What Wistia’s $111,000 Videos Mean For Marketers (Andrew Capland, Wistia)

Posted on Jan 22, 2019

Episode: S01E13

Podcast Guest: Andrew Capland
Role: Growth & Marketing
Company: Wistia

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What if you could drop over $100,000 to see how much production value actually impacted ROI? In this episode, I talk to Wistia’s marketing director about growth funnels, the importance of a story, killer video ad distribution, and more.

Wistia are heroes to businesses looking to host video, aspiring videographers looking for great budget video setups, sales teams looking to get all up and personal with 1:1 videos, and, in general, they’re amazing at video education.

But after getting Andrew’s insights, I realized that it’s much more about finding the right story. Video happens to be a great medium (and one which Wistia do really, really well).

I’m what you may call a biased audience…but this is really one killer episode.

Also, check out these two Wistia content pieces that Andrew recommends:

Episode Transcript

In 2017, Coca-Cola spent about $4 billion dollars on advertising. For smaller companies – really, any company,, that’s impossible to beat.

But what if attention is not a function of budget?

My name is Eytan Buchman, and today is going to be a good day, because you’re listening to Two Minute Marketing. Today we’re going to talk about low-budget video production, what content needs to focus on, video ad distribution, and a little bit of growth. And if you’re a math person, you may have already figured out that we’re going into overtime on this one.

Anyway, let’s start with start off with Wistia’s rock star marketer….

Andrew Capland

My name is Andrew Capland and I’m the director of marketing over here at Wistia. I am the main marketing lead for video marketing products….Wistia is a tool that helps you to humanize and grow your business with video….The product’s been around for 10 years, we’ve got tens of thousands of customers, a couple hundred thousand free users. And if it’s related to marketing, go to market strategy, conversion, implementation, positioning. Those are all fun things that I get to participate in. f.


Why Wistia? Well, I recently came across them in a brilliant content marketing campaign that pitted three videos they created against each other. And here’s where that idea kinda got it’s start.


…one of the things that we’ve always wondered and we’ve debated internally, was how does production value correlate to KPIs? Basically does a more expensive high gloss video for your business convert better, drive more customers, drive more viewers, drive more awareness, drive more brand impressions, all that good stuff.

And we decided, let’s find out. And so we partnered with this company called Sandwich Video. They’re out in L.A. and they made commercials, that’s what they do, they are a full on video production agency. And we said, “Hey, we want you to make us three videos, we want it to promote the same product in similar ways, but we wanna do it with three different budgets. One for $1000, one for $10,000 and one for $100,000.”


I just have to point out how great this actually is. Wistia was simultaneously creating an advertisment and marketing content that their viewers actually wanted – explanations on how and where to invest video budget. Here’s where the content piece actually came in.


And then what we thought is, wow, what a neat thing, why don’t we make and record behind the scenes and let’s make it into a documentary. And so we did that. So this project … You’re calling it this one project, but really for us it’s almost two projects where we created three videos to understand the difference in production quality and how that correlates to success. And then separately, we made a documentary of how they actually went about doing this.

This kind of content for us does really well. Our audience or people that are curios or people that are trying to make great videos, they’re unsure how much to invest in a video, versus should they make lower quality type stuff. And so this gets gobbled up.


You can tell that Andrew is a growth guy at heart when he explains how they distributed the videos


…we did tons of things to help assist in that process, we just made it really easy to share, both by adding share links and also having a lot of pre-populated tweets, pre-populated emails and things like that, and it worked.

…we promoted this series basically on YouTube on Facebook, we did some experimentation on Quora and Reddit. You can get into there and do some really neat targeting with folks that are asking questions that are related to things associated with this project.

And we even experimented with some niche audiences, basically smaller communities of folks that are making videos and talking about how to make videos and things like that.


The video series crushed it. It was everywhere. Wistia put together some incredible content around this but the takeaway was the coolest part. At the end of the day, the middle-tier video, which cost $10,000 to make, did best, with costs per click of 33% lower than the $1,000 dollar and $100,000 dollar one. And the feeling at Wistia HQ was because it had the best story, not the best production value.

You got it. They dropped $111K to discover what we all knew from WaterWold ; it’s the story that matters far more than the budget. But there is one one caveat.


It pains me to see a lot of those LinkedIn videos where you see folks walking around with their headphones, walking to work or walking through the park or something. And the audio is crummy and the video is garbage.


So yea, invest in production however much you need… but focus more on the story. And while I had Andrew, I went through two other things. First of all, how do they get their incredible content onto their audience’s screens.


Our favorite distribution channels are the ones that work. So unfortunately there’s no secret sauce but as I mentioned in the first question when we create and publish a new piece of content, we literally sit down and say, “Where should we promote this? Where will this be most successful? What learnings have we received from previous distribution pushes that make us excited about promoting it in either similar places or trying new ideas?”


And then they experiment.


we try to invest in a lot of channels where videos and video ads are successful. So YouTube, Facebook, Instagram has been great for us. Even LinkedIn has been great for making lower production value, like those one-to-one videos are great on LinkedIn.

And with every piece of content we save a little bit of our promotional budget to try new channels, because we’re constantly surprised about how markets change and audiences change and how certain channels become popular or less popular, or more crowded or less crowded.


Speaking of experimentation, Andrew actually used to lead growth at Wistia so I asked him one question that had been on my mind; when looking at a long funnel, how do you choose where to start optimizing?


When I’m analyzing a funnel, I look at both the conversion rates and the total quantity … Basically the total volume as well as the conversion rates. And this is because sometimes you look at things and you try to identify the opportunities, but the conversion rates can be really misleading. So typically what I look for is an area in the funnel where you have either a really high conversion rate with a low quantity. And I look at ways that we can basically un-release the filter so to speak, and get higher quantity of numbers to fuel that high conversation rate and see if we can unlock some growth there. Or, I look for the opposite which is an area of your funnel where you have a ton of numbers, but a really low conversion rate.


And while many growth experiments will fail, Andrew has some good advice on what you can take away from them anyway


The honest answer is that its hard and that it takes a lot of trial and error, and that sometimes you’ll spend a long time focused on one area of the funnel and produce some modest wins. Which is why I always tell folks, you should focus less on the wins and more on the learning


If you’re looking for my wise Buddhist take away, my attempt at it, said while stroking my long white beard, would be this. The ultimate message delivery mechanism is not a video, a white paper, or a blog post. It’s a story. Once the perfect story falls into place, all you need to do is find the right medium to service that story best. Boom. Mind blown.

You’ve been listening to a very much more than two minute marketing, I’m more done than that last hotdog you always forget on the grill, and if you love life, pizza, or marketing, you’re my kinda person.

Happy marketing, pizza-mate.