TechBytes with Cynthia Knapic, Head, Animoto for Business

Cynthia Knapic

Cynthia Knapic
Head, Animoto for Business

In May, online video creation platform Animoto was selected as a Facebook Marketing Partner to enable businesses to easily connect and manage their creative expertise successfully. Though the popularity of video marketing hasn’t come as a surprise for marketers, the challenges to successfully leverage technology remain unconquered. To understand how the company is upping their ante to effectively close the gap between branded and user-generated content for better video experiences and marketing ROI, we spoke to Head of Animoto for Business, Cynthia Knapic.

MTS: For Animoto, what is the idea behind doing a report on the video-first landscape?
Cynthia Knapic: Mark Zuckerberg has been forthcoming about Facebook’s “video-first” strategy and the recent prioritization of video by other social media channels Pinterest and LinkedIn is well known, but how this new landscape is affecting subsequent user behavior is perhaps less known.

So, in the State of Social Video 2017 report, Animoto set out to better understand how marketers are making and investing in video – and how and why consumers are watching them – to get a sense of how these groups are adapting to the video mega trend and where the world of video is headed next. By doing so, we’ve identified what types of videos are driving results, what the best performing channels are for video, and what types of videos viewers want more of.

MTS: How do you see video sharing platforms closing the gap between branded content and user-generated content?
Cynthia: Social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube have created unparalleled access to online audiences such that the best-performing video content has the potential to get earned, widespread distribution regardless of advertising budget. These platforms, along with the rise in video creation tools such as Animoto that make video creation more accessible than ever, have really helped to democratize the video marketing landscape. As such, the gap is closing because advertising and production budgets are no longer a barrier to entry to compete for views.

MTS: How should marketers build a true omnichannel media platform that allows them to repurpose video content?
Cynthia: Jason Hsiao, President of Animoto, does a great job of addressing this when he says that Video is not a whole new type of marketing. Video is a way to amplify your existing marketing.” For example, Crate and Barrel had already created a print catalog and shot assets for one of theirnew seasonall product lines. Instead of treating video as a separate campaign, they simply repurposed the assets shot from their product catalog and used them to create a video to share on social media. Since videos uploaded natively to Facebook get optimized in the newsfeed, they were able to get more reach than they otherwise would have been able to get if they had shared a link or photos.

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What are the key components of engaging with audiences on Facebook and YouTube through video?
Cynthia: On Facebook, it’s critical to create videos that are share-worthy. After all, the primary reason people use Facebook is still to connect with family and friends. It’s also a place where people strive to earn positive affirmation in the form of reactions and comments. So, create content that will make people feel more impressive, sound smarter, or more likely to start a conversation online with others by sharing your video. And, limit the topic to one key theme or message so that they can easily identify who they can share your video with.

YouTube, on the other hand, is the second largest search engine in the world. People turn to  and search for educational or entertaining videos on YouTube. As such, consider top search queries that relate to your products, services, or industry. For example, Jill Gaynor, owner of City Girl Flowers in New York City created a series of how-to videos such as DIY Flower Box with Roses and How to Make a Hand-Tied Bouquet with Roses & Peonies to showcase her expertise. By doing so, her business now ranks higher in relevant search results for flower gift boxes and bouquets due to the performance of her YouTube videos.

MTS: Why do you think LinkedIn stands last in the queue?
Cynthia: Linkedin only recently launched native video in their feed this past August and as of the time of this interview, this feature is not available for business accounts yet, so it makes sense that marketers are likely prioritizing video creation for the social media sites where they can get the most advantage by posting videos. However, I anticipate that LinkedIn will not be in the last spot next year now that videos being posted natively in their feed are seeing as much as 20X more shares on LinkedIn than other forms of content.

Also Read: TechBytes with Rich Meiklejohn, General Manager, Asia Pacific, Hootsuite

MTS: How is Animoto shaping up to take on programmatic competition and reduce brand safety risks?
Our mission at Animoto is to make it easy for anyone to create great marketing videos, but not by completely automating the creation of videos. Our pre-built storyboard collection is always growing to provide users with a variety of starter video templates with social media best practices built-in. For example, some of our most popular storyboards include the Top 5 List, Editorial, and Content Teaser video templates. These storyboards help marketers create videos  in minutes so that they can keep up with the pace of social media, but also provides the flexibility to customize the font and colors to match branding guidelines too.

MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Cynthia.
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