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The state of video, according to Wistia

By Barb Mosher Zinck March 28, 2024
Dyslexia mode
Excerpt:
Chris Savage, Wistia CEO, shares his perspective on the use of video today.

Everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about video and how important it is for brands to have a solid video strategy. In fact, in the Wistia State of Video Report, 93% of survey respondents said that video is important to their marketing strategy. But how are brands using video? 

What are brands using video for?

Maybe the better question is—what aren't brands using video for? According to the report, the primary marketing goals for video are generating leads and driving sales (38%) and product education and adoption (31%). They make all types of videos, from long-form to short-form, clips, webinars, events, promotional ads, testimonials, and more. 

Chris Savage, Wistia CEO, finds it surprising (and not so surprising) that 78% of businesses want more video content, and 57% are willing to invest more to get it:

People want more video than ever. I mean, the percentage growth and watch time was shocking, like a 44% increase in watch time with 14% more videos is across those customer surveys. That's surprising. I think we all thought because of COVID, there's going to be this huge bump, increase in watching and then it would come back down to earth, you know? And what's actually happened is people are saying, no, you've given me a taste of video. I expect to be able to choose if I want to read, if I want to listen, or if I want to watch. A lot of people want to watch. And that demand is so strong that everyone's like, well, I need more video.

Most respondents have been creating videos for at least two years, with 29% creating weekly videos. There's no sign of things slowing down either, with 78% expecting to make even more videos this year.

Video creation is so important that 46% of companies have an in-house video producer or team, and 62% have individuals at their company creating videos. Others use freelancers or agencies to help with video production:

People really believe that you need video, and they expect everyone to be able to make it. I've been doing this almost 18 years, and I've never seen this before.”

Challenges remain

Video is experiencing a major growth period, similar to blogs, audio podcasts, and other content formats over the years, and you do have to wonder when there will be just too much of it. 

Where it ends up will be driven by the audience, says Savage. A lot of the video content people are looking for is educational, instructional, and 'how to' material. People learn differently, and they don't necessarily expect highly polished videos. But they do want the option to learn in the way that works best for them. Educational video appears to be the type of video most people spend their time with, especially when working, he says: 

They're trying to uncover problems. They're trying to work through hard issues or trying to learn new skills. They may not be talked about as much [in viral sense] but there's a lot of educational, instructional, how-to that's kind of like the backbone of the content that people are consuming when they're consuming content at work or they're trying to solve problems in their their day-to-day.

There's also the general buzz that GenZ-ers don't want to read; they expect to watch everything (Savage isn't sure he completely believes that, but I have three of them, and I think it's true).  

The biggest challenge for video creation is time and bandwidth (61%), followed by resources and capabilities (44%), cost and budget (36%), and ideas and content strategy (32%). Savage says: 

It's like the consumer, the audience, they want to have the option. So, you need to figure out how to give it to them. And then if you don't have more budget, that inherently means cheaper, faster, done yourself. And I think everyone's fortunate that AI is showing up at this moment where we can let you edit a video by editing the text and things like that that weren't possible three years ago.

There's also the issue of creating so many different video formats and what the content of each video is about. Social media video was listed as one of the video types that is going to grow greatly in 2024 (if that's even possible). Is there a recommended best approach to a video strategy that includes all these different types of videos.

Savage reckons it depends on your organization's video production maturity and budget. If you're just getting started, you'll want to focus on lower-risk videos. Webinars are a great first video to start with, he said. They are easy to make and can be used to create a lot of video content, including clips for social media and follow-ups to those who attended (and didn't) the live webinar:

Another thing I would say is you want to find low-risk areas and places to try. Going viral on video that's like TikTok, that's not a great place to start. But if you can look at support content and instructional content, where you're dealing with complicated things that you're helping your customer with. There are a lot of places where you might be able to make a video there.

The expectation of the customer is they're not looking for something polished. You might get a smaller group of people who watch it, 500 people, 1000 people, depending on your scale, but the impact is so huge because those customers have that problem to solve and are delighted. It's really just about building fluency with the medium. As you start to do that, yes, it becomes easier to put in more places, more people feel confident that they can make it, but you really want to pick low-risk areas to start so it becomes less intimidating.

Video production and AI

Talking about AI's impact on video production is a huge and important conversation. Although only 18% of companies are using AI tools in their production workflows, 66% can’t wait to create videos with generative AI this year.

This report shared the most common uses of generative AI in video production (current and planned), such as generating captions and transcripts (59%), finding clips to edit (29%), generating visuals and music, or fixing overdubs (35%). Generating scripts (50%) and social media copy (26%) were also listed.

These are all great ways to use AI to improve videos, but they're just the start. The potential opportunities for video and audio are growing every day, and the implications are both good and worrisome. (Savage and I will discuss this in a separate conversation, including some new features coming to the Wistia video platform.)

Measuring video performance

This report is packed with stats worth checking out if you want to understand how to measure video success against your business goals. Compared to the previous year, video plays have increased by 15%, and total watch time has increased by 44%. The report breaks down how long your videos should be, average engagement rates, where to place your CTAs, and more, breaking down by business size and industry. 

For example, the chart below shows average engagement rates for video type of length (green is the most engagement, red is the lowest). 

The most important metric, Savage concludes, is the engagement rate. 

I think one really interesting thing is that the engagement rate for videos between one and five minutes is about the same no matter the length. There was a long time when people were really focused on just shorter is better. And that's not true anymore. So people expect video, they're looking for it. They want educational stuff. If your engagement rate is really abysmally low, which you can compare, then yes, you have an issue, but I would always start there and correlate it to length, and then you can also correlate it to type of video and try to make sure that you're on the right track.

My take

Video is here to stay in all forms and supports all types of content. Savage is right about that. AI is going to make that even more true over the next few years.

This report contains a lot of data to help you understand how to use video in your marketing strategy and where peers are finding the most success. Have a look and try some of the recommendations on where to place CTAs, forms, and annotations. Also, think about improving videos through captions and transcripts (always clean both) and using AI to edit and improve videos without much expense. Knowing that your audience doesn't expect perfectly polished videos gives you the opportunity to experiment and learn - as long as the content in the videos is something they want. 

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