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Hey there, I'm Andrew! I work at Wistia, where our team is focused on pioneering new and creative ways companies can use video in their marketing.

I lead our growth and marketing efforts and am responsible for all things related to user acquisition, activation, and e-commerce for our video marketing product.

That means I spend my days running A/B tests, analyzing funnels, and using data to improve our decision-making—all while coming up with innovative ways to use video to accomplish our team goals.

I've been a long-time community member on GH and am super excited to participate in this AMA! I’ll be live on May 17 from 12-1:30 p.m. EST answering as many questions as possible. Plus, this AMA will be part of a week-long event we’re running at Wistia to help high-growth companies improve their marketing with video.

During the event, I’ll try to prioritize video questions whenever possible. But if I don't get to your question, I'll try to send a follow-up afterward. :)

Need inspiration for what to ask? I've written about how we manage growth at Wistia and would be happy to elaborate on any of the tactics and strategies mentioned there. Or feel free to ask for specifics around how we balance creativity with a statistical approach when using video throughout the funnel.

You can follow me on Twitter: @acapland.

I will be live on May 17 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which I will answer as many questions as possible.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew,

    Awesome to have you here sharing your wisdom. :)

    1. Roughly what's the percentage of your growth experiments are in-product?
    2. Does Wistia have a North Star Metric and/or any specific objectives you focus the team around?
    3. How do you get involvement from team members that are outside of the growth team?
    4. How do you prioritize new ideas?

    Looking forward to learning from you!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      3. This is one of my favorite topics. And, one that we've tackled this from a ton of different angles at Wistia. When we first started brainstorming ideas to run experiments - our Growth team would identify a specific problem we wanted to solve and then invite members from each team across the company to participate in a 30 mins “green light thinking” brainstorm.

      So we'd have a brainstorm with a designer, an engineer, a marketer, a sales rep, a customer support representative, a videographer, etc. Basically like a special ops team focused on coming up with innovative ideas to solve a specific problem.

      Then, after a while, folks across the company would start to reach out to our team directly to say things like “hey I wasn't in the brainstorm but I have this cool idea that I just have to share”, which was amazing. So we created a Master Backlog of ideas - basically a big Google Sheet where we compiled the ideas, who suggested them, and why they think it's a great idea - and we emailed everyone in the company to let them know that we wanted their ideas. That was really neat and totally changed how folks were able to contribute. And from that backlog, we basically had a million great ideas all the time, and our team focused more on ranking, evaluating, and learning vs ideating.

      5 Share
      • AC

        Andrew Capland

        7 months ago #

        4. We use the ICE framework, which was made pretty popular on this site :). We take that Master Ideas backlog that I mentioned in section three and rank them together. Ranking ideas is the most subjective part of the process and we struggled with it for a while. But, over time we got learnings from running one experiment that would apply to another and increased our confidence.

        3 Share
    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      Happy to participate here!

      1. This totally depends on our focus in a given quarter, but it's been close to 40/60 product vs non-product tests for the past few years. When I first started, we did lots of user acquisition experimentation on the website. Then, after seeing that we were increasing signups, but weren't seeing that increase correlate to purchases - we shifted focus to activation and did lots of user onboarding experimentation inside of the product (as well as a bunch of email work). We've also done fairly extensive pricing optimization/experimentation which is often a test that starts on our website, and then follows our user enrollment into the product as well.

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      2. Our North Star is always revenue just because there are so many different levers you can pull to increase it. We typically pick 1 main KPI to focus on for a quarter or two that directly contributes to that. At the moment, our team is focused on increasing revenue by focusing on increasing a certain type of signup that has a much higher probability to convert. We call them “high quality signups”. It's really interesting to see our total signup numbers go down as that higher quality metric increases.

      3 Share
      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        7 months ago #

        Hi Andrew, I agree that the best North Star Metric should have lots of submetrics that are levers to grow it. But, do you feel like revenue is connected enough to mission and customer value to inspire the team to work continuously to grow it? I've found the product teams, in particular, are often more motivated to grow a value metric (such as weekly posted videos). Also, how do you differentiate an engaged paying customer vs one that has stopped using but is on a dormant subscription? I'm assuming the variable component of your pricing helps the team to stay focused on usage but would love to understand your thinking around this... Thanks!

  • PH

    Pradyut Hande

    7 months ago #

    Hey Andrew,

    Glad to have you here!

    How does one go about acing the video SEO game, specifically with regards to a SaaS business looking for greater visibility online?

  • ES

    Emil Shour

    7 months ago #

    Hey Andrew,

    How do you split your time between coaching/leading your team and executing on your own growth projects? What tips do you have on how to find the right balance between the two?

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      The short answer is that I spend the vast majority of my time leading/coaching the team and maybe 10-20% of my time executing my own projects or experiments at this point.

      This has changed over time but is what our team needs to be successful at this point.

      I believe that every team needs two things to be really high functioning: group decision making and defined processes. And that's how we've structured growth and marketing at Wistia.

      Our team has a great process for getting work done. And part of that process is that nobody's opinion is more important than our customers. That we let our users and our data guide our decisions, not the loudest or most senior person in the room.

      So with that in mind - I try not to mess up the system with pet rock projects :). I view my job as taking care of everything else so the team can stay focused, making sure they're solving the right problems, and encouraging them to take bigger risks.

      When I have a fun or interesting idea - the group evaluates the idea using the ICE framework I mentioned above, and determine if it's the most impactful work.

      If I have a pet rock project that I'm really curious about and the team doesn't think it's our most impactful work, I try to execute it on the side in a way that won't clog up resources or bump into anything. If I learn something interesting, then I bring it back to the team to re-evaluate

      In general, finding that balance between being our team lead & still doing individual contributor work has been admittedly hard. I think taking a honest look at your team and what they need to be successful is difficult, but the only way to determine where to spend your time. For our team, they need me to help problem solve and be thinking ahead more than they need my specific growth ideas. But, as someone with a decent amount of horsepower, I sometimes crave the action! The truth is that I feel prouder if I enable someone on our team to grow, learn and take on more - than I get if it's myself. So I try to spend more of my time focused on creating the best team possible.

      4 Share
      • JR

        Jason Randell

        7 months ago #

        Brilliant!

      • ES

        Emil Shour

        7 months ago #

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic! I've straddled the line between player and coach for a couple years now, and it's always interesting to hear how other marketing leaders are spending their time between the two.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    7 months ago #

    Hey Andrew,
    Very cool to finally have you on!

    I wanted to ask you about Video Marketing Week going on right now

    This is the first time you'll have done it.
    1. Where did the idea for this come from? Was there something specific you got from data or user interactions that told you that this would be a good thing to do?
    2. What are your goals for this initiative? How would you measure success?
    3. What would need to happen for you to say this is NOT worth doing again?
    4. What's been the most unexpected thing (good or not so good) you've experienced - from inception to now - with making this happen?

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      2: The main KPIs for the event are the number of marketers that register & their engagement during the week. Sure, it'd be great if the registration numbers are through the roof. But if they're not the right audience and aren't engaging we would be pretty bummed out. So we're also tracking participation in the live events, time on page for the content, shares etc. But the main thing that we're interested in is engaged marketers.

      3 Share
    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      1/2: The idea for the event came during one of our cross-functional team brainstorms. We were brainstorming different ways that we could engage with more marketers on our website in Q2. We came up with probably 15-20 great ideas. After finishing the brainstorm, our marketing team ran them through the ICE prioritization framework and settled on a few big projects - Video Marketing Week being the first on our roadmap.

      We thought we could utilize some of our team strengths - creating compelling content, with something that the market would find extremely valuable. The result was Video Marketing Week.

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      3: We're constantly learning new things and trying to “beat our high score” for different projects - both in terms of innovation and results. So the only reason we wouldn't do something like this again would be if we came across a more effective way for us to connect with our audience and reach our goals between now and next year.

      • AC

        Andrew Capland

        7 months ago #

        4: I was really floored with how much our team was able to execute in a short period of time. The entire week was executed in about 5 weeks from ideation to completion. Our growth team had always operated in an Agile way, but this was the first big project where our marketing team followed an Agile working process: of monday planning & prioritization & daily stand-ups to identify blockers. It was pretty incredible really, and something we're excited to do more of.

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew

    1. What is the aha moment for new users trying out Wistia?

    2a. What patterns have you found that convert a free user into a paid one?

    2b. On a related note, do you'll do anything specific to nudge free users to paid ones? What works best for you'll to make that happen?

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      1. Our aha moment is the first time a new user has their Wistia video viewed by someone else. This is typically the moment when they start to receive real value from Wistia, and has a strong correlation to more product usage and (eventually) purchasing. That's how we've defined our activation metric.

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      2a. I think the biggest patterns we've found are removing friction and highlighting value.

      We have gone back and forth between showing a new user every single thing they can accomplish in our product and just keeping the experience simple & easy. But, after experimenting - we've learned that keeping the first experience really simple by removing all of the friction and distractions tends to more users experiencing the aha moment. Then, we can introduce more of our deeper functionality later in the user journey when it's most helpful to the user.

      On the value side, we try to show value to our users - on their terms. When you create a Free Account, we ask "what is your main goal with video?" And from that response, show you a slightly different user experience that tailored to helping you achieve your goals.

      These have been the two biggest learnings that we've been able to apply for conversion.

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      2b. Improving our active free account to paid conversion rate is one of our Q2/Q3 initiatives this year. So I don't have a ton of learnings to share here aside from the comments I've shared in 2a.

  • AT

    Adam Trigg

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for taking questions. I had a few, if that's ok?

    1) What is one thing you wish you started sooner, in relation to your growth and marketing efforts?

    2) What area has helped you improve your decision-making the most?

    3) What are some mistakes people should avoid when experimenting?

    4) What are some key indicators that something is not working? And how quickly do you change direction?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you for you time and hope you have a great Thursday!

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      Amazing questions:

      1. I wish I had started failing sooner so I could have been learning faster. We all suck at things when we first start and that's an important part of the learning process. When I first got into growth & experimentation all I saw online were articles that said things like “we changed 1 thing on our homepage and saw a 235% conversion improvement”. And, I felt like everyone knew something that I didn't. I spent so much time reading different articles and not enough time trying different ideas myself.

      After running a lot of tests I learned that 3 out of 4 experiments weren't winners and that learning what worked with our audience was more helpful than trying to copy what other's were doing.

      3 Share
    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      2. Getting closer to our users is the most important thing we've done to improve our decision making. When we first started running experiments, most of the ideas and decisions came from opinions of people on our team, things they'd done in the past, or things they heard about other companies doing.. But, over time we spent more of our time getting closer to users: running more surveys, getting usertesting.com feedback on different designs & copy, seeing how real users interact with our content in FullStory, checking out the support inbox, etc. Our user intel dramatically changed the conversations we were having. Everyone started solving for our users, we started learning more, we had more confidence in our decision making, and we started being more successful.

      3 Share
    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      This is a tricky one for me to answer, because I believe making mistakes is really important, as long as you're learning from them. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Batman, "why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up"

      So, I think folks should always make sure they're able to learn something from each and every experiment/project no matter the outcome.

      On the more tactical side - you need to understand statistical validity when designing experiments. It helps with experiment design and also when determining if it's time to declare a winner/move on. There are some great tools for those though.

      • AC

        Andrew Capland

        7 months ago #

        4. A day or two after launching a big experiment (and before peeking at the data), our team will have a "FullStory lunch". Which is basically just us hanging out in a conference room watching users enroll in our experiments. We're usually able to see a few things that we didn't anticipate, like users clicking an image you didn't expect, or highlighting some copy they found confusing, etc. If needed, we'll make quick tweaks to the experiment after seeing those interactions.

        Before implementing any new experiment, we'll define how long we think it needs to run based on the existing conversion rates, unique users that we're enrolling, and the experiment that we're running. We'll take a peek at the data at about the 1/2 point. If the new variation we're testing has been consistently down by more than 5% for the duration of the test - usually we make the call to end it early. Otherwise, we wait for more statistically strong data.

        5 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        7 months ago #

        That's got to be the first time Batman's been quoted in an AMA :)
        #DarkNight Badge unlocked!

      • AT

        Adam Trigg

        7 months ago #

        GREAT feedback Andrew. LOVE the Batman quote, it's one of my favorites as well! Not to say that I've known the direction we need to go entirely, but based on the patterns and things I've seen companies like Wistia execute, my intuition has been pretty spot on with the direction we SHOULD be going. Not having degrees, or validation from past companies (was always self-employed), it's challenging to convince traditional executives to buy into the strategies I propose. It's really a battle. It's a big bummer when companies are stuck in an older ways of doing things.

        Seriously Andrew, your answers have boosted my confidence big time. Thank you!

  • MR

    Maud Rodamar

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew,

    I work at a start up and am trying to prove the effectiveness of video. Since our video strategy is very early stages I have minimal budget so can't implement a service like Wistia quite yet. Youtube is our main platform so do you have tips to prove effectiveness on YouTube so I can up my game? What should I be looking at for measuring success? And how can I get greater visibility on our videos?

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      This is a great question and one we hear all the time. Though it's pretty tricky for me to answer without understanding what you're doing today, what your business/marketing goals are, and what your budget it. That might feel like a cop-out answer, but it's the truth. We have some great content (written this week) about common marketing challenges and how to solve them with video, that would be a great place to start: https://wistia.com/blog/solving-common-marketing-challenges

  • AK

    Anwar Khalil

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew, what do you think about SEO - in terms of is it Dead? How important is it for a company who's trying to grow into other countries - We're a successful start-up Australian company who's trying to expand in the US and Canada.

    • AC

      Andrew Capland

      7 months ago #

      In full transparency, I'm not an SEO guru - so I'm going to leave the meat of this question for future AMA participants to write something really thoughtful. But, at its core - no, I don't think SEO is dead. There will continue to be folks researching problems and having your solutions show up will continue to be a big part of marketing.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew, thanks for doing this AMA with us. When did you guys start having a growth team? If it wasn't from the beginning, what was the biggest challenge to making it effective?

  • AC

    Andrew Capland

    7 months ago #

    I'm amazed at how many interesting questions came in and will do my best to hop back in here later to answer/follow-up with as many as possible. Thanks everyone!

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      7 months ago #

      Thanks for spending time with us @acapland (and for agreeing to come back and answer some more). You left a lot of gold for us. 👊🚀

  • LG

    Lily Grozeva

    7 months ago #

    Hey Andrew, I know this might sound far fetched, but with the predictions of screenless and voice UI taking over users' attention in the long term, what are your thoughts on Wistia continuing growth? How do you continue being competitive when the trend is in contradiction with your company's main value preposition?

    Thanks,
    Lily

  • CH

    Corey Haines

    7 months ago #

    Hey Andrew!

    Are partnerships & integrations a part of your growth strategy? If not, why?

    Specifically wondering in context with Drift’s announcement to partner up with Vidyard.

    Thanks!

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    7 months ago #

    Thank you for joining us today, Andrew.
    You mentioned "coming up with innovative ways to use video to accomplish our team goals" in your bio.

    What's the most innovative way you've used video at Wistia to accomplish some goal?
    I'd love to hear details on what the objectives were, any results you can share and of course, the specific way video was used as well.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew

    1. Are there product features that you feel would be really valuable to your users if they just used them/used them more, but not many people use?
    2. What have you tried to up their usage?

  • PD

    Porus Daruvala

    7 months ago #

    1. What's been the most unexpected use of Wistia that you've come across so far?

    2. Can you name 1 person/company/brand that you think is really crushing it at using video for marketing?
    What do you think is so special about what they're doing?

  • JR

    Jason Randell

    7 months ago #

    How important could video marketing be for a company like Movie Pass?

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    7 months ago #

    Hi Andrew,

    a. What tools are you using at Wistia for experimentation & analytics right now?
    b. Where does your data live, ie, what is the "source of truth"?
    c. What collaboration tools does the team use?

    Thanks!
    John

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    7 months ago #

    Can you talk about your pricing structure please?
    I find it interesting that you'll don't have a "straightforward" pricing per se and that the paid plan has 10 free videos included + 25¢ for each additional video per month.

    Why not just have a single price vs customers having to think of how much more over the base price they need to pay?

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    7 months ago #

    Hola, Andrew,

    What arguments have worked best to convince people to choose Wistia over a free alternative like Youtube (which comes with its own search engine/SEO benefits) for their videos?

  • JD

    James Dunn

    7 months ago #

    What is Wistia's biggest growth challenge currently?
    How are you addressing it?

  • SK

    S Kodial

    7 months ago #

    What's been the best strategy for Wistia to mitigate churn?
    What signs do you see (and using what tool/method) that help you predict that a user is going to churn in x days if you don't do something?

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