Back in the day (approximately three short years ago), we wrote a little blog post about how to convince your boss that you need video in your marketing mix. Flash-forward to the end of 2019, and the value of video is simply a no-brainer. However, some businesses are still sticking to the same old strategies, and truth be told, the times have changed yet again. In today’s marketing landscape, you can’t depend on e-books, video email signatures, or one-off videos for social media to help you stand out amongst the competition and grow a strong, well-loved brand.
Getting people to genuinely like your brand through traditional marketing strategies and digital advertising is harder than ever, and we need a new way to engage an audience that’ll truly foster an affinity for our businesses. So, what are we getting at here? Well, as you may have noticed lately, we’re going all in on episodic video content (and we think you should too!). Most of us dedicate entire Saturdays to binge-watching series like Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale because the content is just that good. So, why can’t businesses get in on the game?
We’re not saying your company should shell out millions of dollars to create an original series with A-list actors. But luckily, creating an episodic series for your company within the constraints of a marketing budget is not impossible, either. We know a ton of businesses from a wide array of industries are doing that as we speak, and we even did it ourselves at Wistia with our docu-series, One, Ten, One Hundred, and our latest talk show for marketers, Brandwagon. While this may sound like an ambitious venture, an episodic video series is an evergreen piece of content that can generate a ton of different benefits for your brand and your business.
If you’re already completely sold on this idea, that’s great! Now, it’s just time to get your boss on board. In this post, we’ve gathered the evidence you need to support your pitch for making an episodic video series and why it should be your company’s next big marketing move.
To be seen as a leader and an innovator in your industry, ranking at the top of search queries with traditional content strategies isn’t as easy as it used to be. The sheer density of written content today is overwhelming when you look at the numbers. For example, according to 2018 internet statistics, over four million blog posts are published every single day. When you take a minute to assess that stat, differentiating your brand through written content on the web seems like a shout into the void for many businesses, unless they’ve already established a loyal fan base.
Patrick Campbell, CEO of ProfitWell, a subscription software company, is someone who has dwelled over the decreasing effectiveness of e-books and blog posts for his business. This influenced the company to shift its strategy to creating episodic series for niche audiences, which has become one of their primary marketing vehicles. With his background in data-science, Campbell uncovered that the average cost of creating a written e-book cost more for ProfitWell than their new strategy of creating shows like Pricing Page Teardown. And as a result, Campbell proclaimed that this episodic content strategy is having an incredible impact on the business while building their brand in unprecedented ways.
“Campbell uncovered that the average cost of creating a written e-book cost more for ProfitWell than their new strategy of creating shows like Pricing Page Teardown.”
In terms of traditional advertising, we’re no stranger to seeing a campaign we put our hearts and souls (and a couple of million dollars) into not meet our expectations. For a brief overview of what happened a few years back, our co-founders, Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz, explained at our live-streamed event “Change the Channel” that Wistia spent $2 million on an ad campaign consisting of web ads, billboards, and NPR spots. The campaign got us 43 million impressions. However, it got us no more traffic than one relatively successful blog post.
This was one of the most expensive mistakes we’ve ever made. What was the main problem, you ask? Well, we underestimated the fact that digital advertising doesn’t actually make people like you (regardless of how cute the ad is) and no one wants to be bothered by unsolicited ads. Your chances of building brand affinity with a witty tagline or targeted 10-second video ad won’t convince people to become loyal advocates of your brand.
Furthermore, creating compelling and entertaining video ads powerful enough to garner new brand fans like some of the best Superbowl spots is unattainable for most small and medium-sized businesses. Even a well-known brand like Nike can’t consistently maintain virality or a positive image with their creative campaigns in the minds of consumers. For small and medium-sized businesses out there trying to compete with the caliber of Superbowl ads, it’s time to think about casting your net around niche audiences and getting them to spend more time with your brand. And the best way to do that is through valuable and entertaining episodic content.
Another strong case for creating a video series is based on the way users choose to consume media. In this binge-watching era, users are embracing the trend of watching video content for several hours straight when it’s worthwhile and engaging.
When you invest in creating long-form content that offers value and entertainment for a niche audience, the increase in time spent with your brand for one engaged individual is significant. There’s no comparison when you think about someone who willingly watched 10 minutes of a single 25-minute episode of your show and someone who was forced to watch a 10-second video ad upwards of seven times on social media. Echoing the last argument we made, people often show disdain toward unsolicited ads on social when they go there to be distracted, entertained, or informed.
Dan Slagen of ThriveHive, a SaaS company providing guided marketing solutions for small businesses, is someone who can attest to episodic series’ positive impact on time spent with a brand. Based on data from analyzing peoples’ viewing habits of their series Locals, which brings you behind the scenes of local businesses, ThriveHive has found that people who make it to the three or five-minute mark of an episode are most likely to watch all the way through. That simply means that when the right people in your audience discover your series, they have the potential to watch a ton of it. Tell that one to your boss!
“ThriveHive has found that people who make it to the three or five-minute mark of an episode are most likely to watch all the way through.”
Binge-worthy content is also the most scalable type of product your business can offer your audience. Follow the lead of media companies who’ve developed an effective social media advertising strategy that doesn’t get on people’s nerves. For series like The Good Place, media companies create trailers that are optimized for specific platforms they’re distributed on. When folks are on their favorite platforms and are looking to be entertained, distracted, or to learn about something, these trailers reach people at the right place at the right time. Audiences that find these trailers or snippets entertaining and worth checking out are then directed to the full episode to watch at their leisure.
If your business creates an episodic series, you can scale your marketing assets just like media companies by creating a trailer to tease the release, extracting clips from the actual series to promote it, engaging people with behind-the-scenes footage, and much more. Investing in producing an episodic series is investing in an evergreen piece of content for your business that’ll support your brand indefinitely. And you’ll be able to reuse and re-create marketing assets from your series far into the future.
For example, a year ago we released our four-part docu-series One, Ten, One Hundred and created a bunch of marketing assets to get people excited and interested in watching. One year later, and we re-marketed the series on social and posted behind-the-scenes footage to reach new audiences. As a result, we saw new people access this evergreen piece of content and spread the word to others that it’s worth watching, too.
Even after we’ve stopped promoting the docu-series, we’re still seeing One, Ten, One Hundred bring in about 5,000 new people every month. The original campaign also permanently increased brand search (queries with “wistia” in them) by 11%, which has stayed steady. Lastly, it brings in more than 100 leads per month.
With an episodic series for your business, you’ll be surprised by how many times you can tie it into conversations you have and the marketing assets you need to support your brand long after its release.
The final (and arguably most compelling) piece of evidence to show your boss and stakeholders when pitching episodic content is simply the fact that other businesses in your space are already investing in it. Sounds pretty simple, right? The truth is, sometimes you need to just prove that the trend is already well under way in order to get your boss bought in on doing it. Remember, there was once a time where people thought Instagram wasn’t really a social platform for businesses, and clearly over the years that theory has been proven wrong.
Businesses in unexpected industries are experimenting and taking risks with episodic video to build an engaged audience for their brand, so chances are you’ll have some examples to point to in your own industry. But regardless of the space you’re in, your boss is most certainly paying attention to what your competitors are doing, so you should leverage that when making a case for creating an episodic series. The last thing you want for your business from a marketing perspective is to seem outdated and behind the times. Showcasing how other companies and competitors are making this content is a great way to prove that you’re not alone when it comes to believing in this strategy.
We’ve already mentioned two businesses that are completely bought-in on developing shows — ProfitWell and ThriveHive — and they’re definitely not the only ones! One business producing a short-form series is ezCater, the world’s largest online catering marketplace. We chatted with Sarah Gurr, ezCater’s Head of Content Marketing, to get the inside scoop behind their strategy. Their series, Restaurant Roots, features unique stories from their partners such as SA PA and Modern Thai Cuisine in Boston. Instead of taking a conventional approach to written customer testimonials, this engaging episodic video series showcases the heart of each restaurant with narrations from respective founders to establish a deeper connection between ezCater and prospective customers and other restaurant operators.
Another business we believe is leading the way with this audience-building strategy is Mailchimp. Mark DiCristina, the Head of Brand at Mailchimp, described how the marketing automation software platform has decided to invest in creative content over brand advertising. The company has been releasing short-form video series, films, and podcasts out of their own new content studio, Mailchimp Presents. With content that inspires, motivates, and makes people feel like they’re not alone, Mailchimp Presents has developed a valuable platform for an audience of entrepreneurs, while increasing the amount of time people spend with their overarching brand. When DiCristina sat down with Chris Savage on the first episode of Brandwagon, he also shared that “ … the people who engage with this content are paying us more quickly. And when they pay us, they pay us more money, which is just completely mind-blowing.” This fact isn’t mind-blowing because he’s surprised people like the content — it’s because the content isn’t about the Mailchimp product at all.
“The people who engage with this content are paying us [Mailchimp] more quickly. And when they pay us, they pay us more money, which is just completely mind-blowing.”
If you want more examples of companies with episodic video strategies, look no further than our blog. Prove to your boss that other businesses are ahead of the game, and they just might be on-board to take a bigger creative risk for growing your brand.
We understand approaching your boss and company stakeholders with an idea to create an episodic video series might sound absurd, but hey, it’s almost 2020 — anything can happen! All jokes aside, the future of marketing has shifted and brands need a new way to stand out amongst the competition. It’s time to convince everyone that episodic video content will help you cut through the noise and build better brand affinity in the long-run.
Wistia Announces 2020 State of SMB Marketing & Content Creation Report
COVID-19 has dramatically shifted every industry — and marketing is no exception. Overnight, budgets were cut, priorities shifted, and the media landscape as we know it might have changed forever.
As a company that has helped over 500,000 businesses grow with our marketing software, we wanted to know precisely which marketing priorities and tactics were most affected by this shift. We also wanted to discover what marketers in particular have been prioritizing in terms of content creation as well.
With these goals in mind, we launched a study to uncover trends emerging from SMB marketers during the pandemic and explore how marketers are paving new paths to customers in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Commissioned by Wistia and conducted by Qualtrics, the 2020 State of SMB Marketing & Content Creation Report surveyed more than 300 senior-level SMB marketers at B2B and B2C companies.
We quickly learned that marketers have ramped up content creation despite budget cuts, using content as a way to access new customers. We also uncovered that marketers are leveraging podcasts more than ever before. Explore our top takeaways and dig into the full report below.
“Marketers have ramped up content creation despite budget cuts, using content as a way to access new customers.”
68% of marketers indicated they have experienced budget cuts, averaging 19% across the board. Despite this, marketers are creating and prioritizing more content across platforms.
“68% of marketers indicated they had experienced budget cuts, averaging 19% across the board.”
Notably, video content was the most popular form of content created before the pandemic, with 51% of respondents indicating that they had produced a video, like a product walkthrough or webinar. Video has remained a vital tool during the pandemic, with 59% of respondents now exploring video as a way to connect with their audiences.
Given the shareable nature of video and the length of time marketers can spend with the customer through video, this popular tactic makes sense for SMBs, and we have the numbers to prove it. Our recent report looked at Wistia data and found that since early March 2020, the year over year increase in video uploads has jumped 120%. We’re now seeing an average of 280K videos uploaded to Wistia each week.
“Since early March 2020, the year over year increase in video uploads has jumped 120%.”
The SMB survey also revealed that marketers are getting creative and considering new channels, like virtual events and podcasts. In fact, podcast launches have more than doubled during the pandemic; only 14% of respondents reported creating a podcast pre-pandemic, which has increased to 29% who now have a podcast.
“Podcast launches have more than doubled during the pandemic.”
Creative marketers are looking beyond video to new content channels as well. While video can be an effective storytelling tool, podcasts have a much lower barrier to entry and are easier to execute in a remote environment.
Almost all respondents (87%) noted that they are considering launching a podcast in the next 12 months. Common reasons for initiating a podcast included increasing brand recognition, highlighting company culture, and reaching a specific audience.
“Almost all respondents (87%) noted that they are considering launching a podcast in the next 12 months.”
Marketers have been using video to tell meaningful stories that build connections with their audiences for years. And while video will continue to play an essential role in the marketing mix, podcasting has emerged as a new way to tell stories and engage audiences.
Wistia understands the challenges of creating a podcast and crafting engaging audio content, which is why we’ve launched a full suite of podcast hosting and marketing features on our platform. This new functionality will enable marketers to host and share engaging podcast content, streamline distribution, and understand and grow their audience. The platform also provides performance insights to track each episode’s engagement to help marketers make informed spending and creation decisions moving forward.
When asked to rank priorities over the next 12 months, increasing organic traffic, customer lifetime value, and overall digital presence topped the list.
What were the top challenges facing marketers in pursuit of these goals? Well, 59% of respondents said finding new ways to reach new customers was the top challenge, followed by 51% of respondents who said it was expanding their customer base.
Marketers have been tasked with expanding their digital footprint and increasing existing customer value while also finding innovative ways to reach net-new customers — all under extraordinary circumstances.
While the pandemic has created new challenges and constraints for SMB marketers, it has also forced marketers to get scrappy, ensuring the industry is more creative than ever. With the amplification of existing owned channels, increased digital content creation, and a new focus on podcasts, SMBs have the power to share their stories and attract new customers.
What is Design and how it influences your company
Today there are thousands of companies in the most varied sectors competing for the same territory. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain some awareness and attract customers. To stand out from the competition you need assets
Today there are thousands of companies in the most varied sectors competing for the same territory. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain some awareness and attract customers. To stand out from the competition you need assets. Aces. A good card. Let’s talk about one in particular. The design! Design as a holistic approach, capable of solving problems not only stylistic, but of all types. You can make your product unique, create a culture associated with your company and influence your investors and customers.
How Design Influences Your Company’s Brand and Culture
A company’s culture is based on beliefs and values. These are communicated through various points of contact. They change perceptions, behaviors and understandings. Contact points must be genuine, they must be exclusive to your company. The thinking and research behind design can help you create the story of your business. A competent designer plays a decisive role in planning your strategic decisions and in building that same culture. The sooner the results are defined, the faster it will grow in the right direction.
When you know what your company stands for, it’s simpler to build your brand. This goes beyond the logo, the look of the website or the products: the brand is the value that your customers and investors get with you.
How Design Influences the Product Experience
In the past, it was possible to achieve success almost by chance. But luck has been losing ground in the business scenario. The democratization of the internet has opened the door to creativity. We have people capable of getting a product up and running faster than ever. Competition is fierce. The standards for what is considered a successful product have also changed over time. Currently, customers expect a great user experience on the first click, on the first contact. As smartphones and tablets spread – with people searching for everything on these devices – potential customers’ expectations soar. Tolerance levels have also changed.
If your website is not visually appealing, if your application has a complex and buggy interface, you can be sure that you will lose customers in a matter of seconds. People want simple technological experiences. And design plays an extremely important role in ensuring the satisfaction of its customers. At pixelinmotion the designer understands market standards and is already familiar with what the customer wants. With this knowledge, you will be able to create a solution from scratch, which will make your product more valuable compared to the competition.
At pixelinmotion, we believe in this philosophy of proximity. Our approach to design is attentive to trends and will be able to boost your company to stardom. Get to work!
How to Use Video Data in Your Next Retargeting Campaign
Retargeting is a common marketing technique that serves ads to people who have visited your site or specific sections of your site. This tactic is a great way to remain top of mind with people who have already expressed interest in your brand. Many people treat every visitor to their site the same way, serving the same ads to everyone. Retargeting is a more nuanced approach that serves more relevant ad content based on behavior — thus providing a better experience.
With Wistia, we’ve made it super easy for you to hone in on your niche audiences by using Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube to create different user segments based on actions that people take on your video.
Many businesses still haven’t taken advantage of the ability to segment visitors based on video behavior. Videos help potential customers build emotional connections with your brand, and people who have that connection are more likely to purchase in the future. In other words, when someone is willing to watch your 2–3-minute product video, there is a better chance that they’ll sign up for an account when prompted.
We’ve found that, on average, viewers who complete our product video are 15–20% more likely to convert than passive visitors.
“Viewers who complete our product video are 15–20% more likely to convert than passive visitors.”
Implementing segments like this within your retargeting campaigns allows you to reduce spend on less effective segments (like our homepage segment) while focusing on visitors who are farther along in your sales funnel and more connected to your brand.
Wistia allows you to keep track of key events like video engagement, video form conversions, channel subscriptions, and more. Once you connect these events with your retargeting provider, you’ll be efficiently serving up ads in no time!
The first thing you need to do is set up your integrations and then start creating segments in your retargeting provider. We’ll review how to do this across our four integration partners — Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube.
Facebook & Instagram
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, and since then, the two have become one, making it super easy to advertise across both platforms.
First, we’ll quickly walk through how to set up the integration with FacebookAds. You can do this in your Wistia account under the account drop-down — you’ll see “integrations” as one of the options from this screen. Under the “promotion integrations” section, you’ll find “Facebook Ads.” Select the “connect” button to begin the process.
It’s important to note — you’ll need to log in with a Facebook account that has access to your Facebook Ads account and accept the user permissions. That’s it! Voila — easy peasy.
With the integration live, Wistia will begin to send viewer event data for any video you have embedded on your website to Facebook. Now you can get started targeting your ads with Reach & Retarget!
Facebook and Instagram give you several options for video-related “events,” including:
- Percent watched
- Seconds watched
- Played Video
Once audiences are enabled, they will appear in the Audiences section of your Facebook Ads account. You can also log back in and create new audiences any time after the integration is live. You’ll do this by creating a “custom audience” and using “website traffic” as the data source.
On the Wistia side, we’ll also provide a few recommended audience segments in the “promote” section of your channel. If a segment feels relevant, simply select “enable” to set up the list.
Keep in mind that these pre-populated audiences are just suggestions — you’ll be able to set up many more variations of these in the Facebook Ads platform. This flexibility is really where the integration is most useful; it allows marketers to easily define and create custom audiences based on viewer behavior.
Google and YouTube
Similarly, Google acquired YouTube in 2006, so you’ll be able to easily manage ads across both platforms within Google Ads.
To set up this integration, you’ll need to connect Wistia to your Google Analytics account. Navigate to the account tab and select “integrations” (just like you did for the Facebook connection). Remember, you’ll need to be an account owner or manager to connect the accounts. From there, select “Google Analytics” and follow the prompts to connect the two platforms.
To feed this data into other Google properties, you’ll need to do a little work in your Google Analytics account — but we’ve got you covered!
In your Google Analytics account, head over to the admin panel. From there, you’ll see the main screen with several options; select “Google Ads Linking.” This workflow will allow you to send analytics data over to the Google Ads platform. And, since YouTube ads are managed through the Google Ads platform, you’ll be able to leverage this data across both platforms without any additional work.
If you’re curious about how a specific segment is performing, you can set up custom audiences in Google Analytics, which can also be sent over to Google Ads for retargeting. Alternatively, you can set up unique custom audiences directly within Google Ads.
Once the integration is live, we can start to send event data to the Google Analytics account that you’ve connected. The following events will be tracked:
- % Watched
- Conversions (i.e., Turnstile submissions)
- Clicked Links (i.e., CTAs or annotations)
- Time Watched
You’ll see a few suggested audiences in Wistia and can turn those on or off at any time. But remember — these are just a few ideas to help you get started. Get creative with your audiences and segments to really unlock the power of retargeting!
Ok, great, you have your integrations set up, and the data is rolling in. Now what?
Connecting your accounts is the easy part. The next step is to roll up your sleeves and start creating your custom audiences. Here are a few specific examples of how you can use video retargeting throughout the conversion funnel.
Build brand affinity with video series
Are you promoting a new show or video series? If so, nurturing folks to finish an episode and the series is a great way to keep viewers engaged and build brand affinity.
You can take two approaches to this. First, retarget folks who started but did not finish an episode. To do this, set up a list on each episode for viewers that did not complete a defined percentage of a video (<75%, as an example). Then, serve this segment ads reminding them to finish. The best part? With Wistia’s resumable video feature, viewers will be able to pick the video back up right where they left off. Pretty cool, huh?
The second approach is to retarget folks who did finish an episode to encourage them to continue their journey with the next episode. To do this, set up a segment based on video completions, and serve these viewers ads for your next episode.
Nudge prospects with helpful resources
Video can do so much more than simply drive awareness for your brand; it can be a powerful tool to help nurture folks through your sales funnel. An example of this would be to use retargeting to provide helpful and timely resources related to the problem that your product or service solves.
This segment could be folks who convert on a video (fill out a Turnstile form). For example, you might gate a webinar or robust video asset on your website and then retarget those viewers to take the next step in your conversion funnel, perhaps downloading a related asset or viewing a product demo.
Drive leads for super engaged viewers
Are you looking to drive qualified leads from your videos? If so, Wistia has you covered. The exact equation for how you qualify leads will vary — but the same logic still applies. To do this, decide on what specific actions you view as “qualified.”
Let’s take folks who watched a high percentage of a high-intent video. For example, if viewers complete more than 75% of a product demo video, you could retarget them to set up a call with a solutions consultant for a personalized walk-through.
These are just a few examples of how you can get creative and set up custom audiences for retargeting. The options are only limited to your imagination. Meet with your team to decide on a few key segments that make sense for your business, and start building your lists today!
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