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Does Brand Advertising Work for Marketers? Our New Report with The Drum

Over the years, marketers have pumped billions of dollars into brand advertising, from paid search and social ads to display and PPC — but why? Well, aside from the obvious desire to grow brand awareness, the more troubling response is simply because it’s established wisdom that they should. The biggest question lies with whether or not marketers […]

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Over the years, marketers have pumped billions of dollars into brand advertising, from paid search and social ads to display and PPC — but why? Well, aside from the obvious desire to grow brand awareness, the more troubling response is simply because it’s established wisdom that they should.

The biggest question lies with whether or not marketers can actually prove this investment works for them, and that’s what The Drum, a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe, set out to uncover in this new report.

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The Drum conducted a survey and looked at how brands (B2B, B2C, and agencies) across the world currently advertise, how they’re measuring the effectiveness of their ad dollars, their experience with certain media platforms, and how marketers generally feel about the efficacy of brand advertising today.

Read the full report from The Drum for more on the methodology and findings that resulted from this survey.

Among the full results of the survey, here’s what we found most noteworthy:

  • Only a quarter of brand respondents were able to attribute increased brand awareness to their spending on advertising.
  • The most popular way of measuring return on investment in brand advertising is through clicks (62%), followed by impressions, conversions/assisted conversions, and increased sales correlating with the campaign period (all 60%).
  • Almost a third (30%) of respondents said they didn’t measure brand perception at all, meaning they have no way of knowing whether what they spend on brand advertising is having any effect.
  • 38% of respondents said they’re unsure if they trust Google, Facebook, and other advertising platforms to provide accurate counts on impressions, clicks, and video view counts.

Despite all of the uncertainty around brand advertising, businesses continue to spend billions on ads they aren’t even sure are working for their brands. Marketers need to find a better way to build awareness and brand affinity with the right people online.

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Curious to learn more about the state of brand advertising? Take a look at the full report by heading over to The Drum’s website for more.

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Video Marketing

5 Ways to Make Better Marketing Videos with Psychology

I hear that Slack notification you just got. I see your phone sitting next to your keyboard, buzzing with new texts. It’s okay; I won’t be offended if you check. People are being pulled away all the time, and it’s all too easy to bounce if we get bored. In order for your audience to […]

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I hear that Slack notification you just got. I see your phone sitting next to your keyboard, buzzing with new texts. It’s okay; I won’t be offended if you check.

People are being pulled away all the time, and it’s all too easy to bounce if we get bored. In order for your audience to hear you — and listen — you have to create something they’ll pay attention to despite the distractions.

Videos are one of the best ways to grab your audience’s attention, but they come with a non-negotiable time commitment. You need to convince people to give up a predetermined amount of their own valuable time. To keep them watching, it pays to understand what gets people’s attention on a psychological level.

Let’s take a look at a few basic psychology principles that you can use to make more engaging marketing videos.

Different colors evoke different feelings, and some are better at grabbing people’s attention. By understanding the basics of color theory, you can capture attention and invoke specific emotions with your video content.

In a classic study on color, Satyendra Singh determined that it takes a mere 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product. And, 62–90 percent of that interaction is determined by the color of the product alone.

How do these associations work? Well, red is often associated with power, energy, and anger. Blue conveys a sense of trust and security. Yellow suggests caution. Black indicates luxury and exclusivity.

But of course, color theory isn’t as black and white as it may seem; contrast, vibrancy, shade, and context can all alter the look and feel of your video and your message. For example, the color red can convey love and passion in a Valentine’s Day ad while also sending a very different message in a political ad campaign.

But in general, it’s essential to be mindful of color associations and to match the look and feel of your video with a color palette that captures attention and invokes strong feelings.

“It’s important to be mindful of color associations and to match the look and feel of your video with a color palette that captures attention and invokes strong feelings.”

Sticking with the red example, let’s explore how McDonald’s uses this color in their marketing. As noted above, red is often associated with energy, passion, and activity. Studies even suggest that the color red can increase blood pressure and heart rate. And, it is widely believed that red stimulates appetite, which might explain why many fast-food brands, including McDonald’s, rely heavily on this color throughout their visuals.

Consider different color schemes and how something as simple as a wardrobe or background change can completely alter the tone and mood of your video. Use color wisely to create the strongest and most immediate reaction in viewers.

Sparking viewers’ curiosity isn’t enough to guarantee engagement; you need to hook them within the first few seconds to get them to stick around.

According to Facebook data, 65% of people that watch the first three seconds of your video will watch it for at least ten more seconds. And another 45% will watch an additional 20 seconds of content. People are wired to seek instant gratification, and if your video doesn’t hook them within the first few seconds, they likely won’t stick around much longer.

“65% of people that watch the first three seconds of your video will watch it for at least ten more seconds. Another 45% will watch an additional 20 seconds of content.”

One easy way to hook viewers early? Play music. No — really! As it turns out, hearing a catchy song activates the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain responsible for rewarding you with fuzzy feelings when you eat, drink, or exercise. Happy viewers are engaged viewers, and they might just stick around longer thanks to a compelling audio story.

Take this example from the University of Phoenix. This ad tells the story of a woman who feels frustrated balancing work with school, a pain many people can relate with. But, she discovers a flexible program designed for adult learners like herself and finds a balance that works for her demanding lifestyle. The ad doesn’t use a script or formal narration and instead lets the music tell the story.

Nike is another master of music. For years, their ads have been applauded for everything from taking a stand on racial injustice to celebrating women in sports. This particular spot aired in 2020 and was praised not only for the beautifully executed imagery but also the subtle background music that helps change the energy throughout the narrative.

Marketers can take advantage of the effect that music has on your brain. Think carefully about what feelings you want to evoke for the viewer of your video, then choose the best music to make this happen and deliver it in a way that ties back to your message.

Emotions are more powerful than people give them credit for. Many people believe they make choices based on logic, but emotions actually heavily influence or even determine most of our decisions.

Your viewers will pay more attention to how you present information than to the value of what you’re saying. This is called the “framing effect.” It triggers a part of your brain called the amygdala that deals with emotions and decisions — helping you decide whether or not to stick your hand into that piranha tank or even if you should wear high heels on cobblestones.

Create a narrative that shows your viewers that you know what they feel and anticipate what they want to feel. If viewers are emotionally connected to your content, they’re more likely to decide that the message is important.

“If viewers are emotionally connected to your content, they’re more likely to decide that the message is important.”

Car companies are well-known for creating connections with buyers through storytelling, and no brand does this better than Volvo. Their “Moments” ad from 2017 is masterful — but don’t take our word for it.

Did someone cut an onion in here? Just me? Volvo, known for being one of the safest car brands on the market, taps into this feeling of safety by narrating a young girl’s entire journey — which is almost cut short by a distracted driver. The final tag of “sometimes the moments that never happen matter the most” cuts right to the core of parents’ innate desire to protect their children.

Giving a viewer someone to root for is really the way to their heart. (We’re lucky to have our Wistia mascot Lenny, who makes a perfect canine protagonist for our videos.) This Intuit video, “A Giant’s Story,” achieves this same connection by putting a playful, human touch on something that might otherwise feel a bit cold — b2b accounting software.

At the end of the day, people want to connect with other people, and we often do this by sharing feelings that we have in common. In general, video is a perfect medium for sharing — but videos with emotional content are even more likely to be shared. Give your viewers a reason to share and a reason to connect.

The brain can understand visual information in 13 milliseconds, and your visual system activates over 50% of your brain. Science!

Casper took a visual approach for sharing the engineering and design process behind their products. The behind-the-scenes video shows real employees walking through how the mattresses come to life and what exactly makes them oh so special. The video also incorporates animations to simplify some of the more complex or ambiguous ideas they explore, like A/B testing.

GoPro also takes a highly visual approach to their videos. The outdoor camera brand sourced user-generated content for this 2018 ad promoting a new line of cameras. Why tell folks how great their products are when they could let real customers do the “talking” by sharing their own adventures? The ad combines vibrant and energetic submissions from several participants living life to the fullest.

Spice up your videos and keep viewers engaged by adding unexpected visual elements. Even something as simple as a whiteboard can anchor your video and give viewers something compelling to look at, especially if your video relies heavily on someone talking directly to an audience.

Our final tip for leveraging psychology to create catchier brand videos? Use credible video talent to build trust with your audience.

Credibility refers to the amount of knowledge the communicator (aka your video talent) is assumed or perceived to have. This is why brands often leverage celebrities for cameos in their commercials.

You know and trust Matthew McConaughey, who also happens to love our car; you should buy it and be more like Matthew! And in case you’re wondering, this can actually work! Lincoln reported a 25% lift in sales after launching new ad campaigns featuring McConaughey. Alright, alright, alright.

A classic example of a trusted thought leader in video is Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series. For years, Rand Fishkin, an icon in the SEO world, led the weekly series that followed a simple but effective format — explaining complex SEO concepts via a whiteboard.

As one of the most influential leaders in the SEO world, Rand’s video series took off and put Moz on the map for digital marketing decision-makers.

How can you do the same? Leverage well-known, trusted, and likable talent for your own videos — whether that’s tapping external guests or leaning on employees.

We use this tactic at Wistia by showcasing internal thought leaders for webinars, marketing videos, and shows. For example, we put Chris Lavigne, trusted video production expert and storytelling extraordinaire, behind the lens for our (Out of) Office Hours series, which covers all things remote video and audio production.

As a video producer himself, Chris knows the industry like the back of his hand. He’s well-known in the creative community and has a strong and loyal social following that engages with his content.

At the end of the day, people want to connect with other people, and we often do this by sharing feelings in common.

Even in a world that constantly pulls our attention in many directions, you can carve out space in your viewer’s mind. Armed with your camera and a few principles of human psychology, you’ll give your video the edge that will set it apart from the distractions.

If you get your viewers to truly engage and connect with your video, you’ll grab a little bit of valuable space in their constantly-buzzing brains. This is how you’ll succeed in making viewers remember your video and take action on what you said.

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Video Marketing

How to Sell Leadership on Creating Audio Content for Your Brand

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Ever since NPR’s Serial blasted podcasts into the mainstream in 2014, audio consumption has skyrocketed. In 2020, podcast listenership reached an all-time high: according to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial Study, an estimated 104 million people listen to podcasts every month, up from 90 million in 2019.

Brands have noticed the rising interest in audio content, and big names like GE, Slack, and even McDonald’s have launched their own podcasts in the past few years. These series often climb the podcast charts, helping the brands that produce them gain valuable name recognition and strengthen connections with their audiences.

But for many marketing teams, convincing leadership to take the leap and invest in audio content is still a challenge. To get buy-in from above, marketers need to show how branded podcasts drive engagement and build brand affinity without being cost-prohibitive.

If you’ve struggled with selling the value of audio content — we’re here to help. This post will provide some actionable insights for marketers to showcase the value of adding podcasting to their content strategy. Let’s get started!

Podcasts have a huge potential audience. An estimated 75% of Americans are familiar with podcasts, according to Edison Research’s study. They also have the most reach with younger audiences, a valuable market demographic: 7 in 10 millennials and Gen Zers listen to podcasts.

This is great news for brands because podcasts also have an exceptionally high engagement rate. The average podcast consumer spends over 6.5 hours listening to podcasts every week and listens to an average of six podcasts weekly.

“The average podcast consumer spends over 6.5 hours listening to podcasts every week and listens to an average of six podcasts weekly.”

And, unlike other forms of media, podcasts lend themselves well to multitasking; a study on branded podcasts by BBC Global News found that 94% of podcast listeners consumed podcasts while doing other tasks, which in turn made them 18% more engaged with the content than listeners who weren’t doing an activity.

Podcasts connect hard-to-reach listeners to your brand

Across the board, BBC Global News also found that branded podcasts were an incredible opportunity for brands to connect with their audience: They reach people at previously unreachable moments, such as when they’re doing the dishes or walking the dog. Plus, they’re incredibly effective at reaching “ad avoiders,” a valuable and hard-to-target segment.

“Podcasts reach people at previously unreachable moments and are incredible effective at reaching ‘ad avoiders’, a valuable and hard-to-target segment.”

Not only are branded podcast listeners more engaged and more receptive, but they also tune in regularly: When listeners find a show they like, they subscribe to download new episodes to their devices automatically. They also spend more time engaging with that content than they do with other mediums, like text (how often do you read a 30-minute blog post?) and video, which gets the most engagement at or under two minutes.

The BBC study also showed that branded podcasts created positive subconscious associations between the podcast sponsor and words used during the podcast. For example, if a branded podcast used the word “innovation” and “innovative” several times, the brand was subsequently more likely to be considered innovative by listeners. That’s a valuable and low-effort way to influence your brand’s public image.

To get leadership on board, look at podcasts that are performing well in your industry. Then, create a pitch of what a branded podcast would look like for your company. Will you make an interview-style show to highlight struggles and successes like Conga’s Agents of Change? How about a compelling narrative-style podcast like Buffer did with Breaking Brand? Or, something totally original like HubSpot’s Weird Work?

Whatever your approach, have a clear vision for your show format, your unique angle, and how the content can break through the noise to connect with and engage your specific niche.

When marketing teams mention podcasting, executives often get nervous about the potential price tag attached. But the truth is, the days of ultra-expensive audio equipment and recording studios are long gone, and almost anyone can create a podcast with a few basic tools and a little practice.

“The days of ultra-expensive audio equipment and recording studios are long gone, and almost anyone can create a podcast with a few basic tools and a little practice.”

Start with a quality microphone — the Blue Snowball and the Blue Yeti are great budget-friendly options. Then, add some free recording software, like GarageBand if you’re using a Mac, or Audacity for any computer type. Finally, choose a podcast hosting and distribution platform to manage your audio content, and you’re off to the races. The up-front costs are low, and there’s plenty of room to grow as you gain experience and your podcast hits the mark with your audience.

If your company leaders still aren’t convinced, you can show them real-world data: E-commerce sales brand Privy launched a successful podcast for only $53 an episode.

Podcasts will also feed your content creation cycle

Consider repurposing existing content to keep costs down: Can that viral blog post be retooled as an audio narrative? If your content marketing strategy already leans heavily on video, can you turn your video show into a podcast? Emphasizing podcasting’s crossover potential is an excellent way to prove value and show leadership how it’s possible to keep costs under control.

Adding podcasting to your marketing channels is also a great way to bolster your existing content. Podcast clips can be recut and used for social media or blog posts or can even serve as the basis for an ebook once you have enough content to pull from. Rather than siloing your content, add audio as part of your overall strategy, with all of your content working toward shared goals.

Audio is also much easier to execute remotely. While even blockbuster Hollywood productions faced delays and rescheduled release dates because of COVID-19 restrictions, podcasting has been mostly unaffected, with hosts successfully recording great audio content from home. If your team will be remote for the foreseeable future, podcasting is a low-lift way to continue feeding your content creation cycle.

With all the advantages we’ve listed, it’s no wonder that brands are increasingly turning to audio production as a marketing tool. If all else fails, tap into your leadership’s FOMO (fear of missing out) and point out that they’ll risk getting left behind if they don’t take the leap soon.

“If all else fails, tap into your leadership’s FOMO and point out that they’ll risk getting left behind if they don’t take the leap soon.”

After all, brands of all kinds are now using audio content in their marketing strategy, from consumer-focused companies like Sephora and McDonald’s — who launched interview-style #LIPSTORIES and investigative The Sauce, respectively — to SaaS outfits like Slack (Variety Pack) and Basecamp (The Distance).

Many of these brands have had chart-topping success with their audio content. GE’s LifeAfter reached #1 on iTunes and is currently ranked #17 in science-fiction podcasts in the United States, despite being first released in 2015. Duolingo’s popular Spanish podcast is currently #1 in Education.


Content produced by brands can and does top the charts, and more companies are taking notice. Point out to your company leadership that no matter what market you’re trying to corner, chances are, at least some of your competitors have already started dipping their toes in the audio game.

But that doesn’t mean the market is saturated

At the same time, the market continues to grow year over year as new listeners discover and fall in love with the medium. In 2020, an estimated 37% of the U.S. population listened to podcasts monthly, and the average amount of time spent listening weekly increased by an average of 10 minutes per week compared to 2019.

As audio content becomes more popular, devices and technology are also optimizing for audio distribution. Apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify make it easy for listeners to download their favorites wherever they go, and devices like Google Home and the Amazon Echo offer listeners a convenient option at home. Even if the market is booming, your leadership team should know that there’s still plenty of space for your brand to find its audience.

We think that 2021 will be the biggest year for podcasting yet. Traditional advertising channels are increasingly saturated, and your audience is bombarded with targeted ads on every platform. And investments in SEO take a lot of time and effort to move the needle.

Branded audio content, on the other hand, offers a unique opportunity to cut through the noise. But if your executive team still needs convincing, maybe these parting words from Dave Gerhardt, CMO at Privy, will do the trick:

“For most companies today, competing in search is really hard and takes a lot of time. If you just blog, you’re going to have to write 100 blog posts to gain only a little bit of traction. I think the better thing to do is not play that game at all. Instead, do something big — make a show, start a podcast, or do an event. That’s how you’re going to get found today.”

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Video Marketing

How to Add Video to Your Content Strategy

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If you’re not already incorporating video into your content strategy, adding it in may sound like a daunting ordeal — but it doesn’t have to be.

Instead of developing a siloed video strategy, try looking at what you’re trying to accomplish from an overall content perspective, and then figure out how you can use video to complement your efforts.

Video content can fit into what you already have planned, help you create lasting connections with your audience, and move your metrics up and to the right. In this post, we’ll go over where and how to begin including video in your content.

The first step to optimizing your content strategy with video is to assess your existing content to see where you stand. What do you currently focus on? What are your goals? How can video help support these efforts?

Figure out which parts of your content strategy could be expanded, which ones may not be as clear or focused as you’d like, and which ones aren’t getting much engagement or leads.

Chances are, your best content will provide a ton of value, have little filler, and get lots of shares and engagement. Anything that doesn’t fit should be assessed — it may need to be repurposed or recreated.

Look back through your analytics to see which blog posts are already getting some love, but have the potential for much more engagement. These types of posts can often serve as great starting points for experimenting with video.

“Look back through your analytics to see which blog posts are already getting some love, but have the potential for much more engagement.”

If you’re looking for other places that could benefit from video, consider one of the following types of content:

  • Older content you’re planning on re-purposing
  • Social media content
  • Webinar registration pages
  • Consistent weekly or monthly content
  • Lead generation campaigns

Consistency keeps your business top of mind for folks who are consuming your content. If an ongoing video series can help you achieve your content goals, it’s worth experimenting with.

To begin, you can repurpose and expand upon concepts you have in other content pieces to create weekly or monthly video series.

With these consistent videos, you can answer questions from your audience, deep dive into different product features, or share recent news, while building relationships and brand affinity. Below is a great example from Rand Fishkin of Moz, who is famous for launching a weekly series on marketing and SEO called Whiteboard Friday.

These videos keep their audience coming back every Friday. They’re widely shared, and they help build trust between Moz and their community of viewers.

If you’re creating content that explains something to your audience, why not cater to all different learning styles with both written copy and video? Why not take the opportunity to liven up the information with a smiling face and some delightful background music? Many are familiar with the phrase “show, don’t tell.” With educational content, you can show your audience something and leave a memorable impression using video.

Product videos

Product videos are incredibly helpful for folks in the awareness or decision stage of the buyer’s journey. In fact, 95% of businesses who use video believe that it has increased user understanding of their product or service.

These types of videos not only clearly convey value, they also give you the opportunity to establish a human connection with your audience and show off your brand’s voice and style. We love this example of a product walkthrough video from Slack:

How-to videos

If they fit within your content strategy, how-to videos can provide your audience with lots of value. If you’re already publishing educational content — such as how to install your latest product, or how to use your product to level up — you can create quality videos for your audience to use, share, and engage with.

At Wistia, we create videos that teach our audience about production and marketing skills, so they can be successful with business video. Take, for example, the following video that’s included in our Library article about shooting overhead video.

This type of video content creates trust between the consumer and your brand. It can also serve as a vehicle for lead generation. With Wistia’s Turnstile feature, it’s easy to gate your videos and create larger campaigns around them.

“This type of video content creates trust between the consumer and your brand.”

Event invitations

Whether you’re doing physical events or online get-togethers, such as webinars or live chats, you can use video to grow your registration count. According to Wyzowl’s most recent video marketing survey, 83% of businesses who use video believe that it has helped them generate more leads. Adding video to your event’s landing page is no exception to this rule. We use promotional videos to add a bit of spunk to our invites and encourage people to register.

You can create a marketing strategy around your event invite video using email, social, and search tactics to spread the word. Plus, you video thumbnail can serve as a CTA in your promotion campaign. Through testing here at Wistia, we’ve found that on average, emails with video thumbnail images had higher click-through rates.

Odds are, you already have a social media strategy in place. You may post your blog content, photos of your team, links to interesting articles, or links to different areas of your site. According to Wyzowl, more than 65% of companies plan to incorporate more video across Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn in the next year.

Creating video content for social media platforms can boost your engagement and share counts and spread awareness about your business.

The best social videos are the ones that are tailor-made for specific platforms. You can create short videos that highlight your company culture, introduce your audience to a future event, walk through a product feature, or simply make someone laugh.

“The best social videos are the ones that are tailor-made for specific platforms.”

You can even add social video to your lead generation strategy by gating these videos using a Turnstile and a Twitter Card.

Adding video into your content strategy does not have to be difficult or expensive. You can set up a video studio in your office and work it yourself — no fancy help required.

You can purchase a DIY lighting kit that will make your shots look professional for under $100. You’ll need a camera, but before you start shaking your head at the cost of a DSLR — try recording a video with your iPhone first.

According to Wyzowl, 89% of marketing professionals feel that video gives them a good return on investment.

Once you’ve created your first video — make sure you have a solid promotion plan in place. And, be sure you have a video marketing platform that can help you measure the success of your efforts. From there, you’ll be able to easily track and measure the ROI for all of your video assets. Think through potential lead gen campaigns and how much a qualified lead is worth to your business. Soon enough, buying a quality DSLR for your shoots will be an obvious win-win.



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