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Video marketing tips, trends, and strategy from Wistia's Chris Savage

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher August 31, 2016
Video marketing is catching on, but there are obstacles to doing it right. Barb Mosher Zinck shares her chat with one player in this field - and the video marketing trends they discussed. She also addresses personalized video and the role of analytics.

The demand for video marketing solutions is pretty high. Video marketing is considered the biggest opportunity for content marketing today and organizations of all sizes are rushing to deliver on this latest trend.

Wistia is a video marketing provider located out of Cambridge, Mass, but they didn’t start out to provide this type of solution. I spoke with Chris Savage, founder, and CEO of Wistia about Wistia’s road to B2B video marketing and what he thinks sets Wistia apart from the competition. We also chatted about current trends in video marketing and where he sees the future headed.

The road they didn’t plan to take

Wistia started out about ten years ago with a two person team. They saw the online video market changing dramatically and wanted to get involved in what looked at a market on the tip of something great.

Where they started out, though, wasn’t in offering video hosting for B2B. Instead, they wanted to help business use online video better. They started with private sharing and then added analytics that showed companies what people were watching, where they were stopping in the video and so on.

Soon, though, Wistia customers were asking to use it for external use on their websites, something Savage said they thought was crazy. Ended up not being so crazy, however, and Wistia as we know it today was born.

“That’s when we learned that customers know a lot more about our business than we do,” Savage said.

Since then, Wistia has evolved to offer more marketing tools, they provide analytics such as heat maps, engagement metric, they introduced interactive with CTA in videos, introduced email gates over video and so on. Plus, they started doing video marketing themselves.

Today, Wistia is a 70-person team with over 300,000 companies using it (tens of thousands paying customers), many mid-market to enterprise. It offers a freemium subscription model and offers integration with many leading marketing tools such as Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Salesforce and email marketing providers. They are also working on integrations with Zendesk and Help Scout, to bring video into the helpdesk.

Savage said that the monthly subscription model pushes his team to ensure they are offering the functionality and support that customers demand, continually innovating and building a better experience. At any time, a customer can simply decide to stop using Wistia, so the onus is really on Wistia to deliver.

Here’s an example Savage provided of how customers are using Wistia with email marketing and marketing automation:

In your email marketing provider, you can create a thumbnail for a video that’s sent out in an email campaign. The recipient list is merged with Wistia so in Wistia you can see who clicked the video and is watching it. Play rates and click rates are often higher in email than other mediums. Once you know who’s watching what, you can push that data into your marketing automation platform and start automation. For example, for every customer that watched a particular video on new guitar strings, you can automatically send a new email offering a discount on those strings.

Video marketing tips

Some tips that Savage provided are good points to consider when you are working with video:

  1. Changing the player color can increase play by 20% - so make sure you can match your brand to your video player. For example, Wistia enables a marketer to customize how a video looks without requiring a developer.
  2. Consider adding interactivity to your video while it’s playing. Things like annotations to pop up over the video and CTAs at specific points in a video can drive better conversion.
  3. Analytics help you understand who is watching the video. When evaluating video vendors, consider their analytics capabilities. In Wistia's case, you can not only see who watches a video once but also see who’s rewatching a video and what points in the video they are re-watching. This level of detail can help you figure out if something needs a better explanation, so you can add an annotation with a link to a blog post for more information or maybe it needs a separate video on its own.
  4. Heatmaps can tell you how a video is watched, including how many times they’ve watched it, where they are skipping. You can even drill down into a particular viewer’s video viewing history and see the order videos were watched and when they were watched. Savage said that if you can figure out what’s the first video that people are watching, then you can understand the value of that video and know to place it in prominent locations on your website. Here's Wistia's version of a heatmap:


Wistia Video Heatmaps

Video is the most emotional medium and the medium you are making the most committment to when you are watching something. Unlike text which you know you can skim, unlike an image you can just look at, unlike a document, or slideshare, you know you are going to page through - skipping through a video, you have to be committed to skip through it, you have to be looking for something you know is in there. So once people are actually committed to it, you learn so much from how they interact with it, and what works for them.

Video marketing trends, now and in the future

Running a company that provides video marketing services Savage has insights into current trends and what he thinks is coming in the future.

He says the types of videos companies make are changing. You use to see a lot of company overview videos and many companies were making videos just to make them - there was no strategy behind the videos.

There’s been a shift towards hiring full time video producers to create videos for landing pages, sales, and other long-tail uses. Savage says bringing the skills in house is very valuable. The technology has also improved supporting a do-it-yourself approach. “You can purchase a lighting kit at Home Depot or Amazon, use your phone.”

With smaller audiences, Savage says, authenticity trumps production. Of course, production is still important.

And is it easier to approach this do-it-yourself model for SMBs who can focus on authenticity? Savage says larger companies want to do it too, many are just not sure how to proceed.

There is still a long way to go on the video adoption cycle. Savage believes that many are still working without a clear strategy or plan. He says companies have to evolve from a goal of finishing a video to a goal that moves some part of the business forward with video. It’s a great content marketing asset, but you need to treat it as an event and promote it accordingly.

I asked Savage if we’ll reach a point where we are overrun with video and what will happen then? He said production quality will get more important. People are fickle with their time; they’ll decide what to watch based on quality and how targeted the content is to their needs. And of course, brand trust will play a role.

It's a wrap

A big trend today with video is personalization. Savage thinks that putting a name in a video is simply a gimmick, and people will eventually see through it. But, making a video for one person is very valuable. He says it doesn’t have to be high production quality, but it has to be authentic.

He mentions a customer that makes unique videos for each of his prospects. You know what this is? Personalized video for account-based marketing.

ABM is where personalized video will find a place. With account-based marketing, you understand your customer intimately, and you are working with a smaller set of customers. It’s easier to create a custom video that suits their particular needs. If your video production is in house, it’s quick to do and tends to be more authentic.

There’s still plenty you can automate, but adding that personal element in the video, specific for one customer, that’s where personalized video will find its real value.

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