When it comes to long-form videos, serial video content, and documentaries, there’s nothing more important than creating a high-quality viewing experience (well, aside from making the awesome content itself).
Take Netflix, for example — their impeccable viewing experience is a huge part of why they’re so successful. From its highly effective discovery algorithm and its human-curated micro-genres to its elegant hover-over previews to its smooth “Up Next” transitions from episode to episode, Netflix’s thoughtful and user-friendly design keeps viewers watching for hours on end.
Now, imagine a world where you could create a similar viewing experience for your business’ branded shows that lives right on your website. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well, luckily, there’s a tool for that! Wistia Channels help businesses maximize their video engagement and eliminate distractions all while building a beautiful home for your content (without writing a single line of code).
The rise of social media platforms has made driving deep engagement a challenge for marketers. Plus, focusing solely on traditional success metrics like conversions and impressions doesn’t accurately capture the most meaningful interactions you have with your audience.
We think measuring “time watched” is the best way to understand the true value video is bringing to your business, and just as Netflix encourages binge-watching, Wistia Channels are optimized around maximizing the time people spend with your content.
Why time watched is so important
Focusing on the number of seconds, minutes, and hours people spend with your content reveals a strong connection between you and your audience that goes beyond product utility or clever stunts. People who are watching full-length episodes of a video series are engaging with your brand in a more meaningful way than those who are watching a couple of seconds of a social media clip.
“People who are watching full-length episodes of a video series are engaging with your brand in a more meaningful way than those who are watching a couple of seconds of a social media clip.”
The time watched metric proves that your content is compelling, relevant, and entertaining to the viewer. People are voluntarily sticking around to hear what you have to say for an extended period of time, and that means they’re likely to come back for more.
How Wistia Channels increases watch time
Grab some popcorn, sit back, and relax, because Wistia Channels are designed for long viewing sessions. In fact, these features work so well you won’t even notice they’re there! Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes to encourage deep engagement with your video content:
- The full-screen player: Clicking the “Watch” button on a Wistia Channel opens up a high-resolution, full-screen player that loads quickly, attracting and sustaining attention.
- Next buttons: While videos are playing, a subtle white “next” arrow appears on the right-hand side. It lets the viewer know that there’s more to come and the story’s not over. At the end of a video, an “Up Next” thumbnail appears in the lower right corner of the player, giving a preview of upcoming content.
- Sections and categories: With section headers, you can break out your content into chapters, categories, or topics. You can pique curiosity with section titles or just keep things organized so that viewers can navigate to exactly what they want to see.
Netflix is a form of escapism for many people; you can watch whatever you want from wherever you want, whether that’s in the comfort of your own home, on a bus, or even on the toilet (no judgment here). And while other corners of the social web feel like noisy intersections, your Wistia Channel is a zen-like space focused solely on your content. Why not give your content the spotlight?
Why it’s important to eliminate distractions
Social media is great for shorter interactions, but when you’re releasing long-form video content, it’s best to create a distraction-free environment where your audience can engage more deeply. Think about the last time you watched a video from a business you follow on Twitter. Were you easily distracted by the surrounding content? Did that puppy who was learning how to walk downstairs catch your eye? Yeah, us too.
It’s impossible for viewers to focus on and fully absorb what they’re watching when they’re distracted. If you’re sharing a story that’s near and dear to the heart of your business and speaks to your values and what you do, you want people to remember what they watched, and you want to open up the possibility of starting a conversation.
Increase signal-to-noise ratio
Wistia Channels are designed to shine a spotlight on your videos so you don’t have to worry about viewers getting distracted by other shiny objects (or adorable dogs). Here’s how we keep the focus on your content:
- No ads or links to other sites: Your Wistia Channel is part of your own website and doesn’t link out to promotional content or other sites … unless you want it to, of course. Either way, you’re in the driver’s seat.
- Control over the display of content: When it comes to the presentation of videos within your Channel, the choice is yours. Even if viewers are tempted to click on a different video, they’re still only being exposed to the content that lives in your Channel, not your competitor’s.
- Minimalist design: You won’t notice tons of animations, blinking lights, flashy ads, or other distracting elements on a Wistia Channel. The text, buttons, and other UX on the page inform viewers about the content they’re meant to watch, keeping the focus on your video content.
Netflix celebrates its original content by ensuring each show has a stand-out, distinct visual brand to go with it. The eye-catching visuals are unique to each series and help viewers remember which shows looked appealing to them so they can come back later and tune in. Luckily, with Wistia Channels, marketers can also customize the look and feel of their content’s home base so that it matches their brand.
Why it’s important to brand your series
With Wistia Channels, you can do things like add a video or image header, select a font and color scheme, add text details, and more. But why put all this effort into creating a consistent, cohesive experience for your viewer, you ask?
Well, when you brand the content that lives on your Channel, you’re building on the familiarity principle: The more people see certain visual information, the more they’ll come to develop a preference for it. These little repetitive branding details add up to you and your audience getting to know each other better. It’s ground zero for relationship building.
“When you brand the content that lives on your Channel, you’re building on the familiarity principle: The more people see certain visual information, the more they’ll come to develop a preference for it.”
Netflix has a carefully calibrated brand for each series that’s designed to evoke an emotional reaction with the viewer. Thumbnails are A/B tested, short preview copy is written, and previews start to autoplay when you hover over a thumbnail. From our own Wistia video data, we’ve found that a factor as simple as video-player color can affect the play rate, so don’t sleep on giving the content you create some extra attention from a brand perspective.
Customize your Wistia Channel
Custom branding on your Wistia Channel creates a visual identity for your series that, in turn, creates a positive association with your brand. Here’s how you can get started:
- Autoplaying hero video: Adding a silent, auto-playing hero video to your Wistia Channel really kicks your branding up a notch. Turn on this setting and you’ll be capturing your viewer’s attention in no time.
- Thumbnails: As with other Wistia videos, you have full control over the thumbnails displayed on each video in your Channel. We recommend featuring people’s faces in your thumbnails because faces convey more emotion, but at the very least, keep the colors and fonts consistent to build that brand of yours.
- Color themes: This one’s plain and simple — choose a consistent color scheme for your series that lets viewers know it’s coming from you.
- Custom font and logo: Add your brand logo and choose your font so that people really know it’s you. No doppelgangers allowed.
- Titles and descriptions: Add text to your Channel to entice people to click on individual episodes and learn more about what the entire series is all about (and to give your series an extra SEO boost, too!).
We love thinking big about video content and the impact that long-form videos, serial video content, documentaries, and more can have on a business’ brand. After all, serious storytelling deserves all the support you can give it, and investing in a better user experience for your audience gives your content the chance to go the distance. So, what are you waiting for? Give your content the beautiful home it deserves.
4 Ways to Make Your Wistia Channel Shine
If you’ve decided that Wistia Channels is the best place to showcase your videos on your site, then you’ll be pleased to know you’re already on the right track for building an engaging brand. When it comes to setting up your Channel for success, all it takes is a little attention to detail on your part to truly make your content shine in the eyes of your viewers.
In this post, we’ll cover exactly how you can make a beautiful, brag-worthy Wistia Channel for your business. From name-picking and color-matching to thumbnail creation and embedding, there are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your Channel to improve the overall presentation of your content. Keep reading to learn how you can leave your audience impressed and coming back for more!
Whether you’re in the pre-production stages of your business’s first branded series or you’re grouping together related content under one roof, choosing a name for your Channel is a major decision. The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive. When it comes to landing on the perfect name for your Channel, there are three key factors you should consider: branding, discoverability, and shareability.
“The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive.”
Here’s how we break these three factors down:
- Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
- Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
- Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
Considering these factors as you set up your Wistia Channel will help you grow your audience and brand over time. Head on over to this post to dig a little deeper into these terms and learn more tips for simplifying the process of picking a Channel name that positions your brand for success!
As we mentioned before, branding is a super important factor for naming, but it also plays a big role in how your business and your content are visually perceived. You want to leave a positive first impression, right? Luckily, with Wistia Channels you have the ability to choose a font and color scheme that aligns with your company’s existing brand, set thumbnails to match, and even upload an eye-catching header.
To customize the look of your Channel to align with your brand:
- Select “Edit” and “Banner” to add a video header (which will loop silently at the top of your Channel) or upload a static banner image
- Click “Text” to add a project title and description, and change the font to match your site. While you’re there, switch up the size to whatever you fancy as well!
- Click “Color” and use the picker to change the overall color scheme.
You can also choose between Light or Dark Mode for your Wistia Channel depending on the look and feel of your brand (and the content you have displayed). When you’re viewing a project, simply go to Edit > Color > Background to modify this setting. It’s as easy as flipping a switch!
For your banner, instead of a static image, you have the option to throw in a looping video background as we mentioned before. Want to see this feature in action? Check out how Nextiny, an inbound marketing and sales agency, uses a snazzy looping video to showcase their content and intrigue visitors on their site.
If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, you can find a few more examples of Channels we love in this post. These aesthetic changes may seem small, but they’ll ultimately lend to a more sleek-looking collection of videos for your site.
Once you’ve got some action on your Wistia Channel, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the contact information of the folks interested in consuming your videos. While you’re customizing your Channel, you also have the option to add an Email Collector — not just any old Email Collector, but one that comes in a few flavors. Aside from requiring viewers to enter their email in order to view your content, we have two Email Collector options you can start experimenting with today. The first option is called “Overlay on hover.” Here’s an example from Zaius to showcase what this looks like in reality:
In this scenario, an email collection form will overlay when someone hovers over your video with their mouse. Your video will keep playing while displaying several fields, including a place for folks to enter their names as well as text fields you can customize, depending on the Call to Action that makes the most sense in the given context — something like, “Enter your email address to view this video.” The second option is “Conditional,” which means each video will maintain the email collecting pre-sets you’ve already set up in your Wistia account when the content is embedded on your Channel.
Using Email Collectors is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your Wistia Channel. You can bet the people who enter their information are interested in the value you offer and will be more likely to check out future content you create. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with them more often and let them know when you’ve got a new video for them to watch!
A Wistia Channel is only as great as the sum of its parts — names, colors, fonts, banners, email collectors and more all add up to create a beautiful video collection you’re proud to share. Start engaging your audience with the videos you’ve worked so hard to create and build stronger brand affinity in the long-run. We’d love to see your next Channel out in the wild, so be sure to throw a link to it in the comments below!
7 Examples That Show the Best of Long-Form Video
Whether it’s the hottest new web series or an in-depth TED Talk, people love to watch long-form video — and businesses are catching on to the trend.
Unlike shorter, product-centeric videos, long-form content offers companies the opportunity to show their commitment to their mission and connect with viewers on a deeper, more emotional level. Longer content also enables intensive educational experiences for the viewer, whether the video covers exciting industry trends or specific approaches to tackling problems.
What does “long-form” video really mean? To put it simply, long-form videos are a type of video content that are usually longer than 5 minutes in duration.
We put together a list of long-form video series and one-off productions to showcase how companies live and breathe their values through video. Small to medium-sized businesses can use this list of branded content to get inspired when it comes to creating content for their own brands. Let’s get into it!
InVision is swinging for the fences with long-form video. On their blog, Inside Design, InVision shares videos about design trends and tips, many explaining how to use Sketch and get the most out of it. InVision’s site is filled with robust product tutorials, but these pieces focusing on larger, fundamental design principles — between two and seven minutes long — will help anyone strengthen their overall design foundation. The company has even created a full-length documentary about design thinking at IBM called “The Loop.”
InVision’s stated mission is to help users create digital content that people love, so it’s fitting that the company offers viewers new strategies and approaches for designing that go beyond merely using their own tools. The longer format allows viewers to learn the details involved in the execution of new techniques.
- Design Systems Manager Master Class: In this two-hour, 6-episode series, InVision explores how to create a design system for an entire organization, from start to finish. It taps three design experts to walk through the challenges of product design at scale.
- Design Disrupters: In this series, InVision showcases top designers at the world’s smartest companies and dives into how design has become the new language of business in the 21st century.
With the shift to long-form video, InVision shows they are true leaders in the field of design — not just a tool for designers.
On their Price Intelligently blog, ProfitWell conducts video “teardown” case studies, in which they focus on one to three company pricing pages and talk about what works and what needs improvement. Videos usually feature a lighthearted (though occasionally heated!) conversation between executives Patrick Campbell and Peter Zotto and typically are just under 10 minutes long.
ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand. Rather than focusing on their own software, ProfitWell’s teardowns appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs and startup leaders looking to discover best practices from successful companies and competitors.
“ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand.”
The longer format of these videos enables hosts to slowly walk viewers through the pricing pages in question, ensuring that the pace of the content can fit a wide number of learning styles. There’s a healthy mix of commentary and visual aids made with original data, which shows that the company is committed to making the most of the long-form branded video format.
Mailchimp’s core focus is email marketing, but their target audience is far more broad than just those interested in sending tons of emails. Experienced business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike may find inspiration in the “Mailchimp Presents” video series.
Using high-quality production techniques and clever editing, the videos attach Mailchimp to buzzworthy brands and their founders who, incidentally, use email to communicate with customers. The style of the videos is closer to an independent documentary than to a typical SaaS product video, giving viewers a chance to sit back and enjoy a theatrical glimpse into creative spaces and minds.
- Hamburger Eyes: In this documentary, we get a behind-the-scenes look at a one-man photography project that evolved into a thriving community of artists based in San Francisco. Mailchimp knows its audience and stays true to its brand by focusing on a creative-centric topic that anyone with a pulse and an appreciation for photography could get behind.
- Taking Stock: A fictional video series about a young female photographer navigating the complexities of agency life, Taking Stock delves into the realities of working in the world of tech and design, giving viewers a chance to see inside the life of a creative. We learn much about the subject’s life here — what drives her, what a typical day looks like — helping the viewer associate Mailchimp with the driven professionals who make the world of entrepreneurship thrive.
Mailchimp has been a visionary brand when it comes to creative storytelling. Ever since they sponsored the first season of Serial, the company has attached itself to big ideas, and, through their own example, they’ve proved that every business can affect a wide audience if they tell a powerful story.
Intercom features videos regularly on its blog, with experts speaking on topics like support, growth, product, and design. Many of the videos are talks that the team and others have done at different conferences, which is a great way for people to see talks that they weren’t geographically capable of attending.
Intercom’s videos educate viewers on new ways to approach Intercom’s core competency — customer support and communication — in a format that encourages in-depth exploration and tutorials. Instead of merely chopping up key takeaways from the talks, long-form video enables the brand to include the overall conference context, linking together key concepts and materials.
- 5 lessons learned from growing a support team: In this conference video, Intercom’s customer support lead, Sharon Moorhouse, shares five lessons that the company has learned as it has scaled its support operations. It’s meant to engage growing companies, regardless of the industry, and appeal to audiences that may lie outside of the scope of Intercom’s typical customer profile. Sharon’s talk is engaging and packed with visual examples, making the most of the video format and capturing the energy and excitement that she brought to the conference.
Conferences are affirming experiences, where people in the same field can form new connections, get new ideas, and become excited about trends and developments. Intercom’s focus on opening up their otherwise siloed conference material gives audiences a chance to connect with the brand even if they’re far away from the talks or sessions. It shows the company living out its mission of “keeping business personal” by opening up access to the conference experience.
Patagonia makes documentary-style videos about real people doing the things they love and excel at in the outdoors. The videos are extremely high-quality, featuring breathtaking visuals and rare glimpses of some of nature’s best vistas.
Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet. It’s hard not to fall deeper in love with the earth after watching these pieces, and viewers certainly can see that the brand is about far more than just making outerwear and camping gear.
“Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet.”
- Wolfpack: This video follows the training efforts of a group of trail runners living in isolation. Drone shots and ultra-slow-motion close-ups abound, giving the pieces a cinematic quality that is certain to move viewers on an emotional level. The family’s extreme choice to live in the wild is likely outside the desires of most of Patagonia’s customers, but their way of life can inspire viewers to think about how to better connect with planet Earth.
- Takayna: Takayana (Tarkine) is one of the last remaining old-growth rainforests in the world, yet it’s increasingly threatened by mining and other destructive activities. This video highlights the beauty and fragility of the landscape by intercutting meditative shots of flora and fauna with images of devastating excavation and logging. Patagonia is clearly living its mission here — seeking to save the planet by raising awareness about protecting one of our most precious earthly resources.
Patagonia’s mission is one of the most ambitious of any brand out there, and that’s what makes them so successful. By taking a stance on major issues and creating beautiful visual content, they’re proving to an audience why it’s cool to care about more than just clothes and gear. To change the world, Patagonia is leading by example.
Many beauty brands rely on mere testimonials to push their products. But Glossier opts to show how their products weave neatly into the lives of their customers. They have a series called “Get Ready with Me” (based on the popular)YouTube trend that follows the morning routine of influencers and creatives. The hashtag for the campaign — #GRWM — encourages customers to create their own content and further engage with the brand.
The pieces also have a casual instructional approach, giving them an educational component that goes beyond a shorter “how-to” piece. They’re showing you how to create a look rather than telling you how to do it.
- Get Ready With Me: feat. Annahstasia + Glossier: Here, an influencer’s morning routine is shown in real time. In several meditative shots, the camera lingers over Annahstasia going about her morning. It’s easy to imagine someone watching this piece they start their own day to find inspiration and calm from the emotional music and beautiful cinematography.
Glossier, known for its colorful Instagram account and vibrant pop-up stores, creates a calm atmosphere throughout their videos. They create intimacy with the way their videos are shot, and that intimacy will contribute to a long-lasting and better customer relationship than a typical advertisement or commercial.
Over the years, Airbnb has evolved beyond being just a website for booking rooms and homes, becoming a platform for finding community through unique experiences. Recently, Airbnb launched an Adventure series featuring hosts and people from all over the world. By focusing on the curated experiences offered through Airbnb’s “Adventures” programs, the brand helps establish itself as far more than a travel app.
- Six Strangers: In this 12-minute video, six strangers take an unexpected trip together. Like the other pieces in this series, the length of this video enables a more TV-like viewing experience that mirrors popular reality shows like Naked and Afraid and Survivor.
Through their long-form videos, Airbnb is expressing one of their most significant brand values: “Belong anywhere.” The Adventure series is all about breaking down barriers to find out what people have in common with each other. When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.
“When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.”
More and more brands are reaping the benefits of thinking (and acting!) like media companies. With the wealth of high-quality content vying for their attention, viewers are demanding highly engaging work from companies they encounter. Investing in rich long-form content enables brands to tap into the growing binge-watching habits of their followers while expressing the values that matter most to them and finding deeper ways to connect with customers.
Introducing “Brandwagon”—It’s like a Talk Show, but for Marketers
These days, it’s harder than ever to be successful with your marketing campaigns. From keeping up with ever-changing SEO tactics to shouldering the burden of growing advertising spend to shouting into the void that is social media, it can feel like even your most successful initiative is, well, kind of a flop.
That’s why I’m super excited to introduce you to Brandwagon, Wistia’s newest series from the team that brought you One, Ten, One Hundred. As the host of this talk show for marketers, I’m going to be chatting with business leaders who are doing things differently when it comes to marketing their businesses and building their brands. Find out how they’re seeing such success and learn what tactics they’re using to stand out in a sea of “meh” marketing.
Hop on the Brandwagon and come along for the ride each week as we uncover what’s working in the world of modern marketing. The first episode hits the road this summer, so be sure to enter your email below to stay in the loop and get notified when new episodes come out.
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