Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube

Smiling man against a creative colorful background image.

What’s new at YouTube, and how are B2B marketers using the world’s largest video platform in creative and engaging campaigns?

Let’s take a look!

Google’s omnipresent YouTube brought in revenue of over $15 billion in 2019, has over two billion monthly active users (MAUs), and by some estimates is considered as the world’s number two search engine, making it nearly inescapable for B2B marketers seeking to host and promote video content. While not necessarily out of this world, YouTube’s orbit casts a wide swath in the B2B marketing universe.

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During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released PathFactory survey data, leading the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to suggest that “Now Is the Time for B2B Content.”

64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, according to newly-released report data from Google and Ipsos, which has also showed a whopping 88 percent increase in the usage of digital marketing overall.

Think With Google Chart

Another study by MediaPost and Bombora also saw increased interest in video during the global health crisis — a move that’s not surprising considering the power of video to drive authentic engagement in as little time as possible, as we’ll see in our five examples from B2B firms using YouTube in creative ways. First, however, let’s look into the latest news surrounding YouTube.

What’s New At YouTube?

YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels capability.

YouTube Shorts Image

These short video features squarely spring from the popularity of TikTok, and have come at a time when the beleaguered company — now sought for acquisition by Oracle* — has faced significant challenges with its U.S. operations. Oracle’s proposed deal with TikTok — owned by ByteDance, its parent company in China — has met with initial approval by some advertisers.

Oracle, which has recently forged partnerships with firms including Zoom, may at first seem like an odd fit for the acquisition of an app dedicated to short-form video creation and sharing, however should it succeed in controlling TikTok’s U.S. operations it would undoubtedly lend a significant infusion of enterprise-level business exposure.

That could pave the way for increased B2B use of the type of short videos that can be created with TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, and with ever-more content being viewed on smartphones, vertical video undoubtedly has a massive audience.

YouTube — which said that its Shorts feature provides a way to “discover, watch and create short, vertical videos on the YouTube app.” — has allowed users worldwide to upload short vertical video using the #Shorts hashtag, which will feature Shorts videos on YouTube’s coveted homepage.

YouTube Shorts video can include music and feature multiple segments and playback speeds, along with timers for recording hands-free video, the firm said.

The rise of vertical video brought on by TikTok and now Instagram and YouTube may end up making the format another standard digital asset for B2B marketing design teams, with its own strengths in areas such as mobile, and weaknesses in others such as display on traditional desktop and non-smartphone devices.

On the advertising front, YouTube is planning to launch engaged-view conversions (EVC) metrics by the end of the year, bringing data on viewers who watch at least 10 seconds of a video ad and subsequently click away, yet nonetheless end up converting within a set number of days, YouTube recently noted.

“By the end of the year, we will make engaged-view conversions a standard way of measuring conversions for TrueView skippable in-stream ads, local campaigns and app campaigns,” Nicky Rettke, YouTube director and product manager of YouTube Ads, explained in a recent post on the Google Ads & Commerce Blog.

On the live-streaming front, YouTube has continued to embrace the multi-billion dollar esports vertical —  which is comprised of more than 400 million players globally — offering a number of advertising opportunities for certain B2B brands.

Whether 2021 will see more B2B brands sponsoring esports players or events remains to be seen, however B2B marketers may be taking a closer look at opportunities in esports, as Rosalyn Page recently examined in “What Brands Need to Know about Esports.”

Live-streaming has also gained momentum in the relatively new area of streaming e-commerce, backed by firms including Amazon, and as Bloomberg News recently reported, the practice is expected to generate more than $100 billion in global sales in 2020.

While more video is being watched than ever due to the pandemic, a significant amount of video seen on social media timelines is viewed with the sound turned off, making it more important than ever to ensure all video content has quality subtitling available along with a #Captioned hashtag.

A good resource for information about video captioning for YouTube and elsewhere is Meryl Evans, an acknowledged “#Captioned pusher” and a fellow former bulletin board system SysOp.

In B2B marketing, YouTube video content doesn’t necessarily always need to be traditional camera footage, as alternative formats such as animation are becoming easier to create than ever before, as Victor Blasco, chief executive of Yum Yum Videos recently explored in “Making Animated Marketing Videos That Engage Customers.”

Now let’s jump-cut to five recent examples of B2B marketers using YouTube to tell creative and engaging video stories.

1 — HP’s Dear Future Me

In more ways than one storytelling is truly at the heart of powerful marketing messages, as witnesses in spades in HP’s new “Dear Future Me” video campaign, which offers a heartwarming spin on the practice of writing a letter to your future self, chronicling the stories of six recent high school graduates who wrote themselves such letters six years ago, when they were in the sixth grade.

As part of the campaign, HP’s landing page for the initiative offers a downloadable PDF form where anyone can write their own letter, and incorporates a “We can’t wait to meet the future you” message to end the first of the two-part series of mini-documentary videos.

The second episode lets current sixth graders write letters to their future 2026 selves, and shows them telling their own stories centered around the challenges of the pandemic. “Just try to remember: if you got through this year, you can get through anything,” one student encourages her future self.

HP’s YouTube video descriptions for the series include handy links to the other video in the series, along with an extra link to subscribe to the firm’s channel — a simple yet often-overlooked practice that allows viewers who may have over years trained themselves to ignore YouTube’s own ubiquitous red “Subscribe” button.

2 — Adobe’s Honor Heroes

Adobe’s* “Honor Heroes” campaign, a collaborative global artistic effort to help support the battle against COVID-19, is centered around a single minute of video that has to date tallied nearly 3.5 million views.

During that one minute the work of artists and other creative people is shown, each piece inspired by the pandemic.

On Adobe’s YouTube channel the video’s description includes the campaign’s hashtag #HonorHeroes, and a link leading to a section of Adobe’s website with an image of each of the 116 people chosen as heroes, and a link to their respective Instagram profiles. The campaign’s video is also playable from the page.

Adobe ties the page into their own Instagram account as well, encouraging page visitors to see more about the heroes campaign using the same hashtag this time to link to their Instagram profile and specifically those posts utilizing the campaign hashtag — a technique that can be effectively used to move customers to content on various brand social media channels.

The campaign was also featured on the company’s blog, offering additional context about the campaign with insight from some of those involved, a donation link to the Direct Relief organization, and an embedded instance of the campaign’s YouTube video.

3 — Constant Contact’s Power Hour

Constant Contact regularly publishes video content to its YouTube channel — sometimes releasing up to 12 videos weekly — making it an important part of the firm’s social media efforts.

Recent videos have included answering frequent customer questions, spotlight videos on businesses using the platform, a “Pro Series Power Hour” featuring ABC’s Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, customer success stories, and a visual series dedicated to using various elements of the firm’s service.

For Kevin O’Leary’s video, Constant Contact has used a detailed description of the spot, with a link to learn more on their website’s blog along with links to five of the firm’s social media profiles.

4 — Deloitte’s A World Reimagined

In Deloitte’s “A World Reimagined: The 2020 Global Millennial Survey” video, the effects of the pandemic on young people in the millennial and Gen Z demographic are visualized and brought to life, highlighting their energy for building a better world.

In addition to watching the video, a micro-site for the campaign allows visitors to download the related report — which surveyed more than 18,000 millennials and Gen Zs across 43 countries — view a replay of the initial live-stream video event related to the effort, and offers an infographic for download and sharing.

The site also includes a Twitter stream of tweets centered around the campaign’s #MillennialSurvey hashtag.

Deloitte also successfully uses YouTube for its “Life at Deloitte” series of company culture videos, using storytelling to build empathy and trust, a tactic MarketingProfs explored recently in “Five Tips for Making Company-Culture Videos That Captivate Your Customers’ Hearts.”

5 — Ernst & Young’s Megatrends 2020 & Beyond

In its “EY Megatrends 2020 and Beyond” video, Ernst & Young looks ahead to future trends and their overall larger meaning — one of its numerous YouTube channel videos exploring the firm’s service offerings and helpful financial-related insight.

Ernst & Young also uses its YouTube profile to share how it has responded to COVID-19, to announce its world entrepreneur of the year, and to archive its live-streaming video from LinkedIn* Live.

Maliha Aqeel, director of global communications at Fix Network World and former assistant director of brand marketing and communications at Ernst & Young, sat down with our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite to share a look at the role of B2B company culture in driving employee and customer satisfaction, in “Break Free B2B Series: Maliha Aqeel on How to Ace B2B Company Culture.”

Marketers and communicators within organizations have to take the charge. Our job is to take all of those values and say, ‘Here’s how it could look. Here’s how the intangible becomes tangible.’ @MalihaQ on #CorporateCulture #BreakFreeB2B Click To Tweet

Snap A New B2B Take On Creative YouTube Marketing


YouTube offers much more to marketers than simply being the default spot to host and play back video, with ample social features for B2B brands to highlight other channels to follow, threaded viewer commenting if wanted, the forthcoming YouTube Shorts format, an ever-increasing number of ad formats and placement options, and remains a powerful platform for B2B influencers to engage their audience.

We hope you’ve gained at least a few new ideas from looking at the latest news about YouTube, and that you’ll find inspiration from the five fine examples we’ve explored from HP, Adobe, Constant Contact, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young.

Video is only one facet of a well-rounded B2B marketing strategy, yet one that plays an important role in campaigns that attract, engage, and convert. Find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, SAP, AT&T, Dell, 3M and others have chosen to work with TopRank Marketing — drop us a line.

* Oracle, Adobe, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

#CMWorld 2019 Interview: Andrew Davis on Showing, Not Telling

One of the most fundamental requirements for content marketing is also one that unfortunately tends to get overlooked most: It needs to be entertaining. As marketers, we can get so caught up in conversions and funnels and business outcomes that we lose sight of this imperative. If your content doesn’t hook someone and draw them in, it isn’t going to accomplish anything. 

Andrew Davis is someone who doesn’t need to be reminded of this because he launched his career in the entertainment industry. Now a cherished keynote speaker and best-selling author, Andrew got his start as a program producer for WABU-TV, a local station in Boston. He later served as Workshop Production Manager for the Jim Henson Company, helping out with brands like The Muppets and Sesame Street.

With this background, Andrew offers a helpful perspective for content marketers who want to reconnect with their most essential objective. The theme of this year’s Content Marketing World event (and the new interactive experience courtesy of TopRank Marketing and CMI, featuring insights from Andrew and many others) is putting on a grand show under the big-top tent. It’s a hearty reminder that dazzling audiences should always be our utmost priority.

To do so, Andrew recommends thinking like a television executive, developing unique twists, searching for moments of inspiration, and making appointments with your audience. Read on to learn how you can compel folks to tune in and take action by showing, not telling.

Andrew Davis Shares on Video Marketing and More

1) You’ve got a history of working in entertainment and television. What techniques and philosophies do you carry over from that experience as a content marketer?

Everything I know about content marketing I learned in the television business. There are a few key areas where this comes into play when you’re creating content.

Number one is to think like a television executive. The reason I say that is television execs always think audience-first. They want to create content that is so valuable the audience falls in love with it, and as a result, they can sell stuff. In the television world, they sell time and space in their programming and are hoping to inspire people to buy something they didn’t know they needed. So as long as you’re thinking audience-first, and how you can add value to their lives by creating content that they fall in love with, you’re thinking like a TV executive.

The second thing is to make an appointment with your audience. I truly believe you should set a specific time and day in the mind of your audience as far as when you’re going to deliver your content. That doesn’t mean they can’t listen to it or watch it or read it on-demand at any time, but making an appointment with your audience and releasing it at a time in their lives that your content is going to be more relevant is going to make a big impact on your marketing, just as a television executive picks the right time for a show. 

The third thing is to build a format. A format is basically an outline for your content. People fall in love with a television show in the following order: they fall in love with the format, then the hook, then the talent. So number one, you need to deliver the same kind of content every week consistently, just like a television show. You can’t be all over the map and have a different format, because people enjoy consistency. The next one is a hook. A hook is just a simple twist on a familiar theme, designed to trap or ensnare your audience, and that’s something I definitely learned in television. An easy example of that is a mash-up. Like if you were selling software, your hook might be “Mythbusters for Software” or something like that. And the next one is using talent. We live in a social-driven world, and your brand has to have a person attached to it that we can fall in love with. All the most successful content plays have a person who delivers the content so we fall in love with that person. That’s a really important piece.

At the end of the day, thinking like a television executive is all about using valuable content that can increase demand for the products and services we sell using an audience-first approach. @drewdavishere Click To Tweet

2) Video marketing is a  clear passion of yours. What do you see as the biggest areas where practitioners are currently missing the mark with this medium?

Most importantly, video is a “show-me” medium. This means you have to show me instead of tell me. So if you’re shooting a talking-head video, you need to add some B-roll to it. B-roll is the second track — the stuff I see while you’re talking. That’s a really important piece of the puzzle that I think people miss. If you’re going to create video you need to show me something, don’t just talk to the camera. If you’re going to do that, you might as well just use audio, right? You don’t need video for it. Shooting a lot of B-roll is really helpful.

The other thing is speaking in the present tense as much as possible. A lot of people tell stories in the past tense, but we all have the ability to shoot video as things are happening, so shoot in the present tense as much as possible.

The last thing I’ll say is that in general, talking-head videos are boring. So challenge yourself to create something that’s unique, that isn’t just a talking head, and really start thinking about what it might look like if it wasn’t just a person talking in an interview.

If you’re going to create a video you need to show me something, don’t just talk to the camera. @drewdavishere Click To Tweet

3) For an organization that’s just getting started with video, what is the one single thing to prioritize above all else? Is there an example that comes to mind of great brand content getting this right?

You have to shoot with what you’ve got. The technology can get in the way of creating great video. You can always upgrade your equipment — people always want the best camera to start with, and they want the best microphone and the best lighting. That stuff is great, and you eventually should get there. But the key is to start thinking like a television executive or an editor, and just start shooting with your phone. Don’t just shoot yourself, shoot the B-roll and then try to edit the B-roll into your video.

Even if you’re just making something for Instagram, you can shoot on your phone and then edit with some very simple tools so that you’re actually understanding what it’s like to show instead of tell. 

As far as a brand that gets this kind of content right, one example I give a lot is the testimonial for a weight loss program created by the wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. It’s called Vance’s 365-Day Transformation and it’s all shot on an iPhone essentially, except for a few pieces. It’s all shot in the present tense and it’s just really well put together. Take a look at that video and I challenge you not to watch the whole thing.

4) Can you give a practical example — real or theoretical — of your “Loyalty Loop” concept being applied in a content strategy? 

My favorite example is the story of Jenny Doan, who runs the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Let’s start with her moment of commitment, because when you’re creating a content platform, the goal is to get people to subscribe to the content you’re creating. Instead of just sending out an email newsletter, we’ve got to give them value each and every week that’s designed to create a new moment of inspiration, to trigger a new question in their mind where we’re the prime brand. 

What Jenny Doan does is every single week she creates a new quick quilting tutorial on her YouTube channel, and invites people to subscribe not just through YouTube, but to her email list. Every one of those videos is designed to inspire someone to make a new quick quilt. And as a result, they say, “Oh, I want to make that quilt.” That’s a moment of inspiration. Their trigger question might be, “Where can I get the fabric and pre-cut pieces to make that?” The prime brand for that is Missouri Star Quilt Company, so they go right back to Jenny Doan’s company and buy again.

The key is not to try to interrupt active evaluation, but to create content that gets someone to commit to the brand, using one piece of data like an email address, or two pieces of data like an email and first name, so you can create moments of inspiration in their lives.

5) As visual content and multimedia continue to take over, writers might be feeling a little undervalued. In which ways will copywriting and the written word remain vital to delighting audiences?

The video content you create should actually be written, so… write it! It needs to be a little different than if you’re writing a blog post or an email — it needs to be written as you speak. So if you’re a writer and you’re feeling undervalued, challenge yourself to start writing video. The most important thing is, when you’re writing a video, read it out loud. If you’re using words or sentence structure that you wouldn’t use in conversations, you’re all of a sudden not writing for speaking. So write it. I write all my videos and I really enjoy it, by the way.

One technique I like is using a lot of ellipses so you’re actually writing as you’d speak. End thoughts with a next thought instead of just a period. It’ll be much better, it’ll be more clear, and it’ll be smarter. 

But listen, if you’re a writer and you’re feeling undervalued you’re probably missing the biggest opportunity to build real relationships with people and that’s through email. An email is a text-driven medium that’s interpersonal, and if you focus on your email writing — making it personal and creating that moment of inspiration for one person on your list — you’re going to start improving your writing and growing the impact you can make. Even if it’s to get someone to watch a video, you need to write a better email. Writers are not going away. In fact, if you can just expand your skillset and focus on moments of inspiration as your writing goal, whether it’s for video or audio or text, you’re going to make a big impact.

The most important thing is, when you’re writing a video, read it out loud. @drewdavishere Click To Tweet

6) When done well, testimonial videos and case studies are among the most compelling, persuasive lower-funnel content assets. What do you see as the most essential elements of an effective one?

Firstly, I don’t like to use the word “funnel.” I’m all about Loyalty Loops. But the most glaringly missing object in almost every testimonial video is drama. There is no drama. It’s all about the client or customer you’ve served, and it always starts with an introduction of who they are. Look, people don’t care. They want to feel the tension and the drama in solving a problem that they can identify with. So the most important thing you need to do when creating a really well-done testimonial is to create drama. You need to raise the stakes by showing me something that the audience wants and desires in this story, threatening it for as long as possible, and making sure the payoff you deliver matches the tension you’ve built.

The other thing is that brands are very eager to talk about themselves in the testimonial video. So usually it’ll introduce who the client was, with them saying something like, “Before I was using company/product XYZ, this was my problem.” Well people don’t want to know the solution before they’ve heard the problem and feel the tension, so people tune out immediately. You’ve got to delay the reveal of the company or the product that did it.

7) Which speakers and/or sessions are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Content Marketing World?

Oh man. This is a long list because I’ve been for the last 10 or 11 years. There’s so many great speakers it’s hard to get them all. I obviously want to see Tamsen Webster’s keynote, Scott Stratten’s keynote — they’re both fantastic speakers and I really love to watch them. I love Andrew and Pete. Can’t wait to see Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Heather Ritchie, Doug Kessler, Jay Acunzo, Marcus Sheridan, Kate O’Neill, Lee Odden… there’s a long list of people. But those kinda the top-of-mind ones that I look forward to seeing every year at Content Marketing World. 

Come in & Enjoy the Show (Preview)!

Andrew will be one of the many entertaining speakers taking the stage at Content Marketing World 2019, which kicks off on September 3rd in Cleveland. His workshop, Video Marketing Makeover: Transforming Boring Case Studies and Testimonials Into Stories That Inspire Action, will feature plenty more in-depth insight around his mantra of showing, not telling, with video content.

We hope to see you at CMWorld. But before the big event, you can prepare (and sharpen up your rubber duck hunting skills) by checking out The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth!

Twitter Has Renewed its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know

Once a pioneer in bringing live video to the social media world, Twitter fell behind the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and others as this format rose to mainstream prominence. However, the platform’s recent move to make live video more easily discoverable shows Twitter is recommitting to video.

But the question is: Can Twitter recapture the magnetic energy of live video?

When I attended Jane Weedon’s keynote speech at Content Marketing World last month, I was deeply struck by this remark from Twitch’s Director of Business Development:

“Authentic and real-time video can be better than immaculately produced when it comes to engaging an audience.”

Her company’s model serves as proof of this assertion. Twitch welcomed more than 15 million daily visitors last year, and continues to see explosive growth, largely because of this dynamic.

There’s nothing too fancy about most of the platform’s broadcasts — it’s just real people on-screen in real-time, creating a uniquely relatable and immersive experience for viewers.

Increasing engagement is on the mind of social media marketers everywhere. As such, Twitter’s efforts to rejoin the live video fray are very much worth tracking, so let’s take a deeper look.

Twitter and Live Video

I’d almost entirely forgotten about this until a coworker reminded me, but Twitter was in on live video long before it was in vogue, having acquired Periscope back in 2015 while the live-streaming app was still in beta.

For whatever reason, that partnership never amounted to much, and real-time video has yet to take off on Twitter feeds. But the company is renewing its push to make this content more prominent and discoverable, announcing in a mid-September tweet:

“We’re making it easier to find and watch live broadcasts. Now, when accounts you follow go live, the stream will appear right at the top of your timeline.”

This falls in line with similar efforts from other social media channels. If you’ve logged into Facebook over the past several months, you’ve probably noticed a high prioritization of live-video broadcasts in your feed, even those from contacts you rarely engage with.

The rationale is clear. Video content is highly engaging, and when a live broadcast hooks a viewer it’s likely to keep them plugged into the site or app.

Twitter, in particular, is well suited for real-time video, because the platform’s experience is so strongly driven by what’s happening in the moment. Sure, Twitter’s content display algorithm has a tendency to (sometimes annoyingly) elevate hours- or even days-old posts in your feed, but when you click refresh you’ll get up-to-the-second tweets at the top.

This is part of what makes Twitter such an addictive destination for users. But it also presents a marketing conundrum — one this new move might help solve.

Marketing Implications of Twitter’s Live Video Focus

The trouble with Twitter’s transitory feed is that the content becomes somewhat ephemeral. If your tweet isn’t noticed immediately, it can quickly become buried under a deluge of newer posts, especially if it fails to garner enough initial engagement for algorithmic traction.

This has made life challenging for social marketers searching for organic results on Twitter. And that’s exactly why this live video push is intriguing.

As Andrew Hutchinson of Social Media Today writes:

“Now, live-streams will occupy more prominent space in the app screen, which could make it a more appealing option for businesses to consider. Having the option to get your streams shown right in front of your followers’ eyes could help raise brand awareness, and get people interacting with your content.”

Precisely. At a time where social media reach keeps growing more elusive for brands in the face of saturation and competition, it’s critical to take advantage of initiatives being stressed by the companies behind these channels.

TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett was able to rack up millions of organic views with LinkedIn video, in large part because he recognized LinkedIn’s internal emphasis on growing and popularizing its native video feature. He figured out how to ride the wave, and turned his #AllenAsks series into a tsunami force.

Considerations Before Going Live on Twitter

Ready to dive in? Before you and your brand press record, there are a few things to keep in mind.

This tactic is more about growing engagement than reach. The increased visibility of live video on Twitter only applies to your existing followers. So while you will stand a better chance of grabbing their attention, live-streaming won’t necessarily help you attract new eyeballs.

Live video requires preparation and improvisation. There’s something tantalizing about live broadcasts, which helps explain why numerous sitcoms and dramas have experimented with the format as a means to boost ratings. For the viewers, there’s a sense that anything can happen, as you’re actually watching an event play out with no editing, no do-overs. That’s also what makes it unnerving for brands and marketers. Before going live, make sure you prep thoroughly, and feature people with a knack for thinking on their feet.

Live video also requires a purpose. As with any marketing tactic, you shouldn’t just do this for the sake of doing it. Is the live format actually adding something to your content? Is there a reason for using this approach, other than simply angling for exposure? A while back, our Caitlin Burgess offered up nine clever ways to activate live video on social media.

Stepping Up the Twitter Game

Without a doubt, Twitter is one of the toughest nuts to crack for social media marketers. But there are ways to make a real impact on the platform, and this latest development with live video offers one such pathway.

For further guidance, check out some of our past posts full of Twitter marketing tips and insights:

How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals

Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Mugatu is onto something …

Video Marketing is So Hot Meme

According Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report, 72% of B2B marketers use pre-produced video content, 17% use video live-streams, and 4% create documentaries or short films. Combined, this makes video one of the hottest types of content among B2B marketers.

And it’s not without results, either. Video marketing boasts some impressive stats, including:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. – Aberdeen Group
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs. – Brightcove
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%. – Eyeview Digital
  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined – Brightcove
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI – HubSpot

It seems like a no-brainer, right? But like with most things in marketing, it’s knowing where to start and what to create that’s the hard part.

As with any marketing tactic, you want to choose the right content type and style to engage and nurture your audience. Plus, the content you create needs to align with and support your marketing goals—video is no different.

To help you figure out how to get started with video marketing and how to incorporate it into your integrated marketing mix, we’re breaking down the many types of videos for marketing and when to use them.

1. Teasers

The name implies it all—these videos are short, sweet, and meant to give audiences just a glimpse of what’s to come. More specifically, teasers are short videos that promote other content, services, products, or events and generate excitement or interest in them. At no longer than 10-30 seconds, this means you have to do your best with the time given to you through high-energy language, fast-paced content, and plenty of information; motion graphics are an especially great teaser format.

Teasers are great for generating excitement and are very short in length, making them a great fit for social media promotion, where you’ll be looking to generate buzz for an asset (i.e. eBooks, podcasts, infographics, blog posts, webinars). The biggest thing to remember about teasers is that they need to have a call to action that promotes another piece of content. The goal of a teaser is to spur action in an audience, whether that’s registering for a webinar, downloading an eBook, or listening to a podcast episode.

Length: 10 to 30 seconds

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Infographics, Blog Posts

Example: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions*, Secret Sauce eBook

[embedded content]

2. Trailers & Previews

Trailers and previews are another type of short video content. However, where trailers differ from teasers is that a trailer actually features a sample of the content its promoting. For example, a teaser might use new visuals and graphics to get people excited, but a trailer will actually feature a preview of what’s to come. Just take a look at movie trailers—most of them show you scenes directly from the film.

If you’ve already created the content, you’ve already done most of the work for a trailer or preview. Just take content included in your videos, infographics, eBooks, and other assets and edit them into a trailer format that gets people interested. While trailers perform well on social, they’re also a great addition to landing pages as landing page videos have been found to increase conversions by 80% or more. Depending on where you’re planning to have this content live, decide if and when a CTA is appropriate.

Length: 30 seconds to 2 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Landing Pages

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Long-Form Video, Infographics

Example: Eloqua, Journey to Modern Marketing

[embedded content]

3. Explainers

We’ve already covered videos that are used to promote other pieces of content—teasers and trailers. But what about when you have a standalone topic you want to cover in a video? Maybe you want to create a tutorial on how to use your software or educate your audience on how to launch an employee wellness program. This type of marketing video is called an explainer. Explainers are original pieces of content that educate and inform the audience on a subject.

The best explainer videos focus on appealing to an audience’s curiosity by answering common questions or solving popular pain points. In providing useful and compelling information, the video helps add to your brand’s authority. As a video that can stand on its own two feet while offering helpful advice, explainer videos can make a great complement to a power page or blog post. They also perform well on social channels as it’s a quick and easy way for you audience to absorb a lot of information. And because all of the value is within the video itself, explainers typically don’t have a call to action. But again, depending on where you plan to have this content live, make a decision on if a CTA makes sense.

Length: 30 seconds to 3 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: Slack*, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack”

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4. Video Essays & Companion Videos

Can you cover a topic in-depth in under three minutes? When you need to dive deeper than an explainer video allows, video essays are the perfect type of video to turn to. Video essays are original, long-form video content that explores a subject in-depth. A good video essay might be an 8 minute discussion that covers your thoughts on new changes in the market or new trends like cryptocurrency.

Because of their length, video essays are the perfect place to showcase your brand’s thought leadership and expertise through education and entertainment. In covering all sides of an issue or topic, you have more opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, improving trust and credibility among your audience. Jam-packed with valuable information, video essays are a great addition to power pages, blog posts, and social media channels.

But what if you’ve already covered the topic in-depth for a power page, blog post, or eBook? Should you still make a video essay? The answer is yes as 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. Given this information, your video essay could perform better than your existing content in terms of generating leads or strengthening engagement. In this situation, take your existing eBook, blog, or power page and turn it into a video essay, giving your audience an alternate channel to consume your content.

Length: 1 minute to 10 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: HubSpot, What Is the Difference Between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?

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Your Directorial Debut

Video is rapidly becoming the preferred way to consume content for many audiences with 82% of all web traffic expected to be video by 2021. If you’re not making videos as a part of your content marketing strategy, you could be missing out on an enormous opportunity to improve your organic traffic, landing page conversions, social engagements, and more.

And to make sure your videos are helping you reach your marketing goals, it’s important that you select the right types of marketing videos and content they will support. Using the guide above, you’ll be able to pair your video and content together in a way that fuels results.

Video can be time consuming to strategize, produce, and distribute. To help you become a more efficient and effective video marketer, check out our additional tips, examples, and guides:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Slack are TopRank Marketing clients.

Camera Shy: 7 Tips for First-Time Video Marketers

Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

Video isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to feel confident enough to put yourself, and your brand, out there. But it’s a medium that a lot of marketers are exploring as it holds a lot of potential.

In fact, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. Video is a main source of content consumption, including everything from the news to YouTube tutorials. And as marketers looking to demonstrate thought leadership and credibility, video presents a unique opportunity to get in front of and educate your target audience. However, 64% of marketers agree that video is the hardest type of content to produce, turning many people away from embracing video.  

Never one to shy away from a challenge, we’ve been diving in head-first here at TopRank Marketing. We’ve been doing video for a while through our Digital Marketing News casts, but we recently started expanding to include a video series (Crush-It!) that inspires the next generation of curious, courageous, and clever digital marketers. Each video features one of our internal experts, which brought both seasoned and green video personalities to the stage.

If you’re thinking that you want to enter the world of video marketing, check out our team’s video marketing tips from their own experiences in front of the camera, as well as behind the scenes.

Our Video Marketing Experts

Tiffani Allen TopRank MarketingTiffani Allen

Senior Account Manager

One of the anchors for our Digital Marketing News YouTube series, Tiffani is a veteran in front of the camera. Having starred in over 100 videos, as well as directed videos for a few of our clients, Tiffani knows how to organize and shoot effective videos.

Follow Tiffani on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Josh NiteJoshua Nite

Senior Content Marketing Manager

As Tiffani’s Digital Marketing News co-anchor, Josh also has plenty of advice for marketers going in front of or behind the camera. With over 100 videos under his belt as well, Josh is no stranger to video marketing.

Follow Josh on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Nick Nelson

Content Strategist

Recently appearing in one of our latest Crush-It! episodes, Nick has useful tips for first-timers. Having covered video marketing strategies and tips in the past for our own blog content, Nick’s also picked up some advice from leading brands and video experts.

Follow Nick on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Steve SlaterSteve Slater

Senior SEO and Digital Advertising Manager

Video isn’t widely known for being SEO-friendly. But as a dedicated SEO expert, Steve provides great insight into how you can still take advantage of video for search marketing. Steve has also appeared in our Crush-It series, becoming a breakout star with some helpful tips.

Follow Steve on Twitter and Linkedin.

7 Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

#1 – Get ready for your close-up.

Video is all about “looks,” but looks don’t just boil down to your hair or makeup. It’s more so about making sure that your talented cast comes prepared and well-versed on the subject they’re going to be talking about. This will allow them to appear more comfortable, relaxed, and confident on camera. Afterall, everyone appearing in the video will be an extension of your brand. To help you get ready for your close up and put your best self forward, here are some tips from our team on your appearance and demeanor.

“If you appear nervous or lacking in confidence, it’ll probably be visible to viewers. This is no easy task, especially for the camera-shy, but be mindful of the vibe you’re giving off. Try as hard as you can to relax and have fun. It’ll show.” Nick Nelson

“Relax! It can be uncomfortable to be on camera, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Think of it as a conversation with your audience versus a video – it takes some of the pressure off. Also, avoid super busy patterns or lines when you’re picking out what to wear. It can make some really crazy things happen visually.” Tiffani Allen

In addition to keeping your appearance in check, you also can’t stop once you start. This lesson can be applied to plenty of things you’ll try throughout your marketing career. But if you want to experience success with your videos, it will take a lot grit, determination, and outside-the-box thinking. Even if you aren’t getting the views or subscriptions you want, you have to keep at it, optimizing your approach along the way.

“You have to commit. The first video probably won’t be great. It might not even be good. Keep going and it will get better.” Steve Slater

We’ve been iterating on our approach to video since 2016, starting with the basics, learning as we go, and striving to make each take better than the next.

Here’s an early example from us from a couple years back.

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And here’s a video from last week. We’ve been working on finding the perfect lighting scenario, experimenting with different cuts, angles, and interstitials, and other refinements.

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#2 – You don’t need a blockbuster budget.

Video is an expensive endeavor. Or, it can be. Between lighting, audio, video, and editing equipment, it can quickly become a costly investment. But just because you have all of the bells and whistles, doesn’t mean your video will be a success. Instead, focus on the content of your videos to ensure that your video will be watched and appreciated.

“You don’t have to have a huge budget. You can work with what you have to create a great video, you just have to get creative.” Tiffani Allen

Our own videos don’t have a huge budget. For example, we shot the below video in one of our offices and used the creative theme of meditation to engage our audience. It was an out-of-the-box idea, but it currently holds the title for longest watch time.

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Read: How to Get Started with Video Content Marketing (Without a Blockbuster Budget)

#3 – Practice your narrative, not your lines.

When it comes to film, there’s usually a script that’s followed. When it comes to your video marketing, you’ll also want a script that helps you stay on track and express all of your talking points. However, while it’s tempting to document everything you want to say, word for word, avoid that urge as best as you can. Having a script is helpful, but it can also cause your video to feel less organic or authentic. Check out our team’s tips below for practicing ahead of filming.

“I would recommend carefully planning out your talking points ahead of time and rehearsing them so they don’t escape your mind on the spot. You don’t need to memorize a script — in fact, you might not want to, as you’ll likely come off as robotic and not very conversational — but memorize the things you’d generally like to say. This will help prevent the “ums” and “uhs” that can become stressful when the camera is rolling.” Nick Nelson

“I would recommend going over your talking points to have a good understanding of what you want to say, but NOT scripting it out verbatim. You want to keep it sounding natural and human.” Joshua Nite

“Practice your narrative, not your lines. If you try to remember what you’re going to say verbatim, you’ll likely need to do multiple takes and it may come off as rehearsed or inauthentic. Know what message you’re trying to deliver and you’ll have much more fun!” Tiffani Allen

#4 – Nail down your intention.

If you’re writing a blog post, putting together an eBook, or drafting an email, there’s typically a call to action (CTA) with a link. When it comes to video, however, that type of call to action becomes harder to include. While links are important and can be included as bumpers or within the video description, we would challenge you to think more critically about the action you want to inspire from your audience.

Video offers a vastly different experience for your audience than physical text. This means your CTA can offer a different experience as well. Do you want viewers to subscribe? Like the video? Share it? Comment? All of those CTAs now become options. You need to decide what you want your audience to do before you think about a measurable CTA.

“This comes down to being creative. What are you really trying to accomplish? Know that first, then figure out what tools you have at your disposal to get there. Can’t embed CTAs in your YouTube videos? Use bumpers with short links and add them to the description.” Tiffani Allen

For our own Crush-It videos, we added clickable CTAs at the end of our videos to subscribe to our channel or watch another episode.

Crush-It Video Calls to Action

#5 – Put someone in the director’s chair.

If you have a low-budget for your video marketing projects, odds are you don’t have a director or cameraman to back you up. While we don’t expect you to go out and hire someone to fill that void, simply enlisting a coworker or friend to press record has immense value. Even if they don’t have video experience, if they can help you start and stop your video clips, you can save hours in the editing chair.

“I think my biggest piece of advice is to have someone behind the camera. It really helps if it’s someone who knows what they’re doing (like our own video mastermind, Adam Dunn), but even just having someone to push the button and stand there made a drastic difference in how quick and easy it was to record.” Joshua Nite


#6 – Video transcriptions aren’t just for closed captioning.

Video has a reputation for not being SEO-friendly. Because video by nature has minimal crawlable text, the SEO value is perceived to be low. However, there’s a workaround we’ve discovered that can more than make up for a video’s lack of text. What’s that secret? Transcriptions that allow for supportive, repurposed blog content and increased search visibility.

“Transcribe those videos when you embed them on your website. Don’t miss out on giving Google all that great content to index.” Steve Slater

“If your video focuses on keywords and topics that are important to your audience, it might be worth creating a written transcript and having it accompany the embedded video in a blog post. This will enable you to gain SEO traction and draw more inbound traffic for the vid. Include optimized headers and everything for maximum impact. Moz sets a good example of this with their Whiteboard Friday sessions.” Nick Nelson

Moz Whiteboard Friday Video Transcription

#7 – Be your biggest critic.

If you’re anything like me, you do not like the sound of your own voice or watching yourself on screen. But if you want to improve your videos, it’s something that you have to do to measure your own performance. Skipping out on watching yourself can lead to you repeating past mistakes.

“To quote the great LIttle Walter, ‘you better watch yourself.’ I know it isn’t fun but watch your own videos. See how you look and act on camera.” Steve Slater


Lights. Camera. Action.

Video marketing is a large undertaking for any brand as it involves looping in your brand’s internal thought leaders, investing in new equipment, and putting your brand into uncharted territory. But if you let the fear of budget, failure, or judgement hold you back, you’ll never reach the results you’re looking for.

For your best chance at creating video that’s award-worthy, it’s important that you stay organized, authentic, and determined. And we speak from experience when we say that it can be challenging at times, but the payoff is video content that educates and inspires — a common goal for many marketers.

Not sure what your first video should cover or aim to do? Struggling to come up with a starting point? Check out our other video marketing resources for inspiration and guidance: