Vidyard, based in the Waterloo-Kitchener region of Ontario, announced it was coming to the HootSuite App Directory last month. The app puts a business’ entire video library onto the HootSuite dashboard, giving marketers the chance to cherry-pick the videos they want to share with their followers.
“Video is that really compelling medium and it’s the next best thing to being in there in person,” says Michael Litt, Vidyard’s co-founder and CEO. “We track how an individual watched every single piece of content that you posted on your Web site, that you published to Facebook, to Twitter, to LinkedIn, any of your social feeds.”
“And you get a snapshot of that viewer or user or customer … So how much did they watch? When did they stop watching? When did they go to full-screen? When did they stop? So it gives you a really cool perspective on what content is resonating with your most likely purchasers.”
There are also other benefits to adding an app to HootSuite, Litt says, like giving marketers the ability to search through their own video content on the dashboard instead of having to comb the Internet. And of course, users watching videos on HootSuite instead of being redirected to YouTube are less likely to be distracted, he adds.
“YouTube is kind of known as the black hole of the Internet. You get there and you watch your video, and then you might see recommended content,” he says. “One of those videos might be a competitor’s video. It also might be a dog riding a skateboard, and now you’ve lost that buyer or that viewer’s attention.”
The software-as-a-service (Saas) is also integrated with Eloqua Corp. (now with Oracle Corp.), and Marketo Inc., two other marketing automation platforms. So if marketers are already using those platforms, whatever data is available on them will also be available on Vidyard.
And if a company is using Salesforce Inc., its sales team can also see Vidyard’s video analytics on that dashboard. That makes it easier to generate leads, Litt says.
Vidyard wasn’t always a video hosting platform. Over the past four years, the company has had to change its plans a few times before it began running under its current business model, Litt says.
When he and his co-founder, Devon Galloway, launched their startup four years ago, they were still engineering students at the University of Waterloo. Their original business produced video content for other startups and for a few Fortune 500 companies.
But after talking with their customers, they found most of them didn’t know what to do with their videos once they’d received them, Litt says. Choosing a place to host them, like YouTube or Vimeo, proved daunting for many businesses.
So Vidyard began offering a simple hosting service for $20 a month. Then, as an add-on, Litt and Galloway built an analytics program while they were still in school, and they soon realized it was a lot more profitable than creating the videos themselves.
Working at Vidyard also taught the the engineering grads a thing or two about marketing, something they didn’t pick up at school, he adds. Much of what they’ve built into their marketing platform was developed based on their own experiences as a startup. It also helped they were part of the Y Combinator accelerator program in 2011, raising $1.6 million from angel investors back in November 2011.
Pricing for a subscription to Vidyard starts at around $5 per video per month, though the price goes down once customers start adding more videos, Litt says. Some of their customers have as many as 15,000 videos hosted on Vidyard, while others have only five.
Nowadays, pretty much every company needs to think about using video, including small to mid-sized businesses, he adds.
“People are looking for that lean-back experience. You can spit out as much content on Twitter and Facebook as possible, but people barely engage with that stuff,” he says, adding that it’s like social media – businesses might once have viewed it with skepticism, but now it’s a given they’ll be using it.
“It’s definitely a trend that’s mobilizing, there’s so much you can do with it. It’s an engaging medium. I think you’d be pretty stupid not to invest in video … If you’re not building videos that can engage with your customers on a regular basis, you’re probably going to get left behind.”
Watch this video featuring TribeHR, a human resources software solutions provider, explaining how it uses Vidyard.