We all use video, because video moves people.
Here's my list of TEN indispensable features every video platform needs based on customer conversations and myriads of research. I've included a list of resources at the end of this blog for future reference.
1. O ptimized for DIY
Technology is changing how we master our jobs, and there's no shortage of solutions that are designed to 'make our jobs easier'. But all this technology doesn't mean we aren't dependent on someone else in the organization to publish and manage video. So video platforms must be optimized to make it super simple for casual user, video expert, or technology guru to use. A few things that indicate a platform is easy to use include:
- No additional tech help is needed to get started. That generally means it's cloud-based, updates are automatic and you don't need a specialized degree or expertise to be successful.
- You can upload, publish, and share video in a few minutes, not hours or days. Video content is often time sensitive. Be sure it's fast and easy to deliver your videos to the right audiences.
- Security and tracking options are part of the platform, not an add-on.
2. Powerful actionable analytics
A remarkable 88% of marketers and communication professional use video in some way. They rely on video, webinars, and video presentations to deliver critical communications, training and marketing information. But measuring the impact of video, and the ROI is difficult. (CMI takeaways) Your analytics should be as robust as your platform. If you host and share one video of lots of video, then you should have detailed information on viewing information. If you add quizzes and certifications, then should be able to see quiz results and who receive certifications; if you have a call to action (CTA), then it should be easy to who engaged with your CTA.
Look for an analytics dashboard that's both visual and interactive, and gives you clear insight into performance. You should have both graphs and detailed data for further insight, with the option to drill down at the asset, creator or viewer level. It should be easy to share reports with others, and schedule daily, weekly or monthly reports right to your inbox. And of course, easy to manage integrations with marketing automation platforms, CRMs, and learning management systems.
Five essential things video platform analytics should provide:
- Top-level summary data
- Unique video and viewer performance data
- across one or many days or videos
- Advanced performance metrics:
- views by content location, attention span, quiz results, engagement details
- Graphs & downloadable CSV
- Report sharing and scheduling
So, if your video platform gives you the ability to deliver video, presentations, and livecasts, then it should also be able to give you in-depth data related to it too. It's critical that you can understand how well your video and content is performing and how your viewers engage with it. Your analytics should be as robust as your platform.
3. Easily organize and re-purpose video
There's a stunning statistic on how many videos businesses have in their libraries. 293! That's a lot of video. So how do you organize it all and quickly repurpose it when needed?
Whether you are one of the many businesses that publish eighteen videos per month, or just use video and presentations on a quarterly basis, your video platform should make it very easy to upload and organize them. Your platform should also make it easy for you to repurpose and reuse them as well. That means tools that enable you to trim sections of video, add or subtract slides to a video presentation, re-record video presentations or even just track where you embed videos.
Imagine if you could re-purpose slide decks by adding video, trim a section of a video to use in a blog post, or simply share collections of video with specific audiences. That would certainly make our jobs easier, and we certainly could see increased productivity and effectiveness.
4. Low investment risk to get started
Simply put, you should minimize your investment risk. This means subscription based plans that give users an opportunity to try the platform without the fear of making a mistake. Look for a platform that gives you a fully-featured trial, a free version or monthly plans without a commitment.
5. Enterprise level security
Data and content security is a necessity whether you are a small company or a Fortune 500. Look for a platform that provides security features that include at a minimum IP restrictions, domain restrictions, registration pages with password protection, and guestbooks and guest list functionality that let you control who has access to your content. Guest lists are simple to administer and an easy way to control access to information.
6. Feature functionality beyond YouTube
"I use YouTube for my videos and then embed them in my website. I don't need a video platform."
Ok, so if you aren't concerned with branding, and you don't mind if anyone views and shares your video, and content censoring isn't a big deal for you, then perhaps YouTube makes sense for you. But really?
YouTube is an awesome platform for gaining eyeball share and it was designed to 'share video'. I think of it as the worlds largest online library for every type, every quality of video. Just a massive video repository that's open to the public. It's okay to add YouTube as a distribution channel for your video, but if branding, engagement, and viewing experience plays an important role in your overall communications strategy, then you need a platform that gives you 100% control over every aspect of your video experience.
Five things every business needs that YouTube does not offer:
- Engagement tracking & notifications
- Robust analytics
- No advertising
7. Interactive, multimedia experiences
There's a glut of video out there, and even though we constantly improve our message and delivery, and trim video length we still need to make them more engaging. Your video platform should make it easy for users to create and publish interactive and multimedia experiences without too much extra effort, or without additional resources.
There are stand-alone technologies that make interactive video experiences easy so check out apps like SnapApp and Hapyak and RaptMedia. But if you want to make your job easier, look for the capability right in the video platform. At a minimum, you should be able to customize player templates and add speaker notes and bios, searchable transcripts, embed a call-to-action, and offer chaptering.
8. Video and slide sync
So why is this so important? Because slides alone never tell the full story. And a stand-alone video of an executive conference often misses the mark because let's face it, almost everyone presents with a slide deck. The deck emphasizes key points in the presentation. A deck without it's presenter is like a shoe without a sole.
Video presentations are another form of video that are taking corporate communications, learning and training functions to another level. Video and slide sync energizes slides decks and transforms training presentations by placing the focus on the storyteller, not the bullets on a powerpoint. With video and slide sync every presentation is more memorable and effective. And every presentation becomes a video.
9. Integrations with CRMs, MAPS, and LMS
It's an integrated world, and we no longer can keep video and content in silos. Learning organizations rely on video training materials as much as marketers rely on video to engage prospects, customers and partners. Our sales teams need content at their fingertips and an easy way to see if their prospects and customers view their videos.
Your online video platform should be compatible with other platforms in your technology stack. Look for integrations with leading marketing platforms, learning management systems and CRMs.
10. Live streaming capabilities
Live video streaming is the new best friend of nearly everyone in your organization. Marketers use live webcasts and events for demand generation and lead qualification; trainers use it to educate and connect global workforces, and corporate communications teams use it to securely deliver company meetings, employee town halls, and compliance initiatives. It's the fastest and most economical medium to connect with audiences in a personal, engaging way.
Live video streaming is a one to many application so it's essential that your platform can deliver video to thousands of viewers at the the same time, with little to no latency. Add security, registration pages, and interactivity (whether in the video player or video) and you've found the optimum live streaming platform. On-demand playback should be ready within hours, not days, and tracking engagement should be simple. So it logically follows that the video platform used to manage online video and video presentations should also be capable of delivering flawless live video streams.
There are several live streaming platforms that provide basic and premium streaming services, but do they also host your on-demand video? Compare Knovio Live to YouTube Live.
In today's age of video, your online video platform should make your job of managing, sharing and analyzing video of all kinds easy.
I hope this essential feature list is helpful. Please share which features you really need in your video platform and what's your biggest pet peeve. I'm interested to hear what's important to you.
Resources for Video Platform Research:
50Wheel provides a great list of curated research here.
More trustworthy sources:
Forrester Wave™: Online Video Platforms For Sales & Marketing, Q4 2016
Wainhouse Research: Video Solutions for Corporate Learning - 2017 Market Overview
Gartner Magic Quadrant™: Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management