As video is becoming more and more essential to how businesses communicate with their audiences—whether potential customers, current customers, or employees—a video platform (VP) has become a necessary and useful tool for many business teams so they can manage, optimize, and measure content, and learn about their audiences.
Since teams have different goals and needs, what should marketing and sales teams (who are both focused on pipeline and closing deals) look for when choosing the right video platform for them? For marketers, for example, the tool would need to not only help you manage your growing library of video content, but also enable you to measure that video content’s effectiveness, generate more and better qualified leads, and allow video to fit seamlessly with the rest of your digital activities. When you’re on the hunt for a VP, consider a full list of options that you should be looking for.
Outline Your Needs First
There are 12 major categories on which to evaluate VPs. Of course, you may place more value on some categories than another company based on your unique business needs. And that’s exactly why identifying these needs first is imperative. For marketers, a few features may be key, while another team may need their own unique features. Try utilizing a list like the one illustrated below, which shows a snapshot that some marketers might favor, to compare platforms along similar criteria:
A layout like this could help you assign weights (percentages, numbers, or even letter grades) to each category according to its importance in the VP solution you’re looking for. For the example above, if a VP had extraordinary optimization features but lacked in some of the other categories, it would likely be eliminated from the decision set as the importance of optimization was only 5%.
12 Key Evaluation Criteria
These are the attributes you’re going to want to evaluate your VP short list on:
- Content Management: look for things like the ease with which you can upload and manage new video content. Do you have to involve IT every time? Can you upload directly from your YouTube channel? As your library grows in size and complexity of topics for different audiences, is it searchable and taggable?
- Optimization: You’re always looking for ways to improve your video content so how will this VP help you do that? Identify if it has built in optimization features such as A/B split testing, CTR reporting, and insights on actual audience engagement that will help you understand what’s driving conversions or where viewers are dropping off.
- Content Distribution: is it a simple task to share your videos to multiple channels from within your VP? And even more importantly: if changes are made to your video in the VP, are they automatically updated in all locations where the video has previously been shared? Does your VP offer a branded home like a video hub where you can keep viewers on your site and engaged with your content?
- Lead Capture: are there opportunities to generate leads from within your videos and are they easy to set up? Look for things like email gates and contact forms (that can be customized to your needs) built into the video. Then ask: where are these leads sent to? It’s no fun if you have to manage another database, but if the information can be sent directly to your marketing automation or CRM platform, you’re golden.
- Lead Scoring & Qualification: Does the VP at hand allow video viewing behavior to impact your lead qualification? It should, because a lead that’s spent 30 minutes watching your product videos is more valuable than one that’s watched only 30 seconds of your latest video blog.
- Reporting, Analytics & ROI: VPs should be more than a place to keep all of your videos. Investigate the detailed metrics offered by a VP. More than video views, look for a platform that will provide you insight on detailed viewing behavior for each video – what videos are known viewers watching? What portions are they re-watching? What are they skipping? How is this viewer engagement information gathered? Is it through behind-the-scenes data collection, like cookies, that doesn’t interfere with the user’s experience, or are you forced to add email gates and forms to every single video? And as a whole, how is video contributing to new business? Can you track an individual video’s influence all the way to a closed deal?
- Cross-Functional Opportunities: Sure you may be looking for a marketing and/or sales solution right now, but could this platform also work for internal communications or customer support as well as your whole organization becomes more video-focused? It’s always better to have fewer technologies to manage, so this is key. Does it have associated products and features to enable different teams to achieve their own unique goals, as well as easily align on shared goals? Is it easy to use and provide opportunities to limit or grant access to different teams?
- Integrations: Integrations are critical – they streamline information transfer between your current systems and your VP. Discover what integrations exist (and how easy they are to set up and use) for a given VP like your marketing automation and CRM (including Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Hubspot, Act-On, and Salesforce); your Enterprise Collaboration system such as Sharepoint or Chatter; and Web Analytics such as Adobe or Google Analytics.
- Sales Enablement: The ability to privately send videos and track whether a prospect viewed it, how much they consumed, and when they did so can make a big impact on the next sales call with that lead, so look into whether or not your shortlisted VPs can do that. As well, can your sales team take advantage of your marketing video content? The easier it is for them to access and send it (like directly from their email!) the easier it will be for your sales team to engage prospects with accurate and creative content, and close more deals.
- Security: Does the VP have a robust security model to support internal and private video use-cases in addition to outbound marketing and sales communications?
- A Personalized Experience: Does the VP give you the ability to personalize a marketing video for each lead at scale? A personalized video can lead to a 500% lift in email conversion, and a 16x increase in conversion ratios for campaign landing pages. With impressive results, consider if you’re willing to miss out on an opportunity to engage with audiences on a 1:1 level. Does the VP also allow sales teams to create their own individual personalized videos to send to prospects?
- Product Innovation: Does the VP indicate strong, continuous innovation that represents the future of video? How often are new products/features launched? Do these new products and features help you advance your own strategy? Is the VP platform leading the charge, or following competitors?
Don’t forget to define success for the adoption of this new technology. If you’re embarking on this investment, you’ll want to make sure you’ve defined KPIs beforehand so you can evaluate its success for your business even after you’ve made your selection.
Kimbe is the previous Manager of Content Marketing at Vidyard. She loves all aspects of content marketing and has a special place in her heart for using video to drive real business results. She is also moderately (okay extremely) obsessed with her fluffy chow chow, Noah.