If you’re selling or marketing with video, there are multiple tools you can use to measure and enhance your effectiveness. Some are available on free platforms like YouTube, while others may require a paid online video platform (OVP). In this article we’ll identify these tools, describe where to find them, and discuss how to use them. If you choose an OVP to host your sales or marketing-related videos, these features should be a big plus, if not an absolute requirement.
Learn from Your Retention Graph
Retention graphs show how long the average user watches your video, and where they dropped off and stopped watching. In Figure 1, which is the retention graph for a 2:43 (min:sec) video, you see that retention is down to 75 percent within the first 15 seconds or so, but stays close to 50 percent almost all the way to the end. As shown in the numbers on top of the figure, the average viewer watched 1:30 of the video, or about 55 percent.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to interpret this data, and all vary depending upon multiple factors like the target of the video (B2B, B2C), the content (advertisement, tutorial, case study), duration, whether the traffic is organic or paid, and many other factors. For example, is it beneficial that many viewers left early after learning that the video didn’t serve their needs, or is it preferable to keep them hanging on, only to disappoint them later? Several observations do seem to apply universally, however.
First, the initial moments of the video should make the value proposition immediately apparent. If there’s some kind of knowledge transfer, this should be stated. If it’s entertainment value, it should be immediately entertaining. Starting any kind of video with a ten-second brand-related animation is simply unwise.
Second, if you insert a call-to-action (CTA) into the video, you should at least be aware of the percentage of your viewers available to see it. Again, opinions vary here; Is it better to display a CTA early where more viewers see it, or later, after the video has convinced viewers they need to click? While displaying the CTA during the first few seconds makes little sense, initiating the display after thirty seconds or so, once the viewer has shown genuine interest, is likely preferable to waiting until the very end when only a small number will actually see it.
The third point is that while engagement graphs are useful, most marketers get paid for conversion, not engagement. While YouTube can garner lots of eyeballs, the inability to integrate with marketing automation (MA) platforms like Marketo and Eloqua, which lets you track conversion, is a critical limitation for organizations using an MA program. More on this later in the article.
Just to complete the circle on retention charts, note that YouTube can show both your absolute retention and relative audience retention, which according to YouTube, “shows a video’s ability to keep viewers compared to all YouTube videos of similar length.” This is particularly useful for longer videos, like that shown in Figure 2, which naturally report lower retention values than shorter videos. In the case of the 10:53 tutorial video shown in Figure 2, the results are above average compared to all other YouTube videos, which obviously is a positive.
Add Calls to Action
When using video for marketing or sales purposes, you’re generally trying to convince the viewer to take some action after watching. While links built into the videos are always useful, you’ll achieve better results with links the viewer can actually click.
YouTube offers some capability in this regard, with both annotations and cards, though since annotations don’t appear on mobile platforms, we’ll primarily discuss cards, which create links to other sites or content. YouTube supports six types of cards; cards that link to merchandise resellers, fundraising and fan funding sites, cards that link to videos or video playlists, and cards that link to associated websites.
You add cards by editing the video in YouTube’s Video Manager, and choosing Cards on the top menu bar as shown in Figure 3. You can add up to five cards to a YouTube video, with a small icon on the upper right of the video indicating their existence during playback. Once the viewer clicks the the icon, the cards appear.
Note that your cards can only link to approved merchandise retailers, and Amazon is not one of them, limiting the effectiveness of this feature. Unlike annotations, you can’t create a card that lets a viewer subscribe to your channel, a feature many hope YouTube will add in the near future.
If you need more flexibility than YouTube affords, you’ll have to try an OVP like Vidyard that lets you add HTML “events” to the video like the Popout ad shown on the left in Figure 4. You can also create a full screen advert that displays over the video and pauses playback. You create the popout in a WYSIWYG interface located directly below the screen shown in Figure 4. If you’re posting videos to help direct your viewers through the sales funnel, the flexible ability to add popups and other interactions is a must-have feature when comparing OVPs.
Grab Email Addresses
Email addresses are the lifeblood of many small business marketing engines, and the ability to capture email addresses with your videos can be a huge plus. Wistia is an OVP that has this capability nailed; not only can you capture the email address, the company has direct integrations with multiple email service providers so you can insert the address directly into a particular mailing list. Wistia also lets you choose when to display the email screen, and whether to allow viewers to continue watching without submitting an email address (Figure 5).
An article on the Wistia site reports that videos that present the email collector within the first 20 percent of the video converted at 43 percent, which means 43 viewers for every 100 video views. While your mileage will obviously vary, anywhere close to these results presents a convincing case that finding an OVP with email collection capabilities is a real priority.
Send Video Emails
Once you have email contacts, you’ll want to nurture them with additional content, including video emails. Wistia simplifies this process by providing embed codes for a number of mailing list managers (Figure 6). You create your email blast message as normal, paste in the embed code, and then broadcast the message.
On the backend, Wistia captures the email address and associates all future video views with that address (Figure 7), allowing you to see which prospects watched which videos and for how long. For small businesses with relatively few prospects, this is a fabulous way to identify hot prospects and target them for additional attention.
Integrate with Marketing Automation Platforms
For larger companies that use marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Eloqua (Figure 8), the ability to automatically integrate viewer data from an OVP or webcast platform is critical. With Brightcove, for example, which offers integrations with both companies, you login to the marketing automation platform from within Brightcove to create the player and embed code. This associates the player with the MA platform from the start.
Once the video is embedded into a web page, all playback data captured by Brightcove is automatically fed to the MA platform. If the viewer is anonymous, the data is associated with a cookie, but once the prospect registers in some way, viewer data is associated with this contact information. This integration allows the MA platform to track which videos were watched and for how long, which is incorporated with other contact data like which pages prospects visited and which spec sheets or white papers they downloaded. All this contributes to a lead score which determines which prospects get pushed to sales, and which are targeted for more nurturing.
If you’re currently using a marketing automation program, the first question you should ask potential OVPs is whether or not they support that system. Most OVPs have multiple integrations and the list is expanding, but support for even the largest MA platforms is far from universal.