How a Different Approach to Brand Marketing Helped us Win a Webby Award

April 29, 2019

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Phil Nottingham


We get excited about a lot of things here at Wistia, but we’re especially excited (along with wowed, humbled, and pleasantly surprised) to share that our first-ever original series, One, Ten, One Hundred, just won the 2019 Webby Award for “Best Video Series” in the Branded Entertainment category. But, that’s not where the excitement ends, because we won both the Judge’s Panel award as well as the People’s Voice award, which is decided by popular vote.

If you haven’t watched the docuseries yet, set aside a couple of hours and find out how money impacts creativity in One, Ten, One Hundred.

This win is nothing to sneeze at — we were up against some pretty stiff competition in our category. Here are the other brands whose videos were up for the nomination:

It’s probably safe to say that we aren’t quite as popular as brands like Google, Uber, and Lego … well, okay. We definitely aren’t as well known (or as popular) as any of these other brands. So, what did we do differently with One, Ten, One Hundred that helped us stand out and win not one, but two awards? Here’s what we think made the difference for us.

1. Focused on impact, rather than impressions

Our view count is much lower than the competition’s. This episode of Uber’s Da Republic of Brooklyn, directed by Spike Lee (and featuring a really cute dog) has nearly 10 times the view count of the first episode of One, Ten, One Hundred. But, the number of impressions is not the number of people impressed.

Instead of worrying about exposure, virality, and view counts, our success metrics were based around the time spent with our brand, and the impact that had on traffic from search, rather than the total number of passing interactions.

  • Our average viewing time is 43 and a half minutes.
  • Our branded search volume is up 11% since we launched the series.

Most brands use their social channels (particularly YouTube) to share creative video content, despite the fact that the audience there may be easily distracted by comments and recommended videos in a sidebar. That’s why we chose to only make our content available on our website and on Amazon Prime, where we can offer a more controlled, distraction-free viewing experience.

2. Created content for a niche audience, rather than our consumers as a whole

One, Ten, One Hundred was developed for in-house marketers at small businesses who, like us, have aspirations to do more creative advertising campaigns, but face challenging budget and resourcing restrictions.

It’s true that all of the other nominees in our category are global B2C brands, so they speak to a wider audience than Wistia, a small B2B company, but we chose to make One, Ten, One Hundred for a subset of even our more limited audience. This isn’t aimed at professional creators at agencies or marketing directors at big companies (both of whom make up a sizable portion of our customer base), but rather a specific group of people with a specific desire and a barrier to achieving it.

This obviously means our series was never going to get the viewership of Game of Thrones or a Superbowl commercial, but we wanted to create something that would resonate deeply with a specific group of people, rather than worrying too much about reach. In our view, limiting our audience improved the quality of the creative, since it allowed us to assume a certain amount of knowledge and interest from our viewers, rather than requiring us to cater to everyone.

3. Worked with people who had deep knowledge of our brand, rather than with an agency

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working with an agency — there are many fantastic creative shops out there who do great work for their clients. However, there are some distinct advantages to taking the creative reins yourself rather than outsourcing.

Our creative team on the project, Chris, Dan and Trevor, have more than 20 collective years of experience working with our product and creating content for our customers. They understand the challenges our customers face in a first-hand, personal way.

This means they can speak with more authority on the topics that are important to our customers than a creative agency could, since our team has already walked the walk themselves.

4. Used paid media to advertise, rather than syndicate our content

Because our content wasn’t available to watch in full on social media, we used social advertising in a different way — to advertise the complete viewing experience, as if it were a product, as opposed to just boosting the presence of the videos themselves.

This meant we were able to set conversion-focused goals and take advantage of video advertising formats like Trueview for Action that allowed us to pay only when users visited our website, as opposed to absentmindedly paying for a YouTube video to play in the background.

5. Captured the email addresses of our audience, rather than pushing for social media subscribers

Here’s the thing–you can’t email your YouTube Subscribers or Facebook Page Likes. But, you can email people who have subscribed to your content via email collectors in Wistia Channels.

Because our strategy had an owned platform at the core of its promotional plan, we were able to collect many thousands of email addresses over the course of our campaign. This meant we could begin an active conversation with those who watched our content. We could send reminders to those who got only halfway through the series encouraging them to watch more, or even reach out to those who devoured the series in one go to suggest other videos they may find interesting to watch.

And, most importantly in this case, we were able to reach out to everyone who watched the series to ask them to vote for us in the Webby Awards.

Phil Nottingham


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