Whether you're a B2B or B2C business, videos can help you strengthen relationships with your customers, save time, and boost conversion rates. And if you haven't experimented with this powerful medium yet, you're missing out -- 66% of B2B marketers are already creating video content to support both their marketing department goals and larger business initiatives.
When it comes to the use cases for video, the possibilities are endless across your organization: Sales teams can close deals with personalized video voicemails, support teams can walk customers through frequently asked questions with engaging tutorials, and HR teams can onboard new teammates with ease. But that's just the beginning. Businesses that have fully adopted video are constantly coming up with new ways to make meaningful connections with their audiences through video content.
In this post, we're going to review the business value of video and walk you through a step-by-step guide for using Wistia -- a video hosting platform -- to create video content for all of your marketing and business needs.
Why Video Content
In case you or your boss need some convincing, here are four of the biggest reasons why a video strategy is now a necessity for every company.
1) Video allows you to create an emotional connection with your audience.
Video is arguably the most "human" medium. With visual and auditory elements, it speaks to your audience's psyche in more nuanced and powerful ways than words and images can. It cuts through the noise and conveys trust, friendliness, and a sense of humanness. Because of this, video is an optimal tool for delighting, teaching, and influencing your audience, regardless of your topic or focus.
By establishing a more personal connection with your visitors, you can gain their trust faster and increase familiarity with your brand. And perhaps best of all, one video can speak to thousands of customers. In fact, some of your customers might even start to feel like they know you.
At Wistia, we like to capitalize on this idea by including videos on our landing pages for upcoming webinars. These videos lead to higher sign-up rates -- and according to EyeView, a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%. They also help our audience put faces to the names of the webinar hosts and establish our presenters as credible experts.
2) It's easy to measure the ROI of video.
It's easy to prove ROI and measure your results with video. In-depth analytics can tell you how your viewers engage with your content and whether or not they take action. Talk about measurable. We’ll cover this in-depth later in the post.
3) Video can improve your website's SEO.
Every online business wants to drive more traffic from search, and quality videos on your site can help you achieve this goal. When it comes to SEO, video has been a competitive differentiator for a long time, and video SEO could end up making the difference in your prospects choosing one search result over another.
Since video is such a rich medium (it closely resembles face-to-face interaction), Google will reward you for including it on your page, especially if you've optimized your video for search.
4) Visitors spend more time on your website watching video.
How can video impact the user experience on your website? We looked at the 100 most-visited pages on our website between 2013 and 2016 to compare the average of the total time spent on pages with video versus those without. We learned that visitors to our site spent more time on pages with video -- about 2.6 times more time, to be exact. That’s a huge number that speaks directly to video's superpowers.
Ultimately, the data reveals video on a page correlates with more time spent on that page. This gives you a higher chance of engaging visitors with your content and increases the likelihood they’ll follow whatever action you prompt them to take.
Why Use Wistia
Marketers starting out with video often wonder if they should just use YouTube to host their brand's videos.
"YouTube is free, and it has over 1 billion users. So why would I use Wistia?"
If growing your website's traffic, improving your conversion rates, and increasing overall engagement with your content are priorities for your business, Wistia is a great option, too. Ready to learn why? Hold onto your hat. You're in for a wild ride on the Wistia express.
Help drive visitors to your website.
YouTube is designed to serve content creators who want to monetize videos and organizations who build brand advertising campaigns. For famous vloggers like Casey Neistat, YouTube makes perfect sense. These individuals' businesses are fueled by brand impressions and ads served on YouTube. Similarly, for companies like GoPro and Patagonia, YouTube is the ideal option for advertising—think about all of those eyeballs.
But here's the catch: YouTube is designed to keep people on YouTube.
While video platforms like YouTube are designed to serve content creators who want to monetize videos and organizations who build brand advertising campaigns, Wistia is focused specifically on helping you drive traffic to your website. And with Wistia's automatic video SEO, your pages will rank higher in search engine results pages. The best part is, you don't need any SEO expertise -- it all just works on its own.
If you're curious about how Wistia's video SEO works, allow our developers to explain:
Video works across teams in your organization.
Wistia's features help marketers achieve impressive results with video, but many businesses use Wistia to power other departments as well. The following are just a few examples of how teams use Wistia to work better and faster.
Whether you hope to delight a customer with a friendly, personalized video or teach them how to use a tool with a quick screencast, Wistia makes it easy to create and share video content right within your emails.
With Wistia's chapters, variable playback speeds, and annotation links, growing companies can train new employees with video. You can link out to in-depth resources with annotation links, use chapters so new employees can skip to what they need, and offer them the option of speeding up (or slowing down) the pace of the run-through.
In-depth analytics from Wistia lead to great results.
Wistia's analytics provide much more detail than other platforms. You can quickly determine how your audience consumes and interacts with your videos, get an aggregated view of a video's performance with our Engagement Graphs, or drill down to see how individual viewers watch your videos with our heatmaps … more on that later.
With all of these metrics at your fingertips, you can improve your video efforts and use specific data to drive other parts of your business.
How to Use Wistia to Make Videos
Now that you’ve seen how accessible video is for every business and marketing strategy, you can capitalize on that knowledge by taking advantage of the Wistia platform and creating a free account.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s a quick guide to help you get started with Wistia.
Step 1: Make a Video
First things first: you need a video. We know what you might think -- creating video content sounds intimidating, time-consuming, and expensive.
We hear you. Those are all valid concerns when you first dip your toe into the video waters. If you don't have an in-house video team or a budget, no worries. You can use an iPhone to make your first video.
If you're making your first video for your business, think "short and specific." Try answering a frequently asked question from your customers or spicing up a blog post with a short video introduction from the author or interviewee. Your first video doesn't have to be cinematic, but it should serve a particular purpose.
For the easiest possible solution, you can also use Wistia's Record feature to quickly shoot something with your computer's camera -- no editing necessary. This tool is perfect for answering a support question or leaving a video voicemail to lend an extra personal touch.
Video Best Practices:
- Write a script. The more you think about things like tone and word choice ahead of time, the better your end product will be.
- Pay attention to lighting. There's no need to break the bank on lighting. For under $100, you can build our DIY lighting kit and start looking like a pro in no time. If you need a quick solution, you can also set yourself up facing a bright window.
- Stabilize your shot. There are many ways to battle camera shake, and many of them are completely free! If you're willing to spend some money, we highly recommend investing in a tripod.
- Loosen up. For non-actors, getting in front of a camera can be tough. The key to a natural on-screen performance is to not take yourself too seriously.
Step 2: Upload it to Wistia and Customize
Once you produce your first video, you can drag it from your computer desktop right into a Wistia Project. Or, if you used the Record feature, your video will automatically appear within your Project as soon as you're done. It's like magic … software magic.
Now comes the fun part. Wistia's Customize tools allow you to control the look and feel of your video content. If your video were a plain chocolate cake, the tools in Customize would be the frosting, sprinkles, and candles. Let's explore the Customize tools in greater detail below.
Choose an Enticing Thumbnail
The video thumbnail is the first impression viewers have of your video. It's your chance to wake a visitor up from their scrolling stupor and entice them to click play. And ultimately, there's no point in making quality video content if no one presses play.
So what makes a good thumbnail? We pulled the data on this and found that, across all the videos hosted on our system, ones with a custom thumbnail had a 34% higher initial play rate. That’s huge.
By this point, you probably already know it’s best to include a friendly human (or baby animal) face in your thumbnail. But what else can you do to encourage your audience to play your video?
- Convey action (when it makes sense). Don’t settle for dull.
- Use an image with overlaid text to better communicate the content within the video.
- Make sure your thumbnail isn’t blurry. This might mean going the extra mile to take a photo specifically for your thumbnail to make it as high-quality as possible.
It's also important to consider the message of your video and make sure your thumbnail accurately represents the content. It might be tempting to create a crazy thumbnail so you’ll get a higher play rate, but this will likely result in disappointed viewers. You might have a higher play rate, but your engagement rate will plummet.
You can choose any frame in your video as your thumbnail or upload a new image into Wistia.
Match the Color Player With Your Brand/Design
With Wistia, you can adjust the color of the player to match your unique branding. Whether you favor a more muted tone or a brighter, cheerier palette, there’s a color for you.
Adjust the Controls
You can tweak your video by adding or removing buttons. Don't want viewers skipping important parts of your video? Take out the Play Bar. Or maybe you need to autoplay your videos to grab your viewers’ attention from the get-go. If so, check the Autoplay box and you’ll be set. You can make all of these changes and more in the Customize sidebar.
Chop It Up With Chapters
If your video is long enough and it makes sense to break it up into separate sections, add Chapters to help your viewers navigate to the information most relevant to them.
Step 3: Embed the Video
For most websites, copying and pasting a Wistia embed code will do the trick. You can use our lightweight, responsive inline embed, or a Wistia for Chrome to embed videos with one click on websites like Medium, Squarespace, and WordPress.if you want your video content to pop over the rest of your content (baking supplies not included). You can also check out
Step 4: Share It With Your Audience
Now that you've crafted the perfect video and customized it to give it that extra special touch uniquely fitted to your brand, it's time to share it with the world. No matter how you want to share it, Wistia has the tools to make sure your video gets in front of the right eyes.
We've always believed video and email are a powerful duo. Email helps videos gain exposure, and videos help email get opened, read, and clicked.
Here are three email and video tactics we’ve found particularly effective:
- Let people know there's a video inside your email (whether that’s in the subject line, email text, or play button on a thumbnail).
- Choose an enticing thumbnail from your video to include in your email (hint: friendly faces attract clicks).
- Link that thumbnail to a page on your website.
Why are we such big advocates of video thumbnails? For one, including a play button on top of a cool image is an effective invitation for readers to click, especially when the text in the email is direct and concise.
Since Wistia has integrations with most major email service providers, you can simply copy and paste an email merge tag right within your email to generate a gorgeously crisp thumbnail.
Want to use a video thumbnail in Gmail? With Wistia’s Chrome extension, you don't have to fuss with any embed codes. Gorgeous Gmail emails are just a few clicks away.
Step 4: Start Generating Leads
Pair your Wistia account with a marketing automation platform (like HubSpot software) or an email service to make your videos work harder for you.
If your goal is to generate leads, Wistia’s built-in email capture tool, Turnstile, makes it simple. You can add a Turnstile at the beginning, middle, or end of your video, and adjust the accompanying text to suit your needs. Here's an example of what it looks like:
Capture leads with your videos, automatically pass viewing data into your CRM of choice, and score, segment, and assign leads to your sales team. You can better understand your customer acquisition funnel, work out which videos help drive the most conversions, and craft more personalized follow-up emails with access to in-depth video analytics.
You can also add a call-to-action directly into your video if you want to point your viewers to an external link, like a landing page or a related piece of content. If you'd rather not disrupt the flow of your video, use an Annotation Link. This lets you point to another resource without interrupting your video.
Yes, these are all more advanced ways to use video. But once you put all of the pieces together, you can officially call yourself a video superstar.
Step 6: Watch the Views Roll In
Now that you’ve done the hard work to get your video up and running, it’s time to sit back and wait for the views to stack up on your Stats page.
At the most basic level, you can keep an eye on the Total Plays to see how many people have watched your video. If you're eager to dive deeper into your video stats, check out the Play Rate and discover the percentage of page visitors who clicked play and started watching. It’s a great way to make sure you’ve placed your video on the most relevant part of your page.
Individual heatmaps (shown below) will clue you into more detailed data. Easily see which parts of your video each viewer has watched, re-watched, and skipped over, and learn what resonates with your target audience.
Additionally, be sure to check out the Average Engagement -- the average percentage of a video a viewer watches. This can be more helpful than the view count because it clues you into the quality of your views. Once people pressed play, how much of your video did they stick around to watch? Did they find the content helpful? With your video's Engagement Graph (see below), you can easily identify trends in viewing behavior, including where your viewers are re-watching.
In addition to metrics related to viewing behavior, you can also use Wistia to keep track of conversions happening right inside your player. Remember those Timeline Actions from up above? Any time a viewer engages with your video via one of those puppies, their clicks and responses are recorded in your stats. Whether they clicked on an Annotation Link or filled out a Turnstile, you'll be able to see the data right on your Stats page. That way, you can see which videos were most impactful for your business. In the example above, 22% of the folks invited to my wedding clicked on the CTA linked to our wedding website.
Got all that? Time to throw a party to celebrate your video triumphs. And if you're a HubSpot customer, you can learn more about our integration with HubSpot software here.
Do you have any questions about how to use Wistia? Share with us in the comments below.