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vzaar Support Superstars: Alasdair

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Meet Alasdair. Support guy by day super hero by night…

All time favourite support question:


Highest snowboard jump:

I love to ride the powder in the trees but I’m a wimp in the park. My biggest air? 3 feet. Maybe…


Here is my favourite playground:

Who_is_Ali__-_Google_Drive 2

Most wanted super power:

Such a hard choice between flying and being able to turn invisible. I am lucky that I have flying dreams fairly frequently so I’ll go with invisibility.

Most frequently asked question:

“How can I secure my videos?” I get this one a lot. We’ve got lots of different features to help keep your videos safe. There’s an overview here, if you’re wondering.

Football or soccer?

Definitely NFL football. I love both the gameplay and the sideline strategy. Go Pats!

Mustard or ketchup?

Both. Mixed together.

Jason Bourne or James Bond?

I’m originally from Edinburgh so Sean Connery as James Bond, for sure. That said, I think Daniel Craig has been a refreshing reboot.

Tea or coffee?

Both, but mostly coffee. At night, I like green tea or Earl Grey.

The perfect cup of coffee is:

A huge latte from the local coffee shop.

3 fun facts about Alasdair:
Who_is_Ali__-_Google_Drive 3

    1. I have a tattoo of the Norwegian flag on my leg – I lost a bet :(

    2. I once helped a friend base jump off the roof of the Sahara hotel in Las Vegas.

    3. Perry Farrell once told me I was cool.

Hopefully that’s helped you to get to know Alasdair our real, verifiably human, support-guy-extraordinaire.

If you do have any other questions for Alasdair, or the rest of our support team (all human – trust us!), you can say hello via live chat or drop us a line here. Always happy to help.

Bye for now!

Categories vzaar FAQ, vzaar updates
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Not all Internet connections were created equal: some of your viewers will have super speedy Internet and others, well… won’t.

The problem is, those on the high speed connections will expect videos in beautiful HD quality. While those on the slow speed connections won’t be able to handle such large files.

Dual Encoding is the solution.

In a nutshell, Dual Encoding means you can stream HD quality to fast connections, and a smaller SD version for those on the slower ones. This makes sure your audience get the best quality video stream for them. Everyone’s happy.

It can be a tad confusing to understand exactly what Dual Encoding is, and how it works. So, rather than tell you all the ins and outs; I’ll turn to the power of video to show you:

Good stuff right?

And we’ve made it even better

We’ve always offered the ability to control your encoding parameters. This is something few other services offer. However, after we introduced dual-encoding, something was missing. Rather than allowing you to control the size of the HD rendition, we generated one automatically for you.

But now: you have the power

We’ve added in the ability for you to set the quality of the HD rendition for yourself. You just need to set the bitrate in your account settings.

Now – so long as you have Dual Encoding turned on – we’ll encode the HD version of your video at the bitrate you have chosen.

Dual Encoding In Account Settings

This gives you lots more control. For example you can now give your audience super HD video quality if you so choose.

Happy days.

buy dual encoding

Want to know more? Take a look through the help document or simply get in touch with any questions. We’re always happy to help.

**Dual Encoding is available as an add-on to the Business and above.

Categories Video Management, vzaar updates
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Including videos in your emails can increase click through rate by 96% (GetResponse).

Time to start putting more video in your email campaigns right?

But. Here’s where a lot of marketers run into trouble: Embedding video into emails isn’t easy. The files are too big, spam filters tend to ding ‘em and a lot of services just tend to strip them out entirely.

But it’s not the end of the story. There’s a handy workaround…

Step 1: Insert video image

You may not be able to insert your video into the email, but you can insert its thumbnail image.

If you’re a MailChimp user: we have a built in feature that let’s you do this.

Add video into MailChimp campaigns

The MailChimp Video Merge Tag lets you present your thumbnail image as well as a clickable link to take your recipient straight to the video.

Use skitch to embed video in email
Add video image to email
Use skitch to embed video in email

If you’re not a MailChimp user fear not! You can still insert your video thumbnail into your email (it just won’t happen automatically).

Skitch is a handy tool for taking quick snapshots of your video poster frame. Just drag your mouse over the area of your screen you want to capture (in this case your video player and poster frame) and hey presto you’ve got your thumbnail image ready to be added into your email.

The good part about taking a screenshot like this is that you automatically get the player and player controls in your thumbnail image, too. Rather than having to overlay them yourself.

It’s a good idea to include the video player controls in your email because the play button acts as its own call to action yelling “play me, play me”. It makes it nice and clear there’s some video goodness waiting to be watched. Otherwise your recipients may assume that your thumbnail image is just that: an image. Meaning your lovely video content gets missed.

Once you have inserted your image into your email be sure to link it to whichever page you have embedded your video on. This means that when you subscriber hits the play button in your image, they’ll be taken straight to where they need to be.

Step 2: Autoplay

When your subscriber clicks the play button in your email you want to create the illusion that they’ve actually clicked play in the video player itself. Why make your user click once to open the landing page, and once to actually see the video?

Think about the workflow when your subscriber opens your email:

    1. Click video thumbnail to play
    2. Opens video landing page
    3. Subscriber clicks play button
    4. Video plays

Eradicate step 3.

Autoplay is ideal here as it removes the need for a second click, making the workflow much smoother.


While auto play is a good idea to get over the double-click-to-play stumbling block. It can be intrusive for those who don’t access your page via your email video link – from organic search maybe. These visitors haven’t clicked on a play button and so may not be expecting a video to suddenly play.

We’ve all been there. You head to a website and suddenly your ears are assaulted with an onslaught of sound as the video magically plays. In some situations this can be off-putting (I for one jump right out of my skin when it happens to me!)

For this reason, it’s worthwhile to link your email not to a main page on your site. But instead to its own dedicated landing page.

“But my designers are super busy!” I hear you cry.

Don’t worry. You can use…

Step 3. Branded Video Page

A branded video page is a code-free custom template to showcase your video content.

Branded Video Page Example

Remember to always include a link to your main site to be sure you drive your audience where you want them to go – whether that be a product page, signup form or further help.

Link branded video page to your website

For more help in designing your own branded video page, check out this walk through from web design guru Aaron.

Want to try this out for yourself?

Login to your vzaar account or start our 30 day free trial and give it whirl for yourself.

I don’t get it. Why design a beautiful site and then embed a generic video player into it?

A lot of time and energy goes into designing the perfect site. Pixels are perfected, colors debated and copy carefully crafted. I mean, Google famously tested 50 something shades of blue before alighting on the perfect one. Design matters.

And that’s why we’ve made it easy to customize your vzaar video player. As the video shows. This means that when you embed your video the player perfectly matches your existing brand colors.

So now that you know how to customize your video player, I thought I’d share a few examples to get your creative juices flowing…

Matching Color Guide

Hill Tribe Productions Custom Video Player

An eye-catching effort from Hill Tribe Productions. Note how the green of the player controls perfectly matches the brand colors used throughout the rest of the site.

Borderless Player

From eye-catching to minimalist. Transmedia Creative have a very stripped back site.

Transmedia Custom video player

It’s sleek, contemporary and clean. So, rather than embedding a player with a chunky border, they’ve instead removed the player border and used grey player controls (again matching the color of grey in their logo). I also love how clutter-free they’ve kept their home page – the video is front and center and speaks for itself.

Design Coherence

Last – but by no means least – Butchers Hook. Who have done a fantastic job of keeping coherence between the player appearance and their brand image and style guide.

The player controls match the brand colors and with a neat little bit of JavaScript they’ve framed the player with a set of theatre-esque curtains.

Butchers Hook customizable player

Now, isn’t that better than slapping someone else’s brand on your beautiful site?

Customizing your player lends an air of professionalism to your site. It’s reassuring for customers to see you have your act together, building credibility and confidence in your product.

Have you created your own custom video player? We’d love to see your work – just share in the comments below!

Categories vzaar updates
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Did you know that including call to actions at the end of your video can increase conversions by 144%? (Quick Sprout)

And it’s super simple to include one in your own video marketing. So simple in fact, we can show you how in just 10 seconds…

Why call to actions work

A call to action tells your viewers what action they should take after watching your video. And that can literally be anything – subscribe to a course, signup to a newsletter, add item to basket – whatever. The key thing is that if you DON’T include them you can leave your user in the dark about what they should do next.

The end screen of your video is prime real estate – don’t waste it. Don’t let visitors watch your video and simply move on to another site, another brand.

You’ve worked hard to drive an audience to your videos so make sure you keep ‘em.

Creating compelling call to actions

1. Clear concise copy

Let your viewer know exactly what will happen when they click your call to action. Keep your language simple – you don’t want to confuse anybody – and precise. You’ll stand a better chance of your viewer completing the conversion if they find what they’re expecting to find when they hit your landing page.

2. Give them a reason to click

Make sure you convey the benefit to your user. What do they get for their click? Why should they care? A strong value proposition will make all the difference to your conversion rates.

3. Link to a landing page

Your video may be embedded on a different page to where your offer lives. Be sure to include the link to the specific landing page (e.g. signup form) so that your visitors can complete the conversion quickly, easily and friction-free.

Next steps

Now it’s over to you. Create a call to action of your very own to see conversion rates soar!

Login to your vzaar account or sign up now to get started.

Categories Video Marketing, vzaar updates
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