Bye bye, hard drives underneath my desk. Hello, cloud-based digital asset management! Video management is very tricky if you are relying on a small group of people working in an office who are not trained as editors or technicians. They need to share, collaborate and distribute content in various formats to multiple devices.
But if the content isn’t optimised for each device this creates a big problem. In addition, when you’ve been working in video for a while and want to scale up your output to reach a much wider audience, how do you get out of the silo? One of the first things you need to do is invest in a platform, which doesn’t need to be expensive if you know what to look for.
Video Strategy: What To Look For In A Platform
1. Ease of Use
Who wants to use a video platform that’s complicated, device-unfriendly and requires a degree in technology in order to use it? Not me and I’ll wager not you either. Your time is valuable and life is stressful enough so what you really need is a platform that’s a cakewalk.
A video platform needs to be cloud-based (Yay! Nothing to download onto your computer) — this means it deploys easily and there are no updates. It also needs to be accessible to anybody with a wifi connection and crucially it needs to work on both mobile and desktop. Just imagine reviewing video content on the road on your mobile rather than getting called to the editing suite the next time you are in the office!
The platform must be intuitive and should require minimal training for users. Choosing a SaaS option allows you to scale up quickly to involve the whole office.
2. Device-Friendly Content
A video platform should also address the needs within a company as well as viewers’ needs.
Businesses make lots of different kinds of video. That content needs to be device friendly because more and more, the people creating it and managing it are not trained audio-visual engineers.
From an internal point of view, there’s a need to identify stakeholders within the business who are going to be using it and recognise the different types of video they make to communicate with their specific audience. For example:
- The marketing department is focused on ads and social content;
- The corporate communications team may broadcast briefings to their teams or stream virtual town hall meetings;
- The HR/health and safety department might share safety training videos;
- The production department could make instructional videos about the design of their goods to ensure consistent quality;
- The training department can use video to help employees to learn faster and more effectively;
- Client Services are making problem-solving videos that can also be used to reduce the need for live support;
- And the sales department is making content too — video on web landing pages can increase conversions by 80%, therefore using video is a no-brainer for the sales team.
You will need to be able to manage content that’s shot on mobile, on professional cameras and everything in between. This means the content will come in lots of different formats, which can turn your brain to mush…unless you have the right video platform. Such a platform must have an automated and robust transcoding engine that automatically publishes video in formats that you can deliver on lots of platforms — in other words, it must publish an “audience ready” version that is viewable on all devices.
The platform also has to have a CDN (content delivery network) to stream content quickly internally and externally. For cost effectiveness, choose one that only requires you to pay for bandwidth you use.
3. API Stackability
Sounds a bit technical, doesn’t it? Didn’t I say above that you don’t need a degree in technology to choose and use a video platform? (Sound of wrist slapping.) Well, let’s break this down. A stack is a group of tech platforms that a business uses in their workflow. For example, Cisco uses 39 technologies in its marketing workflow stack. You don’t necessarily need to know all of the techie elements of a video platform stack — you just need to know what you want it to do. In particular, you’ll want it to integrate it into your existing network so you can customise it going forward. This is where the API comes into play. If it doesn’t have an API then you should think long and hard about whether you really want it in your stack.
Naturally, the security of your assets is important, so here are some of the key things you should look out for, according to IBM:
- Integrates with an existing corporate directory to authenticate viewers;
- Provides single sign-on (SSO), two-step email verification, or whitelisting;
- Encrypts contents and protects streams even outside the network;
- Enables domain restriction so only desired locations can view;
- Supports role and group-based access by video/channel for additional control;
- Reveals exactly who watched and when for auditing purposes.
5. Analytics and Reporting
Knowing who has viewed your videos, where they watched them and even who hasn’t viewed them is extremely valuable data in informing your video strategy going forward. A platform should provide virtually real-time analytics for both live or recorded content, and also allow you to see views by device, domain, location and operating system. Analytics just help you to make smarter decisions when you are thinking of scaling.
APIs and Partnerships
As you can imagine, APIs and partnerships go hand in hand. In our next post, we’ll illustrate in how partnering with Overcast would facilitate you to offer a much wider array of video offerings to your clients and get to market fast.