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5 Brand-Building Lessons from The First Audio Conference for Marketers, “Built to Last”

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What does it take to build a brand that stands the test of time? How do you make someone fall in love with your brand? Is it possible to build lifelong audiences and advocates for your business? There’s a good reason these questions still remain at the forefront of marketer’s minds today. And that’s because, in 2020, your brand has never mattered more.

That’s why we teamed up with Buffer to bring you Built to Last, the first-ever audio conference for brand builders. Throughout the event, attendees received exclusive access to a private podcast feed where we released six episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode featured lessons and key insights that can be applied when crafting memorable content and campaigns that build engaged audiences.

We heard from marketers and creatives behind some of the world’s most-loved brands and learned a ton of valuable lessons when it comes to building brands that thrive. In this post, we’re sharing our top five takeaways from the event. But we’re curious — what lessons did you learn? Be sure to share them with us in the comments!

Did you miss out on Built to Last but still want to hear what all the fuss is about? Good news: You can still sign up to access the podcast episodes on-demand right here.

Throughout Built to Last, one theme that consistently rang true for our speakers was the power of focus. From picking very specific target customers and understanding exactly how your business fits into their lives to prioritizing building a community and crafting super-specific content — when it comes to building lasting brands, focus is key.

Emily Heyward, Co-Founder of Red Antler and author of the book Obsessed — Building a Brand People Love from Day One, pointed out how important it is to consider the context of the world we live in today when it comes to getting people to care about your brand.

“Consumers have more choice, more information, and therefore more power than ever before. Think about how what we used to buy was controlled by gatekeepers. We were only able to buy whatever was available at the drugstore or the grocery store. We only learned about brands through national TV campaigns. Now we learn about brands through Instagram. We can Google exactly what we’re looking for and access niche brands that have millions of consumer reviews and are being written about on forums that contain people who are similar to us and have similar needs.”


Emily Heyward

Co-Founder, Red Antler

Emily recommended that brands come forward with a simple, clear offering right out the gate so they can spend more time focusing on what they stand for and what it matters, rather than getting bogged down by every detail of their product offering. This can help businesses more clearly articulate the value they bring to the table, rather than having to explain away a ton of complex features of variations of their product.

Ben Witte, Founder of Recess, a consumer wellness brand in the beverage industry, touched on a similar concept throughout his episode. He noted the importance of staying focused when it comes to attracting the right audience.

“I think you want to identify who you’re speaking to very early on. I think [Recess] is relevant to all age demographics and psychographics. But your content strategy has to be very specifically defined. And if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.”


Benjamin Witte

Founder and CEO, Recess

Another, perhaps, not-so-surprising thread that was woven throughout the conference? The marketing evolution from focusing on brand awareness to actually cultivating brand affinity. Businesses are doing this today by investing in high-quality, narrative-driven content like video series and podcasts (just like Built to Last).

Wistia’s very own CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Savage, spoke to this concept throughout his talk and explained how Wistia ended up on the journey towards creating this type of binge-worthy content with the goal of building brand affinity.

“We started to ask ourselves the question — we’ve been trying to go wider and get more awareness, but what if we go deeper? What if we go above and beyond for our customers and our audience members who are still engaging with us? What if we try to use the audience we have to grow an existing audience? How do we do that? And what we settled in on was we would go bigger on the scale of the content. We would try not just a blog post, we would try something much larger and more impactful and see how that would work.”


Chris Savage

Co-Founder and CEO, Wistia

As brands continue to build niche audiences of people who love their content and the experiences they provide, these people are more likely to recommend that business and share that content with the people they already know and trust. This creates an incredibly powerful organic growth for your brand, which Helena Hambrecht, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO of Haus, a modern aperitif brand, spoke to throughout her episode as well.

“Our theory was if we put 100% … 200%, everything we have into the product and the customer experience upfront, the customer will be delighted enough to share that experience and share it with their friends. Put everything that we can into the experience up front, and we will grow the word of mouth. Those were the bets that we made, and it worked. All of our growth — we grew a ton in the first six months — was 100% organic.”


Helena Hambrecht

Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Haus

“My biggest advice to our founders creating consumer brands is that your brand better have something to say.” Ben Witte shared some words of wisdom for brands during his talk that seemed to ring true for many other brand-builders throughout the conference as well, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise. After all, consumers these days are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on what a brand says, how it acts, and what it stands for.

Certainly, the pressure is on for brand-builders — why does your business even exist? What are its purpose and mission? Your values and what your brand cares about can play a huge role in shaping how your brand is perceived and the direction your business takes in the long run.

Madison Uttendhal, Founder of Utendahl Creative, a branding, content, and social media storytelling agency, highlighted why she believes it’s so important for brands to take a stand.

“In order to have returning customers and ones that are loyal to you, that have genuine brand affinity, it means that they really have to believe in you because they stand with your values. For me personally, as an African-American woman, brands that have taken stances on Black Lives Matter, on supporting marginalized groups, I’m going to continue to purchase from them. And I’m going to go out of my way to make sure I am purchasing from them rather than purchasing from a brand that isn’t saying anything at all.”


Madison Utendahlt

Founder, Utendahl Creative

Joel Gascoigne, Buffer’s Co-Founder, and CEO, also shared his thoughts on the importance of authenticity when it comes to building brands that stand the test of time.

“I do believe that modern consumers expect more transparency and authenticity from brands. I would say, in a lot of ways, they’re even demanding it. I think that they’re demanding that companies take a stance and become an aim to be a net positive for society.”


Joel Gascoigne

Co-Founder and CEO, Buffer

And last but not least, Helena shared some pretty telling insights around her modern aperitif brand, Haus, and some of the data they’ve uncovered around purchasing behavior. “I encountered a treasure trove of Nielsen data and consumer trends around millennial and Gen Z consumers and how they’re looking for something that alcohol wasn’t providing. They’re concerned about their health and their image, and they care deeply about authenticity, transparency, convenience, and quality. And you see proof of that in other industries that have been disrupted by more millennial-leaning brands that represent their values.”

Another trend that came up across several episodes was the idea that content is one of the best ways to showcase your brand. We’re not just talking about any old content though — a one-off blog post or Instagram Story won’t do. For brands to last, they need to understand their audience to the core and then create entertaining content that speaks directly to them.

Ben Witte called out brands like Red Bull, Gatorade, and Monster Energy, commenting on the fact that they are effectively media companies that monetize through “selling cans.” He also noted that the era of being able to launch a brand through ads alone on Instagram is over, and that “You should use paid as an accelerant, not to establish yourself.”

Chris Savage also spoke to this idea of creating and promoting content like a media company, just like Red Bull does with their extreme(ly dangerous) looking content. “With Brand Affinity Marketing — making podcasts, making video shows, and longer-form content — you’re making content that you are marketing like a product and treating like a product. And so just like when you’re doing product development, someone goes and asks customers, ’What do you like about this and what don’t you like?’ You just have to do the same thing with your content.”

Other speakers commented on the importance of solidifying your story and the content you are going to use to share that story, rather than focusing all your energy on racking up empty impressions. In other words, getting your messaging down and establishing what your brand is and what it stands for before you start hunting down exponential growth.

Madison also puts a finer point on the age-old quality vs. quantity debate. “I believe that quality wins over quantity any day. It is more impactful to have three posts a week that are beautifully done — thoughtful, intentional, informative than it is to have seven posts in a week that look half-hazard and a mess. Taking the time to create beautiful content and letting that project marinate so that it can be the best it can be is really important.”

Finally, and this one is sneaky because it might seem super obvious, but businesses need to remember that their audiences are made up of real people, just like them. An endless sea of demographic information, tracking pixels, and retargeting campaigns have made marketers forget just how important each individual in their audience really is. For brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.

“In order for brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.”

“I think that people like to forget that humans work in businesses,” says Chris Savage. “I think it’s kind of that simple. We talk about people’s job titles and we’re like, ’I’m trying to market to the VP of Marketing, I’m trying to market to the Director of Customer Growth and Acquisition.’ As opposed to, ’I’m trying to market to Kelly, I’m trying to market to Chris, I’m trying to market to Kristen.’ And they’re a person, and they watch Netflix, and they watch YouTube, and they have all these interests and all this richness. And their job is part of their life, and their career is part of their life, but they’re a human being. It’s just that simple.”

Thinking about your audience in this way can also help you unlock some of the core tenants of your brand. For Joel, Buffer’s brand evolved over time thanks to how they approached sharing the story of their journey as a business. “We always wanted to focus on sharing our journey, gaining insights by sharing a lot of the details of things we’re trying, things that are working, things that are not working. And so all of those things formed our approach and formed the brand.”

Madison spoke to the importance of building a strong community when growing a business and shaping a brand as well. She noted that businesses can’t lose sight of the fact that there are people behind every single dollar that goes into your bank accounts. “Ultimately, if a founder has the ability and balance to reach out directly to top purchasers, it’s a beautiful, incredible, and impactful way to build community and makes people feel that you see them and you value them for their loyal service.”

We heard from so many great speakers throughout Built to Last and took away a ton of learnings about everything from how to increase the lifetime value of a customer to unique tactics for creating thumb-stopping content on social media. But, believe it or not, there’s still so much we didn’t cover in this post.

If you missed this first-ever audio conference while the episodes were dropping live, don’t sweat it. You can still sign up to get access to all of this amazing content on-demand, right here.

And like we said before, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below and let us know what jumped out to you throughout Built to Last. What new strategies are you going to employ at your business so you can build a brand that stands the test of time? We can’t wait to see what you come up with.



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Video Marketing

The First 3 Videos Your Small Business Should Make

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How can a small business with a small budget get started with video marketing? The answer is actually pretty simple: start with the videos that will have the biggest impact on your business. With that framework in mind, let’s take a look at the first three videos your business should start making today!

If you’re a small business, you might not be able to tout the big brand names that make people say to themselves, “Wow, impressive company X uses them? They must be good!” But lucky for us, the rise of online video in recent years has made establishing trust much easier for businesses of all sizes. And of course, the demand for video isn’t going anywhere. According to research from the folks at HubSpot, 54% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future. So if you haven’t started investing in video, now’s the time!

How can a small business with a small budget get started with video marketing? The answer is actually pretty simple: start with the videos that will have the biggest impact on your business. With that framework in mind, let’s take a look at the first three videos your business should start making today!

If you don’t make any other video this year (though we’re confident you’ve got what it takes), start with a product explainer video. Think about the last time you surfed around a company’s website and thought to yourself, “Is this business even legit? What the heck do they do?” This is the last impression you want to leave on a site visitor or potential customer, which is why a product explainer video is the first video you should make.

Remember that the content of your video is far more important than how shiny or professional it looks. You don’t need to break the bank to make an effective product explainer video — in fact, before you invest in a big production, try making a video that’s a little more on the DIY side and see how it works for your business. You can always upgrade your video later or even test other versions against it to see which one resonates most with your audience.

“Remember that the content of your video is far more important than how shiny or professional it looks”

Take a look at this product explainer video from Basecamp, a project management and team communication software. Small budget? No problem.

This video doesn’t simply showcase all the best features Basecamp has to offer. Instead, it paints a picture (or in this case, draws one) that clearly points to a problem the software can solve (if you’re a busy project manager, use this tool to make your job easier).

It’s easy to focus on your product’s features, but what you really want to do is hone in on the problem your business solves. Appeal to viewers’ emotions and explain how your solution can help make their lives easier, better, more fulfilling — whatever the case may be — and you’re on your way to seeing success with video.

Types of explainer videos you can make

Now that you’ve hopefully seen the value of product explainer videos, let’s dive into a few different types of videos your small business can start investing in. Depending on what resources are currently available to you, not to mention how much time you want to put in to the final product, there are a number of avenues you can take.

Animated video
Arguably one of the most popular types of explainer videos a business can make, animated videos are easy to outsource thanks to services like Yum Yum Videos, Powtoon, or even freelancers on Fiverr who can turn your script into an imaginative video.

Live-action video
If you plan on shooting the video yourself (whether you have an in-house video producer or not), consider the following tips for making your video as effective as it can be:

  • Start with a great script. As odd as it might seem, the written word is the foundation for any great explainer video.
  • Keep it short and sweet — 60 seconds or less is perfect.
  • Use simple, conversational language. No business jargon allowed!
  • Incorporate some shots of what you’re actually selling in your video — show and tell.

Screencast
Is your small business in the SaaS space? A simple screencast video works particularly well in this context; plus, it also happens to be super budget-friendly. Check out this example from the team at Slack, a business communication platform.

See how easy it is to understand how their product works? That’s exactly what you’re looking for.

If you want to simplify the screencast process as much as possible, we just happen to offer a nifty screen recording tool that lets you make high-quality product explainer videos in a snap. Try Soapbox for free today!

Install Soapbox Today!

Some businesses tend to shy away from collecting testimonials, and who can blame them? The task can feel scary and intimidating, and ROI is difficult to predict at the outset. But what’s so great about testimonial videos is that you only need one or two solid ones in your catalogue to see the difference they can make.

Start by interviewing some of your long-term customers that have seen tangible results thanks to your product, and share those videos on a prominent page on your site. Again, building trust can be a tricky part of marketing a small business. But with an effective testimonial video, you can go above and beyond that goal.

“Start by interviewing some of your long-term customers that have seen tangible results thanks to your product, and share those videos on a prominent page on your site.”

When it comes time to brainstorm who you might reach out to for these interviews, think about who your ideal customer is. Make sure the customers you feature in your testimonials are aligned with your target audience. Ideally, your prospects will be able to see themselves and their businesses in the testimonial videos you create.

Ultimately, video testimonials help visitors feel more confident in your business and the services you provide. And why wouldn’t they? Your most authentic subjects are your actual customers.

One company who does this really well is Mailchimp, a marketing automation platform and email marketing service company. Here’s an example of one of their customer success stories:

After watching this video, the viewer has a better understanding of how a boutique called Azalea San Francisco uses Mailchimp’s landing pages to drive their sales, promote events, and stay relevant.

Tips for making video testimonials

Ready to produce your very own video testimonials? Here are some of our favorite tips for making a compelling testimonial that builds trust and looks great:

  • Before the interview, give your customer an idea of what topics you’ll cover, but don’t share all of your questions just yet! You want their responses to sound as natural and unrehearsed as possible.
  • Shoot the video at the customer’s own workplace if possible, as it helps drive home the authenticity factor.
  • Capture additional B-roll footage throughout the shoot, whether you think you’ll need the shots or not. These small moments can round out your video and make it more cohesive.
  • Let the camera run, and edit the takes later. Ask your interviewee to repeat what they’ve said if they fumble over their words, but for the most part, try to keep your footage natural.
  • Keep it conversational so your subject feels comfortable. This can often lead to more emotional, authentic responses.

If your small business has a particularly interesting background, company story videos are the way to go. How did your business get started? What was your motivation for starting the company? By featuring the friendly faces of your teammates, you can make your prospects feel right at home. After all, people are buying more products and services based on emotion rather than logic, which is one reason why appealing to a visitor’s psyche is so important.

A company story video lets you show off what makes your business so special and unique on a human level like no other medium can. When people are able to associate familiar faces and names with a business, they’re more likely to feel a strong connection to it — and ultimately have a positive experience with your brand.

“A company story video lets you show off what makes your business so special and unique on a human level like no other medium can.”

In this video, find out the history behind Redbarn Pet Products, a healthy, wholesome dog food company.

I don’t even have a dog and I’d give Redbarn my money! But in all seriousness, this two-minute video gives you a solid understanding of what matters most to Redbarn as a business. You learn how this family-owned dog food company got its start, what it believes in, and how it views running a business. An all-around success!

Types of company stories

What if your story isn’t as cute and wholesome as Redbarn’s? Not to worry, because there are some other types of videos you can make to achieve a similar goal. Your company’s culture and how team members feel about working there today are just as important as the story behind how you got your start. Here are a few ways to underline that:

  • Crowdsource a simple video featuring current employees. Empower your peers to tell their own stories by submitting video clips that can be compiled into one video.
  • Interview some of your own employees. Think “customer testimonials” but from your employees. Ask them some questions about their day-to-day life at your company and record their responses.
  • Use B-roll footage from a company event or party and record a voiceover after the fact. This is a super low-budget way to make a video that emphasizes what your company culture is all about, with virtually no pre-production effort involved.

Marketers know that testing new channels and tactics before going all-in on one is the best way to make informed decisions. And when you work at a small business where resources can run thin, you want to make sure you’re spending your time wisely. That’s why, as a video software company built by marketers, we recommend getting started with these three types of videos.

Easily build trust, establish credibility, and show the people who work at your company, and you’ll be on your way to building an even more reputable and buzzworthy business.

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Video Marketing

4 Businesses That Grew Through the Power of Creativity

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When most businesses decide to scale, they usually channel all of their thoughts and energy on meeting the end result: growing their company by X percent. But, ironically, focusing on the results doesn’t always mean you’ll get them.

In a live interview at Goldman Sachs’ Technology and Internet Conference in 2015, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, was asked to name some of Apple’s most significant accomplishments from the past year. Famously, he responded, “We’re not focused on the numbers. We’re focused on the things that produce the numbers.”

In essence, Cook was saying that focusing on the process rather than the results is the key to success. After all, to thrive in a world brimming with infinite options, you need to create a product or service worth purchasing — and not just purchasable.

Building something that can cut through the noise requires extraordinary creativity. To inspire your company’s creative process, we explore four companies that have leaned heavily on creativity to fuel their growth. Read on to get your own creative juices flowing.

When Nick Gray was asked to go on a date to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, he was a little disappointed. The Met was where you went when your parents were in town, not when you were going on a romantic date. But Nick liked the woman he was seeing. So, he accepted her invitation.

To his surprise, Nick and his date didn’t aimlessly meander through every exhibit that caught their eye. Instead, Nick’s date gave him a captivating tour of different art, sculptures, and artifacts. Enamored by the Met’s vast collection of humanity’s history, Nick realized just how special the museum actually was.

Nick became obsessed with the Met, visiting it all the time, voraciously researching exhibits that piqued his interest, and eventually giving his own tours to friends. His tours got so popular that he realized he could turn them into his own business. He called it Museum Hack.

Museum Hack’s mission is to shatter the common belief that museums are boring — just as the date at the Met had done for Nick. Leading themed tours, such as the one based on Game of Thrones, through some of the country’s top museums, Museum Hack takes customers on focused, energetic journeys that are chock-full of stories, games, and, most importantly, fun.

“Museum Hack’s mission is to shatter the common belief that museums are boring …”

Museum Hack knows that their guides can make or break tours, so the company hires expert storytellers who train for three months before leading a single tour. They also dig up the juiciest stories about historical figures, art, and artifacts that you’d never see on a museum plaque, ensuring that they entertain just as much as they educate.

Convincing the public that museums are the most remarkable institutions on earth is a tall order. But Museum Hack has done just that — and then some. Their tours have garnered over 5,400 five-star reviews on TripAdvisor, generated $2.8 million in revenue in 2018, and grown their business by 107% in the past three years.

One of the least appealing parts of marketing? Sourcing stock photos. Not only are most stock images cheesy, but they can also be costly. Fortunately, Mikael Cho, the former CEO of Crew, an online marketplace for creatives, harbored this same disdain for cheesy, expensive stock photos.

Back in 2013, Crew had only three months of cash left. No venture capitalists were biting either, so Cho tried to attract some attention by building a Tumblr website that offered free, professional-grade photos. His target market could probably use them.

Four hours and $19 later, Unsplash was born. And after posting Unsplash on Hacker News, Cho’s side project rocketed to the top of the discussion board and attracted 50,000 visitors in one day. Within a month, Unsplash had 20,000 email subscribers and even referred some customers over to Crew.

Four months later, Unsplash helped Crew double their revenue, which enabled them to secure $10.6 million in funding. Unsplash had officially saved Crew.

Soon after, tech media outlets, like The Verge, Next Web, Fast Company, TechCrunch, and Forbes, ate the story up. Forbes even started using Unsplash’s photos and linked back to their website. Two years later, Unsplash became Crew’s top referral source.

The story of Unsplash is compelling proof that focusing on creativity can pluck you out of even the deepest financial abyss. By focusing on the artistic side of photography — not necessarily the business side — and the customer experience, Unsplash attracted a steady stream of users and publicity. This focus persuaded the best freelance photographers to publish photos on their website to market their art and, in turn, continually enhance Unsplash’s library of images.

“By focusing on the artistic side of photography — not necessarily the business side — and the customer experience, Unsplash attracted a steady stream of users and publicity.”

Since then, Crew spun off Unsplash as its own stand-alone company. The Tumblr website that initially offered ten free photos every ten days now boasts a network of 110,000 contributing photographers and a library of 1 million images that have been downloaded over 1 billion times.

What’s arguably even more impressive is that Cho sold Crew to Dribbble in 2017 and raised $7.25 million in funding for Unsplash. Not only did Unsplash save and spark Crew’s growth, but they also built themselves into something any entrepreneur would be proud of.

In 2008, Jack Conte and his wife, Nataly Dawn, started a band called Pomplamoose. But, unlike most new bands, they didn’t want to build their presence through live gigs; they wanted to build it online.

For the next five years, Pomplamoose created and posted original songs, experimental covers, and clever mash-ups on YouTube, attracting over 150,000 subscribers. Some of their videos even went viral and boasted millions of views. But the exhilarating high Conte felt watching the band’s loyal fan base grow would always crash when he checked their YouTube revenue each month. At most, they would make a few hundred dollars.

Fed up with the internet’s self-centered monetization model and the lack of respect and financial security artists received, Conte teamed up with entrepreneur Sam Yan to launch Patreon, a platform for artists to offer monthly subscriptions to their content and generate a reliable stream of income.

From podcasters to musicians to comedians, artists of all stripes can effectively monetize their creativity on Patreon, taking home an average of 90% of their subscription revenue. Conte and Yan specifically designed their business model this way because they wanted Patreon’s success to depend on their artists’ success. In other words, creativity is the only thing that can fuel their growth. And it’s working.

Today, Patreon has over 100,000 artists creating content on their platform and over 3 million patrons supporting them. Patreon is also expected to process $500 million in payments and generates $50 million in revenue in 2019 and has raised over $165 million in venture capital.

During the first half of the decade, most podcasts were cliché, talking-head interviews with little personality or flair. Most people listened to them to educate themselves on a specific topic — not necessarily to entertain themselves. But that all changed once Sarah Koenig’s iconic podcast, Serial), launched in 2014.

Serial was one of the first narrative-driven podcasts ever released, and it captured the imagination of the entire world, reaching 5 million downloads faster than any other podcast in history.

After binge-listening to Serial and witnessing everybody squabble over Adnan Syed’s innocence, Steve Pratt, the co-founder of Pacific Content, realized he could help businesses make the same mark in the working world.

Serial raised people’s podcasts expectations, but many brands didn’t have the expertise or resources to craft shows of that caliber. This market gap inspired Pratt to launch Pacific Content, a production agency that makes original podcasts with brands. He became an early adopter of narrative-driven podcasts and partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Facebook, Slack, and T-Brand Studio, to craft shows that rival top podcasts like This American Life and even the agency’s own inspiration — Serial.

Blazing the trail for brands to tell stories through podcasts and winning numerous awards for their work, Pacific Content was acquired by Rogers Media, one of the largest and most influential Canadian media companies, in 2019.

To thrive in a world of infinite choice, building a product or service that can cut through the noise is crucial — but trying to manufacture the results won’t get you anywhere. Instead, focus on the process and channel your creativity, just like these four companies did.

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Video Marketing

2020 Video Trends & Usage: Consumption is up 120% During COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted the way the world works — including how businesses function and how employees do their jobs. Here at Wistia, we immediately noticed an uptick in content creation and video engagement this March when the pandemic began to sweep the nation.

Now, several months into this “new normal,” we’re ready to pull back the curtain and share some data and trends from our platform in true Wistia fashion. After all, we do have a track record of being super transparent with our business decisions, successes, and even the occasional flop.

Below, we’ve outlined the top three trends related to video engagement that we’ve seen during the pandemic and tips for how to use this information to implement a more strategic video plan this year. All data referenced is compared to Wistia data pulled from the prior year, 2019. Let’s dive in!

Video consumption is more ubiquitous than ever — and our data clearly supports this trend.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw an 18% increase in hours watched per week from 2019 to 2020. Hours watched represents the average number of hours of video content consumed per week across all of our customers.

We started 2019 with an average of 2.2M hours watched per week. This increased to an average of 2.6M hours at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March of 2020, we’ve seen a year over year increase of 120%. The average weekly hours watched increased drastically from 2.6M to 4.6M — peaking at 5.7M during the week of April 27th.

This increase means that people are watching more video content on our platform than ever before.

Additionally, before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 31% increase in weekly video plays from 2019 to 2020. This represents the number of times a video was played in a given week.

The number of average weekly video plays was 1.6M at the beginning of 2019, which increased to 2.1M at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, that number has increased by 65% compared to the same time last year. This means that viewers are actively engaging with video content at a much higher rate than they were before the pandemic.

This increase in engagement has created a huge opportunity for SMBs to connect with consumers through well-marketed content. How can you engage your audience with video? From video voicemails for personalized sales outreach to teaser videos on social media — the options are only limited to your imagination. If you’re looking for where to get started, check out these 15 business video examples for inspiration.

Many organizations and industries have pivoted to relying heavily on video for communication and other essential business functions, which has leveled the playing field for SMBs.

Quarantine and work-from-home mandates have forced marketers and non-marketers alike to become creators and embrace constraints to produce great work — and many have realized that you don’t need a professional set up to produce high-quality video and audio content. Just look at Saturday Night Live — a highly planned and produced comedy show that pivoted to creating the entire weekly show from home.

Businesses have embraced these challenges with video content from home, conveying a level of authenticity that’s been quite welcomed. This trend of making video more accessible has led to an increase in the total volume of video uploaded to Wistia.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 42% increase in weekly video uploads from 2019 to 2020. This number averaged 121K at the beginning of 2019 and increased to 172K at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, the year over year increase has jumped to 120%. We’re now seeing an average of 280K videos uploaded to Wistia each week.

If you’ve been considering dipping your toes into the video waters, there’s no time like the present. Check out our free Beginner’s Guide to Video Production series to get started.

Small business leaders are some of the savviest and most resourceful leaders out there. When an opportunity comes knocking, they answer the door.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 17% increase in weekly account creations from 2019 to 2020. This number averaged 2.9K at the beginning of 2019 and increased to 3.4K at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, the year over year increase has jumped to 85%. We’re now seeing an average of 5K Wistia accounts created each week.

When signing up for Wistia’s services, a majority of small business leaders have noted they have more of a need to store and share videos since the pandemic began. These types of customers tend to be starting their video marketing program from scratch, recognizing that every business moving forward will have some aspect of digital engagement.

For example, SMBs can now host well-produced virtual events that are much more affordable and easy to execute compared to a live, in-person event. From small-scale webinars to large-scale conferences, we’ve seen the full spectrum of virtual events.

In addition to events, many companies are getting creative with how they reach their audiences. We’ve seen an uptick in sales teams using video as an outreach and communications tool versus in-person meetings. We’ve also seen creators of all kinds — school teachers, exercise instructors, entertainers, and more adopt a video-first strategy.

Creativity doesn’t stop just because marketers are working from home. As we create a new future, brands are in a position to reach their audiences in new and authentic ways.

Our data confirms that marketers are working harder than ever to create content that is appealing to their consumers–meeting them where they are through well-executed video content.

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