Chapter Five

Video distribution and channels

You’ve got a strategy, you’ve made some videos, now what?

It’s time to share your creations with the world.

If you’re not releasing your video content where your market already exists, or you don’t make it easy for them to find, they’re not going to see it.

In general, the more places you share your video, the better. However, there’s no point in distributing video in locations your target prospect would never visit. You’ll want to be strategic and selective, and always measure your results.

Video distribution channels

Video distribution is much easier if you first get organized. Drop all your team’s videos into a video library, so they’re organized around topics that matter to your business, such as vertical, use case, or persona. This way, you’ll be able to find a relevant video to launch on each video channel.

Here are some of the best places to let your video content live.

Website

It’s an established fact that buyers go through nearly 70% of the buying process on their own before ever talking to sales. That makes it more important than ever to offer the information people want to see, such as guided product tours, on your website. You have to lead visitors, even if they think they’re leading themselves.

Embedding videos in your website helps improve your site’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) just by virtue of there being videos. But it also increases the amount of time people spend on a page (known as dwell time), an important factor in SEO.

This means that if your viewers click and watch a two-minute video, those two minutes will end up making your site content more sticky, and thereby more likely to appear in Google search results. Cha-ching!

You can embed videos on relevant pages, like your homepage, about section, product pages, and support channel. Your own site is a particularly good destination for evergreen content that will remain accurate, informative, and interesting over time (meaning less frequent updates and changes for you).

Depending on the volume of video content your team produces (and its purpose) you can also consider creating a video hub.

Video hubs allow you to keep all of your branded online video content in one place and provide a destination where visitors can explore your videos without getting lost in a cat video-filled vortex, the way they do on YouTube.

A dedicated video hub can do wonders for your brand’s search strategy too. You can have each of the videos appear to search engines as individual web pages and, if you perform the proper optimizations to each asset (including detailed descriptions and tags), you can increase your likelihood of appearing in search results for the topics of the videos in your hub.

Learn from the pros

Video libraries and hubs are great for more than just marketing: Sales, customer service, HR, and internal communication teams can all find uses. For example:

  • Store videos for sales training
  • Create a video self-help portal for customers
  • Create an employee resource library
  • Lock sensitive videos so they can only be viewed internally
Learn more about video libraries

Landing Pages

If you run campaigns of any kind, then you likely already have landing pages. And whether they’re part of your own website or hosted on a separate platform, video content can improve them.

In addition to engaging visitors, embedding videos on your landing pages can help increase conversion by 80%, according to Unbounce.

But how do you do it? First off, make sure the video is relevant. In many cases, you’ll want to create a video specifically for this page, as nothing hurts click-through rates like a specific link to a generic video. Next, make sure it’s the main attraction, and isn’t surrounded with excessive text or graphics.

Best practices for using video on landing pages

We shared some tips and tricks for using video on landing pages in a recent blog post:

  • Place the video above the fold
  • Keep it short
  • Choose an engaging thumbnail
  • Experiment with GIF thumbnails to capture attention
  • Include a call to action (CTA) in the video
  • Don’t be afraid to include other content as well (just make sure it supports the video experience so it isn’t jarring for visitors who consume both)
  • Use appropriate sizing – sometimes the video should jump out at you, other times it’s only needs to be one part of a larger experience

Email

Using the word “video” in an email subject line increases open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26%, according to Syndacast. And that’s just the subject line.

Including a video in the actual email can increase click-through rates by 96%, according to a survey by GetResponse. And senders of automated emails decreased subscriber opt-outs by 75% when they incorporated videos into their emails, according to Eloqua.

Need we say more? This staggering increase in engagement makes including video in an email a no-brainer. And your email marketing campaigns aren’t the only place where video has that effect.

Multiply that by the number of employees at your organization and … just think about the valuable real estate that exists in your team’s email signatures!

Just look at what our video specialist Karl does this with his signature:

How to embed a video in an email:

If you’re using a video platform, you can simply record videos directly from your browser, then add a link to your email, which will auto-populate a thumbnail. Without a video platform, you’ll have to record the video, host the video, insert a thumbnail image into your email, and then add the hosted link.

Best practices for using video in email


Learn more about how to use video in your email marketing campaigns on our blog. We’ve pulled a few of our favourite hot tips:

  • Embed a thumbnail in the email – for added interest, try using a looping GIF thumbnail
  • If you’re directing viewers to a landing page, consider using autoplay on the video embedded there to reduce the number of clicks needed
  • Aim for between 30 and 90 seconds for top-of-funnel (TOFU) campaigns and anywhere from one to 30 minutes for recipients further down the funnel
  • Leverage calls to action (CTAs) in your videos to encourage action (whether that’s viewing additional content, sharing the video on social, or filling out a form)
  • Use a marketing automation platform (MAP) to track and measure your video email campaigns

Blog

Videos help blogs for all the reasons they help websites: They’re exciting, they’re easier to consume than pages upon pages of text, and if your videos are helpful, people look forward to them. At Vidyard, we frequently fill our own blog with all sorts of videos: Chalk talks, video news roundups, testimonials, customer interviews, and tips from experts.

If you use your blog for generating leads, prospects may even go there expecting videos. Ninety-six percent of viewers seek out videos while making purchase decisions reports Animoto, and people who watch videos are more likely to buy.

Just remember, search engines like Google can’t understand what happens within your video. So if you want your posts to show up in searches, you have to add descriptions, and you might consider repeating your video’s key phrases in the text to make sure it gets indexed. (More on video SEO later.)

Learn from the pros

Want to see how to use video on your blog? Visit the Vidyard blog to see how we do it!

Other video channels

You’ll want to consider distributing your videos in these locations as well:

  • Sales assets—reuse relevant content where appropriate
  • Press releases—for a chance of having them included in online articles
  • Partner blogs—contact your industry partners and ask if they’ll feature your video content on their blogs
  • Video advertising—whether it’s paid social, video ads in Google Ads, or promoted content

Social video distribution

Social networks are incredibly popular channels for video distribution. And while YouTube is probably the first thing that comes to mind, don’t underestimate the power of other video channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

Remember to tailor your content to each social network. While it appears that overall, people on social media prefer videos that are entertaining, funny, informative, or educational according to Hubspot, each one has its own quirks, and viewers on each platform are there for slightly different reasons.

YouTube

One of the first spots you’ll want to upload to is YouTube. The video sharing website has nearly two billion users – a potential audience so large it’s impossible to ignore.

But while it’s great for search, YouTube alone is not a comprehensive video strategy, as the whole platform is designed for people to get lost watching other people’s recommended videos (the cat video vortex is real).

Your goal should be to use the channel to gain attention and drive viewers back to your website. There, they can consume more of your brand content free from distraction. As a bonus, once they’re back on your website, you’ll be able to track their behaviour with video engagement data.

Best practices for sharing a video on YouTube

Be careful not to cannibalize your own search engine optimization (SEO) efforts when uploading to YouTube.

Using the same content in two different locations can harm SEO in both places. Consider changing your title and description slightly so it doesn’t perfectly match the video that’s on your website.

Want to learn more on SEO for multi-platform promotion? Moz CEO and Founder Rand Fishkin shared some of his top tips for video SEO in a blog post.

Facebook

By the numbers alone, Facebook could be considered a video network to rival YouTube. Of its two billion users, nearly all watch video, for a total of eight billion average daily views, reports TechCrunch.

Unlike YouTube, where every post is a video, videos on Facebook compete with posts that are text and images, and so stand in great contrast. Users also encounter videos as they scroll down through their feeds, so playing with different formats such as vertical video can help increase your performance.

If anyone appears in your video, remember to tag them. Also, a word of caution: Eighty-five percent of videos viewed on Facebook are viewed without sound. So if your video has dialog, make sure it has captions.

Best practices for Facebook video

Facebook provides some advice for shooting video that works well on the platform:

  • Make your brand easy to identify from the outset using colours, themes, and imagery that connect back to it
  • Plan for silent playback
  • Make sure the framing, dimensions, and story work well on a small screen
  • Continually test and experiment to find out what works

LinkedIn

While it’s always been possible to share video links on LinkedIn, the platform has really embraced video in the past few years, and made it easier to record and share. You can upload videos from your browser, or you can record videos through LinkedIn’s mobile app.

LinkedIn users love video. They share it 20 times more than any other content type, according to LinkedIn’s Video Product Manager.

Given LinkedIn’s focus on professional networking, it’s ideal to focus on your area of expertise when shooting and sharing video on the platform. If you write longer-form content on LinkedIn, consider embedding a video to keep readers engaged. Depending on your goals, you may also want to considered LinkedIn video ads.

If people appear in your video, such as an interviewee, be sure to tag them in your post. And be sure to add topic hashtags, a recent LinkedIn addition, that can give you greater reach.

Best practices for LinkedIn video

LinkedIn offers some tips for sharing video on the platform:

  • Try to engage your audience in the first 10 seconds
  • Focus on visual storytelling by leveraging graphics, people, and text
  • 80% of LinkedIn users watch video with the sound off and video designed for silent viewing is 70% more likely to be watched all the way through
  • Including subtitles or captions
  • Aim for under 30 seconds for brand awareness videos
  • Test out a longer video for demand generation goals
  • 76% of viewers are more likely to watch a humorous video
  • Tailor your headline to your target audience—86% of LinkedIn users say they’re more likely to watch a video if it’s relevant to their job, while 75% say they care if it references their specific industry

Instagram

Perhaps the most visual of all social networks, Instagram has long been a popular place for video. Now, with one billion active monthly users, it’s become nearly impossible for marketers to ignore.

Though there’s a 60-second maximum length for videos posted in feeds, users and brands alike have gotten creative with the medium, often posting teaser videos that drive people back to their site to finish watching. And, video on Instagram is growing faster than any other type of content – at 80% year-over-year, according to the network.

Instagram is has also released new video formats and options. Users post videos to disappearing Stories, and now there’s IGTV, a new home for long-form vertical video, which allows hour-long videos.

Best practices for Instagram video:

Videos play automatically when users scroll over them, though at first, they play on silent. Once a user turns on the sound for one video clip, it remains on until they either turn it off again or leave the app.

Because of these settings, we recommend not including any audio key to a user’s understanding at the beginning of your video. Use enticing visuals to encourage users to tap for sound, but don’t expect it.

Twitter

Don’t let Twitter’s lower-than-most user count (330 million) throw you off: It’s a thriving social network and a critical place to be if that’s where your audience is. Within some niche business circles, people are posting upwards of five times per day, and 93 percent of Twitter interactions happen on mobile, meaning you can reach people wherever they are, on the go.

There are several options for getting your videos on Twitter: Record them from the app, upload them, or “go live” with a Twitter featured called Periscope, where a lack of polish is expected. “In fact, genuine personality, impromptu ad-libbing, and a bit of scrappy creativity are what make Periscope streams so interesting,” says the Twitter team.

Best practices for Twitter video:

While you can’t tag people in videos, you can tag them in the Tweet. Take full advantage of those and hashtags to appear in the feeds of the followers of individuals who appear in your video.

  • Hook viewers right away – things happen fast on Twitter. You’ll need to grab their attention in the first second or two.
  • Cut videos into bite-sized chunks – people’s attention spans on Twitter are typically lower. Don’t be afraid to post the same content multiple times.
  • Repurpose existing content – Twitter is a great place to play teaser videos for longer-form content.

Video SEO Guide

Let’s talk about YouTube again. It’s considered the world’s second largest search engine, second only to Google. And because it’s owned by Google, Google increasingly features YouTube videos in regular search results. So, you might think that by uploading videos to YouTube, you’d be done. But that’d be a mistake.

Video content on YouTube helps YouTube’s SEO, not yours. It’s only with a video hosting platform to place your videos on your site that all that juicy video metadata counts toward your search rankings. And, be careful: If you upload the same video to two places, it’ll hurt your SEO in both. If you do repost a video somewhere new, change the metadata so it appears at least slightly different.

With all that said, video has some amazing SEO benefits. Let’s explore how to get the most out of yours.

Video can help you improve:

  • Video SEO
  • Website SEO
  • Domain authority

How to optimize your videos

As we’ve mentioned, search engine crawlers don’t understand what’s happening within videos per-se. They rely on the text data surrounding your videos, known as metadata, to make sense of them, as well as user interaction data, such as whether people clicked and how long they watched for.

Despite its reputation as a something of a dark art, “optimizing” for search engines really does come down to whether audiences enjoy your video. If you review a history of Google’s algorithm changes over the past twenty years, you’ll see that more and more, it’s gone from relying on keywords, which anyone can fake, to watching users. So while it’s critical to optimize your video’s metadata, it’s equally critical to produce things people like to watch.

Here’s the metadata you should definitely fill out on any web page where you place your video:

Video title

Video titles are immensely important to explaining what’s going on in your video. Use keywords where appropriate (but don’t overuse them), and front-load them so that the most important words appear first, if possible.

Video description

The description of your video should, similarly, use keywords when relevant, and explain what’s happening within the video, including the names of people, companies, and products.

Video tags

If you’re uploading to a video distribution channel that allows you to add tags, they can increase your video’s discoverability.

Surrounding text

In any given landing page, web page, or blog post that contains a video, search engines scan the surrounding text for clues as to what the video is about. Consider including a transcript of the video, either in the body text or, if you want to hide it but still get the benefits, use CSS and Javascript to make it invisible.

To go the extra mile, add H1 and H2 headers throughout the page text so Google knows what’s going on, and to make it more readable. For an example of this, look at how we structure our Chalk Talks.

Once you’ve filled out all of your video metadata, make sure Google knows. Visit the Google Search Console and re-upload your site’s .xml sitemap so Google has all the information it needs to start listing your videos in searches and giving you your well-earned credit.

Video SEO cheat sheet:

    • Do your homework. Conduct keyword research to determine the best terms for your video before setting a title and description. Ideally, do this before you even shoot your video so that you can optimize it right from the get-go.
    • Complete all of the metadata for your video. The title and description are some of the most important fields.

Use a transcription service. Transcribe video scripts to help search engine bots understand what it’s about as they crawl your content.

Assume it will be viewed on mobile. As much as 75% of mobile traffic will be video by 2020, Cisco predicts.

Choose intriguing thumbnails. Use high-quality thumbnails to capture audience attention and get the click. Avoid clickbait – make sure the thumbnail is relevant to the content of your video. Consider creating custom thumbnails that include text or other elements of interest.

Learn more about video SEO

Feeling great about getting your videos seen? Now it’s time to put them to real work, to drive pipeline and revenue in your ABM and demand gen strategies.