Data Visualization 101: How to Choose the Right Chart or Graph for Your Data

stock_photo.jpgYou and I sift through a lot of data for our jobs. Data about website performance, sales performance, product adoption, customer service, marketing campaign results … the list goes on. 

When you manage multiple content assets, such as social media or a blog, with multiple sources of data, it can get overwhelming. What should you be tracking? What actually matters? How do you visualize and analyze the data so you can extract insights and actionable information? 

More importantly, how can you make reporting more efficient when you’re busy working on multiple projects at once? Download our free guide here for complete data visualization guidelines and tips.

One of the struggles that slows down my own reporting and analysis is understanding what type of chart to use — and why. That’s because choosing the wrong type of chart or simply defaulting to the most common type of visualization could cause confusion with the viewer or lead to mistaken data interpretation. 

Consider this chart from The New York Times‘ project on where people born in a state move to. It visualizes a large amount of data accumulated during more than 100 years. Yet, it is easy to understand, and it clearly highlights interesting trends.

dc-migration-nytimes

To create charts that clarify and provide the right canvas for analysis, you should first understand the reasons why you might need a chart. In this post, I’ll cover five questions to ask yourself when choosing a chart for your data. Then, I’ll give an overview of 13 different types of charts you have at your disposal.

5 Questions to Ask When Deciding Which Chart to Use

1) Do you want to compare values?

Charts are perfect for comparing one or many value sets, and they can easily show the low and high values in the data sets. To create a comparison chart, use these types of graphs:

  • Column
  • Bar
  • Circular Area 
  • Line 
  • Scatter Plot
  • Bullet

2) Do you want to show the composition of something?

Use this type of chart to show how individual parts make up the whole of something, such as the device type used for mobile visitors to your website or total sales broken down by sales rep. 

To show composition, use these charts:

  • Pie
  • Stacked Bar
  • Stacked Column
  • Area
  • Waterfall

3) Do you want to understand the distribution of your data?

Distribution charts help you to understand outliers, the normal tendency, and the range of information in your values.

Use these charts to show distribution:

  • Scatter Plot
  • Line
  • Column
  • Bar

4) Are you interested in analyzing trends in your data set?

If you want to know more information about how a data set performed during a specific time period, there are specific chart types that do extremely well.

You should choose a:

  • Line
  • Dual-Axis Line
  • Column

5) Do you want to better understand the relationship between value sets?

Relationship charts are suited to showing how one variable relates to one or numerous different variables. You could use this to show how something positively effects, has no effect, or negatively effects another variable.

When trying to establish the relationship between things, use these charts:

  • Scatter Plot
  • Bubble
  • Line

13 Different Types of Charts for Analyzing & Presenting Data

To better understand each chart and how they can be used, here’s an overview of each type of chart.

1) Column

A column chart is used to show a comparison among different items, or it can show a comparison of items over time. You could use this format to see the revenue per landing page or customers by close date. 

column chart customers by close date

Design Best Practices for Column Charts:

  • Use consistent colors throughout the chart, selecting accent colors to highlight meaningful data points or changes over time.
  • Use horizontal labels to improve readability.
  • Start the y-axis at 0 to appropriately reflect the values in your graph.

2) Bar

A bar chart, basically a horizontal column chart, should be used to avoid clutter when one data label is long or if you have more than 10 items to compare. This type of visualization can also be used to display negative numbers.

bar chart - customers by role

Design Best Practices for Bar Charts:

  • Use consistent colors throughout the chart, selecting accent colors to highlight meaningful data points or changes over time.
  • Use horizontal labels to improve readability.
  • Start the y-axis at 0 to appropriately reflect the values in your graph.

3) Line

A line chart reveals trends or progress over time and can be used to show many different categories of data. You should use it when you chart a continuous data set.

line chart - avg days to close

Design Best Practices for Line Charts:

  • Use solid lines only.
  • Don’t plot more than four lines to avoid visual distractions.
  • Use the right height so the lines take up roughly 2/3 of the y-axis’ height.

4) Dual Axis 

A dual axis chart allows you to plot data using two y-axes and a shared x-axis. It’s used with three data sets, one of which is based on a continuous set of data and another which is better suited to being grouped by category. This should be used to visualize a correlation or the lack thereof between these three data sets. 

dual axis chart - revenue by new customers

Design Best Practices for Dual Axis Charts:

  • Use the y-axis on the left side for the primary variable because brains are naturally inclined to look left first.
  • Use different graphing styles to illustrate the two data sets, as illustrated above.
  • Choose contrasting colors for the two data sets.

5) Area

An area chart is basically a line chart, but the space between the x-axis and the line is filled with a color or pattern. It is useful for showing part-to-whole relations, such as showing individual sales reps’ contribution to total sales for a year. It helps you analyze both overall and individual trend information. 

area chart - users by lifecycle stage

Design Best Practices for Area Charts:

  • Use transparent colors so information isn’t obscured in the background.
  • Don’t display more than four categories to avoid clutter.
  • Organize highly variable data at the top of the chart to make it easy to read.

6) Stacked Bar

This should be used to compare many different items and show the composition of each item being compared. 

stacked bar -mqls to sqls

Design Best Practices for Stacked Bar Charts:

  • Best used to illustrate part-to-whole relationships.
  • Use contrasting colors for greater clarity.
  • Make chart scale large enough to view group sizes in relation to one another.

7) Pie

A pie chart shows a static number and how categories represent part of a whole — the composition of something. A pie chart represents numbers in percentages, and the total sum of all segments needs to equal 100%. 

pie chart - customers by role

Design Best Practices for Pie Charts:

  • Don’t illustrate too many categories to ensure differentiation between slices.
  • Ensure that the slice values add up to 100%.
  • Order slices according to their size.

8) Scatter Plot

A scatter chart will show the relationship between two different variables or it can reveal the distribution trends. It should be used when there are many different data points, and you want to highlight similarities in the data set. This is useful when looking for outliers or for understanding the distribution of your data. 

scatter-plot-customer-happines.png

Design Best Practices for Scatter Plots:

  • Include more variables, such as different sizes, to incorporate more data.
  • Start y-axis at 0 to represent data accurately.
  • If you use trend lines, only use a maximum of two to make your plot easy to understand.

9) Bubble

A bubble chart is similar to a scatter plot in that it can show distribution or relationship. There is a third data set, which is indicated by the size of the bubble or circle. 

bubble chart

Design Best Practices for Bubble Charts:

  • Scale bubbles according to area, not diameter.
  • Make sure labels are clear and visible.
  • Use circular shapes only.

10) Waterfall

A waterfall chart should be used to show how an initial value is affected by intermediate values — either positive or negative — and resulted in a final value. This should be used to reveal the composition of a number. An example of this would be to showcase how overall company revenue is influenced by different departments and leads to a specific profit number. 

 waterfall-chart

Chart via Baans Consulting

Design Best Practices for Waterfall Charts:

  • Use contrasting colors to highlight differences in data sets.
  • Choose warm colors to indicate increases and cool colors to indicate decreases.

11) Funnel

A funnel chart shows a series of steps and the completion rate for each step. This can be used to track the sales process or the conversion rate across a series of pages or steps.

funnel chart - marketing

Design Best Practices for Funnel Charts:

  • Scale the size of each section to accurately reflect the size of the data set.
  • Use contrasting colors or one color in gradating hues, from darkest to lightest as the size of the funnel decreases.

12) Bullet

A bullet graph reveals progress toward a goal, compares this to another measure, and provides context in the form of a rating or performance.

bullet-graph3.png

Design Best Practices for Bullet Graphs:

  • Use contrasting colors to highlight how the data is progressing.
  • Use one color in different shades to gauge progress.

13) Heat Map

A heat map shows the relationship between two items and provides rating information, such as high to low or poor to excellent. The rating information is displayed using varying colors or saturation.  

heat-map-chart

Design Best Practices for Heat Map:

  • Use a basic and clear map outline to avoid distracting from the data.
  • Use a single color in varying shades to show changes in data.
  • Avoid using multiple patterns.

What tips do you have for visualizing data? Check out our ebook on how to use data to win over your audience, and share your tips in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

Live_Streaming_Video_Guide.jpg

Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a video to learn something new than read about it.

Go ahead — you’re not alone. 59% of executives say they’d rather watch a video than read text, too. And really, that number makes sense — we are a society of video streamers. (I mean, hello, Netflix.)

Download our free guide to learn how to use Facebook Live for your business.

But if you’re not sure where to begin, fear not — we’re here to make sure you don’t just hit the “Live” button on Facebook and stare at the camera like a deer in headlights. Instead, we’ve come up with a comprehensive checklist to help you plan your first — or next — live stream. 

How Live Streaming Works

Live streaming is a way to broadcast your events to an online audience. It’s a digital alternative to something like selling tickets to an in-person event, and allows you to reach people near and far with live video.

Brands use live streaming for a few different reasons, but according to a Brandlive survey, 71% of businesses use it to more authentically interact with an audience. So instead of being the proverbial “man behind the curtain,” you’re allowing viewers to put a face (or faces) to your organization’s name, all in real time.

Live streaming can be used for a number of different event types, as well. Everyone from the White House, to fashion houses, to chefs have live streamed videos of economy briefings, runway shows, and cooking demos, respectively. Here at HubSpot, we’ve used it for things like interviews with thought leaders. So feel free to be creative — just make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

1) Plan your live stream like you would any other event.

Think about some of the most popular talk shows. Can you imagine if the guests, sets, lighting and schedules for something like “The Tonight Show” weren’t planned in advance? To say the least, it might be chaotic.

You’ll want to put the same thought and due diligence into your live stream that you’d put into an in-person event of its kind. And you’ll want to have your goals in mind as you begin to make those plans; those will dictate a lot of the logistics.

Who

Knowing your target audience will determine a few pieces of the planning process. If it includes an international population, that should factor into the date and time of your stream — be sure to think about time zones or holidays that might not be top-of-mind in your home country.

What

Then, think of what category your live stream falls into, and create a title for your event. In case you don’t find any of the above examples fitting to your business, we’ve got some ideas for ways businesses can use live videos.

HubSpot’s Social Media Marketing Manager, Chelsea Hunersen, stresses the importance of thoroughly researching the topic of your live stream in advance.

“Decide important points or stats to hit,” she says. And if you’re going to feature guests, “designate a moderator/host who can make sure these points are hit and can wrap up the conversation if necessary.”

Where

The platform you use — which we’ll get to in a bit — can also be dependent on who you want to view the stream. Different audiences use different channels, so you’ll want to pick the one that’s most likely to draw the crowd you want.

Finally, pick an optimal location from which you’ll broadcast your stream. A poor quality video can make someone 62% more likely to have a negative perception of the brand that produced it — so make sure your setting is conducive to a positive viewing experience. Does it have good lighting? Is it prone to a lot of noise? Is there a chance that your dog walker will barge in yelling, “Who’s a good boy?” loud enough for the entire audience to hear? (Not that that’s happened to me.)

Think of these contingencies, then pick a streaming venue that insulates you from them.

2) Choose your platform.

Here’s where you’ll really need to have your goals in mind, since different platforms can achieve different things.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live Events tend to have “two goals,” says Megan Conley, HubSpot’s Content Marketing Strategist. “Registrants and attendees.”

So, if you’re looking to generate leads — which 57% of marketing professionals are using video to do — YouTube Live is one of the best platforms to use.

Here’s how that works. First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create an account on Google, which you’ll then use to create one on YouTube.

YouTube Live Events

Once that’s done, you can use YouTube’s Live Streaming Events dashboard to schedule a future stream — just click on “Enable live streaming,” if you haven’t already set it up.

Schedule New Event

Then, click “schedule a new event.”

Select Audience

You’ll need to indicate if you want your event to be public or private — here’s where you’ll decide how you want to use your live stream to generate leads.

In the image above, I’ve selected “unlisted.” That option accomplishes two things:

  1. I’ll be able to generate a link that attendees will get only after they fill out a registration form.
  2. It won’t stream directly onto my YouTube page.

You also have the option of choosing which type of live stream you want to use:

  1. Quick
  2. Custom

Custom is a better option if you want to get more advanced and have more control over the technology. It lets you use more than one camera, choose your own ingestion bitrate and resolution, and use your own preferred encoding equipment (there’s a pretty good breakdown of your options here).

We’ll talk more about encoding later, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be working with the quick option. Quick uses the Google Hangouts On Air technology, which is probably better if you don’t want to get too technically advanced. It lets you use your computer’s camera and microphone, though you do have the option of using an external camera, if you want.

Once you’ve added some tags that describe what your event is about, click “Create Event.”

Events Page

You’ll be taken to your events page — any live streams that you’ve scheduled will be listed here. It’s also where you’ll get that link to keep behind the form on your landing page. First, click on the title of the stream.

Watch Page

The image above shows your Watch Page, which is the place where your stream will broadcast. Click “share,” and that will generate your event’s URL — as I mentioned above, you can keep that behind a landing page where attendees fill out a form to register.

Conley says that, generally, this type of live stream is embedded on a thank-you page behind a landing page form. But with this platform, that’s a little trickier — YouTube doesn’t generate embed codes for live streams unless you have an approved AdSense account linked to your YouTube account.

But fear not — if you use the HubSpot COS, all you’ll need is the link, and the system will generate the embed code for you.

Insert Media

Create Embed Code

Just click “insert media,” paste the link you copied from the Watch Page, and you’re done.

Thank You Page

If embedding isn’t an option, you can still just put a link there — the embed code just creates a seamless design that you can place right on your thank-you page. Either way, be sure to use the thank-you page as a place to remind your attendees of the date and time of the event.

Make Event Public

There’s also the option to make your YouTube Live Event completely open to the public. That’s a good option, Conley says, for a major event that you “want anyone and everyone to be able to find.” But if you make your stream public, she points out, make sure you use the event to promote gated content you want your audience to download.

“An image CTA would do,” she notes, as would holding up clearly-printed short links throughout the stream. (Make sure you have those printed out in advance!) In the image above, you’ll also see that you can add a message to your video — you can mention your gated content there, too. 

Facebook

Facebook Live has been making quite a few headlines lately, and businesses stand to benefit from it — the average time spent watching Facebook Live video is three times more than the pre-recorded kind.

This platform is a good choice if you want to use your live stream to generate buzz. In fact, because these videos have been so popular, Facebook is making them appear higher up in people’s News Feeds while streaming live.

Even without pre-registration, you can definitely promote streams on this platform in advance, which we’ll touch on later. In the meantime, if you haven’t used it before, check out my colleague Lindsay Kolowich’s overview of Facebook Live.

The live streaming options certainly don’t end there — major brands have also used platforms like Periscope, Livestream, and Ustream. They all have their own sets of features and advantages, so definitely take the time to look into which one best suits your needs.

3) Choose your equipment.

When it comes to the actual hardware required for your live stream, some of it is fairly intuitive: A camera is pretty standard, for example, or a device with one installed (like a laptop or phone).

But if you do use your phone, Conley says, be sure to use a tripod. “There’s nothing worse than recording a Facebook Live and having your arm start to fall asleep five minutes into the recording,” she advises. “Use a phone tripod to give your live streaming a professional look.”

Consider how professional you want your sound quality to be, too. Your camera might have its own microphone, but if your setting is more prone to noise, body mics might not be a bad idea, either.

And when you’re using an external camera, says Hunersen, you’ll also need some sort of encoding software (Facebook has a great step-by-step guide to that). That’s what converts the camera footage into a format that your streaming platform understands and can broadcast to viewers. The software you use might depend on your budget, but to get started, check out this one from Adobe.

Also, think about setting up a professional backdrop, like one with your logo. That can help to brand your videos and give them some visual consistency, which is a particularly good practice if you plan to do a lot of live streaming in the future.

Want to take that a step further? “Set up a makeshift studio in your office to speed up the prep time for all of your future recordings,” Conley says. “A beautiful, branded backdrop could be just what your Facebook Live needs to help grab the attention of someone quickly scrolling through their News Feed.”

4) Promote your live stream.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a lot of the major planning and setup for your live stream. Now, how do you get people to watch it?

As we’ve covered, using a landing page is a good way to get enrollment on a platform like Hangouts On Air (or, as of September 12th, YouTube Live). Here’s an example of how we recently used one at HubSpot:

HubSpot_CRO_Hangout.png

There’s a clear CTA here — “View The Video” — which, when clicked, takes the visitor to a registration form. (And check out this rundown of which channels drive the best conversion rates — it’s got some tips on getting people to your landing page in the first place.)

Form-2.png

Once someone fills out the form on your landing page, it should lead them to a thank-you page, where you can share some promotional information about the live stream.

HubSpot’s Co-Marketing Demand Generation Manager, Christine White, suggests creating a “Next Steps” section here with actionable items like “add this event to your calendar” and “check back here on [the date of your event],” to remind viewers that’s where they’ll go to view the live stream.

And once you have contact information for your registrants, Conley reminds us, “you can email the people on that list on the day of, and remind them when it’s going to go live.”

FB_Live_Promo.png

But to promote your Facebook Live stream, says Conley, “It’s really about doing a social image and spreading the word that you are going live at a specific time.”

Don’t rule out using social media to promote live streams on other platforms, too. Some of them, like YouTube, allow you to link your social accounts and push content in multiple places. And if your guests are active on social media, leverage that — include links to their handles in any related content, and ask them to promote the event with their own networks.

5) Do a dry run.

There’s a reason why we do dress rehearsals. When I was in a high school show choir — a humiliating but factual piece of history — it was to make sure I didn’t trip over my dance partner in high-heeled tap shoes.

In the world of live streaming, though, we do dry runs to avoid more technical, but equally embarrassing missteps. Improv can be hilarious, but not when it means you’re verbally unprepared, or your equipment stops working and you don’t have a backup plan.

6) Prep any guest speakers.

Is there anything worse than a moment of awkward, dumbfounded silence?

As part of your dry run, make sure your guests are prepared for any questions they might be asked. Don’t over-rehearse, but do what you can to prevent catching them off-guard.

“It may help to give some questions in advance to a potential guest,” says Hunersen, “but save some follow-up or in depth questions for on-air, so that you’re able to let them be both prepared and react in the moment.”

7) Test your audio and internet connection.

You might want people to talk about your live stream, but not if all they’re going to say is, “We can’t hear you.” Make sure all of your audio equipment is working — both during your dry run and on the day of the stream. Having an extra microphone and batteries on hand probably won’t hurt, either.

Make sure your network can handle a live stream, too. If you’re streaming high quality video, for example, you’ll need both a wire connection and a 3G/4G wireless connection, according to Cleeng.

In other words, make sure your WiFi is working, but also, “grab an ethernet cord,” says Conley. “One thing you can’t help is if your internet connection unexpectedly goes out.”

We know — even the sound of “ethernet” seems terribly old school. But if your WiFi suddenly drops, you’ll be glad you busted that cord out of storage.

8) Set up social media monitoring.

One great thing about live streaming is your audience’s ability to join the conversation and comment in real time. But try watching any Facebook Live feed, and you’ll see that the comments roll in fast. So while it’s awesome to invite and answer viewer questions  — especially if you personalize your responses — it can be overwhelming.

That’s why it’s a great idea to dedicate someone to monitoring social media, comments, and questions during the live feed.

That task can made a bit easier with something like a branded hashtag created specifically for this live stream. For platforms with built-in comment feeds, for example, you can ask your viewers to preface any questions with it — that can help qualify what needs to be answered.

You could even take that a step further and use the hashtag throughout the planning process, making sure to include it on your landing page, thank-you page, and promotional messages leading up to the event. That helps to create buzz around the live stream. And if you use HubSpot’s Social Inbox, here’s a great place to take advantage of its monitoring feature, which lets you prioritize and reply to social messages based on things like keywords or hashtags. 

After Your Live Stream

It’s always nice to follow up with your attendees after your live stream has ended. Thank them for their time, give them a head’s up about your next event, and invite them to download a piece of relevant content. If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve probably done a great job of using your live stream to generate leads — so keep up the momentum and nurture them

Have you experimented with live streaming? What have you learned? Share your tips in the comments below.

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8 Data-Backed Strategies to Increase Your Video’s Play and Conversion Rates

8_Data-Backed_Strategies_to_Increase_Your_Videos_Play_and_Converstion_Rates.png

Video production is not just about making videos for awareness purposes. In our experience, using video strategically can help you at every step of the marketing funnel from lead generation to revenue growth.

In order to reach these goals, savvy marketing teams want to make videos that drive conversions. Whether you’re hoping someone will find your website organically, sign up for a product demo, or even purchase your product — a well strategized video can help boost your conversion rate.

A video that converts needs to be clear in its goal. What do you want this video to accomplish? What should be the next step that your viewer takes in their journey after watching your video? You want that next step to be as clear as possible, making conversion a seamless experience for your audience.

Identifying and Leveraging Conversion Opportunities 

Increasing Your Video’s Play Rate to Boost Conversion

With just a few simple tweaks, you can dramatically boost your videos’ play rates. Small changes can make all the difference for someone watching your video — whether it be a product video or a webinar.

1) Make the Thumbnail Friendly

The video thumbnail is the first thing your audience sees when they look at your video. Think of it as your video’s CEO. It represents your video to your audience, just like a CEO represents her company to the world. When putting up a video, many companies use the generic thumbnail image — usually a frame somewhere in the middle of your video. Using a custom thumbnail, however, can increase  your play rate by 34%

Your thumbnail should be something to consider before you put your video out into the wild. Each video’s thumbnail is either encouraging or discouraging engagement from your audience. If you have a person in your video, choose a thumbnail that features the face of an actor. A smiling, friendly looking person will encourage a viewer to click play and see what the video is all about.

BrandColors.png

2) Show Off Your Brand’s Colors

Your brand’s look and feel is crucial to brand recognition. You wouldn’t want your video player to stand out in the wrong way. Adjusting your player color will bring your website or email together in a cohesive and branded way. We’ve found that choosing a custom player color that represents your brand increases your video’s play rate by a full 19%. 

You can choose to use a color that is the same as the elements on your website, landing page, or email to bring the content together and make it look more professional, influencing a higher percentage of your audience to click play and ultimately convert.

3) Keep It Short 

You’ve probably heard it a million times — in today’s age, humans have short attention spans. We’re bombarded with content, and much of that content is in video form. In order to keep your audience’s engagement strong and convince them to convert, your video should stay within a certain time frame.

We’ve recently pulled some numbers around video length and engagement, and unsurprisingly, two minutes is the ultimate cutoff. Videos that are up to one minute long have an average 70% play rate — that’s huge! For one minute, 70% of your audience is engaged, willing to stick around and learn more about the content in your video. Once your video gets just over two minutes, however, you’re in hot water. Engagement drops by 5% at two minutes, and starts to freefall after that.

Engagement_vs_Length.pngThese simple changes can really make a difference in your play rate, engagement rate, and ultimately, your conversion rate. Just changing your video’s thumbnail and player color can increase your play rate by 53%, making it that much more likely that your audience will convert or follow your CTA. Keeping your video under two minutes long will hold your engagement rate right where you want it — above 65%. These simple actions have a huge impact, and there’s so much more you can do to increase your video’s conversion rates. Let’s look into some of the more in-depth ways where conversion is the main attraction.

Boosting Your Conversion Rate

Whether your call to action is asking someone to sign up to your email list and become a lead, to register for a webinar, to come to a physical event, or maybe to simply buy your product — your call to action is what makes the conversion. There are many different ways to include a call to action in your video. There are several different options for how to include video CTA beyond just changing the text or color — consider your video’s goal before choosing a type

4) Leverage CTAs and Annotations

When considering where to put your call to action in a video, whether it be an annotation or a lead generation form, think past the usual places. CTAs are most often put at the end of videos, but we’ve found that CTAs in the middle of the video perform way better, with conversion rates at 16.95%, as compared to 10.98% at the end.

You can make your CTA engaging in the middle of your video by pointing it out in your script. Script around the CTA and weave them together to create an interesting viewer experience that will make folks excited to click. Your CTA should be very clear and have a very specific goal. You can then measure how your CTA does depending on how you weave it into your video. The more custom and clear it is, the better it will convert your viewers.

Turnstile.png

5) Put the Turnstile Where It Counts 

A turnstile is basically a lead generation form. Using a turnstile in your video allows you to capture your audience member’s email address by pulling up a form in the beginning, middle, or end of your video. Where you put this turnstile really matters, and the conversion rate differs depending on where in your video the turnstile appears.

Many video marketers choose to put their turnstile in the beginning or the end of the video, so it does not interrupt the viewer’s experience. However, we’ve found that the highest converting position for a turnstile is actually in the middle of the video, with a conversion rate of 22.17%, over a 3.05% or a 8.49% conversion rate for post and pre-roll turnstiles, respectively.

Turnstile2.png

Adding your turnstile to the middle of your video may seem tricky — doesn’t interrupting the viewing experience leave your audience with a bad taste in their mouth? You can incorporate a mid-roll turnstile without making the viewer feel cheated. Add your turnstile into your script in order to work around the lead generation form. Creating a script that flows around the turnstile and warns viewers that it’s coming up prepares them for what’s next. Try something like “Interested? Enter your email address and let’s get in a little deeper”, or “Enter your email for more information.

After the Video

Phew! You’ve gone through the whole process. You’ve created a custom thumbnail, added your custom player color to match your brand, and made sure your video doesn’t go above the two minute mark. You’ve even woven in a CTA and/or turnstile into your video’s script to make it flawless and engaging. You’re set up for success–but what now?

6) Leverage Post-Production Analytics

Make sure you’re tracking your video’s analytics. It’s important to keep in mind where folks watched and re-watched your video. Was there a bump in re-watches at a certain point mid-video? That may mean that folks are especially interested in what was conveyed at that time, meaning you have an opportunity to create another video specifically focusing on that topic. Re-watches help you figure out where your audience’s interest was piqued, letting you create more relevant content for them in the future.

See how many folks converted on your turnstile and CTAs. You can take that data and test future videos depending on what you’ve done in the past. Each piece of data counts when making a high-converting, high impact video.

7) Invest In Videos For Lead Nurturing

Once your viewer has converted, you want to take them one step further in the process. Videos can be perfect for nurturing leads that have already raised their hand for your content. Making a short video that welcomes folks who have converted on partnership content, for example, can delight your audience and act as a great reminder of your company and the problems you solve. We do this after large lead generation campaigns, and especially after co-marketing projects.

 

When it comes to onboarding lead nurturing campaigns, video is a great asset in boosting your click through rates, increasing the probability of your audience taking the action you want them to take. You can easily tweak your onboarding workflow to reap the rewards video creates! For example, we’ve found that using a video thumbnail with a play button in an email, instead of a plain image, resulted in a 300% lift in our CTRs! You can’t beat those numbers. 

Your onboarding lead nurturing emails should have a goal, and video can help you test that goal. Our onboarding emails, for example, contain a video thumbnail that links new Wistia users to a video that walks them through uploading a new video to their account. We’ve found that 48% of users who start watching  the uploading video actually do upload their video-this is huge! Without that video thumbnail in our onboarding workflow, we’d have missed a huge opportunity to get folks to engage more with the product.

8) Focus On the Close

Of course, once you’ve converted and nurtured a lead, you want to focus on the close. If your final goal is to get your leads to become customers, using video can help you get your close rates up. Specifically, try making videos that are personal and human, creating a relationship with your potential customer. Sending one-on-one videos to prospects introducing yourself and letting them know that you value their business will help create trust, and may just raise your chances of sealing the deal.

Marketing agency Bluleadz does a great job pioneering one-on-videos in the close stage of their prospective customer’s journey. They send out a video when the prospect has already talked to sales in-depth and is in decision mode. Their videos look something like this:

 

These one-on-one videos help create the human element behind Bluleadz business — and they work! Bluleadz has found that prospects who receive these videos before a purchase decision close at a rate of 63%, as compared to 46% for prospects who do not receive videos. That’s a big difference!

With all these tips, it’s time to put your videos to work! How do you make videos that convert? Let us know in the comments!

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8 Data-Backed Strategies to Increase Your Video’s Play and Conversion Rates

8_Data-Backed_Strategies_to_Increase_Your_Videos_Play_and_Converstion_Rates.png

Video production is not just about making videos for awareness purposes. In our experience, using video strategically can help you at every step of the marketing funnel from lead generation to revenue growth.

In order to reach these goals, savvy marketing teams want to make videos that drive conversions. Whether you’re hoping someone will find your website organically, sign up for a product demo, or even purchase your product — a well strategized video can help boost your conversion rate.

A video that converts needs to be clear in its goal. What do you want this video to accomplish? What should be the next step that your viewer takes in their journey after watching your video? You want that next step to be as clear as possible, making conversion a seamless experience for your audience.

Identifying and Leveraging Conversion Opportunities 

Increasing Your Video’s Play Rate to Boost Conversion

With just a few simple tweaks, you can dramatically boost your videos’ play rates. Small changes can make all the difference for someone watching your video — whether it be a product video or a webinar.

1) Make the Thumbnail Friendly

The video thumbnail is the first thing your audience sees when they look at your video. Think of it as your video’s CEO. It represents your video to your audience, just like a CEO represents her company to the world. When putting up a video, many companies use the generic thumbnail image — usually a frame somewhere in the middle of your video. Using a custom thumbnail, however, can increase  your play rate by 34%

Your thumbnail should be something to consider before you put your video out into the wild. Each video’s thumbnail is either encouraging or discouraging engagement from your audience. If you have a person in your video, choose a thumbnail that features the face of an actor. A smiling, friendly looking person will encourage a viewer to click play and see what the video is all about.

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2) Show Off Your Brand’s Colors

Your brand’s look and feel is crucial to brand recognition. You wouldn’t want your video player to stand out in the wrong way. Adjusting your player color will bring your website or email together in a cohesive and branded way. We’ve found that choosing a custom player color that represents your brand increases your video’s play rate by a full 19%. 

You can choose to use a color that is the same as the elements on your website, landing page, or email to bring the content together and make it look more professional, influencing a higher percentage of your audience to click play and ultimately convert.

3) Keep It Short 

You’ve probably heard it a million times — in today’s age, humans have short attention spans. We’re bombarded with content, and much of that content is in video form. In order to keep your audience’s engagement strong and convince them to convert, your video should stay within a certain time frame.

We’ve recently pulled some numbers around video length and engagement, and unsurprisingly, two minutes is the ultimate cutoff. Videos that are up to one minute long have an average 70% play rate — that’s huge! For one minute, 70% of your audience is engaged, willing to stick around and learn more about the content in your video. Once your video gets just over two minutes, however, you’re in hot water. Engagement drops by 5% at two minutes, and starts to freefall after that.

Engagement_vs_Length.pngThese simple changes can really make a difference in your play rate, engagement rate, and ultimately, your conversion rate. Just changing your video’s thumbnail and player color can increase your play rate by 53%, making it that much more likely that your audience will convert or follow your CTA. Keeping your video under two minutes long will hold your engagement rate right where you want it — above 65%. These simple actions have a huge impact, and there’s so much more you can do to increase your video’s conversion rates. Let’s look into some of the more in-depth ways where conversion is the main attraction.

Boosting Your Conversion Rate

Whether your call to action is asking someone to sign up to your email list and become a lead, to register for a webinar, to come to a physical event, or maybe to simply buy your product — your call to action is what makes the conversion. There are many different ways to include a call to action in your video. There are several different options for how to include video CTA beyond just changing the text or color — consider your video’s goal before choosing a type

4) Leverage CTAs and Annotations

When considering where to put your call to action in a video, whether it be an annotation or a lead generation form, think past the usual places. CTAs are most often put at the end of videos, but we’ve found that CTAs in the middle of the video perform way better, with conversion rates at 16.95%, as compared to 10.98% at the end.

You can make your CTA engaging in the middle of your video by pointing it out in your script. Script around the CTA and weave them together to create an interesting viewer experience that will make folks excited to click. Your CTA should be very clear and have a very specific goal. You can then measure how your CTA does depending on how you weave it into your video. The more custom and clear it is, the better it will convert your viewers.

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5) Put the Turnstile Where It Counts 

A turnstile is basically a lead generation form. Using a turnstile in your video allows you to capture your audience member’s email address by pulling up a form in the beginning, middle, or end of your video. Where you put this turnstile really matters, and the conversion rate differs depending on where in your video the turnstile appears.

Many video marketers choose to put their turnstile in the beginning or the end of the video, so it does not interrupt the viewer’s experience. However, we’ve found that the highest converting position for a turnstile is actually in the middle of the video, with a conversion rate of 22.17%, over a 3.05% or a 8.49% conversion rate for post and pre-roll turnstiles, respectively.

Turnstile2.png

Adding your turnstile to the middle of your video may seem tricky — doesn’t interrupting the viewing experience leave your audience with a bad taste in their mouth? You can incorporate a mid-roll turnstile without making the viewer feel cheated. Add your turnstile into your script in order to work around the lead generation form. Creating a script that flows around the turnstile and warns viewers that it’s coming up prepares them for what’s next. Try something like “Interested? Enter your email address and let’s get in a little deeper”, or “Enter your email for more information.

After the Video

Phew! You’ve gone through the whole process. You’ve created a custom thumbnail, added your custom player color to match your brand, and made sure your video doesn’t go above the two minute mark. You’ve even woven in a CTA and/or turnstile into your video’s script to make it flawless and engaging. You’re set up for success–but what now?

6) Leverage Post-Production Analytics

Make sure you’re tracking your video’s analytics. It’s important to keep in mind where folks watched and re-watched your video. Was there a bump in re-watches at a certain point mid-video? That may mean that folks are especially interested in what was conveyed at that time, meaning you have an opportunity to create another video specifically focusing on that topic. Re-watches help you figure out where your audience’s interest was piqued, letting you create more relevant content for them in the future.

See how many folks converted on your turnstile and CTAs. You can take that data and test future videos depending on what you’ve done in the past. Each piece of data counts when making a high-converting, high impact video.

7) Invest In Videos For Lead Nurturing

Once your viewer has converted, you want to take them one step further in the process. Videos can be perfect for nurturing leads that have already raised their hand for your content. Making a short video that welcomes folks who have converted on partnership content, for example, can delight your audience and act as a great reminder of your company and the problems you solve. We do this after large lead generation campaigns, and especially after co-marketing projects.

 

When it comes to onboarding lead nurturing campaigns, video is a great asset in boosting your click through rates, increasing the probability of your audience taking the action you want them to take. You can easily tweak your onboarding workflow to reap the rewards video creates! For example, we’ve found that using a video thumbnail with a play button in an email, instead of a plain image, resulted in a 300% lift in our CTRs! You can’t beat those numbers. 

Your onboarding lead nurturing emails should have a goal, and video can help you test that goal. Our onboarding emails, for example, contain a video thumbnail that links new Wistia users to a video that walks them through uploading a new video to their account. We’ve found that 48% of users who start watching  the uploading video actually do upload their video-this is huge! Without that video thumbnail in our onboarding workflow, we’d have missed a huge opportunity to get folks to engage more with the product.

8) Focus On the Close

Of course, once you’ve converted and nurtured a lead, you want to focus on the close. If your final goal is to get your leads to become customers, using video can help you get your close rates up. Specifically, try making videos that are personal and human, creating a relationship with your potential customer. Sending one-on-one videos to prospects introducing yourself and letting them know that you value their business will help create trust, and may just raise your chances of sealing the deal.

Marketing agency Bluleadz does a great job pioneering one-on-videos in the close stage of their prospective customer’s journey. They send out a video when the prospect has already talked to sales in-depth and is in decision mode. Their videos look something like this:

 

These one-on-one videos help create the human element behind Bluleadz business — and they work! Bluleadz has found that prospects who receive these videos before a purchase decision close at a rate of 63%, as compared to 46% for prospects who do not receive videos. That’s a big difference!

With all these tips, it’s time to put your videos to work! How do you make videos that convert? Let us know in the comments!

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8 Data-Backed Strategies to Increase Your Video’s Play and Conversion Rat https://t.co/d6KkYBh1yJ

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