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Jun

17

2017

How to Make an iPhone Video: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Content Marketing, Daily, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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You might know that video is important, that your audience wants to see it, and you might even want to make it a part of your strategy. But you’re still asking the big question:

“How?”

If you aren’t producing video content because you don’t think you have the ability, time, or resources to do it, we have some good news: Your answer to the video content question could be sitting in your pants pocket. (Hint: It’s your iPhone.)Check out our interactive guide to creating high-quality videos for social  media here.

You or a member of your team most likely already owns a great video camera — one that’s easier to use than a traditional, high-tech setup. In this post, we’ll walk you through our tips and best practices for filming high-quality marketing and social media videos with your handy iPhone and a just a few other tools. And if you don’t have time to read them all, we’ve demonstrated how to do it in the video below.

P.S. We filmed it with an iPhone.

How to Shoot Videos with an iPhone

1) Find a quiet place to film.

This might seem obvious, but if you’re filming at work or out in public, the sight of a phone might not tip people off to keep the volume down if they’re nearby. If possible, book a conference space, hang signs telling people to steer clear of where you’re shooting, or bring a coworker with you to block off the area where you plan to film.

2) Make sure your iPhone has enough storage space.

Have you ever experienced the dreaded moment when you were unable to capture a video because you got this pop-up notification?

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If this notification pops up while you’re filming a video, your phone will stop recording, and you’ll have to start over. To prevent this, make sure you have enough space before pressing “record.” Delete as many unnecessary files and apps as you can, and if needed, purchase iCloud storage for files to free up more space on your device itself.

To do this, navigate to “Settings,” select “General,” “Storage & iCloud Usage,” and tap “Manage Storage” to buy more space for as little as $0.99 per month.

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3) Turn off notifications.

Another distracting iPhone feature that could interrupt your filming is how frequently your device receives notifications. Before you start filming, set your iPhone to Do Not Disturb mode to keep notifications going in the background so you can film uninterrupted.

Swipe up on your phone and tap the crescent moon icon to put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode, and tap it again when you’re done to return your phone to normal settings.

DND-2.pngDND-1.png

Pro tip: Do Not Disturb is a great way to watch YouTube videos, play games, and sleep uninterrupted, too.

4) Use a tripod.

I don’t care how steady you think your hands are — they probably aren’t steady enough to film a video. 

Now, it’s one thing if you’re scrappily putting together a Snapchat Story, but if you’re filming a video for your brand — especially one that will live permanently on your blog, YouTube channel, or other social media assets — you’ll need the help of a tripod to keep the video steady and clear.

You can purchase full tripods, or smaller versions for your desk on Amazon, at Best Buy, or other vendors.

5) Light your video.

This point is especially important if you’re filming in an office building with lots of overhead lighting. You don’t need to buy anything fancy for this step — in fact, our friends at Wistia put together this guide to a DIY lighting setup. You need enough light to give the impression of natural light, which means it’s coming from a variety of different light sources, and not just directly overhead. 

If you don’t have the time or budget to purchase a lighting setup, find a room or location with plenty of natural light — and remember to turn off the overhead lights — to keep your video subject looking good.

6) Use a microphone.

Make sure you use some sort of microphone to minimize the impact of distracting ambient noise. The expression “the silence is deafening” is real — especially when it comes to video production. 

You don’t need a fancy microphone and boom setup like in the movies, although those would be a great investment to make if you plan to film a lot of videos. You can use something as simple as a microphone that plugs into your iPhone’s headphone input to get great audio for your videos — and you can buy one here.

7) Film horizontally.

When people view videos on mobile devices, the video automatically rotates according to the orientation of the device it’s being viewed on. So, it makes more sense to film horizontally so your video can be viewed if the user rotates his or her phone, or is watching on a large tablet or computer screen. If you film vertically and the viewer’s screen is rotated, the video will appear more constricted.

There are exceptions to this, of course — if you’re filming a video specifically for Snapchat or Instagram, for example, you should film your video vertically on your iPhone, because that’s how the videos will be consumed. But if you’re filming for Facebook, YouTube, or another video hosting site, film horizontally to help viewers get the best possible viewing experience, no matter what device they press play on.

8) Don’t use the iPhone’s zoom capability.

Simply put, iPhone’s zoom will most likely make your video look bad.

We’ll elaborate: Unless you have the ultra-fancy iPhone 7 Plus camera, zooming in on an iPhone will simply enlarge the image — it won’t get you closer to what you’re filming — so it’ll make your final video pixellated and blurry-looking.

Instead, physically move your filming setup closer to your subject to eliminate the need to zoom in.

9) Lock your exposure.

The iPhone does a fantastic job of finding the subject to focus your camera’s exposure — which is great for taking a photo. But when it comes to filming a video, its super-powered exposure will continue adjusting and readjusting according to movement — leaving your final video occasionally blurry and out of focus.

You can solve this problem by locking the exposure while you’re filming. Before you press record, hold down your finger on the subject of your video until a yellow box appears around the person or object and the words “AE/AF Lock” appear:

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10) Edit on a computer.

Once you’ve filmed your video, you need to edit it and get it ready for publication. And although the iPhone offers a lot of visual editing tools within its interface, it’s best to use editing software on your computer to fine-tune the images. Software like iMovie and Adobe Premiere Pro let you add sound, captions, and adjust filtering to make your video look (and sound) as professional as possible. 

Lights, Camera, Action

You don’t need a ton of expensive equipment to film and edit engaging videos — you just need to follow the steps above to film something that looks professional with the help of your handy iPhone. If you don’t have an iPhone, never fear — we’ll create some guidance for Android devices soon. In the meantime, download our guides to creating videos for social media to get started distributing your content today.

What are your tips for filming videos on the iPhone? Share with us in the comments below.

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Jun

6

2017

How to Easily Create Professional-Looking Videos for 4 Popular Social Media Platforms

Published by in category Daily, Video | Comments are closed

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Video is dominating social media marketing. In fact, experts predict video will account for 80% of global internet traffic by 2019. So now is the best time to master the medium.

Thanks to easy and free video creation tools, you don’t need a big budget, professional equipment, or a filmmaking degree to make compelling videos for your brand. But since each social network comes with its own guidelines and unique audiences, you’ll need an understanding of what kind of content is effective on each network. 

We’re breaking down what performs best on four of the top networks: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, so you can easily create videos that truly shine no matter where you share them. 

Creating Video for Your Instagram Newsfeed

Instagram has experienced incredible growth recently — especially in terms of video options — but let’s first talk about your main Instagram page.

These posts, which appear in your followers’ feeds, are the main window into your business or brand. As such, you want to reserve this space for your most polished, on-brand content. Here you might publish a video that explains your brand’s value, or a process video that offers an inside peek into your craft.

Keep these Instagram video rules in mind when creating your video story:

Instagram imposes a one-minute time limit. If you have a longer piece of content that you still want to promote, you can post a portion as a teaser on Instagram and use the link in your bio to drive people to your website to see the whole thing. Note this in your caption and add a tracking code to the link so you know how it performs. 

Keep it inside the box. Videos can play in square, vertical, or landscape mode, but make sure you tap the “expand” button in the bottom left corner if you have a non-square video so it does not appear cropped. 

Video covers are important! Instagram allows you to select a video cover that shows as a thumbnail in the feed. Make sure you select an intriguing frame to compel people to watch. 

The best videos work with sound off. Instagram videos autoplay with the sound off, so make sure your message is clear whether or not the viewer taps for sound. 

The following examples from Persnickety Prints, a photo printing company, show how video can help communicate both your mission and craft, two essential pieces of content for small business video marketing.

 

You can also modify classic Instagram content pieces into video, like this slideshow video that transforms a #motivationmonday post:

Creating Videos for Instagram Stories

Instagram’s new Snapchat-like feature is the latest platform to win marketers’ hearts and time. And for good reason. IG stories have impressive engagement stats: according to Instagram, one in five Stories earn a direct message from viewers and one-third of the most viewed Stories come from businesses.

Instagram Stories are cool because they’re fleeting inside looks that allow you to create more of a connection with your followers. Feel free to get a little less polished and little more real with on-the-fly content that use stickers, filters, and emojis. Here are the basic parameters to remember when creating your Instagram Stories videos.

Take the opportunity to get personal. Unlike posts to your Instagram page, Instagram Stories last for 24 hours and users see them by clicking on the avatars at the top of their feed. Live Video disappears once the broadcast is over.

You don’t have to edit everything directly in Instagram. You can shoot photo or video within the app, but if you’d like to use graphics, animations, or video that you’ve created previously, simply swipe up in the Stories view to publish content from your camera roll. 

Keep in mind, the only content available will be videos or photos created within the last 24 hours. Consider using a free graphic design tool, like Adobe Spark, which allows you to resize content for Instagram Stories and animate text.

Keep it short and sweet. Each photo or video that you include in an Instagram Story is limited to 10 seconds. Live broadcasting from inside the app is limited to one hour.  

Don’t be afraid to share multiple stories a day. You can post as much as you’d like without fear of annoying your followers because users have to opt-in to see the content. 

You can tag users within stories. Tag other Instagram users in your video by typing their handle using the text feature in the top right corner. Tagged users will have a notification sent to their Instagram inbox. 

We suggest offering content to your followers they can’t get anywhere else across your channels. This provides incentive to follow you and can act as a great conversion tool for your most active supporters or customers. You might post about a special offer, provide a behind-the-scenes view of your business, or go live to talk directly to your followers, which doesn’t require anything special beyond guts and tapping the button.  

Creating Video for Facebook

Facebook has 1.94 billion monthly users and they watch more than 100 million hours of video each day. Take for example Tasty — Buzzfeed’s food video offshoot — which is hitting 1.8 billion video views each month on the platform. Facebook rewards this video content like crazy in the algorithm, which means hopping on this macro trend will score you more visibility on the network.

Like Instagram, you can go live directly on the platform to talk to your users. However, live video is fleeting — great for boosting engagement on your page, not so great for generating traffic back to your site or creating content that you can use over and over. For that, you still need polished video content that speaks to your value or tells a story.

There are three things to keep in mind when creating a video for Facebook:

Ask yourself: will my viewers watch this whole video? There’s no time limit, but the algorithm rewards content that viewers watch all the way through and generates interactions (likes, shares, and comments). The best videos capture attention within the first three seconds.

Your video should work with the sound off. Up to 85% of viewers watch their Facebook videos with no sound, according to media publication Digiday. 

Videos that autoplay in the newsfeed garner 186% more engagement than videos shared via posted link. You can use the Adobe Spark Video iOS app to natively share on Facebook with one tap.  

In a single month last year over 3 million small business owners posted a video to Facebook. Here’s an attention-grabbing example made with Adobe Spark that conveys a story regardless of sound:

Creating Video for Twitter

Live video and curated video content are booming on this formerly text-driven platform. Twitter has well over 800 million monthly users, 82% of whom engage with brands on the platform, according to its Video Playbook report.

Video views on Twitter grew 220 times from what they were in 2016 to 2017, and opportunities for advertisers are also growing, with the site offering pre-roll ads for live video and replay for Periscope videos as of March 2017, according to Forbes Tech writer Kathleen Chaykowski. But you don’t necessarily need a large advertising budget to capitalize on this trend.

Create polished video content for your Twitter feed keeping these three rules in mind:

Max video length is currently 140 seconds for imported content.

Grab attention within the first 3 seconds to stop thumbs from scrolling.

Upload videos natively to Twitter to ensure autoplay in the newsfeed.

Whether you animate graphics or use video clips, you’ll engage your audience. Check out a few examples of these techniques in action:

What story will you tell? Join us for a intro to Adobe Spark this Tuesday at 12:30PM. https://t.co/g3q45uUxRj #tutorial #nptech pic.twitter.com/EtrNUU4WgT

— TechSoup (@TechSoup)
May 6, 2017

 

#MayTheFourthBeWithYou #StarWarsDay pic.twitter.com/lwjA08JDyA

— Adobe Spark (@AdobeSpark)
May 4, 2017

Creating Video for YouTube

Youtube has over 1 billion users who watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube per day. Unlike the other social platforms on this list, YouTube comes with Google’s massive search power and metadata tools, too.

Your content strategy for YouTube should support your overall SEO stratgey. One way to go about this is to figure out which keywords you want your brand to rank for and craft compelling and entertaining video content that uses those keywords in your video, titles, images, and video descriptions.

The key to is to think about what the ideal path for your customer is who is coming through Google search. Say your company is a photo printing company. You might be interesting to people who are searching for things such as “engagement photos” “scrapbooks” etc. If you want to capture those interested folks, your best bet is to create content for what they’re already searching for.  

There are also certain types of videos that people eat up on the platform. According to marketing agency Mediakix, product reviews and how-to videos rank as the top two types of videos on YouTube, with vlogs (video blogs) coming in at number three.

This is great news for small businesses because the platform comes primed with a huge audience looking to learn more about products or how to do something. You could ask influencers or customers to post a video review of your business to marry your influencer marketing with your content strategy or you could create a series of how-to videos that relate to your product or service. 

When crafting and publishing video content to Youtube, keep these tips in mind:

Short videos still rule the day, but long form content is gaining traction. if you’re just starting out on YouTube or have an unverified account, your videos will be limited to 15 minutes. However, once verified, you can surely publish your hour-long webinars, trainings, or courses and of all the social networks and YouTube is the best place for those content pieces. 

Skip the long intro and instead jump right in with your hook to improve viewer retention.

Use YouTube’s built-in caption generator to create subtitles for dialogue. 

Don’t neglect your metadata fields. Your title, description, keyword — even channel art — are all meta data that tell search engines how to index your content and make sure it surfaces in front of interested searchers. Craft keyword-rich titles and descriptions and use YouTube’s keyword fields to improve search ranking. Add your bio, tagline, and website link to the description field of every video you publish so it’s easy for viewers to learn more about you. 

Add a YouTube channel art. Just as your video and metadata tell search engines that your content is relevant, your YouTube channel art and video thumbnails tell people browsing through search results that they should click and watch.

Your YouTube video cover and thumbnail are additional branding opportunities to communicate your content’s value and compel clicks. Plus, it makes your channel look more professional, which is important when competing on this massive platform.

Video Isn’t Optional

The moral of the story? Your business belongs on video across all platforms. Regardless of the platform, there are three overarching points to keep in mind when creating your social video content:

1) The best videos grab attention within the first 3 seconds and inspire emotion in viewers.

2) Text on screen is a crucial ingredient to social video marketing,

3) A clear call-to-action is essential to seeing results.

Now go create something!

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Jun

1

2017

YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search

Published by in category Daily, SEO, Tactical, Video | Comments are closed

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When I was just a wee lass and HubSpot was first starting to make a name for itself, inbound marketing was a brand new idea. Marketers were learning that they couldn’t just publish a high volume of content — it also had to be high-quality and optimized in ways that made it as discoverable as possible through search engines.

And once upon a time, that content was largely limited to the written word. Eleven years later, that’s no longer the case — a comprehensive content strategy includes written work like blogs and ebooks, as well as media like podcasts, visual assets, and videos.

That last part — video — continues to be on the rise. According to the 2017 State of Inbound, marketers named video as a huge disruptor. “I mostly write content right now,” one respondent said, “but I’m afraid it may begin to diminish more and more with video.” New Call-to-action

And with the rise of other content formats comes the need to optimize them for search. One increasingly important place to do that is on YouTube, which is a video distribution website used by the masses (HubSpot included).

But how does that work? What are the steps you need to take to optimize your YouTube channel for search? We’ve outlined some major tips below. And if you’re short on time, no problem — check out the video summary here.

7 YouTube Search Optimization Tips

1) Title

When we search for videos, one of the first things that our eyes are drawn to is the title. That’s often what determines whether or not the viewer will click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also, clear and concise.

It also helps if the title closely matches what the viewer is searching for. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have a slight advantage over those that don’t. Here’s a linear representation of those findings:

exact-match-title.pngSource: Backlinko

So while “using your target keyword in your title may help you rank for that term,” report author Brian Dean explains, “the relationship between keyword-rich video titles and rankings is” weak, at best.

Finally, make sure to keep your title fairly short — HubSpot Content Strategist Alicia Collins recommends limiting it to 60 characters to help keep it from getting cut off in results pages.

2) Description

First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it’s okay to use all of that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read a story.

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters. After that point, viewers have to click “show more” to see the full description. That’s why we suggest front-loading the description with the most important information, like CTAs or crucial links.

As for optimizing the video itself, it doesn’t hurt to add a transcript of the video, especially for those who have to watch it without volume. That said, Backlinko’s research also found no correlation between descriptions that were optimized for a certain keyword and the rankings for that term.

keyword-in-description.pngSource: Backlinko

Dean is careful not to encourage ditching an optimized description altogether, though. “An optimized description helps you show up in the suggested videos sidebar,” he writes, “which is a significant source of views for most channels.”

3) Tags

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests using tags to let viewers know what your video is about. But you’re not just informing your viewers — you’re also informing YouTube itself. Dean explains that the platform uses tags “to understand the content and context of your video.”

That way, YouTube figures out how to associate your video with similar videos, which can broaden your content’s reach. But choose your tags widely. Don’t use an irrelevant tag because you think it’ll get you more views — in fact, Google might penalize you for that. And similar to your description, lead with the most important keywords, including a good mix of those that are common and more long-tail (as in, those that answer a question like “how do I?”).

4) Category

Once you upload a video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube.

It might not be as simple as it looks. In fact, YouTube’s Creator Academy suggests that marketers go through a comprehensive process to determine which category each video belongs in. It’s helpful, the guide writes, “to think about what is working well for each category” you’re considering by answering questions like:

  • Who are the top creators within the category? What are they known for, and what do they do well?
  • Are there any patterns between the audiences of similar channels within a given category?
  • Do the videos within a similar category have share qualities like production value, length, or format?

5) Thumbnail

Your video thumbnail is the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results. Along with the video’s title, that thumbnail sends a signal to the viewer about the video’s content, so it can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.

While you can always pick one of the thumbnail options auto-generated by YouTube, we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280×720 pixels — representing a 16:9 ratio — that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

It’s important to note that your YouTube account has to be verified in order to upload a custom thumbnail image. To do that, visit youtube.com/verify and follow the instructions listed there.

6) SRT Files (Subtitles & Closed Captions)

Like much of the other text we’ve discussed here, subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting important keywords.

In order to add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you’ll have to upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file. For the former, you can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video.

Adding subtitles follows a similar process, however, you can limit the amount of text you want displayed. For either, head to your video manager then click on “Videos” under “Video Manager.” Find the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning to, and click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button. Then, choose “Subtitles/CC.” You can then select how you’d like to add subtitles or closed captioning.

Google has provided great instructions on how to do that here, as well as in the video below.

7) Cards and End Screens

Cards

When you’re watching a video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner, or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 6.02.40 PM.pngSource: Google

You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  1. Channel cards that direct viewers to another channel.
  2. Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  3. Fan funding to ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
  4. Link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
  5. Poll cards, which pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
  6. Video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube content of this kind.

For detailed steps on adding a card to your video, follow these official steps from Google, or check out the video below.

End Screens

End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don’t display until a video is over, and are a bit more visually detailed in nature. A good example is the overlay with a book image and a visual link to view more on the video below:

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 6.09.28 PM.pngSource: Jamie Oliver on YouTube

There are a number of detailed instructions for adding end screens depending on what kind of platform you want to design them for, as well as different types of content allowed for them by YouTube. Google outlines the details for how to optimize for all of those considerations here.

It’s important to note that YouTube is always testing end screens to try to optimize the viewer experience, so there are times when “your end screen, as designated by you, may not appear.” Take these factors into account as you decide between using either cards or end screens.

It’s Worth It to Optimize

These factors may seem a bit complicated and time-consuming, but remember: The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled year over year. There’s an audience to be discovered there, and when you optimize for YouTube, your chances of being discovered increase.

Of course, it all begins with good content, so make sure your viewers have something high-quality and relevant to watch when they find you.

How have you optimized for YouTube search? Let us know in the comments.

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May

30

2017

7 of the Coolest YouTube Banners We've Ever Seen

Published by in category Daily, Design, Video | Comments are closed

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When someone sends me a really great YouTube video, I always want to know who’s behind it. Was it an ad agency? A small or medium business? A B2B tech company? No matter who it was, if I’m impressed, I want to see more from the content creator. So once the video is done, I click the link to visit their profiles.

And from there, if the brand is really on top of its game, I’ll see its channel art — the horizontal banner displayed across the top of the user’s YouTube channel that, hopefully, shows a combination of good design and brand presence.

But how do they do it? Download our full collection of blog design examples here to inspire your own  blog design.

We’ve all seen design work that inspires us, but can have a bad habit of not taking it any further than that. What makes something like a strong YouTube banner so great? And how can you create your own gorgeous channel art? To answer those questions, we found seven of our favorites that inspire us, and explain why we love them.

What Makes a Good YouTube Banner?

Dimensions

A YouTube channel banner will take on different dimensions, depending on what platform is being used to view it. For example, a banner might have different dimensions when viewed on a TV, desktop, or mobile device.

For the sake of display consistency, then, Google suggests going with an image that’s 2560 x 1440 px. It also sets the following guidelines:

  • Minimum dimension for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
  • Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off : 1546 x 423 px
  • Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
  • File size: 4MB or smaller

Here’s a helpful visual representation of those dimensions:

unnamed-48.pngSource: Google

Design

Let’s start with a note about where dimensions and design intersect. You might think that 2560 x 1440 px — Google’s suggested dimensions we mentioned earlier — seems like an exorbitantly large file size. But think about how your image would appear on a 30″ smart TV or higher. With a growing number of options to view YouTube videos in this way, you’ll want to make sure your channel art is large enough to display with quality on larger screens.

Also, take note of the “safe area” we alluded to in the first section. Your banner is essentially the biggest branding opportunity for when people land on your channel, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s well-represented in the channel art. That’s why it might be best to make sure your company name and logo are placed in that space — to make sure they don’t get cut off and cause the viewer confusion as to who’s behind the video content on the page.

If you’re not sure how to take up the entirety of a 2560 x 1440 frame, video production company MiniMatters suggests “build[ing] the image from the middle out,” putting the most important assets in the center, and going from there.

Finally, as to what to put in your banner, we like to follow a few basic rules:

  • Use a high-resolution image. A pixelated or blurry banner doesn’t exactly signal that there’s high-quality video to follow.
  • Keep it on-brand. While your channel art doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of your logo or tagline, it should incorporate visual elements that you want associated with your brand, like certain colors, fonts, or keywords.
  • Your banner should represent what your company does in a timely fashion. For example, if you run a bakery and you’re gearing up for summer, an eye-catching banner might be a high-res photo of a brightly-colored work surface covered with flour and a rolling pin, along with accompanying text like, “April showers bring May flours.”

How to Make a YouTube Banner

“That’s just great, Amanda,” you might be thinking about these tips. “But where the heck am I supposed to get these beautiful design assets?”

Well, you’re in luck — it turns out that there are dozens of free resources for creating a great YouTube banner. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Google: Why not start with the hosting platform itself? Google has its very own channel art templates to help you get started with your banner design. (Note: Clicking this link will prompt an automatic download of the zip file containing these templates.)
  • Canva: One of our go-to destinations for DIY design, Canva offers several free YouTube channel art templates that allow you to use your own art, or its library of stock photography.
  • Fotor: Similar to Canva, Fotor also offers a selection of free templates that allow you to use both your own visual assets or its own library of images.

8 Cool YouTube Channel Art Examples

1) Death Wish Coffee Company

Death Wish Coffee Company.png

In 2016, Death Wish Coffee was named the winner of a small business marketing competition held by software company Intuit. The reward? A free 30-second commercial during Super Bowl 50. Since then, the self-proclaimed maker of “the world’s strongest coffee” has capitalized on that momentum by making sure its branding stays just as robust.

Its YouTube banner is no exception. It’s straightforward, but also, bold. The company’s logo is displayed as the channel icon, as well as a tiled watermark that doesn’t interfere with the text display. And that message doesn’t leave any doubt about what the brand does. “World’s strongest coffee?” Okay, I’m watching.

2) Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud.png

Seeing as turquoise is my all-time favorite color, there might be a touch of aesthetic bias in our selection of Adobe Creative Cloud’s YouTube banner. But color can have quite an impact in marketing — shades of blue, for example, have been found to invoke feelings of trust.

This banner doesn’t just make great use of color, though. In a single photo, it connotes creativity and visual quality — two things that the Adobe Creative Cloud promises with its suite products. The person depicted seems to be creating something remarkable — an ocean inside of a balloon — with accompanying text to confirm it: “Make wow.” Plus, to learn more, social buttons are right there within the image.

3) Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit.png

Is anyone else hungry? It only seems right that the channel art for a food magazine like Bon Appétit should be, well, appetizing. And with a phrase that’s used as frequently as “bon appétit” — before a meal or as the title of a pop song — it’s important that folks who land on this YouTube channel know what they’re getting into.

That’s one thing that makes this banner so great. The branding is clear, from the logo icon to the iconic title text in the center of the image. Plus, the photo itself sends a signal of the type of content visitors can expect to consume — no pun intended — when they start watching the channel’s videos: All things food.

4) TauliaInc

TauliaInc.png

One great thing about YouTube banners is that they can be swapped out or modified whenever you want, time permitting. That makes them especially conducive to temporary promotions or campaigns. That’s what tech company Taulia did for “P2P Superheroes”: a campaign that shows how its software can eliminate difficult, time-consuming tasks, helping everyday professionals focus more on the work that matters and turn them into superheroes.

The banner communicates two things: 1) That Taulia is in the business of P2P (“procure to pay”), and 2) the brand really celebrates procurement specialists. And by using original, cartoon-like art, Taulia is turning what could be a dry topic into something fun and engaging.

5) Refinery29

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We’re big fans of showcasing the people that make your brand great. That’s one thing that Refinery29 does well, by frequently featuring its writers, editors, and content producers in its videos. As it turns out, they’ve all become quite popular personalities — which is why the brand put them front-and-center in its channel art.

Creating a banner of this nature is two-fold. First, you have to find a way to incorporate your company’s talent into video content in a way that’s engaging and appealing to your target audience. Here at HubSpot, we have our blog writers, for example, recount important information from blog posts in video and audio summaries. Then, once you’ve produced enough of that media consistently — and if it’s gaining the right kind of attention — you can use those personalities to promote your channels.

6) TripAdvisor B2B

TripAdvisor B2B.png

TripAdvisor is a resource used by millions of travelers to discover and rate lodgings, restaurants, and much more information about endless destinations. But did you know it also offers B2B services for hotel and other property owners to make the most of their presence on the site?

We like to think of it as a B2B hybrid of review site Yelp and vacation rental site Airbnb. On the one hand, TripAdvisor B2B helps business owners create a profile with photos, descriptions, and other information that’s going to be helpful to travelers. But, like Yelp, it also allows them to monitor and respond to the reviews their businesses receive.

That’s represented in the YouTube banner by portraying what the site is all about — travel — but also depicts the act of visitors giving feedback on their experiences by way of rating symbols.

7) Nuvolari Lenard

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The thing that stands out to us the most about this banner is its simplicity. It represents a Italian yacht design company Nuvolari Lenard, which is known for work that emulates a luxury and chic lifestyle. And while the channel art itself doesn’t portray anything specifically nautical, the use of capital letters and tiered monochrome does connote a brand that’s high-end.

Those kinds of digital aesthetics create what’s often known as aspirational marketing — the kind that symbolizes something that’s unattainable by most, but still has a vast following of people “who covet the look and feel of the brand,” as Mediaboom puts it. Can I afford a yacht? Of course not. But seeing something like this makes me want one anyway, and makes me want to consume the video content pertaining to it.

Channel Your Creativity

It’s important to note that really cool YouTube channel art is just one part of a comprehensive video content strategy. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your banner is, for example, if your channel lacks in quality video, or hasn’t added anything new in several weeks.

So, along with great design must come consistency. And as you begin to create both, you can turn to these examples for inspiration.

What are some of your favorite YouTube banners? Let us know in the comments.

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May

24

2017

Clips 101: How to Use Apple’s New Camera App

Published by in category Daily, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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Marketers and readers agree — videos and social media make up the next great frontier of content marketing and distribution.

The harder question to answer: How do we quickly and easily make those shareable videos our audiences want to see on social media?

Check out our interactive guide to creating high-quality videos for social  media here.

There are a lot of ways to create video content directly within social media apps. Think: Facebook Live, Periscope, and Snapchat Stories. But these videos are live, spontaneous, and unpolished. They’re authentic — but sometimes, you might want to create something more technical and creative.

Here’s where Clips comes in — Apple’s solution to easy social media visual content creation. Read on to learn all about the app, what you can do with it, and how to use it.

What is Clips?

Clips is a mobile photo and video editing app that helps users quickly and easily create shareable visual content for social media and its Messages app.

Its simple interface features a record/capture button, filters, emojis and geotags, and cards. If these features sound familiar, it’s because Clips borrows some of the most popular and engaging features from apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

But Apple isn’t trying to create another photo and video sharing app that would inevitably compete with these other platforms. Instead, it’s created one to easily film, edit, and upload visual content to apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

Apple takes Clips a couple steps further with two other cool features: automatic subtitling and a widget to add music from Apple Music. Let’s dive into how to use all of these neat video editing tools to make a highly shareable social media video.

How to Use Clips

Download Clips free of charge in the iOS App Store. As the name of the parent company might suggest, Clips is currently only available on iOS devices.

How to Record

When you open up Clips, you’ll see a big, red recording button. You can toggle between photo and video recording, or you can select a photo or video already recorded on your device. Tap the red button to capture a photo, or hold down the red button to record a video.

clips-step-1.png

You can record Clips up to 30 minutes in length at a time.

How to Add Automatic Subtitles

Tap the bubble text icon on the top of your Clips camera view, and choose the font style the way you’d like your subtitles to appear.

subtitles-clips.jpg

Then, when you start recording, Clips will automatically subtitle the words you’re speaking. I had to record this video several times to get it right — you have to speak very clearly and slower than usual into your device’s microphone. Here’s what a short Clip with automatic subtitles looks like:

How to Add a Filter

Tap the triple Venn-diagram at the top of your Clips camera view and different filtering options will appear. Tap the one you like, then record your photo or video as normal.

clips-filter.jpg

How to Add Emojis & Geotags

Tap the star icon at the top of your Clips camera view and choose a sticker to add to your photo or video. Here’s what one looks like in action:

How to Add a Card

Clips has a few options for static or moving images you can customize with your narration or music (more on that next). Tap the letter T at the top of your Clips camera view and select a card you want to use for your photo or video. Here’s an example I chose to wish someone a happy birthday:

How to Add Music

Clips gives you the ability to add music from your own library, or its library of stock soundtracks, by tapping the music note in the upper right-hand corner of the Clips camera view. Tap a track to download and select it for your Clip

How to Share Clips

Tap the downward-pointing arrow in the upper-left hand corner of your Clips camera view to look at your work. From there, you can create a new video or share the Clips you’ve already created.

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When you record several Clips in one sitting, they’ll be woven together into one large recording when you go to share. To avoid this, tap the arrow after each recording to create a new video project altogether.

Next, tap the sharing icon in the lower right-hand corner to pull up the screen below:

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From here, you can easily share your Clips via Messages, email, or you can save your Clips to your device.

Where to Share Clips

In addition to the channels above, you can easily share Clips where they were designed to be shared — on social media. If you tap the “More” ellipses, you can add other social networks to your sharing options, as shown below:

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Clips is a fun, easy-to-use app that allows you to create highly shareable images and videos. By adding a few embellishments like subtitles, filters, and emojis, content is easier to consume and share on a variety of platforms — without having to film and edit a video with professional equipment and software.

Have you tried creating video content using Clips yet? Share with us in the comments below.

Learn more about HubSpot Classroom Training!

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May

18

2017

How to Transform Your Blog Content into Compelling Videos

Published by in category Blog, Daily, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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Here at HubSpot, we’ve told fellow marketers about the importance of creating compelling video content to engage your busy audience. And for the most part, video content lives on social media channels — like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

But we wondered if video content had a place on our blog as well.

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Marketers are prioritizing visual content, but many marketers don’t know how to start — and others worry that video will disrupt and replace written blog content altogether.

Changing content preferences are an opportunity to innovate, not a reason to be afraid. Read on for our latest data about how content marketing is shifting and for a deep-dive into our first experiment turning blog posts into compelling video content.

The State of Video Content

We surveyed more than 6,000 marketing and sales professionals to learn how they’re changing their strategies to meet the preferences of the modern consumer. And a lot of the chatter was on the subjects of video content and social media.

Almost 50% of marketers are adding YouTube and Facebook channels for video distribution in the next year.

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33% of inbound marketers listed visual content creation, such as videos, as their top priority for the coming year.

Video content fell below the top two priorities — growing SEO presence and creating blog content — but it occupies the minds of a large part of the marketers we surveyed. It was on our minds too, which inspired the experiment. Read on for the details and the results.

Can Blog and Video Work Together? Our Experiment

What

My colleagues Jamee SheehyNick Carney, and I wanted to learn if producing video content would improve traffic to HubSpot Marketing Blog posts and social media channels.

Why

I kept hearing that our audience wanted more video content. In a 2016 HubSpot Research survey, almost 50% of respondents said they wanted to see more video content and social media posts, so I wanted to start there.

When

Between February and May of 2017, I worked with the team to publish video content for seven new blog posts.

How

We published video content on YouTube, Facebook, and on Instagram Stories. For some blog posts, we published videos on both YouTube and Facebook. The YouTube and Facebook videos were then embedded into the blog posts for cross-promotion, and all of the videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube linked to the blog posts.

Results of the Experiment

Videos on Facebook and YouTube

1) How to Be Productive After a Long Weekend

What We Published:

We embedded a YouTube video in the blog post and published the same video natively on Facebook.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 1,395 1,770 2,196
YouTube Views 267 335 429
Facebook Views 3,900 6,100 6,229
YouTube/Blog Views % 19% 19% 19%
Social Referral Traffic 221 305 372
Social/Total Traffic % 16% 17% 17%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. YouTube Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 30 seconds or more
  3. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  4. YouTube/Blog Views % = % of blog post visitors who watched the YouTube video
  5. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  6. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • The YouTube video achieved a 55% view-through rate: The average watch time was 0:41 of a 1:14-long video.
  • The YouTube video contributed more blog traffic than the Facebook video.
  • The topic choice reflected in the lower-than-typical number of blog post and video views across the board — video topics should be either highly visual or more universally compelling.

2) The Ultimate Social Media Calendar for 2017 [Resource]

What We Published:

We embedded a YouTube video in the blog post and published the same video natively on Facebook.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 4,366 16,509 28,882
YouTube Views 409 1,242 1,673
Facebook Views 12,320 16,000 16,456
YouTube/Blog Views % 10% 13% 6%
Social Referral Traffic 262 1,369 2,019
Social/Total Traffic % 6% 9% 7%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. YouTube Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 30 seconds or more
  3. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  4. YouTube/Blog Views % = % of blog post visitors who watched the YouTube video
  5. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  6. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms

Key Takeaways:

  • This was the highest-performing blog post and YouTube video, and the second-highest performing Facebook video in the entire experiment. The topic is interesting whether you’re a marketer or not, and there is a lot of search volume around the topic. The video isn’t highly visual, but the interesting topic helped drive video and blog post views.
  • The YouTube video contributed more blog traffic than the Facebook video.
  • The YouTube video achieved a 72% view-through rate: The average watch time was 0:53 of a 1:14-long video.

Videos on Facebook

3) March Social Media News: Facebook vs. Snapchat, WhatsApp for Business & More

What We Published:

We published a video natively on Facebook and embedded it in the blog post.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 1,287 3,124 3,725
Facebook Views 6,066 6,872 7,001
Social Referral Traffic 177 286 340
Social/Total Traffic % 14% 9% 9%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  3. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  4. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • Although neither the blog post nor the Facebook video achieved a huge number of views, the Facebook video drove a meaningful portion of views to the blog post on the day it was published.
  • A technical difficulty forced us to re-upload a new version of the Facebook video, which lost us a few thousand views.

4) April Social Media News: AR on Facebook, Ads on Snapchat & More

What We Published:

We published a video natively on Facebook and embedded it in the blog post.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 2,278 2,912 3,115
Facebook Views 10,847 12,039 13,214
Social Referral Traffic 123 179 215
Social/Total Traffic % 5% 6% 7%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  3. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  4. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • The video featured video b-roll and animations instead of talking heads — and it performed well on Facebook (thanks to Nick Carney‘s video editing skills).
  • The video was published on a Friday, when people might be more willing to browse Facebook and watch videos — this could account for the first-day jump in video views.
  • A cool video doesn’t necessarily mean viewers will click through to read a blog post — this video was so informative, it stood on its own and didn’t impact blog traffic much.

5) Brain Typing & Skin Hearing: Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s 2017 F8 Conference

What We Published:

We published a video natively on Facebook and embedded it in the blog post.

How It Performed:
  Day 1 Week 1 End of Experiment
Blog Post Views 1,107 1,855 2,114
Facebook Views 15,765 16,991 17,401
Social Referral Traffic 83 128 150
Social/Total Traffic % 7% 7% 7%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Blog Post Views = # of blog post visits
  2. Facebook Views = # of times viewers watched a video for 3 seconds or more
  3. Social Referral Traffic = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms
  4. Socia/Total Traffic % = % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms
Key Takeaways:
  • We published this blog post later in the day to cover the conference, so it wasn’t sent out with our daily subscriber email — the likely reason for low traffic on the day it was published.
  • This is another example of a high-performing Facebook video that didn’t translate into high blog post performance.

Instagram Stories

6) February Social Media News: Weather on Facebook, SNL on Snapchat & More

What We Published:

We published an Instagram Story with the option to swipe up to read the blog post. The Instagram Story wasn’t published on the same day the blog post was published, so attribution numbers aren’t as straightforward.

How It Performed:
  Day of Instagram Story End of Experiment
Instagram Story Views 2,372  
Instagram Story Clicks 149  
Blog Post Views (Day of Story) 726  
Blog Post Views Overall 2,031 2,580
Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) 154  
Social Referral Traffic Overall 199 243
Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) 21%  
Social/Total Traffic % Overall 10% 9.5%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Instagram Story Views = # of times people viewed the Instagram Story
  2. Instagram Story Clicks = # of times people swiped up on the Instagram Story to view the blog post
  3. Blog Post Views (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  4. Blog Post Views Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits since date of publication
  5. Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  6. Social Referral Traffic Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms total
  7. Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) =% of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  8. Socia/Total Traffic % Overall = Cumulative % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms total

Key Takeaways:

  • The Instagram Story generated the vast majority of referral traffic, and it was a big driver of traffic overall.

7) Are Notifications Driving Us Crazy?

What We Published:

We published an Instagram Story with the option to swipe up to read the blog post. The Instagram Story wasn’t published on the same day the blog post was published, so attribution numbers aren’t as straightforward.

How It Performed:
  Day of Instagram Story End of Experiment
Instagram Story Views 2,300  
Instagram Story Clicks ~ 100  
Blog Post Views (Day of Story) 186  
Blog Post Views Overall 1,626 1,979
Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) 120  
Social Referral Traffic Overall 341 433
Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) 65%  
Social/Total Traffic % Overall 21% 22%
What These Metrics Mean:
  1. Instagram Story Views = # of times people viewed the Instagram Story
  2. Instagram Story Clicks = # of times people swiped up on the Instagram Story to view the blog post
  3. Blog Post Views (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  4. Blog Post Views Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits since date of publication
  5. Social Referral Traffic (Day of Story) = # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  6. Social Referral Traffic Overall = Cumulative # of blog post visits that came from social media platforms total
  7. Social/Total Traffic % (Day of Story) =% of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms on the day the Instagram Story was posted
  8. Socia/Total Traffic % Overall = Cumulative % of total blog post visits that came from social media platforms total
Key Takeaways:
  • Here’s another example of a high level of Instagram Story engagement. The blog post achieved a low number of views overall, but it’s meaningful that Instagram Story viewers clicked through to read the blog post and weren’t just absently scrolling.
  • The Story drove 65% of social traffic on the day of and contributed to the final social referral percentage — which is a higher than other posts in this experiment.

Going Forward: 3 Lessons Learned

We’ve already learned a lot from the experiment — here are the biggest lessons we’ll take into the next phase of turning blog content into videos.

1) High-performing Facebook videos didn’t necessarily result in a lot of blog traffic.

In a few cases, the Facebook video’s performance far outstripped the performance of the blog post — and didn’t drive a lot of traffic to the blog post, either. (Facebook doesn’t share data on the sources of video views, so the blog post embeds could have helped increase the number of views.)

A big part of the videos’ high view numbers on Facebook is undoubtedly thanks to the filming and editing skills of our team. But I think it’s also a reflection on how thorough and engaging the videos were — the viewer might not have needed to click the blog post to read more about a topic they’d already watched a video on.

Facebook videos might better serve as standalone pieces of content rather than traffic drivers to blog posts in our case, but in some cases, both the blog and Facebook worked symbiotically.

2) What goes “viral” can depend on the medium.

The best-performing blog post and YouTube video topic — as well as the second best-performing Facebook video — was the social media holiday calendar. In this case, the blog post views and the Facebook views increased rapidly alongside each other. I chose the topic based on keyword search volume and created a blog post and video that are useful and interesting to anyone on social media — which contributed to the high number of video views and a large amount of organic search traffic — 20% of the total traffic to the post.

Still, there was a relatively low amount of traffic to the blog post from the Facebook video — another reason to believe that Facebook posts might not be the biggest blog traffic driver.

The blog recap about the F8 conference achieved a smaller number of views, but the Facebook video was the best-performing in the entire experiment. Based on this experiment, news coverage and lifestyle content perform best on social media, while keyword-specific content performs better on the blog. For future video blog content experiments, we’ll try to create content that checks off both boxes to get another hit for both media.

3) Instagram Stories drove a high percentage of clickthroughs to the blog posts.

We found that the Instagram Stories we published resulted in a high percentage of clickthroughs to the blog post. In these examples, the blog posts didn’t achieve a high number of views overall, but a huge portion of social traffic the day of posting could be attributed to the Instagram Story. 

This means viewers weren’t just clicking through Instagram — they were watching stories and following the desired call-to-action to read the blog post. We’ll continue using this engaged audience to promote content on Instagram.

Next on the Blog

For the next installment of this experiment, we’re focusing on a keyword-based strategy. We’ll experiment with updating older, high-performing blog posts with new video content on YouTube and optimizing the post and the video for Google and YouTube search, respectively. We’ll publish more tactical, instructional videos for people conducting YouTube searches, and we’ll experiment with a greater variety of video creation and editing skills. And on our social media channels, we’ll cover more breaking news in the technology space and more lifestyle content we’ve seen do so well.

Next on the blog, we’ll cover more resources for how to create video content on your own, and coverage of more interesting experiments we’re doing here at HubSpot to learn more about our audience. In the meantime, download the 2017 State of Inbound Report to learn more about the latest data and insights from marketers around the world.

Have you started experimenting with video content on your blog? Share with us in the comments below.

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May

11

2017

Is Interactive Video the Next Big Thing? 3 Creative Examples from Brands

Published by in category Content Marketing, Daily, Video | Comments are closed

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It’s hardly a revelation to say that online video content is phenomenally popular. Millions of words have been written on the subject, and millions more will no doubt follow.

But one of the great things about marketers is that we’re always looking for what’s next. We know that it’s not enough to rest on our laurels, or rely on things that have worked in the past.

And when it comes to what’s next for video — I believe something is happening that we should all be feeling extremely excited about. Because, quite simply, it could enable us all to take video marketing to the next level all over again.

Is Interactive Video the Next Big Thing?

Limited Limitations

Some fairly obvious characteristics have made video the web’s most engaging media type when compared to text, images and combinations thereof. It’s the perfect blend of audio and visual elements, drilled down into bite-sized chunks that appeal to the modern viewers’ desire for immediate understanding.

But that’s not to say it’s quite the perfect storytelling device. It’s close, but falls down in one simple area: when it comes to interacting with video content, users have only really been able to play, pause, rewind and fast-forward.

Interactive video changes that. In a nutshell, this emerging technology combines video content with user input — allowing viewers to take a wide range of actions while watching video content.

They can click areas of the screen to define their own journey, answer questions, complete forms, buy products, download content and more — often without leaving the player window.

Interactive Video In Action

That’s a pretty broad definition and maybe not the easiest concept to visualize — so let’s take a look at some real-world examples.

We created the below example to explain the general idea behind interactive video and demonstrate a few possible use cases:

4 Interactive Video Examples from Brands

Now that we have a general understanding of what interactive video is and what it’s capable of, let’s take a look at some examples used by real brands.

1) Warner Bros | Focus

Ever seen the 2015 movie Focus starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie?  The guys at Warner Bros rolled out  a clever interactive video campaign to build awareness pre-release.

In the movie, Will Smith plays a con-artist — and the video lets the viewer make their own choices to see whether they have what it takes to pull off the perfect con.

Give it a shot and ask yourself: which would you be more likely to share with a friend? This gamified experience, or a traditional movie trailer?

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2) UK Resuscitation Council | Lifesaver

The next example was produced by the UK Resuscitation Council as an impactful way to educate viewers about safe, effective CPR. These are skills that we all hope we never need, but they could make the difference between life and death. It’s reported that CPR can double the chances of survival in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Take a look at the video and just consider how much more impactful this campaign might be than a pamphlet or even a simple, linear instructional video. As the old proverb goes: “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”

Involving the viewer in the process of actually performing CPR in this way is much more visceral — and it certainly imprinted the basics of CPR on my own mind, in a way that I can’t imagine would be possible with other media types.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 12.50.56 PM.png

3) Deloitte | Will You Fit Into Deloitte?

Another, more business-focused example would be this gamified recruitment experience for Deloitte. Broadly speaking, the campaign aims to educate potential recruits about the Deloitte culture while allowing the viewer to evaluate their own suitability to work within that culture.

Recruitment videos can be a little dry and boring, so this is a nice way to infuse things with a little fun without going too far off-message.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 12.58.37 PM.png

Looking Ahead for Interactive Video

Like all new technology, interactive video might have started as a sort of “fringe” technology that seemed slightly intimidating, inaccessible and, most importantly, unaffordable. Now, that’s slowly changing. Costs are falling, businesses are getting inspired and the technology is increasingly available and accessible, even for SME’s and startups.

With all that said, adoption is far from widespread. Wyzowls state of video marketing survey 2017 suggests that, even among committed video marketers, adoption of interactive video is around the 24% mark. What’s interesting, though, is that 92% of those who’ve tried it, reported that they’ve found interactive video to be an effective tool for their business.

There are lots of exciting things happening in the world of video marketing — short-form, 360 and even VR — but interactive video might just be the most exciting of all. We can’t wait to see more brands serving up unique, interactive experiences to their customers as we all find out more about its potential for success.

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May

10

2017

How to Use Facebook Live: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Canonical, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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In April 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Live, a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook News Feed.

Since its launch, live streaming video has grown in popularity, with 16% of marketers broadcasting it in 2016. Facebook Live is particularly popular — videos see 3X the engagement of traditional videos shared on the platforms, and millions of users live stream on Facebook around the world.

Why are marketers getting so excited about Facebook Live? Because it’s a fun and simple way for them to use the power of video to communicate their brand stories and build authentic relationships with fans and followers — in real time.

However, for such a simple concept, Facebook Live has a lot of little nuances that marketers will need to learn if they want to get the most out of the platform. This guide will help you learn the best tricks and tricks that can make a big, big difference in how many people see your live broadcast, how they engage with it, and how it performs.

Download our Facebook Live guide to learn how to increase your social  following and brand awareness through live video.  

In this post, we’ll walk through how to broadcast on Facebook Live, how to analyze your live video’s performance, and several tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform. (Click here to skip down to the tips.)

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live

Facebook Live started as a mobile-only broadcasting feature, but now, Facebook Pages can broadcast from either mobile devices or desktop computers. We’ll go over how to broadcast from mobile and desktop devices in the sections below.

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live via Mobile

To get started, get out your mobile device and open up the Facebook app.

Step 1: Go to the News Feed, and tap the “Live” option denoted by the FB_Live_NewsFeed.png icon.

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You can also go live from your own Facebook profile. Open up the status bar by tapping the text that reads “What’s on your mind?” Then, select the “Live Video” option from the menu.

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Step 2: Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted.

You’ll stop receiving these prompts after the first time you use it.   camera_permission.png

Step 3: Choose your privacy setting.

If you’re posting for a brand, you’ll probably want to make it public. If you’re posting as yourself, you might want to reserve your broadcast for friends. But if you’re new to Facebook Live and want to test it out first, or want to see what something will look like, then switch the privacy setting to “Only Me.” You can find the “Only Me” option by clicking “More” and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

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Step 4: Write a compelling description.

Give your broadcast a description, which will show up on people’s News Feeds like a status update above the video. To get people to tune in, write an attention-grabbing headline and help them understand what your broadcast is about. Check out the example below from The White House’s live broadcast.

FBlivedescription.pngwhite-house-facebook-live-description.jpg

Image Credit: Facebook

Step 5: Tag friends, choose your location, or add an activity.

Tap the icons at the bottom of your screen to tag people who are in the Facebook Live video, add the location from where you’re shooting, or share what you’re doing in the broadcast. These touches can add more personalization to your video, increase discoverability, and make people want to tune in.

personalizationFBlive.png

Step 6: Set up your camera view.

Before you click “Go Live,” be sure your camera’s pointing in the direction you want it to. The background of your setup screen will show you what your camera sees. If you want to change the camera view to selfie or vice versa, simply click the rotating arrows icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

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The video will be a square, so it doesn’t matter whether you hold your mobile device vertically or horizontally.

Pro tip: You can choose if you want the image to be horizontally or vertically mirrored, too. Tap the magic wand icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, then tap the tools icon at the bottom of your screen to film from a different view or to adjust the video’s brightness.

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Step 7: Add lenses, filters, or writing and drawing to your video.

Tap the magicwand.png icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, and choose if you want to add lenses to your face, change the filter of the camera, or write or draw to make the video more whimsical.

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Step 8: Click the blue “Go Live” button to start broadcasting.

Once you click it, Facebook will give you a countdown — “3, 2, 1 …” — and then you’ll be live. As soon as you start streaming, your live video will appear in your News Feed — and others’ News Feeds — just like any other post.

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Your broadcast can be up to 90 minutes long. Keep in mind that the longer you broadcast, the more people who are scrolling through their News Feeds on Facebook will stumble upon your post.

Step 9: Interact with viewers and commenters.

To keep your viewers engaged, encourage them to interact with your live video (which will help your ranking in others’ News Feeds). You can also interact with them both by speaking directly to them in your video and, if you want, by having someone else respond to comments from a desktop computer elsewhere.

Where can you see these comments? While you’re broadcasting, you’ll see the time elapsed on the top left along with the number of viewers, and comments will show up live on the bottom of your feed. They’ll appear in reverse chronological order, like on Twitter, so keep in mind that the earlier ones may be farther down.

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Image Credit: Facebook Newsroom

Note: You can also block viewers during a live broadcast by tapping the profile picture next to a viewer’s comment and then tapping “Block.” You can unblock someone you’ve previously blocked, too.

Step 10: Click “Finish” to end the broadcast.

Once you do this, the video will stay on your Timeline or Page like any other video post.

Step 11: Post your reply and save the video to your camera roll.

Once you finish your broadcast, you’ll be met with a screen similar to the one I’ve screenshot below. If you want to post it, that will enable others to view your video once you’ve stopped broadcasting. Then, tap the download button to save the video to your camera roll so you have a copy of the original for safekeeping.

FBlivepostreplay.png

Step 12: You’re done.

You can always go back to the post on your Timeline or Page and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

FBlive_post.png

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live via Desktop

If you’re an admin or editor of a Facebook Page for your brand, you can also broadcast live from a desktop computer. This isn’t as spontaneous as broadcasting from a mobile device (and, obviously, isn’t as mobile), but this could be a good option for filming more static broadcasts. For example, we recently broadcast a Facebook Live panel in celebration of International Women’s Day. The panelists and interviewer sat in place the entire time, an example of when broadcasting from a steadier device could be more effective.

Step 1: Go to your Page and tap the “Write something” box, as if you’re writing a new post.

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Tap the menu option to “See All,” and click on “Start a Live Video.”

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Step 2: Write a compelling description of your video that will appear on your Page’s Timeline and in the News Feed.

Choose a descriptive and enticing summary to draw viewers in and make them unmute your Facebook Live to start watching.

FB_live_desktop_2.png

Then, click “Next.”

Step 3: Give Facebook permission to use your computer’s camera and microphone.

You won’t be prompted for this again once you do it for the first time.

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Step 4: Check to make sure your description and video view are final before starting your broadcast.

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From here, you also have the option to share live video from an external device, such as a video camera or other recording device. Tap “click here” to set up that connection.

Step 5: Press “Go Live” to start your broadcast.

Facebook will give you a “3, 2, 1 … ” countdown before going live. Tap “Finish” when you’re ready to end the broadcast.

Step 6: The broadcast will appear in the News Feed and on your Page’s Timeline, where you can edit it by tapping the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner.

From here, you can change the description, change the date of posting, or create a new Facebook post featuring the broadcast. If you want a video to garner more engagement, you can also pin it to the top of your brand’s Page so it’s the first post visitors see when they visit.

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Now that you know how to broadcast from all devices, let’s dive into how to analyze Facebook Live videos.

How to Analyze Your Live Video’s Performance

How to Access Video Analytics on a Facebook Business Page

To get started analyzing your Facebook Live broadcasts, head to the “Insights” tab at the top of your brand’s Facebook Page:

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Then, head to the “Videos” section of your analytics on the left-hand side of the screen.

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From there, scroll down to the “Top Videos” section, and either choose a video from that menu to look into, or tap “Video Library” to look at all of the videos your Page has ever posted.

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Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

The performance analytics available for Facebook Live videos are similar to those of normal videos on Facebook, with some neat additions.

  • For Pre-recorded videos: Facebook lets you analyze minutes viewed, unique viewers, video views, 10-second views, average % completion, and a breakdown of reactions, comments, and shares.
  • For Facebook Live videos: Facebook lets you analyze all the metrics listed above, plus peak live viewers, total views, average watch time, people reached, and the demographics of who watched your video.

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In addition to all of these static numbers, you can click in to each metric to see how it changed over time when the video was live. For example, if we click into “Peak Live Viewers,” we’ll see this interactive graph of video viewers over time:

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You can even see who your typical viewer was during your broadcast, based on their Facebook profile information:

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Now that you’ve got the steps down, let’s get into some tips and tricks.

14 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Facebook Live

There are a lot of little things you can do to squeeze the most out of your Facebook Live videos. Below is an example of one of the earliest Facebook Live videos from Refinery29. This was the first video of a five-part live video series called “Chasing Daylight,” showcasing a typical night out for women in five different cities around the world. My colleague, HubSpot Marketing Manager Lindsay Kolowich, tracked this one down, and we refer to it in some of the tips below.

Warning: Some NSFW language.

1) Test out live video using the “Only Me” privacy setting.

If you want to play around with live broadcasting without actually sharing it with anyone else, you can change the privacy setting so you’re the only one who can see it — just like with any other Facebook post.

To switch the privacy setting to “Only Me,” follow steps 1–4 in the instructions above.

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2) Space out live videos with other Facebook posts.

Here’s a tip from HubSpot’s Social Video Manager Chelsea Hunersen. Because Facebook ranks Live videos higher than other videos and other types of posts, Hunersen recommends spacing out your Facebook Live videos with other Facebook content you post.

“Wait at least two hours before or after you post a Facebook live video,” she says. “Otherwise, your Facebook Live video may cannibalize additional traffic.”

3) Keep reintroducing yourself.

When you first start the video, take a minute to introduce yourself and what the video’s about. But keep in mind that when you first start live streaming, you may have zero people watching. Even a few seconds in, you could only have a handful of viewers. As people find your video on their News Feeds, they’ll join in — but that means you’ll want to reintroduce yourself a second, third, and even a fourth time to catch people up.

For example, in the Refinery29 video above, the host Lucie Fink introduces herself three times in the first few minutes, and several more times after that.

One second in:

Hello, Facebook Live! Hey! Lucie Fink here. I don’t know if we have anyone on the broadcast yet, so I’m going to wait about one minute to see who joins us.”

One minute in:

Hello to the 309 viewers in here right now. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29. Just to recap what’s happening right now, this is Episode One of Refinery29’s new global initiative, ‘Chasing Daylight.'”

A few minutes in:

Just to give a quick recap on who I am, in case you guys don’t know — I’m Lucie Fink. I work at Refinery 29. Today, I’m doing this whole new series, and this is essentially giving you guys a glimpse into the lives of women all over the world.”

15 minutes in:

So now that we have 3.5 thousand people in this broadcast, let me just start from the top because some of you might not know what is happening. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29, and you might know me from some videos, you might not. Either way, it is nice to meet you. Today, we are starting a new video series on Refinery’s Facebook Live platform. It’s called ‘Chasing Daylight,’ and it’s gonna be on every night this week.”

25 minutes in:

That’s what I think is so cool about ‘Chasing Daylight.’ For the people who are new and don’t really get why I’m sitting on my toilet, the answer is, I am Lucie Fink, and [this is] Episode One, the New York version of ‘Chasing Daylight,’ which is Refinery29’s new live Facebook series that’s starting right now.”

4) Make the video visually engaging.

Although all videos on Facebook auto-play in people’s News Feeds, they’re on mute until the viewer manually turns the volume on. That means you have to be visually engaging — not just at the very beginning of your broadcast (although that’ll be important for when folks view the video later), but throughout the video as more and more people join in.

The more visually engaging you can be, the more you can entice people to stick around. That means keeping the camera moving and not just sitting in one place — something Lucie did really well in that Refinery29 video.

Not only will you get more viewers this way, but you’ll also get your broadcast ranked higher in other people’s News Feeds. Facebook started monitoring signals of video engagement — like turning on the audio, switching to full-screen mode, or enabling high definition — interpreting that as users enjoying the video. As a result, they’ve tweaked the algorithm so videos that are engaged with in these ways will appear higher up on the feed.

5) Make it spontaneous.

What makes a live video special? The spontaneous, interactive nature of it.

“People love the ability to interact,” says Hunersen. “They love the novelty of viewing someone in a live moment when anything could happen. It’s the new reality TV.”

A big part of what makes Refinery29’s live video so great is how much Lucie and her friends embrace the “live,” spontaneous nature of it. For example, at one point, Lucie calls on her friends to reenact a scene from the Broadway show Hamilton. It was scrappy, unrehearsed, and really funny. Her other friends were laughing at her. It reminded me of a fun night with my own friends. “This is literally what we do at the office,” Lucie said about the performance through laughs.

These moments are what make live video special, and they’re exactly what differentiates it from scripted, edited, or otherwise pre-recorded videos. Embrace the platform. Banter is always, always good.

6) Don’t worry about mistakes or stutters.

Spontaneity works — even if your Facebook Live doesn’t go according to plan.

Let’s face it, we’re all human. And when humans and technology mix, there can sometimes be technical difficulties.

If you’re recording a live video, things might go wrong — your equipment could malfunction, you could lose your train of thought, or you could get photobombed by a random passerby. You can’t call “cut” if things happen — you have to roll with them and keep filming and talking.

The good news? These things help keep your broadcast human and real. If you wobble your phone while filming, laugh and call it out. If you forget what you were saying, make a joke. The key is to keep the broadcast like a fun conversation, so if mistakes happen, keep it light and keep the lines of communication open with your viewers.

For example, if you make a mistake during your Facebook Live, ask viewers to write in the comments if they’ve made the same mistake, too.

7) Encourage viewers to Like and share the video.

One of the primary ways Facebook’s algorithm ranks a post is by how many people Like and share it. The more people who Like and share your live broadcast, the more it’ll show up in people’s News Feeds.

But when people are watching a video, they may be more distracted from Liking and sharing it than they would a text or photo post. (That’s something the folks at Facebook noticed about video content early on, which is why they began monitoring other video engagement signals as well, like turning on the volume.)

In Refinery29’s video, you’ll notice Lucie explicitly asks viewers to Like and share the video many times throughout. Here are a few examples:

  • “If you like this broadcast and share it right now, you guys will be part of this brand new series that’s starting right now on Refinery29.”
  • “If you guys share this broadcast, you’ll be part of history. And what’s better than being part of history?”
  • “Thumbs up if you like Hamilton.”
  • “Thank you guys for all these Likes. My screen is absurdly blue right now because I’m getting tons of thumbs up.”
  • “Share this with your best girlfriend who you think is strong and powerful.”

I like the last example the best because she’s asking viewers to share it with a specific type of person — in this case, a best girlfriend. This might prompt viewers to think, “Hey, she’s right, my friend Stacy might like this” and then share it with that specific friend.

8) Engage with commenters, and call them out by name.

The number of comments on your broadcast is another way to get Facebook to give it a higher relevancy score, making it more likely to show up on people’s News Feeds. So encourage your viewers to comment, and engage with people who are commenting by answering their questions and calling them out by name. Not only will it get more people to comment, but it’s also a fun way to include your viewers in the live experience, which could make them stick around longer.

“Your audience will be thrilled to hear you mention their name and answer their questions when you are live,” says Hunersen.

In the Refinery29 video, Lucie was constantly engaging with viewers and commenters. At one point, for example, she said, “We’re so excited to see you guys! Do you have any questions for someone who lives in New York City?” Then, she read a few of the comments that came in and responded to them — using commenters’ first names.

We do this here at HubSpot with our Facebook Live broadcasts, too. Check out all the chatter in the comments — we used those questions to keep our discussion going.

9) Have someone else watching and responding to comments from a desktop computer.

When you’re the one holding the camera for a Facebook Live video, it’s really hard to see the comments popping up on the mobile screen. If the comments are coming in fast, it’s especially easy to lose sight of them as they disappear below the fold. Plus, you’re probably occupied by recording and entertaining viewers.

Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have an additional person logged into the primary account to monitor the comments on a desktop computer. That way, they can take care of responding so the person recording the video can concentrate on creating a great experience.

10) Subtitle your broadcast in the comments section.

Your viewers may be tuning in and out to watch your video during the work day, or they might simply be watching your video without sound. Either way, periodically subtitling the video in the comments section is a great way to keep people engaged. This also allows people who are tuning in late to catch up on what’s going on.

Take some inspiration from Refinery29 — it captioned the video with some of the most snackable one-liners and quotes from the broadcast in the comments section:

FBliverefinery29comments.png

11) Ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications.

In addition to asking for Likes, shares, and comments, ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications. To do that, all viewers have to do is click the small, downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the live video post, and choose “Turn On Notifications.”

You can also ask them to Like your brand on Facebook, which will make it more likely that they’ll be notified of your next live broadcast. Lucie does this in the Refinery29 video.

12) Broadcast for at least 10 minutes.

As soon as you begin recording your live video, you’ll start slowly but surely showing up in people’s News Feeds. The longer you broadcast — especially as Likes, comments, and shares start coming in — the more likely people are to discover your video and share it with their friends.

Because timing is such an important factor for engagement in these live videos, we recommend that you go live for at least 10 minutes, although you can stay live for up to 90 minutes for a given video.

13) Say goodbye before you wrap up.

Before you end your live broadcast, be sure to finish with a closing line, like “Thanks for watching” or “I’ll be going live again soon.”

Lucie from Refinery29 checked a few other engagement requests off the list at the end of her broadcast:

So, we are about to sign off. It’s been such an amazing first episode of ‘Chasing Daylight.’ . . . Don’t forget to share this to your friends right now so you can always find this series and go back to it. . . . We’re so happy that you tuned into our episode in New York. . . . Goodnight from New York City!”

14) Add a link to the description later.

Once you’ve finished the live broadcast, you can always go back and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

Here’s where you can add a trackable link to the description in the post, which can direct future viewers to your live video series page, the site of whatever campaign you’re using the video to promote, or somewhere else.

To edit the description of a video: Find the video on your Timeline or Page and click the downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the post. Choose “Edit Post” from the dropdown menu, and edit the description accordingly.

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We hope this has been a helpful guide. We’ll keep you posted with any new developments and tips for connecting with your audience in more cool ways.

What strategies have brought you greatest success using Facebook Live? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Apr

25

2017

8 How-To Videos We Love (and Why)

Published by in category Daily, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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Have you ever learned how to do something with the help of an internet search?

The answer is most likely a resounding “yes.” Most recently, I taught myself how to fold a fitted sheet with a helpful video from homemaker extraordinaire and friend of Snoop Dogg Martha Stewart.

Videos are an especially compelling way to learn how to do something online because, well, the video shows you exactly how to do it. I’m not alone here, either — 4X as many customers would prefer to watch a video about a product, rather than read about it. So if you’re among the many marketers producing more video content this year, there could be a lot of value in making videos specifically for those in your audience who are trying to learn how to do something, too.

In this post, we’ll explore just how popular these searches are on YouTube and what you can learn from eight how-to videos about how to make great teaching videos of your own.

How-To Video Searches Are Popular

How-to searches are incredibly popular. Think about just in your own life for a moment, and reconsider my question at the beginning of this blog post.

As it turns out, 91% of smartphone users consult their various devices seeking help completing a task. But these searches aren’t all happening on Google. People are searching for videos to learn how to do things on YouTube.

According to Think With Google, how-to searches are increasing 70% year-over-year on YouTube, and more than 100 million hours of how-to videos were watched in North America alone in recent years.

8 How-To Videos on YouTube to Learn From

1) How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

You may recognize the title of this how-to video — it’s the one I mentioned earlier in this very blog post. Are you always gets stymied when putting away fitted sheets on laundry day like me?

What I love about this video is how it showcases personality. It’s a simple how-to video of humans demonstrating how to do something, without any animations or high tech features, but it’s still extremely effective at teaching the viewer. Stewart and her guests make jokes about how hard it is to fold the sheet — Stewart even joking that her inability to do so led to her divorce — and they show the viewer how easy it is to get tripped up in the process. Stewart and her guests also have empathy for the viewer and show exactly how to avoid pitfalls along the way.

Takeaway for marketers: If you want to create a how-to video “hosted” by a real, live human, make sure they act like a human. Videos are an easy way for brands to showcase personality, so put yourself in the shoes of your viewer, and infuse humor, sincerity, and empathy into your instructions. If the concept you’re explaining is complicated, tell the viewer that. If you had no idea how to use your product at first, share that. Speaking like a human — instead of reading off a script like a robot — will make your video memorable, effective, and enjoyable, too.

2) How to Cook Perfect Pasta

Tasty on BuzzFeed shares cooking and recipe videos that frequently go viral on YouTube and other social media and reach millions of people every month. But this video isn’t one of Tasty’s trademark recipe videos — it’s one of several how-to videos that break down common or difficult cooking skills step-by-step. 

In this video, Tasty uses hyperlapse to speed up the cooking demonstration and get the viewer the information they need as quickly as possible. This fast-paced filming style is eye-catching if it starts auto-playing in a social media feed, too. Tasty chose a smart how-to search term, too — there’s a ton of search volume around the phrase “how to cook pasta.”

Takeaway for marketers: Viewers prefer YouTube videos on the shorter side, so sped-up hyperlapse filming helps conserve time and creates a neat visual effect. Work backward and conduct keyword research to learn what terms your audience is searching for to find a topic to make your video about.

3) How to Escape Quicksand

Evidently, Princess Buttercup’s tragic fall into quicksand in The Princess Bride wouldn’t have been quite as terrifying in real life.

In this how-to video, Tech Insider uses captions and animations to break down a complicated concept. I wasn’t exactly searching for information on how to escape quicksand when I found this video, but the unique subject matter made me instantly click, intrigued. What’s more, the sound isn’t required — although it does add dramatic effect — which might make people more likely to click and watch all the way through, since many social media videos are watched on mute.

Takeaway for marketers: Your how-to videos don’t necessarily need to be about a dry topic related to your industry. If you create a fascinating piece of content that goes viral, you’ll generate interest in your brand that way. Animations and captions help to show — rather than explain — trickier concepts like quicksand, so consider these visual elements for high-level explanations. And if there’s a way to make your videos volume-agnostic, do so. Some videos will require narration or other sounds, but the visual elements mentioned previously could do the talking for you.

4) How to Blow Out Curly Hair

Anyone who’s ever gotten a blowout knows that it can be expensive and time-consuming to have it professionally done.

So Bustle cleverly made a how-to video that teaches viewers how to DIY and save money — a motivating factor behind many how-to online searches, I suspect. This video is also short, which MiniMatters suggests for enticing viewers to watch videos all the way through. YouTube counts a view as once a video has been watched for approximately 30 seconds, so viewers with short attention spans might be more likely to stick around for that long if they see a video is shorter, like this one.

Takeaway for marketers: Almost everybody wants to save money where they can, so think about ways your how-to video could help viewers do that when brainstorming topics. When filming, try to keep videos as short as possible to attract viewers and keep them watching all the way through to steadily increase your number of YouTube views.

5) How to Add a Friend to a Group

In this short and sweet how-to demonstration video, Facebook infuses humor to provide context for the topic it unpacks. It gives the viewer a chuckle, and research shows that content that elicits strong positive feelings makes the material more memorable and sticky.

Takeaway for marketers: Don’t be afraid to be humorous and silly in your videos — even if it’s a little dorky, like in this example. It helps place the lesson your video teaches in context for your viewer and shows off the more personable side of your brand.

6) How to Asana: Planning with Asana calendar

Asana cleverly brands its how-to video series as “How to Asana,” and all of the videos in the series feature a consistent theme. All of the videos in this series are under two minutes in length, are hosted by the same person, and feature an eye-popping yellow background. The meat of the video consists of a screencast of someone using the Asana calendar tool, but these branding details bring life to what would otherwise be a rather boring video.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re thinking about creating a how-to video series, take the extra time to make it memorable and recognizable. These efforts will make videos look more professional and will make viewers want to keep tuning in for more helpful videos if they know they can expect more.

7) How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop

Who else here loves GIFs? That’s right — everyone loves GIFs.

But before I watched the video above, I had no idea how easy it was to make my own. That’s the ideal reaction to a how-to video, by the way — “that was so easy.”

Adobe’s how-to video is a great example of a software demonstration video because it zooms in on only the necessary information. Instead of confusing the viewer by showing the entire Photoshop interface, the video features magnified animations of only the buttons and tools they need to accomplish the task at hand.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re making a technology demonstration how-to video, consider how it will appear to any first-time product users watching. Try to minimize any confusion by only filming elements of the technology needed for your video so viewers can follow along on their devices.

8) How to Increase Your Facebook Reach and Outsmart the Algorithm

You might be hesitant to create videos to explain a complicated subject matter, but that could actually be the most effective medium to help your audience understand something.

In this video, my colleague Megan Conley breaks down the many nuances of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm in a clear and concise manner. Then, graphics, animations, and screencasts supplement what she talks about with data visualizations to make the stats and figures more memorable for the viewer. Finally, the video ends with helpful next steps viewers can take to solve the problem outlined in the video. The video isn’t about how to use HubSpot software at all — it’s only in the business of helping people get better results.

Takeaway for marketers: The most compelling how-to video might be one that doesn’t mention your product at all. Think about what questions your audience might be asking and establish your brand as a thought leader with helpful videos that don’t end with a sales pitch.

How to Make How-To Videos

Now that you have inspiration from real-life B2B and B2C brand videos, start thinking about how you could create helpful content for your audience.

Create buyer personas and use these to inform your strategy. What types of questions does your audience ask about your product? What questions do they ask about your industry? What problems does your product solve that you could demonstrate in a video? Use tools like Google Trends and HubSpot’s Keywords tool to learn more about the types of searches your audience is conducting and what content you could create to answer those questions.

What’s the best how-to video you’ve ever seen? Share with us in the comments below.

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Mar

28

2017

How Generations X, Y, and Z Consume Video Content [Infographic]

Published by in category Daily, IGSS, Video | Comments are closed

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YouTube has over one billion users worldwide, and they all watch different types of videos every day. What’s your favorite type of video to watch on the platform?

As it turns out, your video preferences may vary depending on your date of birth: Influenster surveyed nearly 8,500 YouTube users of all ages to learn about their viewing habits and interests.

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Although younger generations spend more time on YouTube than their older counterparts, Generations X, Y, and Z all have specific preferences when it comes to how and where they want to consume video content on different topics. For example, while a significant portion of respondents said they liked watching product reviews, Generation X preferred how-to content, and Generation Z liked unboxing videos.

Check out the full infographic from Adweek below, and learn more about how to create compelling social media videos with help from our guide.

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Mar

17

2017

20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks & Features You'll Want to Know About

Published by in category Canonical, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

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When people talk about today’s most popular social sharing websites, YouTube often gets left out of the conversation in favor of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But don’t be fooled: YouTube has a lot going for it. Although Facebook might be the largest social networking site, YouTube has the second greatest reach after Facebook in terms of general usage. It’s also the second biggest search engine behind its parent company, Google.

And there are a ton of cool things you can do with YouTube that you might not know about, whether you use YouTube to watch videos, post them, or both. For example, did you know that YouTube automatically creates a written transcript for your videos — and that polishing them can help you get your videos found more easily in search? Or that you can use YouTube to easily create a photo slideshow, and even set it to music using its royalty-free audio library?

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Mind-blowing stuff, people. To help you make the most out of the still very popular platform, we’ve put together a list of 20 of the lesser-known hacks, tips, and features YouTube has to offer.

20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks & Features You’ll Want to Know About

1) You can create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time.

Ever wanted to send someone a YouTube video, but point them to a specific moment? Let’s say, for example, that you’re trying to recruit your friends to learn the dance in Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” music video with you.

Instead of sending your friends the general YouTube link and instructing them to fast-forward to the 0:50 minute mark, you can actually send them a specific link that starts the video at whatever time you choose. Click here to see what I mean. I’ll wait.

Back? Alright, here’s how to do it.

To create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time: Open up the video and click “Share” underneath the video title. Then, under the first tab (also labeled “Share”), check the box next to “Start at:” and type in the time (in hours:minutes:seconds) you want. Alternatively, you can pause the video at the time you want it to start and that field will autofill.

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After a few moments, you’ll see a tag add itself to the end of the generic YouTube link (in this case, ?t=50s). Simply copy that link and paste it wherever you’d like.

It’s worth noting that you can’t embed a video so it starts at a certain time; you can’t only link to it.

2) You can easily see the written transcripts of people’s videos.

Did you know that YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website? That’s right — and anyone has access to that transcript unless the user manually hides it from viewers.

I can think of a number of different situations where video transcripts can come in handy. For example, maybe you want to write down a quote from a video, but the tedium of pausing-and-typing, pausing-and-typing would drive you up a wall. Or perhaps you need to find a specific section of a video, but don’t want to rewatch the whole thing to find it. With a transcript in hand, you can find information like this without doing it all by hand.

To see a video’s transcript: Open the video in YouTube and press the “More” tab underneath the video title. Choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu.

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(If you aren’t seeing this option, it’s because the user chose to hide the transcript.)

The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. In many cases, the user who uploaded the video will not have gone back and manually polished the transcript, so it won’t be perfect. But it’ll certainly save you some time and pain.

youtube_transcript_example.png

3) You can help your video get found in search by editing or uploading a transcript.

Both YouTube and its parent company Google look at a number of factors when ranking videos in search to determine what your video is about, and your transcript is one of them. (An even bigger ranking factor is your video’s description, which is why Digital Marketing Consultant Ryan Stewart suggests that you actually paste your transcript right into the description box, too.)

To add a transcript to your video: Open the video on YouTube, and you’ll see a row of icons just below the play button. Click the icon on the far right for “Subtitles/CC.” (CC stands for “Closed Captions.)

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Set your language if you haven’t already. Then, you’ll then be prompted to choose among three different ways to add subtitles or closed captions to your video by …

  1. Uploading a pre-written text transcript or a timed subtitles file. (Learn more about the file types you can upload and more here.)
  2. Pasting in a full transcript of the video, wherein subtitle timings will be set automatically.
  3. Typing them in as you watch the video.

The folks at YouTube have done some great things to make that third option (typing as you watch) as painless as possible. For example, if you check a box next to “Pause video while typing,” it’ll make the whole process a lot faster. Here’s a GIF showing that in action:

youtube-transcribe.gif

4) You can use YouTube to easily get free transcriptions of your videos and audio files.

This is the last one about transcripts, I promise — but I’ll bet you never thought about them this way. As you know from #2, YouTube automatically adds a transcript to every video. But if you’re looking for a one-off transcription of an audio or video file and don’t want to pay for a service, YouTube’s built-in captioning system isn’t a bad place to start. You can always clean it up later.

To get an automated transcription for a video: Simply upload your video to YouTube, open it on YouTube’s website, press the “More” tab underneath the video title, and choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu. The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. If you want to clean it up, follow the steps outlined in #3 for a user-friendly experience.

To get an automated transcription for an audio file: You’ll need to upload your audio recording to YouTube using a service like TunesToTube. It’ll take anywhere between 2–30 minutes for YouTube to upload it. Then, follow the instructions for getting an automated transcription for a video, outlined above.

5) You can create, share, and collaborate on video playlists.

Just like on your other favorite media sharing sites like Spotify and iTunes, you can create a “playlist” on YouTube — which is really just a place to store and organize the videos (your own and others’). You can keep playlists private, make them public, or even share them directly with others.

Playlists are useful for a variety of different types of users, from an individual collecting cooking videos for their upcoming dinner party to a brand segmenting its YouTube video content by topic. For example, Tasty’s YouTube playlists break up recipes by meal type, making it easier for people to browse and find what they’re looking for:

tasty playlists example.png

To create a playlist on desktop: Go to your Playlists page by clicking here or clicking your account icon in the top right, choosing “Creator Studio,” clicking “Video Manager” on the left, and choosing “Playlists.” Then, click “New Playlist” on the top right and choose whether you’d like to keep it private or make it public.

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To create a playlist on mobile: Click here for instructions explaining how to create new playlists using your iOS or Android mobile devices.

To add a video to a playlist: If you’re adding a video to a playlist while you’re watching it, click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to.

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If you want to add a video to a playlist right from your Playlists page, simply click “Add Video” and either paste in a video URL, choose a video from your uploads, or search for a video on YouTube. Once you find the video you want to add, select the “Add to” menu from that video and add it to the playlist.

Your friends can contribute to your playlists, too. All you have to do is turn on the ability to collaborate on playlists. Once you turn it on, anyone you share a playlist link with can add videos to that playlist. (They can also remove any videos they’ve added, too.)

To add friends to a playlist: Go to your Playlists page again and open the playlist you want to collaborate on. Click “Playlist Settings” and choose the “Collaborate” tag. Toggle on that collaborators can add videos to the playlist, and from there, you can send them a link where they can add videos to the playlist.

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Once your friend’s been invited to a playlist, they’ll be able to add new videos to it and remove videos they’ve added in the past. They just have to follow some on-screen instructions first to confirm they want to be a contributor and to save the playlist to their own account.

When you add a video to a playlist you’re collaborating on, your name will appear next to the video in the playlist, and everyone who’s been invited to collaborate on that playlist will get a notification that a new video has been added.

(To learn more about how to manage contributors, stop accepting contributions to a playlist, and so on, read this YouTube Support page.)

6) You can save videos to watch later.

Ever seen YouTube videos you wished you could bookmark for later? Maybe you aren’t able to turn the sound on at the moment, or perhaps you just don’t have time to watch it. Well, YouTube took a page out of Facebook’s … book … by adding something very similar to Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature. On YouTube, you can save videos to a “Watch Later” playlist to access whenever you want.

The “Watch Later” playlist operates just like a normal playlist, so the instructions are identical to the previous step (except you can’t invite others to collaborate on your “Watch Later” playlist).

To add a video to your “Watch Later” playlist: Open the video on YouTube and click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to, just like you did in the previous step. The steps are very similar on mobile, but click here if you want the full instructions from YouTube’s Support page.

To access those videos: Simply go to your YouTube homepage and choose “Watch Later” from the menu on the upper left-hand side of your screen.

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From there, you can watch the videos you were saving, as well as easily remove videos from that list that you’ve already watched.

7) You can create your own custom YouTube URL.

Want to give people an easy-to-remember web address to get to your YouTube channel? You can actually create a custom URL, which you can base on things like your display name, your YouTube username, any current vanity URLs that you have, or the name of your linked website. HubSpot’s, for example, is https://www.youtube.com/hubspot.

Important Note: Before you do this, make sure you’re positive this is the custom URL you want — because once it’s approved, you can’t request to change it, nor can you transfer it to someone else. Keep in mind that it’ll be linked to both your YouTube channel and your Google+ identity, too.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s eligible for a custom URL. To get one, you have to have 100 or more subscribers, be at least 30 days old, have an uploaded photo as channel icon, and have uploaded channel art. If that sounds like you, keep reading.

To claim your custom URL: Open up your YouTube account settings and click “Advanced” in your name section.

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If you’re eligible for a custom URL, you’ll be prompted to claim yours by clicking a link.

advanced_youtube_settings.png

Select the box next to “I agree to the Terms of Service.” Then, once you’re absolutely sure it’s the URL you want since you can’t ever change it, click “Change URL” to make it final.

8) You can add clickable links to your videos.

Want people to not only watch your video, but engage with it, too? On YouTube, you can add clickable links YouTube calls “annotations” to your videos. These annotations work kind of like call-to-action buttons, and you can use them to link people to subscribe to your channel, to link to merchandise or a fundraising campaign, to go to another resource to learn more, and so on.

It’s an easy way to encourage people to actually engage and interact with your videos. (For marketers, it might even be a way to send people back to your website.)

What do these clickable links look like? To see one in action, check out the video below. You’ll see it pop up at the 22-second mark — and if you click on it, you’ll see it pauses the video and opens up a new tab in your browser for you to explore.

Pretty cool, huh? Here’s how you add annotations like that to your own videos.

To add a clickable link/annotation to a video: First, make sure your YouTube account is verified and that you have external linking turned on for your account.

Once you’ve got that set up, open up YouTube and go to your Video Manager by clicking here or clicking “My Channel” and then “Video Manager” near the top of your YouTube home page.

youtube_videomanager.png

Then, find the video you want to add links to and click the arrow next to “Edit.” Choose “End screen and Annotations” (more on end screens later) from the drop-down menu.

add annotation youtube.png

Toggle to “Annotations,” click “Add Annotation” to add a new annotation, and choose from the five annotation types in the pull-down menu: Speech bubble, Note, Title, Spotlight, or Label. For this tutorial, we chose the note option, but there are a variety of options you can experiment with.

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Once you choose an annotation type, you can then add text, choose your font, size, background color, and transparency. Below the video, you can choose exact start time you want your annotations to start and end.

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Here’s the key part: To add a link, tick the checkbox next to “Link” and choose what type of page you’ll link to, like an “Associated Website.” (Pro Tip: Use tracking tokens on the URL to track how many people actually click it.)

When you’re done, click “Apply changes” — and you’re all set. You can always edit your annotations after publishing by going back into the “Edit Annotation” tool and click “Edit existing annotation.”

You can read this article for more thorough instructions on adding annotations to videos.

Note: Annotations appear on standard YouTube players and embedded players, but they don’t appear on YouTube chromeless players, or on mobile, tablet, and TV devices.

9) You can also add an end screen or cards to promote content.

How to Add an End Screen

Do your favorite YouTube creators have a fancy closing screen that encourages you to keep watching their videos? For example, here’s one from Saturday Night Live:

SNL_youtube_end screen.png

You can create a customized end screen, too. They help keep viewers on your channel by suggesting other videos and sites they can check out. Here’s how to do it:

Navigate to your Video Manager, tap “Edit,” and select “End screen & Annotations” from the drop-down menu:

endscreen_youtube.png

From there, you’re taken to the End screen creator studio, where you can play around with different templates and background to determine how you want your end screen to appear. Then, click the “Add element” menu to decide where you want to send viewers from your end screen.

addelement_youtube.png

Any YouTube creators can add an end screen to customize their channels. Here’s an explainer article with more details and inspiration ideas.

How to Add a Card

You can use YouTube cards to advertise products used in your videos or links on your website you want to promote. If viewers tap the “i” in the upper-right hand corner of a video, the cards expand, as in the example below:

To add a card to a YouTube video, head to your Video Manager, tap “Edit,” and select “Cards” from the drop-down menu.

Then, choose where in the video you want cards to appear, and tap the “Add card” drop-down menu to choose what you want the card to promote. From there, customize the content that will appear to viewers when they tap the “i” while viewing your video:

add_card_youtube.png

10) YouTube has a big library of high-quality, royalty-free sound effects and music you can browse and download.

Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)? YouTube is there for you. It has a whole library of high-quality, 320kbps audio tracks and sound effects that you can download royalty-free and add to your videos. (Or listen to in your free time. We won’t judge.)

To add music or sound effects to your video: Open YouTube’s Audio Library by clicking here or opening your Creator Studio, clicking “Create” in the menu on the left-hand side, and choosing “Audio Library.”

Now, the fun begins. By default, it’ll start you on the “Sound effects” tab. Here, you can search sounds using the search bar, like I did in the screenshot below for motorcycle sounds.

youtube-audio-library.png

You can also toggle by category (everything from human voices to weather sounds) or scroll through favorites that you’ve starred in the past. For easy access in the future, select the star to add the track to your Favorites. The bars next to the songs show how popular a track is.

If you switch over to the “Music” bar, you can browse through all of its royalty-free music. You won’t find the Beatles in here, but you will find some good stuff — like suspenseful music, uplifting music, holiday music, jazz, and more. Instead of toggling by category, you can toggle by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and so on.

(Note: Some of the music files in there may have additional attribution requirements you have to follow, but those are pretty clearly laid out on a song-by-song-basis. You can learn more on YouTube’s Support page here.)

Once you’ve found a track you like, click the arrow to download it and it’ll download directly to your computer as an MP3 file. Then, you can do whatever you want with it.

If you want to source sounds for your videos outside of YouTube, you’ll just have to make sure to you’re following all the rules for sourcing them. Refer to this YouTube Support page for best practices for sourcing audio, and this one to learn YouTube’s music policies.

11) You can easily create photo slideshows and set them to music.

Ever wanted to make one of those cheesy photo slideshows for a birthday or a baby shower or a team party? There’s no need to download software or use an unfamiliar platform — YouTube has a special feature designed just for creating photo slideshows. And it’s really easy to use.

You can upload as many photos and videos as you’d like, and choose from hundreds of movie styles, transitions, and effects to make it look awesome.

Plus, remember YouTube’s Audio Library we just talked about in #10? You can totally source music or sound effects from that and add it to these videos without a hassle.

Here’s how you do it. (Pro Tip: I’d recommend gathering all the photos you want into a single folder on your computer before you start making the slideshow to save time selecting them.)

To create a photo slideshow: Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Create Videos” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Find “Photo slideshow” in that module and click “Create”.

create_slideshow.png

At this point, you’ll be able to choose your photos — either ones you’ve already uploaded to Google+, or photos on your computer. If you followed my advice above and created a folder for the photos you want, then choose the tab “Upload Photos” and add the folder either by searching for it manually, or by dragging-and-dropping like I did below.

youtube-add-photos-1.gif

From there, you’ll be able to rearrange the photos and add more photos if you’d like.

Press “Next” on the bottom right, and it’ll open up the video preview, where YouTube has created the transitions for you based on what’s most popular. The default option actually looks pretty good — but you can always change the slide duration, the slide effect, and the transition. You can still press “Back” if you decide you want to rearrange the photos or add more.

On the right, you’ll see a list of suggested the top ad-free songs from the audio library. Pick from this list, search the library for different ones, or check the box next to “No Audio” to keep it silent.

When you’re all set, click “Upload” on the bottom right and wait for the video to process. This could take a few minutes. While you’re waiting, you can fill out the description, add tags, choose to make it public or private, add it to a playlist, and so on.

Here’s the end result of mine, which took me a total of maybe three minutes after choosing the photos:

12) Play YouTube videos in the background on mobile devices.

Sometimes, your own music playlist just isn’t cutting it. Or maybe you want to listen to your favorite artist’s performance at an awards show.

Either way, if you’ve tried listening to music on YouTube via your mobile device, you may have noticed one thing: You can’t navigate out of the app. You have to keep YouTube open, and you can’t use your phone for anything else, in order to listen to something on YouTube. Kind of frustrating if you’re trying to multitask on your commute home, right?

Now, there are hacks so you can listen to YouTube content in the background while still using your mobile device. Here’s what you do:

How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: iOS

Open Safari on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to watch on https://www.youtube.com. Start playing the video you want to listen to, then tap the Home button to close out of Safari. (I chose Katy Perry.)

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Then, swipe up on your home screen to reveal the Action Center.

Then, swipe left to reveal the second screen on your Action Center. The details of the video you selected on YouTube should appear, and from there, simply tap Play to keep jamming.

youtube_katy2.0.png

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How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: Android

Launch Firefox or Chrome on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to play on https://www.youtube.com. Then, tap the “Settings” menu in the upper right-hand corner (the ellipses) and select “Request Desktop Site.”

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Source: DigitalTrends

Then, start playing the video on YouTube, and tap the Home button to return to your home screen. The audio will keep playing in the background as you use other apps.

13) You can live stream videos to YouTube.

Live streaming video has been a big topic of conversation for the past few years. It’s seen massive growth, especially in the past few years with the advent of Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live, and Instagram live videos.

Live streaming on YouTube is a little more complex (and confusing) than live streaming using these other platforms, though. On YouTube’s easier streaming option, there’s no simple “start” button; instead, you actually have to download encoding software and set it up to use live streaming at all. Luckily, YouTube has easy-to-follow instructions for how to do just that.

If you’re streaming a live event, though, all you need is a webcam. We’ll get to that in a second.

Live Stream From Your Desktop Computer

Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Live Streaming” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Click “Get Started” in that module.

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Before you go live, YouTube will first confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once that’s all set, you have two options for streaming: “Stream now” and “Live Events.”

Stream Now

Stream Now is the simpler, quicker option for live streaming, which is why it’s YouTube’s default for live streaming. You’ll see a fancy dashboard like the one below when you choose “Live Streaming” on the left-hand Creator Studio menu:

youtube_livestream dashboard.png

Again, you’ll notice there’s no “start” button on the dashboard. This is where you’ll need to open your encoder and start and stop your streaming from there. Here’s YouTube’s Live Streaming FAQ page for more detailed information.

Live Events

Live Events gives you a lot more control over the live stream. You can preview it before it goes live, it’ll give you backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream when you want.

Choose “Live Events” from your live streaming dashboard once you’ve enabled it. Here’s what the events dashboard looks like, and you can learn more about it here.

youtube-live-event.png

When you stop streaming, we’ll automatically upload an archive of your live stream to your channel. Note that your completed live stream videos are automatically made public on your channel by default as soon as you’re done recording. To make them disappear from the public eye once you’re done, you can select “Make archive private when complete” in the “Stream Options” section of your live dashboard.

Live Stream From Your Mobile Device

YouTube has also rolled out live streaming from mobile devices for YouTube creators with 10,000 or more subscribers (as of the date of this posting — that will be available to all creators soon, according to YouTube’s blog post).

Live streaming is more intuitive from mobile devices than on desktop computers. Qualified creators can simply open their YouTube app on mobile, tap the camera icon at the top of the screen, and choose “Go Live”.

From there, creators can enter details about the broadcast before immediately recording live for their subscribers, as shown below:

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Source: YouTube

For more instruction on how to go live on YouTube across devices, YouTube published a Help article here. Want to see what live videos others are recording on YouTube? You can browse popular YouTube videos that are live right now by clicking here.

14) You can upload and watch 360-degree videos (live and pre-recorded).

YouTube first announced its support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015, and it was a total novelty — not to mention a game changer. Since then, brands, athletes, and other users have created some awesome 360-degree content, like this video from Samsung:

As you can see, the experience as a viewer is really, really cool. On desktop, you can click around the video to see all the different angles while the video plays. On mobile, it’s even cooler: You can move your camera around to change the angle. You can browse the trending 360-degree and virtual reality (VR) videos here.

To actually create a 360-degree video on YouTube yourself, though, you need some serious equipment. Cameras with 360-degree capability that are compatible with YouTube are listed here on YouTube’s Support page, along with how to create and upload a 360-degree video file.

What about live video in 360 degrees? That announcement would come a year after the first one, in April 2016 — the very same week Facebook announced its own design for a 360-degree camera. Luckily for the folks at YouTube, it beat out Facebook by supporting both live video and 360-degree footage all at once.

The Verge called 360 live-streamed videos “the gateway drug to virtual reality” for YouTube. Other than the YouTube website or app, you don’t need any fancy equipment to be able to watch a 360-degree live video and feel like you’re basically there.

15) YouTube ads target you based on an algorithm similar to Google and Facebook.

How does the YouTube algorithm decide which ads play on the videos you watch?

Turns out it works a lot like Google and Facebook ads do. Like on other free sites, the advertisers help fund the YouTube experience in return for exposure to ads. You’ll see certain ads over others because of your demographic groups, your interests (which is judged in part by what you search on Google and YouTube) and the content you’ve viewed before, including whether or not you’ve interacted with the advertiser’s videos, ads, or YouTube channel.

YouTube’s algorithms also try to make sure that people aren’t overloaded with ads while watching videos — so it actually sometimes won’t show ads on monetizable videos, even when there’s a demographic match.

Here are the five ad formats you can expect to see on YouTube, and how they work:

a) Display ads, which show up next to the video and only appear only on desktop and laptop computers. The advertiser gets paid when you see or click on the ad, depending on their selection.

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Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

b) Overlay ads, which appear across the bottom 20% of the video window and currently only appears only on desktop and laptop computers. You can X out of the ad at any time.

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Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

c) TrueView in-stream, skippable video ads, which are most common ads. These are the ones you can skip after watching for five seconds. Advertisers can put it before, during (yikes!), or after the video plays, and they get paid only if you watch at least 30 seconds of the clip or to the end of the video ad — whichever comes first.

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Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

d) Non-skippable video ads, which are those longer, 15-or-more-second ads you see before plays and can’t skip after any period of time, no matter how much you shout at your screen.

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Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

e) Midroll ads, which are ads that are only available for videos over 15 minutes long that are spaced within the video like TV commercials. You need to watch the ad before continuing through the video. How the advertiser gets paid depends on the type of ad: If the midroll is a TrueView ad, then you’d have to watch 30 seconds of the end or the entire ad — whichever is shorter. If it’s a CPM-based ad, then you have to watch the entire ad no matter how long it is.

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Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

f) Bumper ads, which are short- non-skippable ads up to six seconds long that play before the video the viewer has selected. Bumper ads are optimized for mobile devices and must be watched in their entirety before viewers can progress to the video they want to view.

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16) You can remove ads from YouTube videos (and watch videos offline) for 10 bucks a month.

Video ads are the reason you can watch videos for free on YouTube. It’s a fact many of us have come to accept. But with YouTube’s subscription service YouTube Red, that doesn’t necessarily have to be true anymore.

For $9.99 a month, you can watch YouTube videos … without any ads. And, in addition to ad-free videos, you can save videos on your mobile device and watch them in the background and/or offline, and you can use YouTube’s Music App (on iOS and Android) in the background, offline, and/or on audio mode. This is not a drill.

You’d think the lure of ad-free videos would have caused more of an uproar since its launch in late 2015, especially given YouTube’s domination in the music space. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much noise about it. But YouTube hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers (the service reportedly has around 1.5 million subscribers) so it’s hard to tell how well it’s doing. Either way, it’s good to know about — especially if you like collecting songs and music videos like I do, but don’t like when they get broken up by ads.

17) You can use Google Trends to explore and compare popular YouTube search terms over time.

You might already use Google Trends to look at the popularity of specific search terms over time. (It can be a great marketing tool for making smarter keyword choices, for instance.) But did you know you can use it to compare the popularity of YouTube search queries, specifically?

All you have to do is open Google Trends and type a search term into the “Explore topics” search bar at the top. Once that page opens up, click on “Web Search” to open a drop-down menu, and choose “YouTube Search” so it filters by YouTube searches specifically.

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You might find that, for some search terms, the search trends are very different on Google (above) than on YouTube (below).

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18) There’s a “safer” version of YouTube available for your kids.

Any parent will tell you how scary it is for their kids to theoretically have access to everything public on the internet. But for your younger kids, there are ways to curb that access and have more control of what they’re watching and finding — including a kids’ version of YouTube called YouTube Kids.

The folks at YouTube call YouTube Kids “a safer version of YouTube.” It’s not a wide-open library of online videos like YouTube is; instead, it uses filters powered by algorithms to select videos from YouTube that are safe for kids to watch. It’s also totally free, thanks to ads (which are regulated as carefully as possible).

You can either turn the search feature on or off, depending on whether you’re cool with your kids searching for videos themselves, or if you’d rather they’re limited to a certain set of videos selected by the app, along with those the app recommends based on what they’ve watched already. You can set a timer to limit how much time a child spends on the app, which I imagine is music to many parents’ ears.

The algorithm is darn good — remember, Google is YouTube’s parent company — but, as it warns in its parents’ guide, “no algorithm is perfect.”

19) You can now clear your YouTube History.

For whatever reason, you might want to delete items from your YouTube search or watch history. YouTube lets you completely clear your history, pause your history so it stops recording what you search for and watch from that point forward, or go through your history and delete certain videos.

Here’s how:

On your desktop or mobile device, navigate to the “Watch History” menu. Here’s where it lives on your desktop browser homepage and in your mobile app, respectively:

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From there, you can “Clear watch history” (permanently delete the record of everything you’ve watched), “Pause watch history” (stop recording the videos you watch going forward), or individually remove videos from your history by tapping the X or ellipses next to videos. Here’s what it looks like on desktop and on mobile below:

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YouTube published a Help article if you need more instruction for deleting items from your YouTube watch history, too.

20) You can learn about YouTube’s copyrights terms from a cast of ridiculous puppets.

Made it this far? Here’s a little reward: YouTube’s “Copyrights Basics” FAQ page, which is, fittingly a YouTube video — and features a pretty colorful cast of characters. It’s actually super informative, and it looks like YouTube’s video team had a lot of fun making it.

My favorite line is probably, “You know there are links on this webpage, right? You don’t have to watch this.” Although the chorus of gorilla puppets was pretty great, too.

Enjoy.

We hope we’ve opened your eyes to some of the more awesome YouTube hacks, tips, and features out there that you may not have known about. Now log on to YouTube and do some exploring yourself. The platform certainly isn’t going anywhere.

Which YouTube features can you add to the list? Share with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Mar

17

2017

9 Creative Snapchat Ideas for Brands

Published by in category Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

Snapchat boasts 160 million highly engaged users who like watching and engaging with billions of photos and videos per day.

Suffice it to say, social media marketers need to capture and maintain the attention of their followers. But how exactly do you make that happen?

Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. 

Below, we’ve featured nine ideas for how to make your snaps more creative and engaging, and examples from real brands to inspire you. And if you’re looking for more brands to follow for ideas, might we suggest adding HubSpot on Snapchat?

9 Snapchat Ideas for Brands

1) Geofilters

Geofilters are a fun way to share a time and place with your followers. Remember, brand social media accounts take followers to places they can’t go themselves, so a Geofilter from an interesting place gives your brand personality and drives its cool factor.

Here’s an example of a Snapchat Story using a Geofilter. The New York Times (@thenytimes) shared a Story from Hyde Park in London about one reporter’s visit to a new exhibit at Kensington Palace. Pretty cool, right?

Try using a Geofilter the next time you’re snapping from a unique location your followers might be interested in. You can access Geofilters by recording a video or taking a photo, then swiping left on your screen until the filter you want to use appears.

Brands can make Geofilters featuring their logo and branding to pop up around its facilities by submitting them to Snapchat — learn more about that process here.

2) Event Tags

Like Geofilters, Event Tags take Snapchat followers to a cool event and give them a behind-the-scenes look. Mashable (@mashable) took its followers onto the red carpet of The Brit Awards in the Story below. While you might not have access to red carpets, try snapping from your next company event or a conference you attend to give your followers the inside scoop.

Find event tags using the same process as Geofilters — swipe left until you find the tag you want to use. And like Geofilters, businesses can create unique tags for events and meetings — learn how to do it here.

3) Emojis

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In case you missed it, the above “sentence” says that emojis are great. In emoji language, of course.

Emojis offer hundreds of different symbols brands can use to embellish their snaps to make them more fun and engaging. Here’s how Infatuation (@infatuation) did it in their Snapchat Story:

Emojis are featured in a ton of marketing campaigns these days, so try using them in your next few Snaps to tell more with pictures than words. Drop an emoji or two into your next snap by tapping the sticky note icon once you’ve captured a photo or video on Snapchat. Check it out:

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4) Bitmojis

Bitmojis are friendly avatars we can create to look and dress like us for use in texting, messaging apps, and social media. Snapchat users can now add their Bitmoji to snaps, too. Here’s what (or rather, who) mine looks like:

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Brands can use Bitmojis to add personalization. Each day, the Snapchat library of Bitmoji options adjusts — there are Monday-themed avatars about the woes of the weekend ending, and Wednesday avatars about making it halfway through the week, for example. They add humor and a “reaction” within the snap itself to make it more memorable and human, too.

When you record a Snapchat, you can either choose a Bitmoji from the sticky note emoji menu (as demonstrated above), or you can do what MTV (@mtv) did and use a Bitmoji filter. Swipe left once you’ve captured a snap to see what your Bitmoji is up to.

5) Text

If you haven’t already heard, listening to videos is going out of style: Many social media users prefer to watch videos without the sound turned on. Snapchat lets you add text to photos and videos to provide context for your followers — without them having to pop in their headphones.

Here’s how NASA (@nasa) did it in their Snapchat coverage of a breaking news story:

To add text to your next snap, capture your photo or video, then tap the “T” icon — one tap will let you caption your video, and two taps will let you use bigger, bolder letters on the entire screen.

6) Circular Video

Have you checked out Snap Spectacles yet? They’re Snapchat-capable sunglasses that let wearers film in 360-degree circular video. Spectacles also make videos more interactive and responsive for the viewer — check out this example of a 360-degree Spectacles video that General Electric (@GE) shared. 

The Spectacles make snaps reformat whether the viewer’s phone is vertical, horizontal, or spinning their phone around — as I was when I filmed this screen capture: 

If you’re curious about Spectacles, you can buy them online here.

7) Lenses

Snapchat lenses are another way to make your images and videos more creative, and brands can purchase Sponsored Lenses to promote products and events. The price of these might be prohibitively expensive for most brands to create unique ones — they’re typically hundreds of thousands of dollars — but that doesn’t mean brands can’t get in on the fun.

Here’s an example of how Refinery29 used lenses to spice up a simple selfie interview with a musician. The lenses made the videos fun and interesting to listen to and watch, and they were free to use, too.

Snapchatters can access the lenses only when the camera is self-facing. Then, hold a finger over your face until the lens options appear at the bottom of your screen. Here’s me turning on the lens options, and you can see what a sponsored lens from Almay looks like:

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8) Hyperlapse and Slow Motion

When you film a video on Snapchat, you can filter it so it plays extra quickly, or in slow motion. This is a cool feature to make your Snapchat Story shorter or to break down a cool process your followers might want to see. Show a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of a product or event faster or slower to clue followers in to what your brand is all about.

Here’s an example of Hootsuite using the hyperlapse feature to speed up the setup process for an interview the brand featured on Snapchat:

To speed up or slow down your video snaps, swipe left on your screen after you’ve recorded until you find the rabbit icon (hyperlapse) or the snail icon (slow motion).

9) Ask for Interaction

A simple way to earn engagement from your followers on Snapchat? Ask for it.

Use text, narration, or emojis to ask your Snapchat followers to reply with a snap of their own, or to screenshot your content. It’s a fun way to interact with viewers, and it helps marketers see how much of their content is actually resonating.

Aer Lingus did this masterfully with its Snapchat trivia Story below:

These are a few simple ways you can spice up your snaps with creativity to engage your followers and, hopefully, to attract more. If you’re looking for more ideas for your brand’s Snapchat strategy, check out our Snapchat for Business guide here.

Which of these tactics do your favorite brands use on Snapchat? Share with us in the comments below.

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Mar

15

2017

How to Use Wistia: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Tactical, Video | Comments are closed

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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.

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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.

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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?”

Great question.

If growing your website’s traffic, improving your conversion rates, and increasing overall engagement with your content are priorities for your business, Wistia is your best bet. 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:

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To sum it up, our video SEO feature uses JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data (JSON-LD) to inject schema.org markup into the head of your page. If that sounds like a bunch of nonsense to you, rest assured all of that fancy stuff just means your Wistia videos are crawlable and indexable for Google — which means they contribute to your site’s authority and relevance to searches.

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.

Sales

Using Wistia’s Turnstile email collector and integrations with marketing automation platforms, businesses generate qualified leads right from within videos and automatically pass them onto sales.

Support

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.

Human Resources

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.

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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 scriptThe more you think about things like tone and word choice ahead of time, the better your end product will be.
  • Pay attention to lightingThere’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 shotThere 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 upFor 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.

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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 popover embed if you want your video content to pop over the rest of your content (baking supplies not included). You can also check out Wistia for Chrome to embed videos with one click on websites like Medium, Squarespace, and WordPress.

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:

  1. 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).
  2. Choose an enticing thumbnail from your video to include in your email (hint: friendly faces attract clicks).
  3. 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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dec

2

2016

How to Increase Engagement Using Video Thumbnails in Your Emails [Live Event]

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Are you looking for new ways to experiment with your email marketing and increase engagement and conversion?

With video in general becoming a more and more important content format for marketers, we put our heads together with the folks at Wistia to see how using video thumbnails in your email marketing affects engagement. Spoiler alert: It makes a huge difference, and we want to share the results with you.

Join HubSpot Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen and Wistia Partner Coordinator Margot Mazur on Wednesday December 14 at 1 p.m. EST for the big reveal of brand new data. They’ll show you how to successfully incorporate video thumbnails in your brand’s email and marketing strategies.

More specifically, you can expect:

  • Never before seen data on video thumbnails in email
  • Wistia & HubSpot’s own experiment results
  • Tips on how to include video thumbnails in your email and marketing strategy
  • Bonus: Answers to questions submitted by actual audience members!

Save your seat now, and don’t forget to submit your questions.

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Oct

6

2016

The Marketer’s Guide to Facebook Live [Free Guide]

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At a conference in June, a Facebook VP said that in five years time the platform would be “all video.” That’s a bold statement, but it’s not unbelievable if you’ve scrolled through your News Feed lately.

And one of the biggest drivers behind the growing prevalence of video is Facebook Live, which only was introduced in April of this year, but has since become a major distribution channel for both publishers and brands. Mashable has promised to stream 35 hours of live video per month, and The New York Times is streaming four live broadcasts every day, according to Advertising Age. These in-the-moment, authentic videos are capturing the attention of Facebook users, and it’s time to take advantage of the feature for your own brand. 

Going live on Facebook isn’t complicated — the platform has made it so anyone can stream with their mobile device and access to the internet. But there are a few best practices for live streaming, promoting your event, and driving engagement that will ensure your broadcast impresses your audience and drives new fans to your brand. 

Learn how to start broadcasting with our new online guide — The Guide to Facebook Live. In this guide, you’ll get:

  • Tips on setting up your next live stream
  • Inspiration on the types of content to broadcast
  • Strategies for driving viewers to your Live event

Click here to download your copy of The Guide to Facebook Live today.

Facebook Live Guide

Sep

12

2016

11 Creative Ways to Use Live Streaming on Snapchat, Facebook Live & More

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Video has been on the rise for a while, offering marketers a proven way to grab strangers’ attention and keep their target audience engaged.

Live video streaming in particular has become increasingly popular as a tool for companies and groups to connect directly with their users, to gain greater product awareness, and to brand themselves creatively. In fact, just recently, the Content Marketing Institute predicted video — specifically real-time platforms — will be critical to brand growth in 2016. Download our free guide to learn how to use Facebook Live for your business.

To learn more about how to take advantage of the live streaming boom, here are 11 creative ways to use products like Snapchat, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and Periscope to successfully market your business or group.

11 Creative Ways to Use Live Streaming on Snapchat, Facebook Live & More

Snapchat

1) Raise awareness for a cause.

The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) paired with Snapchat to create the #LastSelfie campaign with the goal of raising awareness about endangered species. Using the slogan “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie,” the non-profit suggested that just as images on Snapchat disappear within a short 10 seconds, these animals are vanishing from our Earth all too quickly.

Users were then asked to share the snap, “adopt” an animal, and donate to the WWF through SMS. Within one week, the #LastSelfie campaign received 40,000 tweets, and was seen by roughly 50% of all active Twitter users.

2) Recruit interns and new hires.

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GrubHub saw potential in Snapchat early on as a way to get more interactive with a younger demographic. Rather than post an intern application on a standard career search site, or on less targeted channels like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, GrubHub asked its Snapchat followers to apply using the app itself.

The doodle request was an easy way for the company to assess creativity and confidence, while also tapping into their ideal intern pool.

3) Coordinate with a popular event.

Taco Bell managed to become one of the most followed brands on Snapchat by uploading a six-minute Snap Story “movie” in increments of 10 seconds. The short film focused on the launch of their product, the Doritos Locos Taco, but the company also took things a step further. Taco Bell coordinated their campaign to align with the MTV Movie Awards, making it relevant to the event and, therefore, gaining greater reach and brand awareness.

Google Hangouts On Air

Note: As of today (September 12th) Hangouts On Air will move from Google+ to YouTube Live. You can learn more about how to set up Hangout On Air with YouTube Live here.

4) Show off the job.

NASA is big on Google Hangouts, hosting live videos as a way for space-interested audience members to learn more about the organization and its recent discoveries — they’ve even held Hangouts from outer space. Recently, they teamed up with Verge Magazine to show off some perks and pitfalls of the astronaut job.

Hangout participants used the hashtag #askAstro on their Twitter or Google+ to ask the NASA crew about life — both personal and professional — while aboard the craft, which were then answered in real time. The Hangout provided fascinating content, but also provided valuable information to those interested in that career path.

5) Get a bigger audience.

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In an effort to reach a larger audience, Manchester United used Google Hangouts to get a few more people on the “front row” during a match against Liverpool. Fans were asked to use the hashtag #MUFrontRow on their Google+ Page with a photo that showed off their team spirit.

Of the entries, the best 22 were selected, and those fans were then projected onto the stadium’s digital advertising board alongside the field. The campaign created more interest in the event, and seriously delighted some die-hard fans.

6) Interview industry experts.

Every month, IMPACT Branding & Design hosts a “Website Throwdown” featuring top marketing and design professionals. Participants are invited to submit their own website URLs to be broadcast during the Hangout and constructively critiqued by that month’s guest speaker.

People can also tune in to watch, or help out by asking questions and posting comments on Twitter using the hashtag #WebsiteThrowdown during the live stream. The Website Throwdown is an awesome way to create brand awareness and authority by offering participants a chance to learn and improve.

Facebook Live

7) Show off some skills.

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Tastemade does pretty much everything food, from recipe ideas to vlog tutorials — they even hosts its own food show series. Part of what sets Tastemade apart from other food-focused publications, though, is the brand’s really great content targeted to the everyday foodie. And, recently, Tastemade started exploring Facebook Live as a raw way to gain social traffic while also engaging with fans.

During a live latte art video, Tastemade asked viewers to submit requests as part of their #FoodArtFridays series. The interactive video received over 90,000 comments and nearly 5,000 shares.

8) Get fans and followers to laugh.

Screen_Shot_2016-07-25_at_3.42.31_PM.png

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? BuzzFeed decided to try out Facebook Live with a video purely for fans’ entertainment. Two BuzzFeeders explored how many rubber bands it takes to explode a watermelon, which lasted about 45 minutes. According to Facebook, at the time, more people tuned in to watch the stream than any other live video on Facebook — reaching over 800,000 viewers at its peak. Now, the video has over 10 million views, creating a ton of social and site traffic, just for doing something fun.

9) Announce new products.

Chevrolet Product Promo

CES is an annual event hosted by the Consumer Technology Association to showcase innovation technologies and products from across the world. During the 2016 event, Chevrolet debuted its newest car model, the 2017 Bolt EV.

But rather than limit its audience to only those able to attend CES 2016, Chevrolet live streamed the announcement from its Facebook Page, giving all of the company’s fans a chance to tune in and learn more about the product. Chevrolet also responded to Facebook comments in real time to keep its audience engaged with the video and answer any relevant questions.

Periscope

10) Bring the audience along.

Periscope Drumstick Promo

Last summer, Nestle partnered with online influencers to host live Periscope sessions of ways they were celebrating the first day of summer — while eating Drumstick ice cream cones, of course. The company then promoted each activity on Drumstick’s Twitter using the hashtag #FirstDayOfSummer for followers to tune in.

Activities ranged from jumping on a ferris wheel, to biking on the beach, to eating ice cream by a fire pit. Nestle’s campaign provided an opportunity for user engagement, helped associated Drumsticks with enjoying summer, and branded the company as lively and fun.

11) Go behind the scenes.

General Electric used Periscope to launch a five-day live streaming campaign called #DRONEWEEK. GE enabled Periscope on a group of drones to give their audience a real-time, bird’s eye view of their facilities, featuring not only some of their industrial machinery, but also interviews with GE scientists and tech experts. Fast Company called it the “Shark Week for science and social video nerds.”

GE managed to showcase five different facilities across the country, and even created a Twitter @GEDronePilot to provide extra commentary and interact with viewers.

Ready to Try It?

These are not the only live streaming platforms out there. Tons of applications and websites exist, and are used by millions of people every day. There’s so much potential for brands and groups to use these outlets creatively to gain recognition, authority, and interest.

How do you plan to use live streaming in your marketing? Share your ideas in the comments below.

free guide: how to use facebook live

Aug

30

2016

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

Live_Streaming_Video_Guide.jpg

Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a video to learn something new than read about it.

Go ahead — you’re not alone. 59% of executives say they’d rather watch a video than read text, too. And really, that number makes sense — we are a society of video streamers. (I mean, hello, Netflix.)

Download our free guide to learn how to use Facebook Live for your business.

But if you’re not sure where to begin, fear not — we’re here to make sure you don’t just hit the “Live” button on Facebook and stare at the camera like a deer in headlights. Instead, we’ve come up with a comprehensive checklist to help you plan your first — or next — live stream. 

How Live Streaming Works

Live streaming is a way to broadcast your events to an online audience. It’s a digital alternative to something like selling tickets to an in-person event, and allows you to reach people near and far with live video.

Brands use live streaming for a few different reasons, but according to a Brandlive survey, 71% of businesses use it to more authentically interact with an audience. So instead of being the proverbial “man behind the curtain,” you’re allowing viewers to put a face (or faces) to your organization’s name, all in real time.

Live streaming can be used for a number of different event types, as well. Everyone from the White House, to fashion houses, to chefs have live streamed videos of economy briefings, runway shows, and cooking demos, respectively. Here at HubSpot, we’ve used it for things like interviews with thought leaders. So feel free to be creative — just make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

1) Plan your live stream like you would any other event.

Think about some of the most popular talk shows. Can you imagine if the guests, sets, lighting and schedules for something like “The Tonight Show” weren’t planned in advance? To say the least, it might be chaotic.

You’ll want to put the same thought and due diligence into your live stream that you’d put into an in-person event of its kind. And you’ll want to have your goals in mind as you begin to make those plans; those will dictate a lot of the logistics.

Who

Knowing your target audience will determine a few pieces of the planning process. If it includes an international population, that should factor into the date and time of your stream — be sure to think about time zones or holidays that might not be top-of-mind in your home country.

What

Then, think of what category your live stream falls into, and create a title for your event. In case you don’t find any of the above examples fitting to your business, we’ve got some ideas for ways businesses can use live videos.

HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager, Chelsea Hunersen, stresses the importance of thoroughly researching the topic of your live stream in advance.

“Decide important points or stats to hit,” she says. And if you’re going to feature guests, “designate a moderator/host who can make sure these points are hit and can wrap up the conversation if necessary.”

Where

The platform you use — which we’ll get to in a bit — can also be dependent on who you want to view the stream. Different audiences use different channels, so you’ll want to pick the one that’s most likely to draw the crowd you want.

Finally, pick an optimal location from which you’ll broadcast your stream. A poor quality video can make someone 62% more likely to have a negative perception of the brand that produced it — so make sure your setting is conducive to a positive viewing experience. Does it have good lighting? Is it prone to a lot of noise? Is there a chance that your dog walker will barge in yelling, “Who’s a good boy?” loud enough for the entire audience to hear? (Not that that’s happened to me.)

Think of these contingencies, then pick a streaming venue that insulates you from them.

2) Choose your platform.

Here’s where you’ll really need to have your goals in mind, since different platforms can achieve different things.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live Events tend to have “two goals,” says Megan Conley, HubSpot’s Content Marketing Strategist. “Registrants and attendees.”

So, if you’re looking to generate leads — which 57% of marketing professionals are using video to do — YouTube Live is one of the best platforms to use.

Here’s how that works. First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create an account on Google, which you’ll then use to create one on YouTube.

YouTube Live Events

Once that’s done, you can use YouTube’s Live Streaming Events dashboard to schedule a future stream — just click on “Enable live streaming,” if you haven’t already set it up.

Schedule New Event

Then, click “schedule a new event.”

Select Audience

You’ll need to indicate if you want your event to be public or private — here’s where you’ll decide how you want to use your live stream to generate leads.

In the image above, I’ve selected “unlisted.” That option accomplishes two things:

  1. I’ll be able to generate a link that attendees will get only after they fill out a registration form.
  2. It won’t stream directly onto my YouTube page.

You also have the option of choosing which type of live stream you want to use:

  1. Quick
  2. Custom

Custom is a better option if you want to get more advanced and have more control over the technology. It lets you use more than one camera, choose your own ingestion bitrate and resolution, and use your own preferred encoding equipment (there’s a pretty good breakdown of your options here).

We’ll talk more about encoding later, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be working with the quick option. Quick uses the Google Hangouts On Air technology, which is probably better if you don’t want to get too technically advanced. It lets you use your computer’s camera and microphone, though you do have the option of using an external camera, if you want.

Once you’ve added some tags that describe what your event is about, click “Create Event.”

Events Page

You’ll be taken to your events page — any live streams that you’ve scheduled will be listed here. It’s also where you’ll get that link to keep behind the form on your landing page. First, click on the title of the stream.

Watch Page

The image above shows your Watch Page, which is the place where your stream will broadcast. Click “share,” and that will generate your event’s URL — as I mentioned above, you can keep that behind a landing page where attendees fill out a form to register.

Conley says that, generally, this type of live stream is embedded on a thank-you page behind a landing page form. But with this platform, that’s a little trickier — YouTube doesn’t generate embed codes for live streams unless you have an approved AdSense account linked to your YouTube account.

But fear not — if you use the HubSpot COS, all you’ll need is the link, and the system will generate the embed code for you.

Insert Media

Create Embed Code

Just click “insert media,” paste the link you copied from the Watch Page, and you’re done.

Thank You Page

If embedding isn’t an option, you can still just put a link there — the embed code just creates a seamless design that you can place right on your thank-you page. Either way, be sure to use the thank-you page as a place to remind your attendees of the date and time of the event.

Make Event Public

There’s also the option to make your YouTube Live Event completely open to the public. That’s a good option, Conley says, for a major event that you “want anyone and everyone to be able to find.” But if you make your stream public, she points out, make sure you use the event to promote gated content you want your audience to download.

“An image CTA would do,” she notes, as would holding up clearly-printed short links throughout the stream. (Make sure you have those printed out in advance!) In the image above, you’ll also see that you can add a message to your video — you can mention your gated content there, too. 

Facebook

Facebook Live has been making quite a few headlines lately, and businesses stand to benefit from it — the average time spent watching Facebook Live video is three times more than the pre-recorded kind.

This platform is a good choice if you want to use your live stream to generate buzz. In fact, because these videos have been so popular, Facebook is making them appear higher up in people’s News Feeds while streaming live.

Even without pre-registration, you can definitely promote streams on this platform in advance, which we’ll touch on later. In the meantime, if you haven’t used it before, check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s overview of Facebook Live.

The live streaming options certainly don’t end there — major brands have also used platforms like Periscope, Livestream, and Ustream. They all have their own sets of features and advantages, so definitely take the time to look into which one best suits your needs.

3) Choose your equipment.

When it comes to the actual hardware required for your live stream, some of it is fairly intuitive: A camera is pretty standard, for example, or a device with one installed (like a laptop or phone).

But if you do use your phone, Conley says, be sure to use a tripod. “There’s nothing worse than recording a Facebook Live and having your arm start to fall asleep five minutes into the recording,” she advises. “Use a phone tripod to give your live streaming a professional look.”

Consider how professional you want your sound quality to be, too. Your camera might have its own microphone, but if your setting is more prone to noise, body mics might not be a bad idea, either.

And when you’re using an external camera, says Hunersen, you’ll also need some sort of encoding software (Facebook has a great step-by-step guide to that). That’s what converts the camera footage into a format that your streaming platform understands and can broadcast to viewers. The software you use might depend on your budget, but to get started, check out this one from Adobe.

Also, think about setting up a professional backdrop, like one with your logo. That can help to brand your videos and give them some visual consistency, which is a particularly good practice if you plan to do a lot of live streaming in the future.

Want to take that a step further? “Set up a makeshift studio in your office to speed up the prep time for all of your future recordings,” Conley says. “A beautiful, branded backdrop could be just what your Facebook Live needs to help grab the attention of someone quickly scrolling through their News Feed.”

4) Promote your live stream.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a lot of the major planning and setup for your live stream. Now, how do you get people to watch it?

As we’ve covered, using a landing page is a good way to get enrollment on a platform like Hangouts On Air (or, as of September 12th, YouTube Live). Here’s an example of how we recently used one at HubSpot:

HubSpot_CRO_Hangout.png

There’s a clear CTA here — “View The Video” — which, when clicked, takes the visitor to a registration form. (And check out this rundown of which channels drive the best conversion rates — it’s got some tips on getting people to your landing page in the first place.)

Form-2.png

Once someone fills out the form on your landing page, it should lead them to a thank-you page, where you can share some promotional information about the live stream.

HubSpot’s Co-Marketing Demand Generation Manager, Christine White, suggests creating a “Next Steps” section here with actionable items like “add this event to your calendar” and “check back here on [the date of your event],” to remind viewers that’s where they’ll go to view the live stream.

And once you have contact information for your registrants, Conley reminds us, “you can email the people on that list on the day of, and remind them when it’s going to go live.”

FB_Live_Promo.png

But to promote your Facebook Live stream, says Conley, “It’s really about doing a social image and spreading the word that you are going live at a specific time.”

Don’t rule out using social media to promote live streams on other platforms, too. Some of them, like YouTube, allow you to link your social accounts and push content in multiple places. And if your guests are active on social media, leverage that — include links to their handles in any related content, and ask them to promote the event with their own networks.

5) Do a dry run.

There’s a reason why we do dress rehearsals. When I was in a high school show choir — a humiliating but factual piece of history — it was to make sure I didn’t trip over my dance partner in high-heeled tap shoes.

In the world of live streaming, though, we do dry runs to avoid more technical, but equally embarrassing missteps. Improv can be hilarious, but not when it means you’re verbally unprepared, or your equipment stops working and you don’t have a backup plan.

6) Prep any guest speakers.

Is there anything worse than a moment of awkward, dumbfounded silence?

As part of your dry run, make sure your guests are prepared for any questions they might be asked. Don’t over-rehearse, but do what you can to prevent catching them off-guard.

“It may help to give some questions in advance to a potential guest,” says Hunersen, “but save some follow-up or in depth questions for on-air, so that you’re able to let them be both prepared and react in the moment.”

7) Test your audio and internet connection.

You might want people to talk about your live stream, but not if all they’re going to say is, “We can’t hear you.” Make sure all of your audio equipment is working — both during your dry run and on the day of the stream. Having an extra microphone and batteries on hand probably won’t hurt, either.

Make sure your network can handle a live stream, too. If you’re streaming high quality video, for example, you’ll need both a wire connection and a 3G/4G wireless connection, according to Cleeng.

In other words, make sure your WiFi is working, but also, “grab an ethernet cord,” says Conley. “One thing you can’t help is if your internet connection unexpectedly goes out.”

We know — even the sound of “ethernet” seems terribly old school. But if your WiFi suddenly drops, you’ll be glad you busted that cord out of storage.

8) Set up social media monitoring.

One great thing about live streaming is your audience’s ability to join the conversation and comment in real time. But try watching any Facebook Live feed, and you’ll see that the comments roll in fast. So while it’s awesome to invite and answer viewer questions  — especially if you personalize your responses — it can be overwhelming.

That’s why it’s a great idea to dedicate someone to monitoring social media, comments, and questions during the live feed.

That task can made a bit easier with something like a branded hashtag created specifically for this live stream. For platforms with built-in comment feeds, for example, you can ask your viewers to preface any questions with it — that can help qualify what needs to be answered.

You could even take that a step further and use the hashtag throughout the planning process, making sure to include it on your landing page, thank-you page, and promotional messages leading up to the event. That helps to create buzz around the live stream. And if you use HubSpot’s Social Inbox, here’s a great place to take advantage of its monitoring feature, which lets you prioritize and reply to social messages based on things like keywords or hashtags. 

After Your Live Stream

It’s always nice to follow up with your attendees after your live stream has ended. Thank them for their time, give them a head’s up about your next event, and invite them to download a piece of relevant content. If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve probably done a great job of using your live stream to generate leads — so keep up the momentum and nurture them

Have you experimented with live streaming? What have you learned? Share your tips in the comments below.

free guide: how to use facebook live

Aug

29

2016

17 Hidden YouTube Hacks, Tips & Features You’ll Want to Know About

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When people talk about today’s most popular social sharing websites, YouTube often gets left out of the conversation in favor of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But don’t be fooled: YouTube has a lot going for it. Although Facebook might be the largest social networking site, YouTube has the second greatest reach after Facebook in terms of general usage. It’s also the second biggest search engine behind its parent company, Google.

And there are a ton of cool things you can do with YouTube that you might not know about, whether you use YouTube to watch videos, post them, or both. For example, did you know that YouTube automatically creates a written transcript for your videos — and that polishing them can help you get your videos found more easily in search? Or that you can use YouTube to easily create a photo slideshow, and even set it to music using their royalty-free audio library?

Mind-blowing stuff, people. To help you make the most out of the still very popular platform, we’ve put together a list of 17 of the lesser-known hacks, tips, and features YouTube has to offer. 

17 Hidden YouTube Features, Tips & Hacks You’ll Want to Know About

1) You can create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time.

Ever wanted to send someone a YouTube video, but point them to a specific moment? Let’s say, for example, that you’re trying to recruit your friends to learn the dance in LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” music video with you. 

Instead of sending your friends the general YouTube link and instructing them to fast-forward to the 3:39 minute mark, you can actually send them a specific link that starts the video at whatever time you choose. Click here to see what I mean. I’ll wait.

Back? Alright, here’s how to do it.

To create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time: Open up the video and click “Share” underneath the video title. Then, under the first tab (also labeled “Share”), check the box next to “Start at:” and type in the time (in hours:minutes:seconds) you want. Alternatively, you can pause the video at the time you want it to start and that field will autofill.

start-youtube-video-time.png

After a few moments, you’ll see a tag add itself to the end of the generic YouTube link (in this case, ?t=3m39s). Simply copy that link and paste it wherever you’d like.

Alas, you can’t embed a video so it starts at a certain time; you can’t only link to it.

2) You can easily see the written transcripts of people’s videos.

Did you know that YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website? That’s right — and anyone has access to that transcript, unless the user manually hides it from viewers.

I can think of a number of different situations where video transcripts can come in handy. For example, maybe you want to write down a quote from a video, but the tedium of pausing-and-typing, pausing-and-typing would drive you up a wall. Or perhaps you need to find a specific section of a video, but don’t want to rewatch the whole thing to find it. With a transcript in hand, you can find information like this without doing it all by hand.

To see a video’s transcript: Open the video in YouTube and press the “More” tab underneath the video title. Choose “Transcript” from the dropdown menu.

youtube-video-transcripts.png

(If you aren’t seeing this option, it’s because the user chose to hide the transcript.)

The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. In many cases, the user who uploaded the video will not have gone back and manually polished the transcript, so it won’t be perfect. But it’ll certainly save you some time and pain.

youtube-video-transcript.png 

3) You can help your video get found in search by editing or uploading a transcript.

Both YouTube and its parent company Google look at a number of factors when ranking videos in search to determine what your video is about, and your transcript is one of them. (An even bigger ranking factor is your video’s description, which is why Digital Marketing Consultant Ryan Stewart suggests that you actually paste your transcript right into the description box, too.)

To add a transcript to your video: Open the video on YouTube, and you’ll see a row of icons just below the play button. Click the icon on the far right for “Subtitles & CC.” (CC stands for “Closed Captions.)

youtube-subtitles.png

Set your language if you haven’t already. Then, you’ll then be prompted to choose among three different ways to add subtitles or closed captions to your video by …

  1. Uploading a pre-written text transcript or a timed subtitles file. (Learn more about the file types you can upload and more here.)
  2. Pasting in a full transcript of the video, wherein subtitle timings will be set automatically.
  3. Typing them in as you watch the video.

The folks at YouTube have done some great things to make that third option (typing as you watch) as painless as possible. For example, if you check a box next to “Pause video while typing,” it’ll make the whole process a lot faster. Here’s a GIF showing that in action:

youtube-transcribe.gif

4) You can use YouTube to easily get free transcriptions of your videos and audio files.

This is the last one about transcripts, I promise — but I’ll bet you never thought about them this way.  As you know from #2, YouTube automatically adds a transcript to every video. But if you’re looking for a one-off transcription of an audio or video file and don’t want to pay for a service, YouTube’s built-in captioning system isn’t a bad place to start. You can always clean it up later.

To get an automated transcription for a video: Simply upload your video to YouTube, open it on YouTube’s website, press the “More” tab underneath the video title, and choose “Transcript” from the dropdown menu. The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. If you want to clean it up, follow the steps outlined in #3 for a user-friendly experience. 

To get an automated transcription for an audio file: You’ll need to upload your audio recording to YouTube using a service like TunesToTube. It’ll take anywhere between 2–30 minutes for YouTube to upload it. Then, follow the instructions for getting an automated transcription for a video, outlined above.

5) You can create, share, and collaborate on video playlists.

Just like on your other favorite media sharing sites like Spotify and iTunes, you can create a “playlist” on YouTube — which is really just a place to store and organize the videos (your own and others’). You can keep playlists private, make them public, or even share them directly with others.

Playlists are useful for a variety of different types of users, from an individual collecting cooking videos for their upcoming dinner party to a brand segmenting their YouTube video content by topic. For example, Tasty’s YouTube playlists break up recipes by meal type, making it easier for people to browse and find what they’re looking for:

tasty-youtube-playlists.png

To create a playlist on desktop: Go to your Playlists page by clicking here or clicking your account icon in the top right, choosing “Creator Studio,” clicking “Video Manager” on the left, and choosing “Playlists.” Then, click “New Playlist” on the top right and choose whether you’d like to keep it private or make it public. 

youtube-create-new-playlist.png 

To create a playlist on mobile: Click here for instructions explaining how to create new playlists using your iOS or Android mobile devices.

To add a video to a playlist: If you’re adding a video to a playlist while you’re watching it, click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to.

youtube-add-to.png

If you want to add a video to a playlist right from your Playlists page, simply click “Add Video” and either paste in a video URL, choose a video from your uploads, or search for a video on YouTube. Once you find the video you want to add, select the “Add to” menu from that video and add it to the playlist.

Your friends can contribute to your playlists, too. All you have to do is turn on the ability to collaborate on playlists. Once you turn it on, anyone you share a playlist link with can add videos to that playlist. (They can also remove any videos they’ve added, too.)

To add friends to a playlist: Go to your Playlists page again and open the playlist you want to collaborate on. Click “Playlist Settings” and choose the “Collaborate” tag. Toggle on that collaborators can add videos to the playlist, and from there, you can send them a link where they can add videos to the playlist.

youtube-collaborate-playlist.png

Once your friend’s been invited to a playlist, they’ll be able to add new videos to it and remove videos they’ve added in the past. They just have to follow some on-screen instructions first to confirm they want to be a contributor and to save the playlist to their own account.

When you add a video to a playlist you’re collaborating on, your name will appear next to the video in the playlist, and everyone who’s been invited to collaborate on that playlist will get a notification that a new video has been added.

(To learn more about how to manage contributors, stop accepting contributions to a playlist, and so on, read this YouTube Support page.)

6) You can save videos to watch later.

Ever seen YouTube videos you wished you could bookmark for later? Maybe you aren’t able to turn the sound on at the moment, or perhaps you just don’t have time to watch it. Well, YouTube took a page out of Facebook’s … book … by adding something very similar to Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature (#2 in this blog post). On YouTube, you can save videos to a “Watch Later” playlist to access whenever you want.

The “Watch Later” playlist operates just like a normal playlist, so the instructions are identical to the previous step (except you can’t invite others to collaborate on your “Watch Later” playlist).

To add a video to your “Watch Later” playlist: Open the video on YouTube and click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to, just like you did in the previous step. The steps are very similar on mobile, but click here if you want the full instructions from YouTube’s Support page. 

To access those videos: Simply go to your YouTube homepage and choose “Watch Later” from the menu on the left-hand side of your screen.

youtube-watch-later.png

From there, you can watch the videos you were saving, as well as easily remove videos from that list that you’ve already watched.

7) You can create your own custom YouTube URL.

Want to give people an easy-to-remember web address to get to your YouTube channel? You can actually create a custom URL, which you can base on things like your display name, your YouTube username, any current vanity URLs that you have, or the name of your linked website. HubSpot’s, for example, is https://www.youtube.com/hubspot.

Important Note: Before you do this, make sure you’re positive this is the custom URL you want — because once it’s approved, you can’t request to change it, nor can you transfer it to someone else. Keep in mind that it’ll be linked to both your YouTube channel and your Google+ identity, too.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s eligible for a custom URL. To get one, you have to have 100 or more subscribers, be at least 30 days old, have an uploaded photo as channel icon, and have uploaded channel art. If that sounds like you, keep readin’.

To claim your custom URL: Open up your YouTube account settings and click “Advanced” in your name section.

youtube-advanced-settings.png

If you’re eligible for a custom URL, you’ll be prompted to claim yours by clicking a link.

youtube-eligible-for-custom-URL.png

Select the box next to “I agree to the Terms of Service.” Then, once you’re super sure it’s the URL you want since you can’t ever change it, click “Change URL” to make it final.

8) You can add clickable links to your videos.

Want people to not only watch your video, but engage with it, too? On YouTube, you can add clickable links YouTube calls “annotations” to your videos. These annotations work kind of like call-to-action buttons, and you can use them to link people to subscribe to your channel, to link to merchandise or a fundraising campaign, to go to another resource to learn more, and so on.

It’s an easy way to encourage people to actually engage and interact with your videos. (For marketers, it might even be a way to send people back to your website.)

What do these clickable links look like? To see one in action, check out the video below. You’ll see it pop up at the 10-second mark — and if you click on it, you’ll see it pauses the video and opens up a new tab in your browser for you to explore.

Pretty cool, huh? Here’s how you add annotations like that to your own videos.

To add a clickable link/annotation to a video: First, make sure your YouTube account is verified and that you have external linking turned on for your account. 

Once you’ve got that set up, open up YouTube and go to your Video Manager by clicking here or clicking “Video Manager” near the top of your YouTube home page. Then, find the video you want to add links to and click the arrow next to “Edit.” Choose “Annotations” from the drop-down menu.

youtube-add-annotation.png

Click “Add Annotation” to add a new annotation, and choose from the five annotation types in the pull-down menu: Speech bubble, Note, Title, Spotlight, or Label. For this tutorial, we chose the note option. (Read this blog post to see what each of these annotations look like.)

add-annotation.png

Once you choose an annotation type, you can then add text, choose your font, size, background color, and transparency. Below the video, you can choose exact start time you want your annotations to start and end.

youtube-annotation-dashboard.png

Here’s the key part: To add a link, tick the checkbox next to “Link” and choose what type of page you’ll link to, like an “Associated Website.” (Pro Tip: Use tracking tokens on the URL to track how many people actually click it.)

When you’re done, click “Publish” — and you’re all set. You can always edit your annotations after publishing by going back into the “Edit Annotation” tool and click “Edit existing annotation.”

You can read this blog post for more thorough instructions on adding annotations to videos.

Note: Annotations appear on standard YouTube players and embedded players, but they don’t appear on YouTube chromeless players, or on mobile, tablet, and TV devices.

9) YouTube has a big library of high-quality, royalty-free sound effects and music you can browse and download.

Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)? YouTube is there for ya. They have a whole library of high-quality, 320kbps audio tracks and sound effects that you can download royalty-free and add to your videos. (Or listen to in your free time. We won’t judge.)

To add music or sound effects to your video: Open YouTube’s Audio Library by clicking here or opening your Creator Studio, clicking “Create” in the menu on the left-hand side, and choosing “Audio Library.”

Now, the fun begins. By default, it’ll start you on the “Sound effects” tab. Here, you can search sounds using the search bar, like I did in the screenshot below for motorcycle sounds.

youtube-audio-library.png

You can also toggle by category (everything from human voices to weather sounds) or scroll through favorites that you’ve starred in the past. For easy access in the future, select the star to add the track to your Favorites. The bars next to the songs show how popular a track is.

If you switch over to the “Music” bar, you can browse through all their royalty-free music. You won’t find the Beatles in here, but you will find some good stuff — like suspenseful music, uplifting music, holiday music, jazz, and more. Instead of toggling by category, you can toggle by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and so on. 

(Note: Some of the music files in there may have additional attribution requirements you have to follow, but those are pretty clearly laid out on a song-by-song-basis. You can learn more on YouTube’s Support page here.)

Once you’ve found a track you like, click the arrow to download it and it’ll download directly to your computer as an MP3 file. Then, you can do whatever you want with it.

If you want to source sounds for your videos outside of YouTube, you’ll just have to make sure to you’re following all the rules for sourcing them. Refer to this YouTube Support page for best practices for sourcing audio, and this one to learn YouTube’s music policies.

10) You can easily create photo slideshows and set them to music.

Ever wanted to make one of those cheesy photo slideshows for a birthday or a baby shower or a team party? There’s no need to download software or use an unfamiliar platform — YouTube has a special featured designed just for creating photo slideshows. And it’s really easy to use.

You can upload as many photos and videos as you’d like, and choose from hundreds of movie styles, transitions, and effects to make it look awesome.

Plus, remember YouTube’s Audio Library we just talked about in #9? You can totally source music or sound effects from that and add it to these videos without a hassle.

Here’s how you do it. (Pro Tip: I’d recommend gathering all the photos you want into a single folder on your computer before you start making the slideshow to save time selecting them.)

To create a photo slideshow: Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Create Videos” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Find “Photo slideshow” in that module and click “Create”.

youtube-photo-slideshow.png

At this point, you’ll be able to choose your photos — either ones you’ve already uploaded to Google+, or photos on your computer. If you followed my advice above and created a folder for the photos you want, then choose the tab “Upload Photos” and add the folder either by searching for it manually, or by dragging-and-dropping like I did below.

youtube-add-photos-1.gif 

From there, you’ll be able to rearrange the photos and add more photos if you’d like.

Press “Next” on the bottom right, and it’ll open up the video preview, where YouTube has created the transitions for you based on what’s most popular. The default option actually looks pretty good — but you can always change the slide duration, the slide effect, and the transition. You can still press “Back” if you decide you want to rearrange the photos or add more.

On the right, you’ll see a list of suggested the top ad-free songs from the audio library. Pick from this list, search the library for different ones, or check the box next to “No Audio” to keep it silent.

When you’re all set, click “Upload” on the bottom right and wait for the video to process. This could take a few minutes. While you’re waiting, you can fill out the description, add tags, choose to make it public or private, add it to a playlist, and so on.

Here’s the end result of mine, which took me a total of maybe three minutes after choosing the photos:

11) You can live stream videos to YouTube.

Live streaming video has been a big topic of conversation for the past few years. It’s seen massive growth, especially in the past few years with the advent of Twitter’s Periscope and the recent Facebook Live phenomenon.

YouTube’s been ahead of the curve, offering a live streaming option on desktop for the last few years — but in June 2016, they finally added the ability for people to live stream from their mobile devices, directly from within the app. Unfortunately, the live mobile video streaming is only open to a select few right now, and all we know about timing is that they’ll start opening it to more users “soon.”

Live streaming on YouTube is a little more complex (and confusing) than than live streaming using Facebook Live, though. On YouTube’s easier streaming option, there’s no simple “start” button; instead, you actually have to download encoding software and set it up to use live streaming at all. Luckily, YouTube has easy-to-follow instructions for how to do just that.

If you’re streaming a live event, though, all you need is a webcam. We’ll get to that in a second.

To live stream from your desktop computer: Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Live Streaming” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Click “Get Started” in that module.

youtube-live-streaming.png

Before you go live, YouTube will first confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once that’s all set, you have two options for streaming: “Stream now” and “Live Events.”

Stream Now

Stream Now is the simpler, quicker option for live streaming, which is why it’s YouTube’s default for live streaming. You’ll see a fancy dashboard like the one below. (Note that live streaming is still in beta as of this posting, so your dashboard may look different from mine.)

youtube-live-streaming-dash.png

Again, you’ll notice there’s no “start” button on the dashboard. This is where you’ll need to open your encoder and start and stop your streaming from there. Here’s YouTube’s Live Streaming FAQ page for more detailed information.

Live Events

Live Events gives you a lot more control over the live stream. You can preview it before it goes live, it’ll give you backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream when you want.

Choose “Live Events” from your live streaming dashboard once you’ve enabled it. Here’s what the events dashboard looks like, and you can learn more about it here.

youtube-live-event.png

When you stop streaming, we’ll automatically upload an archive of your live stream to your channel. Note that your completed live stream videos are automatically made public on your channel by default as soon as you’re done recording. To make them disappear from the public eye once you’re done, you can select “Make archive private when complete” in the “Stream Options” section of your live dashboard.

Want to see what live videos others are recording on YouTube? You can browse popular YouTube videos that are live right now by clicking here.

12) You can upload and watch 360-degree videos (live and pre-recorded).

YouTube first announced their support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015, and it was a total novelty — not to mention a game changer. Since then, brands, athletes, and other users have created some awesome 360-degree content, like this video from Samsung:

As you can see, the experience as a viewer is really, really cool. On desktop, you can click around the video to see all the different angles while the video plays. On mobile, it’s even cooler: You can move your camera around to change the angle. You can browse the trending 360-degree videos here.

To actually create a 360-degree video on YouTube yourself, though, you need some serious equipment. Cameras with 360-degree capability that are compatible with YouTube are listed here on YouTube’s Support page, along with how to create and upload a 360-degree video file.

What about live video in 360 degrees? That announcement would come a year after the first one, in April 2016 — the very same week Facebook announced its own design for a 360-degree camera. Luckily for the folks at YouTube, they beat out Facebook by supporting both live video and 360-degree footage all at once.

The Verge called 360 live streamed videos “the gateway drug to virtual reality” for YouTube. Without a hefty price tag (without any price tag, for that matter, other than the time it takes to watch the ads we’re already used to seeing, I have to agree. Other than the YouTube website or app, you don’t need any fancy equipment to be able to watch a 360-degree live video and feel like you’re basically there. Keep an eye on this.

13) YouTube ads target you based on an algorithm similar to Google and Facebook.

We’ve written about how Google’s algorithm works, as well as how the algorithms work on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But what about YouTube? How does it decide which ads play on the videos you watch?

Turns out it works a lot like Google and Facebook ads do. Like on other free sites, the advertisers help fund the YouTube experience in return for exposure to their ads. You’ll see certain ads over others because of your demographic groups, your interests (which is judged in part by what you search on Google and YouTube) and the content you’ve viewed before, including whether or not you’ve interacted with the advertiser’s videos, ads, or YouTube channel.

YouTube’s algorithms also try to make sure that people aren’t overloaded with ads while watching their videos — so they actually sometimes don’t know ads on monetizable videos, even when there’s a demographic match.

Here are the five ad formats you can expect to see on YouTube, and how they work:

a) Display ads, which show up next to the video and only appear only on desktop and laptop computers. The advertiser gets paid when you see or click on the ad, depending on their selection.

youtube-display-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

b) Overlay ads, which appear across the bottom 20% of the video window and currently only appears only on desktop and laptop computers. You can X out of the ad at any time.

youtube-overlay-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

c) TrueView in-stream, skippable video ads, which are most common ads. These are the ones you can skip after watching for five seconds. Advertisers can put it before, during (yikes!), or after the video plays, and they get paid only if you watch at least 30 second of the clip or to the end of the video ad — whichever comes first.

youtube-in-stream-skippable-video-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

d) Non-skippable video ads, which are those longer, 15-or-more-second ads you see before plays and can’t skip after any period of time, no matter how much you shout at your screen. 

youtube-non-skippable-video-ads-2.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

e) Midroll ads, which are ads that are only available for videos over 15 minutes long that are spaced within the video like TV commercials. You need to watch the ad before continuing through the video. How the advertiser gets paid depends on the type of ad: If the midroll is a TrueView ad, then you’d have to watch 30 seconds of the end or the entire ad — whichever is shorter. If it’s a CPM-based ad, then you have to watch the entire ad no matter how long it is.

youtube-midroll-ads-1.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

14) You can remove ads from YouTube videos (and watch videos offline) for 10 bucks a month.

Video ads are the reason you can watch videos for free on YouTube. It’s a fact many of us have come to accept. But with YouTube’s subscription service YouTube Red, that doesn’t necessarily have to be true anymore.

For $9.99 a month, you can watch YouTube videos … without any ads. And, in addition to ad-free videos, you can save videos on your mobile device and watch them in the background and/or offline, and you can use YouTube’s Music App (on iOS and Android) in the background, offline, and/or on audio mode. This is not a drill.

You’d think the lure of ad-free videos would have caused more of an uproar since its launch in late 2015, especially given YouTube’s domination in the music space. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much noise about it. But YouTube hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers, so it’s hard to tell how well it’s doing. Either way, it’s good to know about — especially if you like collecting songs and music videos like I do, but don’t like when they get broken up by ads.

15) You can use Google Trends to explore and compare popular YouTube search terms over time.

You might already use Google Trends to look at the popularity of specific search terms over time. (It can be a great marketing tool for making smarter keyword choices, for instance.) But did you know you can use it to compare the popularity of YouTube search queries, specifically?

All you have to do is open Google Trends and type a search term into the “Explore topics” search bar at the top. Once that page opens up, click on “Web Search” to open a dropdown menu, and choose “YouTube Search” so it filters by YouTube searches specifically.

google-trends-youtube-search-2.png

You might find that, for some search terms, the search trends are very different on Google (above) than on YouTube (below).

google-trends-youtube-search-view.png

16) There’s a “safer” version of YouTube available for your kids.

Any parent will tell you how scary it is for their kids to theoretically have access to everything public on the internet. But for your younger kids, there are ways to curb that access and have more control of what they’re watching and finding — including a kids’ version of YouTube called YouTube Kids

The folks at YouTube call YouTube Kids “a safer version of YouTube.” It’s not a wide-open library of online videos like YouTube is; instead, it uses filters powered by algorithms to select videos from YouTube that are safe for kids to watch. It’s also totally free, thanks to ads (which are regulated as carefully as possible).

You can either turn the search feature on or off, depending whether you’re cool with your kids searching for videos themselves, or if you’d rather they’re limited to a certain set of videos selected by the app, along with those the app recommends based on what they’ve watched already. You can set a timer to limit how much time a child spends on the app, which I imagine is music to many parents’ ears.

The algorithm is darn good — remember, Google is YouTube’s parent company — but, as they warn in their parent’s guide, “no algorithm is perfect.” 

17) You can learn about YouTube’s copyrights terms from a cast of ridiculous puppets.

Made it this far? Here’s a little reward: YouTube’s “Copyrights Basics” FAQ page, which is, fittingly a YouTube video — and features a pretty colorful cast of characters. It’s actually super informative, and it looks like their video team had a lot of fun making it.

My favorite line is probably, “You know there are links on this webpage, right? You don’t have to watch this.” Although the chorus of gorilla puppets was pretty great, too.

Enjoy.

We hope we’ve opened your eyes to some of the more awesome YouTube hacks, tips, and features out there that you may not have known about. Now log on to YouTube and do some exploring yourself. The platform certainly isn’t going anywhere.

Which YouTube features can you add to the list? Share with us in the comments below.

free guide to video marketing

Aug

29

2016

The Evolution of Virtual Reality [Infographic]

Virtual_Reality_.jpg

Imagine being able to transport yourself to a completely different place — an idyllic beach paradise, a front row seat at a Paul McCartney concert, an unexplored planet — with the click of a button? Thanks to technological advancements in the world of virtual reality (VR), these immersive experiences define just a small taste of what’s possible.

NASA defines VR as “the use of computer technology to create the effect of an interactive three-dimensional world in which the objects have a sense of spatial presence.” And the level of personalization and immersion that VR provides makes it a great opportunity for brands to engage with their tech-savvy audiences. 

In fact, brands such as The North Face, Coca Cola, and Sony Pictures have already started using VR to delight their consumers and build loyalty in ways that are highly innovative and, in some cases, very affordable.

To learn more about how the evolution of virtual reality — from the 1930s to present day — check out the infographic from Communications@Syracuse below. (And to learn more about other game-changing trends you should incorporate into your marketing strategy, check out this blog post.)


learn about the future of marketing

Aug

5

2016

Pushing Boundaries with Video: 6 Steps to Make a Video That Works

Editor-Video-TW.jpg

Video is one of the most discussed marketing tools around, and certainly one of the most hyped. Cisco estimates that it will comprise 82% of all web traffic by 2020. And as the head of an inbound marketing agency with an in-house video department, I’ve seen first-hand the power of video. Our clients have used it to raise millions in funding, reduce homepage bounce rates by around 80%, and generate more leads than they know what to do with.

I’ve also seen companies foul it up beyond all recognition, wasting time, money, and effort on something that was never, ever going to work. Why?

It’s simple. Many don’t know that if video content is going to capture hearts, minds, stomachs, pituitary glands, and everything else, it can’t just exist – it needs to be done well. Naturally, doing it well isn’t always easy. If you hope to push the boundaries with video content, you’ll need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – and that you’re taking the right approach.

Before you even think about commissioning that animation or TV advert, you’ll want to follow these six key steps.

1) Set an objective

A video that doesn’t have a clear business purpose is a video that should never have been made. And no, “my closest business rival made one” isn’t a clear business purpose, and neither is “I have some marketing budget left and I might as well”.

Your video should be designed to add value to the company in some way or another – and to do that, you need to set a specific, defined objective. Want your target audience to fill out a contact form? Invest in your business? Buy a bunch of things? Pledge unquestioning fealty and devotion?

Whatever it is, figure it out before you get moving. A video that doesn’t have a purpose is nothing more than a vanity project.

2) Explain why you need video to achieve it

This one’s fairly self-explanatory. Quality video is expensive, and for good reason. You’re potentially paying for directors, producers, actors, camera operators, runners, animators, state-of-the-art equipment, editing, special effects, music – any combination of the foregoing and more.

Why a video? What can this kind of content achieve that a blog can’t? If there’s a way to achieve comparable results without a video – a print ad, an e-mail marketing campaign, or a light seasoning of PR, for example – you should investigate that instead. A penny saved is a penny that wasn’t wasted on something pointless and terrible.

3) Manage your HiPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion)

Lower-paid employees tend to defer to team members with higher status and salary when decisions have to be made. After all, if they didn’t know what they were doing, would they have ascended to such lofty heights?

The HiPPO – “highest paid person’s opinion” – can be troublesome. Look, your boss may be good at a whole heap of things. They may even be as creative as they think they are. But there’s a good chance that they aren’t part of your target audience, and there’s a near-100% chance that they don’t know anything about video production (most people don’t!).

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a collaborative process and it’s worth listening to anyone who has constructive feedback. But when one voice becomes dominant, it threatens creative integrity and dilutes the potential of your production.

A rampaging HiPPO – and please, don’t ever call your boss this to their face – is a dangerous beast indeed. Respect their counsel, but keep them in check wherever possible.

4) Don’t make decisions by committee

You know the story of the Little Red Hen? Production is often the exact opposite of that: everybody wants to get involved with the baking, and nobody wants anything to do with the results.

Again, this isn’t to say that other people’s voices should go unheeded. But when everyone from the sales manager to the HR director to the CEO to the janitorial team are getting involved, you’ve got a problem on your hands. The process invariably becomes less about the message, and more about not offending anyone – and your video becomes the creative equivalent of a dry saltine.

You can’t afford to make a boring video. You can’t even afford to make a good video. If it’s not going to be unequivocally great, it’s not worth doing. Get the key stakeholders involved – and no one else.

5) Take charge

In the spirit of not making everyone happy, it’s worth taking the initiative when it comes to commissioning your video and driving the production process. The best way to avoid a boring, box-ticking, HR-friendly, glorified PowerPoint presentation is to assume responsibility for it. While you should seek input and advice where appropriate, don’t be afraid to take a little heat for your decisions – as long as they aren’t completely inexplicable and unjustifiable.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission!

6) Work with Professionals

By this I mean three things:

  1. Nobody will blame you for not knowing what you’re doing: you’re not an expert in video production. Just make sure whoever you hire is.
  2. You can’t leave everything to your chosen agency or production company. They’ll need information and support, and you should do all you can to provide it. Be responsive and give the process as much time as it deserves.
  3. It’s not you against them. Nobody wants to make a bad video, and your production company least of all: they’re in it for the potential case study as much as your money.

A single, seemingly inconsequential decision can harm your video irreparably. It probably won’t, of course, but you’ll be facing hundreds of them throughout the production, and if you want to make something that truly stands out, you’ll give each one the attention it deserves.

That means putting some thought and energy into it, and seeking the advice of your production company wherever appropriate. They don’t push back just to be awkward: they usually do it for very good reason. At no point should you ever give anyone any opportunity to say “I told you so.” It annoys you, it doesn’t help the production, and it’s apt to make people insufferably smug.

Producing the right result

It’s important to note that simply following these steps isn’t an assurance of success. A great production depends on a variety of different factors, some of which you’re completely powerless to affect (it’s always worth remembering that the internet’s most popular video content is often completely inexplicable).

But if you put the requisite effort into it, if you collaborate productively with a qualified agency, and if you give the project the attention and resources it needs, you’ve got every chance of creating a boundary-pushing – hell, boundary-shattering – video.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Commissioning a Corporate Video


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