Congratulations! Your company’s new video is ready to share with the world. You post it to YouTube, share it on Facebook, send a few tweets, and … wait.
When you’ve finally made it through the process of developing a video concept, finalizing a script, planning a shoot and editing your material, it can be exciting to jump into video distribution. But we often forget to put the same level of detailed planning into video distribution that we do into the other parts of video development.
Launch Media clients often ask me the best way to share videos with customers and employees. Should you host the video on Vimeo or YouTube? What’s the best way to share on social media? How can you track the success and ROI of your video?
I’ve gathered some of the video distribution lessons I’ve learned over the years. Here’s the Launch Media playbook for distributing a video for maximum ROI.
Hammer Out Your Video Goals
If you’re spending time and resources on video, you likely have some specific goals in mind. But before you just assume your goal is just “views,” push yourself to get a little more specific. A few common goals include:
- Complete views (watching until the end of the video).
- Video shares.
- Clicks on a call-to-action at the end of the video.
- Actions taken after watching the video (like buying a product, signing up for an email list or continuing to the next video in a series).
- Retention (learning and using information from the video, if it’s a training or safety lesson).
Design Your Video for Your Audience
You know what you want to share in your video, but do you know what your audience is looking for? Before you plan your video, do some research on the people you’re trying to reach:
- Are you making a marketing video that customers will see in a social media stream? Go short. The video pros at hosting company Wistia studied more than 500,000 videos and found that engagement generally drops off after the two-minute mark. If you’re working on a short video, aim for two minutes or less.
- Are you making a informational video for employees? If you’re sharing a lot of important information (especially if it relates to safety tips they’ll need to retain on the job), you might consider longer videos. If your audience needs more information, Wistia recommends shooting for six to 12 minutes, another viewer sweet spot. Engagement drops again after 12 minutes, so if you have more than 12 minutes of information to share, try cutting your videos into chapters or sections to give people a chance to take a break and process each round of information.
Plan Where You’ll Share the Video
It’s important to think about where your audience will see your video. Will they see it in their Facebook feed when they’re scrolling on their phone while in line for coffee? Will they open it on a laptop during a formal training session? Will they find it through a YouTube search?
When it comes to formatting videos, my advice is to make it as easy as possible for people to watch your video, wherever they find it. If you’re posting a video to Facebook, make sure your viewers can watch it right inside Facebook, without clicking out to another website. Ditto for Twitter and Instagram. Consider each platform that’s important for your audience, and customize your final video to display smoothly on each one. If your video is long, consider posting a teaser clip on social media, and linking through to the full video on your website.
Research shows that it’s best to post “native” videos, which means that when you’re sharing a video on Facebook, you upload the video directly to Facebook, instead of sharing a link to a YouTube video. Search Engine Journal research shows the benefits of going native:
Customize for Each Platform
Wherever you post your video, take advantage of all of the built-in tools the platform provides. For example, write a descriptive title and description and choose relevant tags when you post on YouTube. Don’t leave any important fields blank. And, carefully choose the thumbnail image for the video, which will show up in search results. Hootsuite has specific tips on optimizing your video’s thumbnail, including:
- Have a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
- Use one of the approved file formats: .JPG, .GIF, .BMP or .PNG.
- Remain under the 2 megabyte limit.
- Use a 16:9 aspect ratio (it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews).
If you’re looking for more tips on how to customize your video for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, Social Media Examiner has specific specs and ideas.
Consider Search Engine Optimization for Videos
Name the video: Remember that the way you name the video is how people will find it. So, what major question or search term are you trying to target? If it’s your company name, then that should be reflected in the video name, description, and other important fields.
Choose a video hosting environment: The issue of where to host a video often comes up when discussing search engine optimization. Whether it is hosted natively on your own website, on Youtube, or on Vimeo, there are ways to optimize metadata for the keywords you have in mind. When you’re making your decision, consider that YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. If you’re ignoring it, you’re doing so at your own expense.
Create a transcript: Video transcripts can be extremely helpful to search engines, because the data and content within a video is hard for a search engine to parse. When it sees a video without a transcript, it cannot tell what is being said outside of the name of the video, its description, and other metadata. By providing a transcript, you give the search engine better opportunities to pick up on keywords content, and you give users the option to “read” the video if they can’t listen.
Allow embedding: Ensure that your video allows for embedding on other sites. This creates a backlink directed at your site, which is great for SEO and is a strong ranking factor. Yes, it means allowing others to incorporate your video into their work, but you’re also drastically increasing the potential for inbound links to your website.
Track Results and Repeat
No matter where you’re hosting your video, today’s platforms offer rich tracking and analytics. Keep your original goals in mind and track how your video is performing. You might find clear red flags that you can act on right away: Are people closing the video at the 30-second mark? You could update the video with a call to action right before that timestamp, or consider sharing a shorter version of the same video.
If you learn that your viewers are most interested in a specific topic, look for ways to give them more video content on that theme. Instead of starting from scratch, could you repurpose something you’ve already created? Some ideas for repurposing content include:
- Convert a popular infographic into a short video.
- Pull the most interesting stats and quotes from a top-read blog post into a recap video.
- Convert a long video into a series of targeted 10-second clips that can be used to promote or extend the presence of that campaign.
Are you ramping up your video strategy in 2017? If you’re looking for ideas, we’d love to help. Check out our project archive for inspiration or get in touch to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
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Launch Media is an award-winning, full-service media production company. We strategically conceptualize, design, produce and distribute visual content – video, motion graphics, and digital media – that delivers an immediate impact and leaves a lasting impression. Ready to launch? Contact us.