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You don’t have to pull an all-nighter to understand how to appreciate the greatness of free resources. Whether a company is focused on educating buyers about its brand or wants to help students of all ages learn about a nearly endless list of topics, video is the most powerful and dynamic way to do it – especially when you make it easy and free to access. Video marketing gives you reach and, when done right, the ability to speak directly to your target audiences.
In fact, video is exactly what has helped drive the success of the nonprofit education organization Khan Academy, all without asking for a dime in return from subscribers – instead relying on donors and volunteers. With more than 500,000 teachers registered with the nonprofit and roughly 4 million exercises completed on a daily basis, Khan Academy must be doing something right to get people to use its services.
Khan Academy has supplied more than 400 million video lessons to its audience of learners, but it had far humbler beginnings. In fact, Wired explained it was because of his 13-year-old cousin’s request for help with math that Salman Khan, the nonprofit’s founder, was inspired to create the site. Word of the free lessons travelled quickly through the family, and soon Khan was making videos for several other family members. Khan recorded most of the earliest videos using low-cost equipment and not a lot of visual flair in the homemade content. He eventually posted his videos on YouTube, substantially increasing his following.
Khan Academy’s virulent popularity inspired Bank of America to partner with the organization to create Better Money Habits last year. The bank’s decision to build a video library stems from a few facts: Many American consumers lack the financial knowledge needed to make smart money decisions. At the same time, Bank of America has suffered from some poor consumer ratings. The free videos are available to anyone who wants to build their financial brain power without also getting a hard sell. This builds better brand reputation with consumers due in large part to the effort Bank of America has made to empower them.
The irony is that the front seat is wherever you’re sitting. For Khan Academy, taking advantage of video for online learning is at the core of its strategy to reach millions of people and put them on the path to video learning. It’s something that marketers can emulate, and it can lead them to higher-performing campaigns.
Before moving on to more difficult kinds of material on the Khan Academy dashboard, learners have to prove they’ve mastered the level they’re currently at. So, once you correctly answer 10 question in a row, you level up – and earn a badge for your effort. The dashboard is essentially a tool that the nonprofit can use to collect data about each learner and customize their experiences.
From this, marketers need to remember that each interaction with buyers is a chance to educate them and push them along the sales pipeline, as well as a chance to get to know them through performance metrics. You’re not pumping out messages and content for the sake of creativity. The goal is to help buyers master the whats and hows of specific features of your product or service. As a result, they move toward the decision-making point as more informed customers engaged with your brand. To do this effectively, you need to track how each buyer views each video, including watch-thru rates and what platforms were used.
Khan Academy has made mobile a priority. In fact, The Verge recently explained that more than 150,000 training exercises are now available on the Apple iPad app. And it’s more than just making the desktop version available on a tablet. For instance, learners can use the touchscreen to manipulate figures to better understand geometry.
It’s not enough that a company has explainer video optimized for its website. Most marketers should already be aware of the massive impact of mobile technology, and the lesson that Khan Academy can teach is that content must do more on a mobile device than just exist. It needs to be part of an integrated strategy that gives buyers a seamless experience. Whether that’s inserting GIFs in emails or setting up content for social media, your goal is to educate people in the most effective way possible, and video is a mobile- and desktop-adaptive tool that gives you creative freedom.
Additionally, Khan Academy videos are made to be digestible, meaning they aren’t 30-minute behemoths that you have to sit through to get at the information you want. Generally, they’re within the five- to 10-minute range, which allows learners to absorb each nugget of information. They can also remember segments that were more challenging and return to the video to go over the explanation again if necessary. Marketers should realize the power of the 60-second video. Even complicated concepts can be condensed with powerful animated videos that use visual metaphors to convey essential information.
Khan Academy has many lessons to choose from, but the most important ones for marketers aren’t listed. Online learning has traveled a very similar path as digital marketing, most notably in the way that it’s led people to take more control over their interactions, whether it’s learning calculus or discovering how a business app will help their sales team close more leads.
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