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If you’re using video for acquisition, you need to perform a lot of tests to know what will perform better. But most marketers don’t do enough video testing. They create one video and put it up. If it doesn’t perform, they think the channel or format isn’t successful.

Testing can help you avoid tossing good money on the wrong opportunities. But testing isn’t just a smart practice, it’s a necessity.

TEST YOUR VIDEO OR GO UNSEEN

There’s way too much content out there. You’ve probably seen the mind-boggling infographic from Domo on the amount of content being created every minute.

The crazy thing is that these numbers are from 2014. As you can imagine, the numbers are much higher today. Back in 2014, users uploaded 72 hours of video on YouTube every minute. By 2015, it shot up to 400 hours every minute before YouTube stopped releasing the stat. It’s a safe bet that today’s numbers will make your head spin.

The bottom line is: If you don’t test videos to find a breakthrough theme or story, they’ll probably go unseen and remain lost in the rapidly-expanding sea of digital content.

Below are tips from video marketing experts to get the most out of your tests.

Test videos with a purpose

Test multiple versions — at the very least two, but ideally five. Don’t waste time testing small differences. Test something big that will have impact. Such as comparing animation versus live action or a customer testimonial versus a product demo. You can also test:

  • Story topic: what you’re talking about
  • Story format: like problem – solution – CTA
  • Speed: same content, but run one video 10X faster or whatever’s appropriate
  • End cards with different CTAs
[See also: Use Video for Acquisition? Increase Conversions With a Video Test Plan]

Test what works for you

There’s no magic formula for when and how to use video. There are so many factors involved, such as audience, industry, video goal, and budget that the best way to find out is to test what works for your company.

For instance, videos create a stronger emotional connection between the company and the viewer. That’s why Upwork uses video with voice-overs to successfully retarget prospects who are lower in the sales funnel. Their videos average 1.5 minutes long.

In contrast, ThirdLove’s direct response videos never use voice-overs. The company knows most of their videos are watched on Facebook with the sound turned off. Their videos can be as short as 6 seconds but usually, average 15-seconds long.

Test different video platforms

One company may see high conversion rates on Facebook while another may see success on YouTube. Different platforms work best for different brands, so it’s worth testing a few. For instance, more people are moving towards the 10-second videos on Instagram Stories. If your brand can tell its story in 10 seconds, it may be worth testing.

If you’re testing a video across different platforms, be sure the video format matches the platform.

Facebook users are scrolling through their feed to catch up with friends; they’re not in a video-watching mindset like YouTube users. If you want to use a YouTube video on Facebook, video experts recommend reformatting it first. If you’re short on time, consider offering that project to a freelance video specialist.

TEST DIFFERENTLY FOR EACH PLATFORM

Before declaring an ad didn’t work, make sure you’re testing properly for the platform. Going back to our YouTube example, remember that viewers are in video watching mode. They’re not in the mindset to buy, so disrupting them with an ad probably won’t result in an immediate conversion.

“When people say an ad’s not working, they may not be measuring it properly,” says Nisho Cherison, senior director growth marketing at ThirdLove. Because there are many factors affecting performance, such as the channel, audience, and creative.

Thirdlove uses different KPIs for YouTube and Facebook because each channel brings in customers at different stages of the funnel. It’s important to understand that and measure accordingly. For instance, YouTube ads may not result in an immediate conversion, but they may give you a lift in your branded search.

ACCOUNT FOR BLIND SPOTS

Like many channels, there are some things you can’t measure. For instance, a viewer could see your YouTube ad but not act at that moment. Then a month later, the viewer may remember the ad and search for your company online before making a purchase. In the end, they convert by another channel. You can’t track that conversion back to YouTube, so it’s smart to account for blind spots like that.

Those blind spots are what Yung Le, acquisitions director at Upwork, calls “leakage.”

Le says if you want to see a video campaign’s full performance, you must account for blind spots. In fact, how you account for leakage is key to how you structure your test plan. This may include a lift test (pre and post) or looking at a combination of click through and view through conversions.

It takes a village

Remember that over 400 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every minute—that’s just one of several platforms. Sophisticated companies know that to be seen, they must test vigilantly. In fact, some large companies test thousands of video variations in a month!

But not many companies can crank out even 10-50 videos every month. Producing that many videos require a lot of time and resources. It also takes an array of video specialists. Most companies can’t possibly have all the voice-over talent, video animators, and audio editors in-house.

However, you still need to compete, which is why a growing number of companies produce their videos with the help of freelance video experts. You can free up your time further by hiring a freelance agency to handle the entire video from storyboarding to production and publishing.

If you just want talent to handle one part of a production, be sure to have the video’s story clearly defined. Then the freelancer can make it a reality.

Upwork is a freelancing website where businesses of all sizes can find talented independent professionals across multiple disciplines and categories. Ready to let freelance experts help you get more done? Start today!