To get started on your University video strategy, consider Why video is the right tool for your University Marketing and for the objective you want to achieve. Then, you can decide on the best metric for measuring success against that objective.
This is step 1 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).
The wider ‘why’
Why is video a necessary communication tool for your university?
Video content requires an investment of time and money, so providing internal stakeholders with the rationale justifying the need for it will make everything else easier. Budget approvals, staff support during filming and willingness of those staff to help promote the final piece all depend on securing buy-in in the first place.
This is also a good time to consider who needs to be involved in the project.
The specific ‘why’
Why is video the correct content format for achieving this particular objective?
There are two ways of approaching video creation:
Approach 1 – Let’s make a video
You could say, “Video content is effective, so let’s create a film. What shall we make it about?”. You start filming, capture some footage; perhaps some of it is really good. You upload it, share it and tick the task off your list.
The impact of the video remains unknown, as you haven’t built in any way of measuring effectiveness and you don’t have a specific goal in mind anyway.
Approach 2 – How can we best use video to achieve an objective?
Alternatively, you start with your marketing objectives. You have some challenges to overcome and student recruitment targets to reach. As part of your planning process you ask, “Which of our messages is best communicated by video, in order to achieve Objective X?”.
Perhaps you want to reduce friction points by providing clear explainer animations that answer commonly asked FAQs; perhaps you want to achieve better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by addressing common search queries; perhaps you want to change perceptions of your University or engage on a deeper level. Having a clearly defined objective – rather than just ‘we want to get more students’ – will help you to make all the decisions in the following sections.
Once you know exactly what you are trying to achieve, you can build in metrics to measure success.
Losing focus dilutes impact
If you have more than one objective, achieve them through individual videos. As with any other type of marketing content, if you try to communicate too much, or speak to too many different types of people, you’ll end up saying “nothing to no-one”.
An example: The Perception Challenger
A University ‘up North’ surveys applicants who were offered a place but didn’t enroll. A significant proportion responded that the negative reputation of the location put them off. Most of these applicants had never visited the campus themselves.
The University wants to challenge these ‘grim’ perceptions. The Head of Corporate Marketing decides that video is the best format to convey an alternative perspective, as people believe what they see. In addition, it will enable applicants who don’t visit the campus to have a visual glimpse of what’s on offer.
The Head of Corporate Marketing can track the video’s effectiveness by asking non-enrollers if they had seen the video, and analyzing whether the percentage of non-enrollers who cite ‘location’ as their reason for declining their place has decreased.
Video Strategy – Metrics
Know your definition of success before you begin
Build in your metrics now. Having a clear objective and knowing how you’ll measure performance against that objective is the first step to creating an effective video strategy.
- If you want an animated fly-through of facilities that aren’t yet built, to show at an open event, then success could be having the video ready in time.
- If you want to offer 360-degree tours of your campus for international students who can’t visit in person, then the metric could be the play rate (percentage of visitors who land on the page who choose to play the video).
- If you are celebrating your University’s 100th anniversary and want to celebrate with an emotive film that’s aimed at inducing pride and emotion in stakeholders, you could survey a test sample of viewers from the target audience to ask whether it affected them emotively.
- If you want to increase click-throughs on your email campaigns, compare how rates differ when you include a clickable thumbnail of a video in them.
- If you’re looking to increase your SEO performance for specific terms, look to compare how you rank for those in 6 months’ time compared to now, the difference in webpage visitor numbers and the percentage of viewers who watch your video to the end.
- If you want to increase website conversions – such as the percentage of visitors who apply for a course after viewing a webpage – then you could split test two versions of the webpage (e.g. using Optimizely) showing half of your visitors a webpage with a video, and half a webpage without. Alternatively you could compare performance against conversions before the video was added.
- If you are addressing common FAQs with video explainers, you could measure whether this results in fewer of those questions being asked of your student recruitment team , benchmarked against the current frequency.
- If the videos are for direct lead generation and you want to capture email addresses, you could include webforms embedded into the video itself (e.g. using Wistia’s Turnstile), next to the video or via links in the video.
- If your objective is engagement, heat mapping tools (such as Wistia) now allow you to track re-watches (when viewers watch part of your video twice) and exit points (when viewers stop watching). YouTube video advertisers also get access to engagement data, such as quartile reporting (whether viewers watched 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of your video).
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve and how you will know if you’ve achieved it, we can drill down into who you are speaking to.