Over the past several years of content marketing, video has been a much touted format and yet the least understood by most B2B marketers. With the advent of marketing automation, the need for compelling content is greater than ever before. Video can help fill the need, but it is often viewed as expensive, time consuming, and hard to measure. Many marketers continue to use video for “branding” instead of for lead nurturing and information transfer. Often this is because video is not easy to tie back to results. In the Marketo Community, I have seen several video consumption questions pop up. The tracking is difficult until Vidyard’s solution.
I recently spoke with Vidyard’s CMO, Tyler Lessard about his firm and how Vidyard integrates with marketing automation (and Marketo) to provide clear statistics and attribution for video consumption.
Josh: How did you become involved with Vidyard?
Tyler: In late 2013, I met Michael Litt and Devon Galloway, Co-Founders of Vidyard, through a mutual acquaintance in the Venture Capital community. Michael and Devon are two of the most reputable entrepreneurs in my home town of Kitchener, Ontario, and I found this to be a great opportunity to learn more about the evolving technology landscape right there in my own backyard.
What started as an innocent conversation about the growing tech scene and the state of local entrepreneurship quickly turned into a fascinating discussion about marketing technology, the power of online video as a marketing and sales tool, and the evolving role of video marketing platform technology in the B2B market.
Being passionate about both marketing and technology, and having spent over 15 years in various marketing and business development roles within B2B markets, it didn’t take long to gain an appreciation for what Vidyard had built and where the company was going. I got so excited about the business model, the market landscape, and what Vidyard was developing that we quickly began discussing career opportunities. One thing led to another, and not long after I decided to join Vidyard as Chief Marketing Officer.
Josh: I suspect most marketing automation admins and all campaign managers agree video is becoming essential to pulling leads through the funnel. All would agree video is expensive to make. What do you recommend for cash strapped marketers who know they need video, but are not sure how to do it well and for a reasonable cost.
Tyler: Video is becoming a mainstream component of the content marketing mix, yet many organizations still treat it as a special, one-off content medium reserved for major campaigns or projects. It’s time to move past that and to start thinking like a media publishing company within your own marketing organization. Hire one or two great video producers and you’ll be amazed at the volume, and quality, of video content that you can create and push out. That’s not to that agencies aren’t important – but you can’t rely on them for all of your video production needs or you’ll be second guessing every product video, customer testimonial, and campaign video that you want to produce.
Here at Vidyard, for example, we have an in-house Creative Director who is a whiz behind the camera and proficient in post-production software. He films and produces all of the videos on our website, including some of my favorites like the animated “Tale of Two Marketers” and the hilarious Back to the Future spoof. All the scripts and graphics are developed by our content marketing team. We inject video into almost everything we do, and the resulting engagement levels by our online audiences are remarkable as a result. Allocate the budget for one or two people dedicated to video and it will be worth every penny!
Josh: You are pioneering the concept of scoring leads based on percentage of content consumed. I know you do this for video, but how might one apply it to white papers, web pages, and even events?
Tyler: One of the reasons we are so passionate about video is that it’s an ideal content medium for marketers – not only because audiences love it and you can tell compelling stories through it, but because it is a highly measurable content medium that can offer amazing insight into customer intent. Because video content is streamed from your server, you can track every second of consumption if you have the right video technology in place. By doing that, you can actually score leads based on the percentage of the video they actually watched, not just based on whether or not they hit “play.” This type of progressive lead scoring allows you to dynamically score leads based on actual consumption of the content, rather than binary transaction like “clicked on a link” or “downloaded a whitepaper.” This is important because a lead that actually watches 3 minutes of a product video is likely a much hotter prospect than someone that downloads a white paper and never reads it.
We do this here at Vidyard where we will often assign 5 points if someone starts a video, another 5 points if they make it past 50%, and another 10 points if they it past 90% of the video. That said, it is difficult to do consumption-based scoring on whitepapers and web pages because they are not streamed content types. There is no meaningful way to know how much of a web page someone actually read. And with whitepapers, there is no way to track engagement in a PDF unless you are using a third party technology that is presenting the document over the web in a proprietary format and tracking page clicks. Still, it’s hard to know if someone actually read the content, or if they simply skipped past numerous pages to the end.
Josh: Vidyard encourages scoring by percentage of content consumed as well as total content consumed per day. Would you really say that a lead who watches 2 hours of video this week indicates the lead is as highly qualified as one who requests a call back?
Tyler: Every organization is different in how they associate value to different actions taken by a prospect, but the most important thing is to be able to track the most relevant qualification data available and attribute points that best correlate to intent-to-purchase.
I would definitely argue that a lead that watches 2 hours of video in a week is more qualified than one that visits several web pages and downloads two whitepapers, yet most marketers don’t score video views today and thus the lead that watched a lot of video will walk away unnoticed while the other will likely surface as a marketing qualified lead for immediate follow up. A prospect that requests a call back is certainly well qualified, as is one that consumes a great deal of video content. Marketers need to be smart in what data they track and how they assign points to ensure that each of these leads get flagged for follow up at the appropriate time. It’s also worth noting that not all pieces of content, nor all videos, are created equal. We typically assign more points to views of videos that are further down the sales funnel. For example, we may only assign 10 points to a lead that watches the entire brand awareness video, while we will assign 30 or more points to a lead that watches more than 5 minutes of product demonstration videos.
Josh: Marketing automation managers often struggle with measuring video content. A common question on the Marketo Community is “How do I score based on length of view time?” Would you tell us more about how Vidyard helps you do this without being a programmer?
Tyler: This is one of the core functions that Vidyard is built for. When you publish a video to your website via the Vidyard platform, it automatically tracks every second of every video view by visitors to your website. Through its integration with Marketo, it automatically identifies if the viewer is a known prospect in your Marketo system, and if they are, the Vidyard platform pushes the video viewing results right into the associated lead record in Marketo. It’s really as simple as that. The activity log of a Marketo lead record is now updated with the name of the video they watched, how many seconds they watched, and what percentage of the video that represents. Using the standard tools in Marketo, you can specify custom rules for assigning lead scores, for segmenting users based on their viewing history, or for initiating automated nurture activities in response to a viewing activity. It’s a very powerful solution, and it leverages the native tools in Marketo so the marketing operations team doesn’t need to learn new technology or do any custom programming.
Josh: Tyler, you place an emphasis on the CTA in the video. With YouTube and other platforms offering this rich experience, how can a marketer use a CTA effectively? Should a video CTA always say, “Call us now?” or can you weave together several videos and CTAs to let the lead create his experience that tells (sells) him your story?
Tyler: We always say, “Never let your video fade to black.” If a viewer has made it to the end of the video, they have demonstrated interest and intent, and now is the time to ask them to take the next step.
With Vidyard we make it easy to add a Call-to-Action (CTA) to the end of the video without having to edit the video itself. A CTA may tell the viewer to call a number, visit a URL, or to download a certain content asset. We also enable automated post-roll actions to jump to another place on the web page upon video completion or to auto-start another video that is next in the playlist. The right CTA depends entirely on what the intent of the video is, and what action you want the viewer to take next on the path to conversion.
Josh: Now that you’ve closed the loop on video and marketing automation, what other technologies and content formats do you see on the horizon?
Tyler: Many of our customers are now expanding usage of Vidyard beyond the walls of marketing and out into the Sales team. We offer a comprehensive integration with Salesforce.com, enabling individual sales reps to track the viewing habits of their prospects within CRM records and even send videos directly to clients and track if (or when) they actually view it. This can be a very powerful sales prospecting tool for both inside sales reps and account executives.
We’ve also seen customers use Vidyard for distributing internal sales training videos, with the ability to track which sales reps have actually viewed which training videos. This gives managers better insight into how engaged different reps are, and to correlate consumption of sales training to effectiveness in the field. Last, but not least, by tracking video viewing history inside the CRM’s leads and opportunities, we enable the sales and marketing teams to report on the actual ROI of each video asset. Through a simple Salesforce.com report, they can see which videos have influenced the most pipeline and closed revenue. Having this data handy can be critical to understanding what’s working, and to justify additional investments in video content production.
Josh: What do you do for fun?
Tyler: I love to watch superhero movies, go to the local water park, read Fancy Nancy books, and take long trips to Disney World. Sometimes, even with my kids!! Oh, and if I ever find time to golf again, we’ll add that to the list. But don’t hold your breath.
Stay tuned in for a tutorial on how video content is tracked inside Marketo using Vidyard. How have you been tracking video? Let us know in the comments below!