May 18, 2018

Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Your Videos for Success

Margot Mazur

Business Development

Video marketing has become more than a catch-all phrase for brands using video. In fact, video is an integral part of any effective marketing strategy. It has the ability to bring together a brand and an audience by adding a human touch to an otherwise static two-dimensional online presence. Video encourages action and creates an emotional connection unlike any other medium, but a video’s hard work doesn’t end there.

As marketers, we invest our time, energy, and resources into video because we’ve seen the impact it can have on reaching our goals (and we can easily track the return). Whether we want to spread the word about a new product update, inspire our audience to attend a webinar, or even get someone to sign up for a free account, the videos we create always have a concrete goal in mind.

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In this post, we’ll walk you through some of the many ways you can optimize your videos to get the biggest bang for your buck. Whether your goal is connecting and building trust, or inspiring action, you can make your videos work harder for you. Let’s get started!

Optimizing your video for views

Your video’s thumbnail is the first thing your audience sees when they interact with your video. It catches their attention and gives them an idea of what to expect. Choosing a great thumbnail is as easy! Just following these handy-dandy optimization guidelines.

“Your video’s thumbnail is the first thing your audience sees when they interact with your video. It catches their attention and gives them an idea of what to expect.”

Put people first

Think of your video thumbnail like a movie poster. Feature a smiling human face in your thumbnail, and create an enticing, click-worthy experience. As it turns out, people respond positively to human faces (our brains are hardwired to react to them). Your video thumbnail can be a still from your video, or it can be a custom-made thumbnail that represents your video’s content.

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If you’re not totally bought in on the power of featuring human faces in your video thumbnails, you can always create your own A/B test by splitting an email send with different thumbnails in each and seeing how your CTRs compare. Or, check out this blog post we wrote on testing video thumbnails in our email campaigns. Spoiler alert: they increased our click-through rates by 20%!

Consistency matters

Match your thumbnail to your brand by choosing the color of your play button and controls. When your player matches your brand, your website instantly feels more professional and put together. At Wistia, we use “best friend blue” on our player (#54bbff), to bring our video and website together in a nicely branded way.

“When your player matches your brand, your website instantly feels more professional and put together.”

Placement is key

Your video needs a place to shine. When thinking about your website, the content that you have to scroll down in order to see is what we call "below the fold." Adding your video above the fold on your website will help get your content in front of potential viewers faster, which can have a huge impact on your video’s play rate. The further down you put your video, the less optimized it is for success. And after all, you want people to watch your video, right? Make it easier for them to engage with your brand, whether it’s sticking around on your site for some delightful content, or taking a specific desired action.

SEO is king

You’ve spent a lot of time creating your video, so it’s natural that you want to get it in front of as many people as possible. And while SEO may not seem like the “new big thing” in the marketing world, it’s still important when it comes to getting your video out there online. Optimizing for SEO is as easy as making a few simple changes:

  • Title your video. Choose a name that you feel represents the content. For example, never leave a video titled mynewvideo.mp4. You don’t want your audience seeing that! Make sure to re-name your video once you upload it, to something short, sweet, and representative of the content.
  • Use an inline embed. Inline embeds play, well, inline with the rest of the content on your page. For example, all of the images in this blog post are inline. Popover embeds, on the other hand, pop out in front of the rest of the content, and Google doesn’t really like that. They tend to rank websites with popover embeds lower than ones with inline embeds, so always keep that in mind.
  • Keep your page clean. If you want to highlight one key video, feature it prominently on the page. Google won’t be able to identify that you have this type of rich media on the page if it is buried under layers of messy JavaScript.

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Optimizing your video for action

Video is a powerful player when it comes to convincing your audience to take action. Whether you’re optimizing for lead generation, calls-to-action clicks, or content views, you can do some simple things to help your video succeed.

Lead generation is an integral part of any inbound marketing strategy, and video can play a major role. Whether you’re trying to encourage sign ups to a webinar or for a piece of content, or you’re making your video the key lead generation piece, we’ve got some optimization tips that can help you move toward that stretch goal.

“Lead generation is an integral part of any inbound marketing strategy, and video can play a major role.”

Introduce yourself

Hosting a webinar is a great way to get the word out about your product or about a topic your company is uniquely qualified to talk about. With so many webinars taking place online, it’s important that yours stands out. Making a short introduction video will help your viewer understand what they’re signing up for, and will also give them the opportunity to get familiar with the folks who will actually be leading the webinar.

At Wistia, we keep webinar introduction videos short and sweet — usually about 1–2 minutes. Check out this example of a promo video we made for a webinar with the folks at Unbounce.

We make sure the hosts introduce themselves and then we highlight what people can expect to learn if they sign up. We’ve found that these introductory videos let us engage with and attract leads in a way that many landing pages don’t.

Add a Turnstile

Video has become an increasingly essential part of full-stack marketing, so why not use it as a means for lead generation? Adding a Turnstile email collector to your video gives you the power to collect leads from right within your videos. Turnstiles work well for a whole host of video types — webinars, tutorials, courses, etc — but the possibilities are really endless. In this example, Bluleadz gave folks who downloaded a specific piece of content the opportunity to talk to their sales team by using a turnstile form at the end of this thank you video. Check it out!

You can add a Turnstile at any point in your video, but we’ve found that more people actually fill them out when they’re placed about 20% in. This way, folks will have a better idea what your video is about and they value they’ll get out of it if they continue watching. They’ll feel even better about sharing their information with you and your business after getting a taste of your content!

“You can add a Turnstile at any point in your video, but we’ve found that more people actually fill them out when they’re placed about 20% in.”

Optimize for clicks

Adding a Call to Action to your video is a great way to steer your audience in the right direction. Where you choose to direct your videos will vary depending on the goal you set for video and the actual content of the video, so always keep those two things in mind. You can add relevant CTAs anywhere throughout your video, but always consider the viewer’s experience first.

Calls to action fail to convert for a few main reasons:

  • The necessary action isn’t clear
  • There isn’t enough information
  • There’s nothing charming or engaging
  • The timing is off

CTAs are supposed to compel people to take action — make them excited to do so!

Calls to action come in a variety of flavors — image, text, or HTML. Text CTAs are by far the most popular, as adding them into a video can be done in mere seconds. However, we’ve found that image CTAs perform better at 13.07% than at 10.65% for text. Adding an image CTA allows you to bring the power of eye contact to your message, just as you would in a thumbnail.

Here’s an example of an image CTA from OnStrategy, a strategy execution SaaS tool. This post-roll image takes over the entire video window and clicks through to a product page on their site:

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Learn more about optimizing your Turnstiles and CTAs in our in-depth Guide to Calls To Action in Video Marketing.

One last push for success

Optimization is determined by success. How effective were your videos? Did they help you reach your marketing goals? Did the optimization tweaks increase your click through rate, play rate, or total number of leads collected? Knowing how your video performed and how future videos can be better is integral to the success of your marketing strategy. To give your videos an extra push, try out some these optimization tips:

  • Integrate with other tools. Link your Wistia account with marketing tools you already use, such as Intercom, Trello, HubSpot, Marketo, and others. With these integrations, you can use your video marketing superpower to benefit your overall marketing strategy.
  • Create UTMs. Create unique UTM codes for your videos so you know exactly where folks are watching and clicking through on your videos them the most. Adding UTMs for specific social channels, for example, can show you where folks like to interact with your social video content.
  • Use audience data. If you’re a Wistia customer, you can use our audience view to see whether hyper-targeted videos are being watched by specific people or companies that you’re trying to get in touch with. Account based marketing for the win!
  • Do you have video optimization tricks that you depend on for success? Leave them in the comments and help a marketer out!
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