good for connecting on an emotional level with your consumer. And neuroscience can back me up on this. Dr. Susan Weinschenk gives 4 key reasons we’re programmed to respond to video on an emotional level:

    1. Our brains pay attention to faces
    2. Voices convey rich information
    3. Emotions are contagious
    4. Movement is attention grabbing

(I won’t go into all the science she mentions here, but if that kind of thing is your bag you can read (and watch!) more here.)

So I thought this week I’d take a page out of Figaro Digital’s book magazine, and discuss this whole “being human” thing. How can you maximise it’s potential?

What Do You Want To Say?

Before you rush into making your video stop and take a step back. It’s important to be sure that you’re making the video for the right reasons. Not just because it’s the latest buzzword. But because you’ve got a message for your audience and this is the best medium in which to tell it (which it probably is if you’re going for that emotional connection I mentioned above). Skip Fedura of Dotmailer has some sage advice,

“Imagine your customer was right there in the room and ask yourself, ‘What should I say to this customer?'”

You’re really looking to identify those situations where the online consumer would normally be helped along by someone on the shop floor.

Form Follows Function

It can be quite tempting to produce a very glossy, over produced video. And that’s fine – if it aligns with your video goals (I’m thinking for instance, if you’re going for raising brand awareness). If, however, your goal is to connect on that emotional level, you don’t have to spend mega bucks. The value of your video does not lie in how many special effects you cram in there.

Instead, a friendly face and a compelling message can pay dividends. Of course, it isn’t always easy for people who have never been on camera to relax and act natural. And it’s an issue we’ve faced ourselves. If this is something you’re also struggling with, here are a few tips that have really worked for us.

Get Video Delivery Right

The real area you have to invest in is making sure the streaming experience is smooth. Consumers may be forgiving if you haven’t got high production values. They won’t forgive long loading times and buffering. Be sure your videos will play anywhere in the world, on any device (and yes vzaar can help with this). Shameless plug over.

Seriously, though, the viewing experience is all important. A study by Conviva found that videos with long buffering times can have a catastrophic impact on engagement. In most cases viewers will abandon the video before the one minute mark (ReelSEO). So if you haven’t got a reliable video host you may find that the content you spent time and effort creating, just isn’t reaching its potential.

Final Thoughts…

“Humans are designed to have interpersonal relationships. In a socially connected world that values conversation over one-way marketing messages, bringing the personality of your brand to life through your people is increasingly important.” – Alex Murray, Waitrose.

Thanks Alex, couldn’t have said it better myself :)

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 :)

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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 :)