Exploring the Rise of Video Marketing in Higher Education

Everywhere you look these days, people are talking about video marketing. Gary Vaynerchuck called video, “the single most important strategy in content marketing today.” That was two years ago. 

More recently, a third of all online activity is spent watching video, with the average user exposed to an average of 32.3 videos a month, according to Hyperfine Media. And while 86% of colleges and universities have a presence on YouTube, successful video marketing goes well beyond the video super-library and underrated social network.

With this in mind, we welcomed Gina Benigno to the second episode of our Hashtag Higher Ed Podcast. A Video Production Manager at Temple University, Gina currently leads the university-wide vision for video content within the department of Strategic Marketing and Communications. In our conversation, Gina talked about the rise of video marketing, how Temple addresses annual events in new ways to consistently engage its audience, the key to creating authentic video content, and how schools can invest in video marketing without breaking the bank.

On the Rise of Video Marketing

“I think a major component to why video is so ubiquitous digitally right now is social media. Everybody has a smartphone. Everybody has access to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. All of these platforms are giving video the vehicle to really permeate the digital space. It’s not as simple anymore as just throwing a video up on the internet and hoping it sticks because there’s so much access to social media you really need to be in tune with your social media presence to get the most out of your videos.”

On Making the Most of Video Analytics

“It’s neat to be able to leverage some free aspects that you have to analyze how your videos are doing, on YouTube especially. YouTube analytics is free to anyone that has a YouTube account. We can log in and click on a particular video, look at a particular time frame, and see what our average view duration is. Right now, I think on average people are watching our videos for about one minute and 38 seconds, so that dictates that we don’t produce videos that are over two minutes. The two-minute mark is like an hour nowadays, which is insane because when I started at Temple, we’d produce three, four, five-minute videos. Now, 2 minutes is the max. Having a tool like YouTube analytics…it just gives you a better sense of if what you’re doing is doing anything out there in the digital space.”

On the Value of User Research

“My advice for keeping your content authentic and engaged with is to do a little digging on the back end. You want to research your audience. We struck gold with this when we were doing a little research on student life on YouTube. When we did this we were seeing a lot of high school and college students who were vlogging. We were seeing crazy results. These students were getting 50,000 views on videos five or six minutes long of them walking around their campus filming their day. It was incredible to see, this is where our student base is. They’re watching other students talk about their experiences. One student actually reached out to us on our Twitter account about vlogging for Temple. He now posts one video a week for Temple, working as a student worker for Strategic Marketing and Communications. It’s totally paid off and we’re excited to see where our Temple Student vlog series goes.”

On Getting Started with Video Marketing

“If you’re just getting started, I would seek the guidance from others within your departments, such as social media or your writers. Get a group together that wants video to explode at your institution as much as you do. And once you have that group of people, create a workflow. How is your group going to work together to execute these projects? Figure out what’s feasible in your department and then figure out what equipment you need and not getting too hung up on super expensive and fancy equipment. You can produce video so easily now on something as simple as a smartphone. You don’t need to invest tens of thousands of dollars. Start small.”

Gina Benigno’s Social Shout Outs

Inspired by Jay Baer’s “Social Shout Out” feature on his excellent Social Pros podcast, we are asking every guest on the Hashtag Higher Ed podcast to give a shout out to colleagues you should know and follow in the higher education, marketing, or content space.

Patrick Rosenbaum and Rob Czyzewicz – 20/20 Visual Media

Twitter: @2020VisualMedia

“They are both Temple University alums. They produce work in the higher ed and non-profit sectors. They just have a knack for capturing details and telling the stories of larger organizations and missions but they do it through the stories of individual people.”

Corey Popp

Twitter: @coryjpopp

“I actually stumbled across one of his videos that was featured Philadelphia Magazine about snowy scenes in Philadelphia during a blizzard. The once thing I admire the most about him is that he is 100% a one-man crew. One guy, one camera. He can do it. He can tell the stories. He just gets it.”