For video marketing purposes we’ve selected Wistia as Yabber's primary video hosting service (alongside YouTube and, soon, Vimeo). Wistia a paid service but worth the investment when your marketing matures and/or you recognise that video plays a greater part in your broader content creation and funnel strategy. Wistia provides a free account for up to three videos so you should register for the service and explore the service to see if it’s a good fit for your business - it really is one of those services you don’t know you need until you’re using it.
YouTube versus Wistia
Wistia is not a replacement for YouTube. At the Yabber level, YouTube is geared more towards content creators looking to monetize their product or channel, or to be used for businesses to create non-trackable but easily indexed videos (thus achieving greater reach). YouTube tends to perform better in search results, and it serves more of a social media platform than a video marketing platform. This article introduces why Wistia might be a suitable video marketing platform to support your video content strategy, and we describe how the features of Wistia integrated with those of Yabber.
Wistia Features & Yabber Integration
Why Pay For Wistia Video Hosting? Wistia answer this often-asked question on their website by saying that “why should you pay for food when you can eat out of trash cans”. YouTube – as it the case with many free video websites – is very much a cesspit of social garbage; you’re sharing the service with numerous other people that share the same space (so their videos might be promoted alongside your own), and the comments section is akin to social anarchy. YouTube is a distracting environment that isn’t always ideally suited to professional promotion but it still plays an essential part in your broader video strategy. Simply put, having a dedicated platform serving your video material is far more suited to your on-page marketing campaigns and it won’t compromise on your professional brand values.
Wistia provides real-time actionable analytics. We know virtually everything about how your users engage with a video; we know how much of a video they watch, when they’re watching it, and what parts of your video are most engaging. Best of all, we’re able to assign these actions to individual users and trigger various actions based on their interaction with the video. If a user only watches the first few minutes of a video we’re able to send them an email inviting them to watch the remaining, or perhaps we’ll send them an SMS providing them with more information. If you’re waiting on a user to engage with a video we can send you a notification or create a task in Microsoft Planner (if you call an individual while a user is watching your video you’ll likely illicit a heightened response).
Because we create on-page cookies on your website when a form is submitted, or perhaps when a Venus report is submitted, we associate that known user with Wistia videos embedded on your website by default. This means detailed analytics are recorded and triggers are actioned - even on cold leads (analytics are discussed in more detail below).
Wistia provides full branding over the video player embedded onto your website. The "white-label" feature, applied only to paid plans, alters the player colour, logo, player controls, and so on. Yabber provides a 'Colour Palette' that may be recycled over and over and applied to individual or groups of videos. To save time, you may batch update videos with various customisation attributes.
The player also includes an option to include social share buttons that’ll point back to the page the player is embedded on or the Wistia channel page.
Gating Options and the Turnstile
A gating option is a video mechanism that applies a gate at a certain time on the video while applies a condition before a user may continue. The gate might be applied midway through the video before premium components of the video may be watched, or it might be used at the end of the video to capture details as part of a call-to-action (called a 'turnstile').
When a name and email is asked as part of a turnstile (at the beginning, end, or at a defined time in your video, the lead is submitted to Yabber) we treat is like any lead submitted via any other website or Facebook form (you simply create an ‘association’ or ‘link’ between a standard web form and a turnstile gate form and the latter will inherit the automation rules defined by the former.
Pictured: Basic video options – there are over 30 options that apply to any video (excluding the advanced plugin options). The video options, turnstile options, call-to-action Post Roll, sharing and other features are added as ‘profiles’. Those profiles can then be manually applied to a video, or via automation. The Wistia options are extensive, and BeLearn should be referenced for full functionality. We seek to provide an amazing Wistia experience because your video experience should be painless and amazing.
Pictured: An example turnstile form as shown on Wistia’s website. The optional feature to skip the name and email requirement is shown in the bottom right of the video panel. Turnstiles are defined for a video or a group of videos via the Platform. The turnstile appears at the defined point in the video (usually the beginning of end), and leads are sent directly to Yabber with all associated automation applied.
The ability to ingest a user into your marketing funnel via a video (with all standard form-based automation applied) is a massive marketing opportunity that shouldn't be ignored.
Wistia Video Chapters
Video chapters may be applied which provide a small bookmark-style feature along your video timeline. A control button expands an in-video panel so individual chapters are returned for easy navigation. Of course, the platform supports the creation of bookmarks.
Pictured: The image shows how chapters are assigned to a video in the Platform. They’re a feature you didn’t know you needed until you start using them – video conversions and watch-time in latter parts of your video will skyrocket because a user has direct access to the information they actually require. The Platform makes chapter creation easy: simply add as many chapters as necessary via the ‘Add Chapter’ button, Save, and then assign to a video in the live environment. The chapters are kept as a ‘draft’ until they’re sent. For compliance purposes a full history of your chapter creation for each video is recorded.
Video captions are a big topic that almost deserves its own chapter. Captions are not just for accessibility – it is claimed that 85% of people watch video without sound. So, in order to improve upon your conversions you should ideally (and we know it’s difficult) seek to create captions for your videos.
Yabber supports the quick and easy creation of captions by way of simply adding the time start, time stop, and text. We may incorporate our voice-to-text feature into the module but this does incur a cost, isn’t reliable out-of-the-box, and it doesn’t provide the time marks. When captions are created an open standard SRT captions file is returned; this file may be used on other platforms if required.
Pictured: Annotations are in-video or ‘midroll’ call-to-actions returned to your video as plain text that provides a call-to-action. They add serious value to your videos because you can direct a user to a specific page, a landing page, or simply show a message, at a time when that information is required – it does increases your conversions. To create a midroll annotation you simply provide the necessary text, define the start time of the message, the duration (or the time the annotation remains on your video), and an optional URL. As many chapters may be added as required by way of the ‘Add Annotation’ button and they’re removed by way of a button under each panel. An example of how we’ve integrated the Wistia system to your existing landing pages is by way of the ‘Optional URL’ field (which turns your text field into a link). You have the choice of defining your own custom URL or choosing an existing landing page. The simple feature shows how we’ve gone to lengths to avoid the need to copy and paste any information from one source to another when that unnecessary action can be avoided. Returning landing pages in Wistia menus repeats itself in a number of locations. Annotations are different to Captions, the latter which are an accessibility feature that also serves titles to the 85%+ of people that start watching your Facebook videos in a muted mode (lower on other Platforms).
Pictured: Creation caption SRT (SubRip Subtitle) files. According to multiple publishers, as much as 85 percent of video views happen with the sound off. Facebook has determined that over 85% of their traffic will watch a video without sound while another study by Verizon determined that 69% of people will watch a video with sound off in public places, and 25% watch with sound off in private places. The Verizon study determined that 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available (and 50% of consumers want them from publishers). Facebook counts a view at three seconds, which means publishers have to find ways to convince users to stick around in order to capture that view, and capture longer attention. So, since Facebook is designed primarily as a ‘sound-off’ platform, and since most people will ‘scroll’ past your video, the first few seconds are critical. Your video has to be designed to capture attention without needing sound. If you don’t have subtitles you’ll lose the viewer. Our SRT options provide all the necessary tools to create, upload, and manage your caption requirements for Wistia and other video platforms. While sound is important from a marketing perspective it’s also a necessary accessibility requirement for those that are hearing impaired.
Wistia provides numerous options such as password protection, collaborative tools, email access, and groups, to limit who can watch certain material. While many companies block “time-wasting” sites such as YouTube, Wistia will continue to be available.
Yabber & Website Wistia Integration
Wistia API and Webhook
Wistia provides an API and webhooks that are associated with various actions and we’ve integrated those systems with Yabber. While still in continued development at the time of writing there are a large number of Wistia features that are available – including triggers associated with video interactions (on your website, landing pages etc.).
Our website plugin and email marketing system supports the inclusion of identifying information to Wistia videos by default. This means you know exactly who has watched a video based on clicking a link in an email campaign, how much video they have watched, and the engagement that they’ve had with your video (this lends itself to the video triggers and General Triggers that we’ll introduce shortly).
Leads submitted Wistia's 'turnstile' are submitted to Yabber and defined automation is actioned as if it were submitted via a standard form (a 'turnstile' is a Wistia feature that presents a name and email option within the actual video container at the beginning of end of a video, or at a defined time – an excellent option for converting off video content).
Wistia Website Features
Since Wistia is our marketing-based video hosting service of choice we’ve obviously included a number of features directly into your website that connects the service directly into Yabber in a way that enhances your website marketing in amazing ways.
First, you may define your primary front page ‘featured’ video, and the secondary ‘three-video panel’ from within the Platform – this enables you to change the ‘default’ videos at any time. From there, and as an option for those that are exploring more advanced methods of increasing their online conversions, you may optionally escalate (or alter) those panels based on the determined interest type of your user. So, while you define the default set of videos shown to each user before we know anything about them, the panel may change based on what we’ve determined that user is interested in viewing.
The panel to define default videos (this includes Wistia or YouTube videos) is actioned via a section called "Front Page" on the "Site Management" panel. It should be noted at this point that the primary video and optional video panel of three videos means that you’ll have at least four videos on your front page. Why? - In this article we introduce the need for video marketing (you should attempt to have a video on every page). Just four of the key takeaways from the 50 or so that are listed in the linked article are the following:
- A page is 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google if it includes video.
- Including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%.
- 85% of consumers want to see more video content.
- On average, people spend 2.6x more time on pages with video than without.
Since video is one key to conversions it stands to reason that we’ll make sure we provide it. Further, our escalation tactics ensure that we’re always serving the video content that is more likely to convert.
Pictured: Selecting the primary video on the front page of your website. You simply select the website where the change is required to take effect, select the applicable Wistia or YouTube video, and save. The selected video will now show on your website. The selected video will automatically associate the user email (if known) or attach the BMUID (BeliefMedia User ID) if not known so their activity can be matched against other website behaviour, interactions, and browsing.
The same method applies for the ‘three panel’ video block. We simply select the website where the change is required to take effect, select the applicable interest type (a minimum of ‘Default Videos’ is required), select the three videos associated with the block, and save. The videos associated with the panel will immediately change.
While the menu for each video includes Wistia and YouTube videos we’d always suggest that Wistia is the better option for front-page featured content (remembering that Wistia provide three videos for free).
Pictured: Selecting your three front page videos that are made available in a standard block of three videos. Select the destination website, select the interest (in the pictured example we’re setting default videos), select the applicable videos, and save. Changes are made immediately.
Advanced usage of video escalation panels requires something that might come as a little bit of a shock to most businesses because it assumes you’ll assign the necessary effort into actually making multiple videos that are associated with different types of services you provide. While creating multiple videos is far from mandatory we have years of statistics supporting the far higher conversions on websites that embrace our conditional methodology, so we highly encourage its use.
Again, and as discussed at length in our article on ‘Video Marketing’, video is an essential tool necessary for a high-converting and powerful website presence. The one-webinar concept you may have heard about in the finance space still works but it is not nearly as effective as having a broad and open video strategy.
Pictured: Each interest type can have its own three videos associated with the panel that’ll render when that interest type is identified. If an interest type is identified and no video panel exists for that interest we’ll simply return the default videos.
Actually rendering your videos onto your website is a piece of cake. Part of the reason we provide a complimentary turnkey website is because we want businesses to have a powerful and successful website experience very quickly, and the provided website with the Elementor plugin installed by default provides this quick turnkey functionality. We often remind businesses that 'Digital Marketing' is two words... and it is the former that supports the latter; in this day and age we find it absolutely bizarre that there are actual marketers and marketing programs that still require the copying and pasting of code (as a standard) to support their marketing efforts – this is clearly something we don’t advocate in any way. With our default website installed, or on any website where the Elementor Website Builder is installed, you simply drag-and-drop the appropriate block into position on your page, set a few options, and you’re done. Once the block is in place your videos will start showing and any escalation that may have applied with function immediately (and tracking with associated video triggers is automatically applied).
Shown in the next image is the single video Wistia block (the block controls are on the left while the actual video on-page rendering is on the right). To include a video you literally drag the video block onto your page... and you’re done.
Pictured: Single video block. If not using the default video you simply select an alternate video from the select menu – no copying or pasting required in any way. Other options now shown include the alteration of the video thumbnail image and analytics/SEO options.
The cutaway area highlighted in yellow indicates a number of options that apply to your video and are different to the defaults as defined on Yabber. Options include whether your video plays inline or in a popup, video container colour, whether to show the video controls or autoplay, and so on.
Pictured: Setting the ‘three-video’ panel on your WordPress website. Drag the widget into place and select the interest type. Videos will immediately render.
Creating a block of three videos is just as easy. Simply drag the video block widget to your website, select the interest type (normally ‘default’), and the videos will show.
The panel includes the options to include or exclude description, titles, and duration. You may also set the title above or below the video (if enabled). While any video block may be set as your initial block of videos, if escalation is enabled and you have videos associated with other interest types, the escalation will automatically apply.
Wistia video statistics are queried every hour to paint a broader understanding of our marketing impact (YouTube statistics are aggregated on a daily basis). A heatmap of the viewing of each video is available for each user that viewed your video so you have a clear understanding of how all users, and individual users, are interacting with your videos. The statistics are similar to the stats provided for any platform; you’ll immediately identify trends, high-performing videos, and more importantly, you’ll identify trends within the video themselves.
Pictured: Test data shown. Wistia statistics are very comprehensive. Statistics are returned for the account level, project level (similar to categories), video level, and user level, with new statistics returned for each nested level - they're very cool! A number of heatmaps are returned for user and video interactions. Every interaction made – such as amount of video watched, engagements, etc. – are returned to the Platform in real-time (triggers are actioned on the basis of these interactions). Without data you simply don’t know how your marketing is performing, and you’re unable to improve upon your campaigns, nor do you have a clear, visual, and visceral understanding of what is working (and what you should be doing more of).
Since we’re very data-driven, we return large amounts of very usable statistics to provide a very clear snapshot of user engagement, but we also dive deep into video data and returns graphs and data necessary to gain a very comprehensive understand of your audience.
Wistia statistics are unique in that a viewer heatmap is returned for each user that watches a specific video, and provides for an aggregated heatmaps for any one specific video.
Criticism of Wistia
Wistia is expensive. At the time of writing the first tier of membership above the three-view free plan will cost around $100 per month (around AU$140). This includes just 10 videos before each subsequent video incurs a charge of 25c. To add a little salt to the wound, simply adding a custom image to Wistia (an action that should be avoided) also incurs a 25c fee, and even hosting a podcast incurs the same monetary wrath. If you weren’t hurting enough, the package only includes 200GB of bandwidth with excess usage attracting another charge.
Wistia is at serious risk of being decimated by other video hosting services, such as Vimeo. If Vimeo were to include webhooks and other similar Wistia features, there would be no price comparison and Wistia would die a quick MySpace-style death. If YouTube was to introduce a premium platform and make their existing statistics available from within a white-label environment it'd kill both platforms. There is a little competition in the market but no service has provided the same level of feature support packed into Wistia's product by default.
Wistia is currently an attractive video marketing solution for all the reasons we've introduced, and because it's fully supported by Yabber . We've built in very powerful webhook features on the basis of video percentage watched and annotations within a video. Of course, in-video turnstile and other gated features provide the same subscription-based automation as standard website form. When you measure those benefits in isolation you'll start to appreciate Wistia's value (we would suggest there would be no significant value without integration into a platform such as Yabber).
If your marketing hasn’t evolved to the point where video triggers, in-video subscription, or statistics provide a measurable benefit then another more affordable video hosting provider might be more suitable, such as Vimeo, or even YouTube.