Our attention spans are shrinking.
No, seriously. We’ve all gotten really bad at staying focused.
Even as you’re reading this, your mind is probably inclined to wander. There are ads and Black Mirror episodes and emails and animal Instagrams just dying to snatch your attention away—and you clicked into this post willingly.
So imagine, then, what it’s like for your customers debating if they should pull the trigger on your product or service.
They’ve got a million things whispering, “Look over here!” And when it comes to examining different solutions to their problems, it isn’t just about distractions. It’s about time and convenience, too.
That’s where video case studies come in handy.
Video case studies engage people better and faster than traditional media, especially those who are short on time (which…hello, who isn’t?). They tell a story about a particular product or service in use by an actual customer, one whose shoes the viewer can place themselves in to determine if they too can benefit.
Simply put, people just don’t want to work too hard or read too much to make a purchasing decision. In most cases, they’d much rather watch a video that tells them what they need to know quickly and simply.
This is due in part to those dwindling attention spans, sure, but it’s also because humans are visual creatures. That’s why one-third of online activity is spent watching videos and nine out of ten videos that people watch on Facebook are less than 2 minutes long.
Check out this hilarious case study for Slack from Sandwich Video, for example:
The whole thing is at once entertaining, informative, and relatable in just over 2 minutes. By the end of it, not only do we feel tickled, but we all want to start using Slack.
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What Makes a Video Case Study “Good”?
Video case studies hit people when they’re at that sweet spot in their buyer’s journey: that moment when they know their options and are trying to figure out which one applies to their situation the best.
It’s that self-identifying quality that makes case studies so effective. They help people assess a particular product or service in the context of themselves (because on top of being visual, we humans are also self-absorbed) by allowing them to see someone like them.
Good case studies contain real data or statistics, too, which viewers find encouraging. Add to that a call to action at the end of your video (e.g. “Call us today!” or “Get a 30-day trial!”) and there’s no question what the next step is.
Take a look at this video case study from PayPal, for example:
The brand featured explains how PayPal’s merchant services helped them grow their business. As the video comes to a close, we’re hit with a bunch of benefits:
- Build your online store.
- Accept payments anywhere.
- Run your business.
- Borrow for your business.
These points really drive home for the target audience (i.e. small business owners) exactly what they can achieve using PayPal’s merchant services. And then at the end—bam! The URL to the page they need to visit to get started.
Another defining quality of great video case studies is that they allow viewers to make an emotional connection with a brand and its products, services, and programs.
For an example of how to evoke an emotive response out of viewers, take a look at this video from Amazon Web Services about their Re:Start Program:
Here we have a case study of a military veteran who was unsure of their work prospects after leaving the military, but—thanks to the AWS program—was able to find a job. Naturally, the video helps you form an emotional connection with the brand, as the story is inspiring.
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How to Create a Video Case Study
Obviously, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option for every type of business and every single industry, but there are a few basic steps you can take to create effective case study videos.
1. Select the Right Customer to Feature
Firstly, you need to figure out who your target audience for the case study is.
If you’re a B2C brand, this might mean breaking it down demographic. If you’re B2B, it could be the difference between highlighting a small business or a well-established corporate client.
By establishing who your ideal buyer is first, you can more easily choose the best customer to feature who represents that category. For example, if your product or service is geared toward young moms, that’s whose story you should aim to tell.
Notice how in the following video from The George Institute, there are two customers of the same demographic, i.e. middle-aged men who have had heart problems:
To get your customers to participate in creating a video case study, offer up an incentive. For instance, if you have a B2B client you’d like to feature, you can link back to their website in any posts featuring the video or mention them on social media when sharing it.
At the very least, you can explain how it will be good publicity for them and their company.
2. Define Your Goals
It’s critical that you establish what you want to achieve with your video before writing or shooting anything. In most cases, a video case study is going to come in handy further down the funnel when people are ready to buy, but it can also help build brand awareness.
If you have a wide range of products/services, you’ll obviously have to decide which one to feature—or maybe, just maybe, you can make a video case study for each one to give them all (and the corresponding customers) their own time to shine.
3. Create a Storyline
Creating a case study, video or otherwise, requires some thought in terms of the story you want to tell. Although you’re sharing the perspective of someone who might speak off the cuff on camera, you still need to structure it in a way that drives a specific point home.
In most cases, a case study is structured as follows:
For example, HubSpot makes excellent brand videos. Recently, they shared how they establish a narrative for their video case studies. It goes a little something like this:
- Before: Introduce the customer/problem.
- During: Describe what it was like to use the product/service.
- After: Share results/data and how much the customer values the product/service.
This structure—which is not too different from the 3-part linear narrative structure you’ll see in a lot of books and movies—is satisfying to the viewer because it gives them something to identify with and then answers the question: “How can this help me?”
4. Define the Style, Tone, and Aesthetic
When it comes to the design of your video, quality and consistency are vital. You want your video to look professional, obviously, so before you start shooting, you may want to establish a color palette and shooting style, and select a specific type of music, if any.
In this video case study from Eras Gous, you never have to doubt what client is being discussed based on the shade of red used throughout:
Any text you wish to add should also be easy to read. Closed captions are always good for accessibility and for those who watch videos on mute.
In terms of the script, the overall tone can be anything you like, from comical to intellectual to downright snarky—as long as it’s consistent with your brand.
5. Shoot the Video
Decision time: Do you want to shoot the video yourself or call in the cavalry?
Shooting your own videos for short social media stories is fine. In fact, a lot of brands do amazing work with mere smartphones. But for a polished case study video, unless you have an in-house production team, you should go with the pros.
Production companies and creative agencies (like us!) have made this type of video time and again. Thus, we know exactly what we’re doing in terms of planning and execution. We also have the right resources for the job, i.e. crew, equipment, editing software, etc. Most importantly, our expertise will ensure you have a successful video in the end.
To compete with the large number of videos out there, you need to make sure you plan your video thoroughly, from the planning stage through to the moment you hit “Upload.”
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Video case studies are hugely beneficial for brands. Have we made that clear enough yet? :)
They present social proof that gives consumers that extra nudge to go ahead and make a purchase, confident that their problems are about to be solved. These videos capture attention quickly, help viewers envision themselves using the product, and allow them to form an emotional connection with your brand.
When it comes to creating a video case study, there are a few things you need to remember:
- Select a relatable customer to feature.
- Have an end goal in mind before you plan anything.
- Tell a story that your prospective customers can identify with.
- Keep it professional and in line with your brand.
Then what? Keep an eye out for our next post to learn the best ways to distribute your fabulous, slick-looking, super informative video case studies!
Want to talk to the experts about your video marketing strategy?