My $45,300 Mistake: How Text Drives More Traffic Than Video Content

content is king

Last Thursday, I launched Quick Sprout University, which is a free video library of 107 videos that helps you learn online marketing.

The purpose of launching Quick Sprout University was to see how video content performed against free software tools and content guides.

An advanced guide can easily generate Quick Sprout 361,494 visitors and 8,421 email opt-ins within a few months. A free marketing tool, on the other hand, generated Quick Sprout 17,747 unique visitors within 4 days, and it helped increase time spent on site to over 3 minutes.

So, how did the videos perform compared to the other marketing tactics I leveraged? Here are the results:

Videos don’t drive too much traffic

Each video on Quick Sprout University contains a transcript to help with search engine indexing and rankings, but the initial traffic from the videos wasn’t that high.

On that Thursday, I had 19,137 visits, which is lower than my normal Thursday. The videos themselves were viewed 7,100 times according to Wistia.

video views

In many cases, people didn’t watch every single minute of each of those videos as my average video is 8 minutes long and my average time on site stayed flat at 3 minutes and 11 seconds.

google analytics stats

I thought they would have been as successful, if not more successful, as the tool launch, but the videos were not. For the amount of money and time spent on the project, it is actually much cheaper to generate long-term traffic through advanced guides than through video content.

Sure, if I added the videos to YouTube, it could make them more popular, but I didn’t do this for one main reason… emails. I want to be able to collect emails eventually, and through Wistia you can easily do so.

People love videos

Although the videos didn’t drive as many visitors as I would have liked, I got more grateful Quick Sprout readers contacting me than I ever had before.

I got three voicemails from readers saying “thank you” for the videos, and I received over one hundred comments from readers saying how great the content is. The weird part is, none of the comments were “hate” comments, which is rare.

But one reason I think I got so many grateful comments was because I’ve given away a lot for free in the month of October. My freebies ranged from the copywriting guide to the free SEO tool and now Quick Sprout University. My hypothesis would be that if I released less content for free during the month, I would have received less praise. Nonetheless, I will take whatever I can get. ;)

People need direction

The big mistake I made with Quick Sprout University is that I screwed up on the design. Digital Telepathy did an awesome job of designing what I wanted, but the direction I gave them wasn’t the best. I should have listened to their suggestions.

I told them to design something similar to YouTube, but a much simpler version. I should have had them create a design that is more similar to TreeHouse or Lynda, where everything is categorized into modules.

treehouse modules

I figured this out because Wistia shows you the most popular videos. They happened to be all of the ones listed on the homepage of Quick Sprout University.

If I listed them in modules, such as “On Page SEO” or “Link Building”, and then ordered them based on what you should learn first to last, you would have been more likely to watch more videos in each series.

I should have also given you homework assignments and offered quizzes to ensure that you are actually learning the material.

What’s the ROI?

In this case, it’s actually negative. So far I’ve outlaid $45,300 into Quick Sprout University, which is fine, but it caused a huge drop in revenue. I used to sell a lot more ebooks through the Quick Sprout Traffic System, but due to the fact that you feel I am giving so much away for free, you are less likely to pay for content. So far the drop in revenue has been a bit more than 27%.

I don’t mind the drop in revenue as I never created Quick Sprout to make money, but it is an interesting stat. If I wanted to monetize the University, I think I could easily recoup my losses, plus make more.

From my perspective, the extra branding and loyalty I am building by giving high quality content away for free more than makes up for the revenue loss. So, I will continually be doing this on my end.

Conclusion

Although Quick Sprout University didn’t do as well as I wanted, I am still going to dump more money into it. Over the next 12 months, I will try to release another 200 or so videos that will teach you more marketing methods for free. :)

I’ll also be redoing the design of the University section as I want to break it up into modules and see how that preforms compared to the YouTube type of design.

If you are looking to spend money on marketing, here are a few things you should learn from my Quick Sprout experience:

  • Tools generate the most traffic – for the amount of money I have spent, free tools easily beat out any other form of content marketing. Due to this, I am going to spend at least a few hundred grand over the next 12 months building out that section of Quick Sprout. The only issue with tools is that they require more maintenance.
  • Text generates more traffic than videos – my advanced guides generate more traffic than my video content. Plus, it is cheaper to create text-based content than it is to create video-based content.
  • Videos build loyalty and have a higher perceived value – I’ve never received as much praise for anything in my life as I have from Quick Sprout University. People love it, and it builds loyal followers.

So, if you are looking to generate more traffic, you are better off sticking with content if you aren’t too technical and don’t have a lot of cash. If you are technical, then create free tools.

But if you want to build a loyal audience, consider releasing video content as people love videos more than text-based content.

So, what do you think about Quick Sprout University? Do you think it is wise that I am going to dump another $100,000 into it?

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Comments

  1. Hello Neil,

    Why you didn’t use Youtube, I personally feel that Wistia is slower than Youtube which distract my interest for watching videos.

  2. Hey Neil,

    Sad to know the university wasn’t able to generate as much initial traffic as you’d hoped, but there ARE people that prefer videos over textual content, and keeping in mind the quality, quantity and usefulness of those videos, along with the search engine ranking potential thanks to the video transcripts, I don’t see how the QuickSprout University won’t be see the light of a bigger success in future, eventually, especially if you keep adding new videos. (sorry for the epic long sentence :P )

    By the way, you can capture emails from YouTube videos using a tool called LeadPlayer (http://www.leadplayer.com/). Here’s a popular site that uses it:

    http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/seomoz-review-over-my-shoulder-the-complete-guide/

    I want to thank you for the amazing QuickSprout University and I wish you good luck as well for it and your future stuff. :)

    • Rohit, thanks for these terrific tips. I will definitely have to check out the tool you provided. I think in the end people will be more inclined to buy into content that provides them with the information they need… regardless of the format.

  3. This is a great read, Neil. I love your videos, too. They are very informative and the perceived value is very high. At least, it is my opinion.

  4. Hi there, Neil.

    I was frankly a bit scared when I watched the title of this article. I feared that you might have decided to shut down the university and that wasn’t good for me as I still haven’t gone through all the videos!

    But today you really proved that you are man of culture. I specially liked that even though the videos aren’t generating traffic and revenue, you are still going to pour money and create 200 more videos!

    There is more to blogging than generating traffic and money. Most bloggers fail to understand that, glad you are not one of them :)

    I bet you’ll get even more positive response now :D

    • Raj, thanks for the kind words of support. My whole philosophy is based around helping others achieve the results that will help their blogs/businesses succeed. Please let me know if I can help you in any way :)

  5. Jitendra,

    Neil mentioned that with Youtube you can’t capture email which you can use to broadcast your message later on.

  6. Hi Neil,

    I seriously dont think you would end up in loss with the university. Just go on building it and you will find the returns soon. I personally run a video blog (all videos are not mine though) but I am seeing some results after one year now. So stay positive and everything will be fine.

    Vamsi

  7. As a new reader to Quick Sprouts and a semi-new blogger (15 months or so), I really enjoyed your videos! I listened to a few and got so many great ideas and learned so many things that I wasn’t expecting! I had to stop because I was overwhelming myself with so many great things to do in the future that I didn’t know where to start!

    I agree that having a particular order of what to watch next will be very helpful in the future, especially since I saw something in a video that was mentioned that we learned in a previously video, and I hadn’t watched that one yet! So a little order would be helpful :) Love the videos and now an avid reader of Quick Sprouts! Thanks!

    • Kate, thanks for the awesome feedback. Glad the content has helped you out. I will definitely look into the whole ordering of the videos. I look forward to hearing more feedback along the way :)

  8. Fascinating post. My belief is that long term Quick Sprout University will bring a more loyal and higher quality customer in than that of the guides.

    I completely agree with re-designing it to follow a udemy/treehouse design. It can be challenging to know where to start and what order to go in.

    The ala cart option is nice but can be challenging for newbies or less experienced marketers.

    I’m excited to see a followup post on this in 6 months.

  9. Online Marketer :

    Love the videos and the content you create! Thank you very much for that.
    Considering QS University, I think that your idea of structuring the videos into a guideline of which to watch first in each section is a great idea (as I did that for myself and I think lots of rather unexperienced visitors would really appreciate your guidance here).
    As a happy consumer of your content, I would like to encourage you to keep investing in further video material, of course :) And I think it will still pay off in the end…don´t you think that 1 week of evaluating the outcomes is too short, anyway?
    Keep up the great work, looking forward to your next post already!

    • You bring up some great points. I just wanted to get a gauge on how everything is going after a week. I will continue to seek feedback and will be grateful if the feedback, like this, continues to be awesome! Thanks for your thoughts. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  10. Interesting case of transparency here Neil, appreciate the write-up, but don’t you think from your own closing arguments that it might be going too far (or too early of a call) to refer to the videos as “mistakes” or “failures”?

    • Gregory, I was just being a bit dramatic. I just want to achieve success on them so bad that I will survey/test as many things as possible to get the desired results :)

  11. One other reason why this may be getting less traffic is positioning.

    When I see a great a guide, I usually dive in right away. Although your guides are quite long, it’s a term we usually associate with a written content that is incredible thorough but that we can read in a reasonable amount of time. (Execution is another story).

    When you used the term University – I know get the sense that there is a much larger time commitment to consume the content. I haven’t even checked it out yet because I keep putting it off for “When I have more time.”

    And definitely, hosting the videos on YouTube would have generated more referral traffic and it probably would have boosted your rankings too.

    • Casandra, thanks for the feedback. You put new light on the whole topic. I think the word University sometimes a way of reminding people of school haha. I will have to see what can be done to change that feeling. I look forward to hearing more from you. I will also think about the whole Youtube idea :)

  12. Hi Neil,

    Just wanted to point out my reason for not spending much time on the videos to begin with.

    When I get a blog and Im at work, ill normally have a good read of it, mull it over and go from there. But a video to me, takes longer to watch, I may have to re-watch or view multiple videos one after another.

    This is no problem at all. Infact I’ve put time aside to actually work my way through these videos.

    I wonder how many other people thought like this? I think text/ info graphics are quicker to me some how.

    Would be great to hear why other people didnt stick with the videos. The main thing I wanted to say was thank you for putting this content together and Im sure you’ll see a big boost from this soon.

    • Ross, thanks for the enlightening feedback. I never thought of it that way. I will continue to seek feedback so I can work towards creating the best user experience. I’ll keep you posted on my moves in the coming months :)

  13. Excellent content Neil. You always over deliver. My only “complaint” is I wished the videos were organized better. Where to start, which ones are more important first etc, you mentioned above. So do continue with Quick sprout university. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • Mariam, thanks for the great feedback. Right now I have side bar that sorts the videos by topic. However, I think I will have to re-think how the videos are organized on the main page. Thanks!

  14. I haven’t been through the video’s yet but I’m sure it will be a great way to spend my rare free time.

    I have to admit that I rather read content then watch it on video.

    Before you had the advanced link building guide and I could easily copy parts of it that I wanted to do something with now or later, sure I can bookmark the video pages but it makes it less effective.

    Did you ever do a study/survey to see what people prefer, text or video?

    I know Youtube is immens popular but I think that’s more cause of the funny video’s, music and that kind of things. Still many IM’ers go into the “hype” of video’s while I think it’s just less suitable for coaching / eguides and such.

    • Dennis, thanks for this terrific feedback!!

      I have found people are people split on the issue. I will definitely have to do some more surveying before I make any drastic changes. Let me know if you need help with anything :)

  15. For the next videos you plan to publish – I’m begging you – ask Brian not to share his best tips from the SeoThatWorks – too many good SEO’s is not good )

    “Do you think it is wise that I am going to dump another $100,000 into it?” – you can buy a couple of SEO companies in Ukraine with that budget :D

    thanks for the University – great staff for us IM folks.

  16. Hey Jitendra,

    His not using YouTube, because his focus on customer acquisition (Email Address).

    Thanks,
    KD

  17. Neil,

    My feeling is the whole blog is about what you. The videos are done by someone else and that did slightly take away the message for me. I wanted to hear you in the videos. I think you bring credibility. At the same time, I of course know that you haven’t got time to do the videos.

    Really appreciate all you offer.

    Thanks

    James

  18. Hi Neil

    I love the thing you share here, I think I will spend more time to join and study marketing at Quick Sprout University.

    Thank you so much for sharing us the value posts and videos.

    Ps. I also like to read the letter you just write what you think about SEO, TRAFFIC and Marketing online without pictures, links and video.

  19. Hey Neil,
    Great post! I think the university is great. Just go on with it! :)
    But will the videos spread more, if you switch to youtube?

    Greetings
    Gustav

  20. Hi Neil,
    Regarding your questions; “So, what do you think about Quick Sprout University? Do you think it is wise that I am going to dump another $100,000 into it?”

    I think the video university concept is terrific. But that’s my selfish take. I’ve watched 3 videos so far, and plan to view more over the next few weeks. It’s a great, quick way to learn.

    Do I think it’s wise for you to dump another $100,000 into it? I couldn’t say. But I sure appreciate your investment of capital and expertise.

    Thank you!!

  21. Hi Neil,

    just found out recently about you and this website, and been studied it every since. Thanks a lot for creating the video courses. Learned so much from it and relearned many things I thought I knew before.

    Best,
    Cindy

  22. I was amazed that the University was free content – you could make up your investment in the infrastructure by gating it and making it a one-time or recurring fee. I’m happy that it’s free, but such a valuable offering is actually has a lower perceived value by being free. (“What? This is free?? Wow. I’ll have to come back later.”) That’d be my 2 cents.

    Definitely giving it a more heavy-handed structure a la Treehouse will be helpful in increasing the perceived value and getting people started. :) Thanks for sharing your stats and breaking this down for us. Very interesting stuff, and thanks as always for your awesome content.

    • Marc, I don’t think it diminishes the quality in any way when it is offered free. I think content is content regardless of the price-tag. However, I see where you are coming from. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll continue to improve on these videos and content :)

  23. I am involved in inbound marketing and this is pretty impressive Niel. You use your money wisely. Content is King. Your content is top quality and your transparency is what draws people to your blog. Your guides are well researched and properly formatted. Neil, how did you start out with your email list? I have a small list and I would like to focus on growing it and offering great content. Perhaps you have a guide for that.

    • Emil, thanks for the kind words. Your points are spot on! In regards to the email list I started off small and scaled as my blog’s traffic grew. Testing and working on landing pages is vital :)

  24. Have to tell, we loved the video and it’s been the best every online marketing materiel I enjoyed at a stretch. Just the format and the way it’s presented by Brain.

    It might not bring more traffic, however even on my Ceylon Radio Website, I’ve found publishing video has helped us get more loyal fans and people spend more time on the website.

    My only worry is Neil, you are giving out so much free online marketing knowledge and this makes other online marketing blogs sink on the social web.

    Thanks and looking forward for more amazing content from our most favorite online marketing platform.

    • I think content and information should be spread with the intent of helping others. That is why I have provided the videos to everyone. Thanks for the feedback. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  25. YES! Keep creating more and more of the videos for my own selfish reasons!

    Video is better. I watched at least 4-5 of the long videos all the way through when it first came out. I like the new design idea, I think that will help direct people, although I like jumping around to whatever title speaks out to me.

    Also, it’s important to update videos that are talking about old tools. For example the ecommerce keyword video is a little bit outdated since they updated the keyword planner tool

    • Joe, glad I could help haha :)

      I will continue to provide more and more content. Glad you are finding it so helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional feedback.

  26. Neil,
    I think your Quick Sprout University looks AMAZING! I can tell you that I will be on it, watching your videos! I didn’t know about it until I got this email today. Maybe emails with results of campaigns attract more attention than just more free stuff. It certainly got my attention, drove me to your blog, and then drove me to your video tutorial page. (…um, was that intentional? In any case, it worked! ;-))

  27. I was quite surprised that the videos didn’t do as well as text, as often I prefer videos.
    Just goes to prove your point of test, test, test…

    Thanks for your continued great content.

  28. Hi Neil,

    I think the main reason for less traffic could be that while text could be removed at any time, but we are sure, videos will be there for a long time and can be referenced any time. Hence there is no urgency to go to see videos.

    What do you think ?

    Ashok

  29. Neil, you continue to amaze me. Your free knowledge, no matter the medium, is always appreciated and is in most ways superior to the content people are charging for out there in the interwebs :)

    I’m working for a startup that has given me the chance to “rise to the occasion” and you’ve been like my guardian angel through the process.

  30. I love the videos and I think it is a great idea.

  31. Neil, I thought from the beginning of the article that you’re going to cancel the videos! They are awesome! Please keep them and thank you for providing them! I watched some of them twice! Just started experimenting with forum marketing!

  32. I somehow managed to miss news of Quick Sprout University! I’ve been pre-occupied between finishing tasks for clients and getting Halloween stuff done with the family, so my personal ongoing education time has taken a nose dive the last two or three weeks.

    This blog post has put the University videos on my radar though, so I’ll certainly start checking those out soon. I like the idea of modules, without even looking at what you’ve got first. If you tell me where to start for XYZ topic, that is what I’ll do. If you don’t, you run the risk I’ll get overwhelmed and just leave.

    • Not to worry the University is here to stay. I think you’ll have plenty of time to catch up. There is no need to start anywhere in particular. You can check out the videos at your own pace and as needed. Please let me know what you think of them :)

  33. Most of the time I think what you say is right, and spot on. This time I think you haven’t got this quite correct.

    I think you are looking at real short term ROI of the videos. 1 week. Whoa… May be this works for a Movie where you predict the outcome by just first weekend sale. Few points

    1) Like links, videos when released steadily is better than dumping all at once. We have a video only based (teaching website), and a steady flow helps us.

    2) The categorization issue is definitely key, as well as the ordering in which to read the videos is important. May be you could have referenced videos from your guides so they would supplement it.

    3) The issue you raise about reinforcing through quizes is key too. People may be more interested in going through and completing the content, if you gave them a certificate or a badge :-).

    4) In our experience 8 minutes is a lot, and we try to keep videos below 5 minutes, as people have less attention span.

    5) Hosting on Youtube is huge plus for us, as they show up in related videos in the category and which drives more views for us.

    Ravi

    • I wasn’t really looking for a short term ROI, but instead comparing them to how the other forms of content I released did in the short term.

      None-the-less, you make some good points and I will see what happens after I make the changes.

      PS: I love your certification idea.

  34. You must have missed the part where he talked about the fact that he wants to build his email list?

    Having said that, I would also recommend putting the videos on YouTube and linking back to your separate posts. The way I see it is that the work is already done, now market it across several video channels.

  35. Neil: First, thank you. Your interest in training more of us to be our own economy is great for all of us.

    Second, all generalizations are bad . Plus, humans differ in their preferences and learning styles. Also, different subjects benefit from different treatment.

    So — I suspect some subjects, for some people are better in text; some in video. I have seen the choice go both ways; The Great Courses offer audio only, video, and, for an extra view, text. Other places offer text (cheap or free) and for premiums, audio or even video.

    You might also “outsource” in the sense of doing the version easiest for you (say text) and finding a partner to do the authorized video version of the same material, available separately (perhaps free, perhaps at a cost).

    In any case, I suspect a stark text versus video is NOT the real choice — put trying to find the appropriate mix of the two.

    As to free versus paid, I am a big, big fan of beginner/initial free, follow-on paid — in ebook series, in training materials, in food, in drink. The free sample needs to be a sample (ie, a real portion of the real thing, not just an ad), and set up so the system will not die if a huge percentage take only the free sample, but it works with me and many I know time and time again.

    Rollie Cole, PhD, JD
    Founder, Fertile Ground for Startups, Small Firms, and Nonprofits
    “Think Small to Grow Big”
    Author of WHOLESALE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT http://preview.tinyurl.com/wholesaleeconomics

    • Rollie, this feedback is gold. Thanks for providing all your insights. A lot of these things have been sitting atop my mind and it’s great to see someone else voice them as well.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you :)

  36. See I think there are pros and cons to both… but if you are doing it for traffic/making money — I would point out the option of having quicksprout university hosted on your site AND also putting all of the videos on youtube.

    That way you could link to quicksprout, reaching new people/audiences, get tons of traffic from youtube and link directly to your Pro system to make some money.

    I don’t see what you gain by keeping the videos on quicksprout — yes you are benefiting the readers — but why not open yourself up to new readers from youtube/search traffic from those videos?

    Just my thoughts,
    Brandon

    • Yea, YouTube has a ton of traffic and I should be leveraging it. I will include that in my overall video strategy. I think that will help bring a lot more traffic in the long run.

  37. Thanks again for sharing Neil. When I first started my healthcare technology focused publication, I assumed professionals would enjoy video versus spending more time reading articles. After spending a few hundred bucks on videos and editing, I saw the low ROI from it and quickly shifted my focus towards great content.

    I assumed it was specific to my niche, but it looks like it maybe accurate overall depending on the reader/user.

    • Fred, it really does depend on your niche. Content comes in all forms and when you find the right type of content for the specific type of person you can do amazing things :)

  38. Neil,
    It was my dumb luck to have recently stumbled onto your site. And even more lucky to have been there for the launch of the University. The principle of reciprocity is at work. Your free offer stimulated me to buy from you. I haven’t been through the paid report yet but did go through about 6 of your University videos yesterday… all the way to the end of each one. I like the shorter format and feel that the fluff has been removed or reduced for the most part as compared to others’ videos. When I first got to the University I went through each of the pages and read the titles of all the videos, then started going through the ones that had the highest interest for me at that time. Unfortunately the video link to a watched video is not cached as highlighted in my browser so I might lose track of which ones I’ve watched.

    As a business coach, I was thinking of my clients as I went through the videos. Where there was an interest match, I emailed the video link to my various clients so now they may be following you as well. Some of my clients like video format but I have at least one who is in loath of video so the transcript is much appreciated as well. Plus the transcript makes a good quick reference to the tools described so one need not go through the video again if notes were not taken.

    I look forward to talking with you in the near future for our 30 min chat.

    Thanks again,
    Chris

    • Chris, thanks for the great feedback.

      Everyone has been voicing similar concerns. I think one of the things I may need to go back and look at is content length. That is a major indicator of bounce rate and how engaged a person is throughout.

      I look forward to speaking with you as well. Please let me know if you need anything in the meantime :)

  39. The answer to your “should I dump $100,000 into video” question is only answerable by you.

    I’ve read many of your posts and know that you’re clearly savvy enough to understand your intent.

    If the objective is to be THE best SEO authority, and you can afford to invest in achieving that goal, then putting more money into video makes sense, as it rounds out your other offerings, and — as you’ve underscored — cultivates fans.

    Your idea about reorganizing the videos is spot on… this will be helpful. Eventually, like lynda and treehouse, you could put the videos on a subscription site. Given your reputation, traffic and conversion chops, this would undoubtedly present you w/ a great ROI.

    I’ve learned a lot from you and am grateful. Someday I may even, finally, implement something you’ve taught.

    Yep.

    -Joe

    • Garma, thanks for the words of support. It ultimately is up to me but I want to make sure I am hearing everyone’s concerns out before I make any moves. I need buy in from you guys because you are the reason I create content/videos/etc..

      I am sure you’ll be doing the same in no time :)

  40. If Neil wants to build a email list, then you need to build the product, and have a value exchange for users so that they share email. In an article you give away 2 paragraphs for free, and since they like it they give away email to read the rest.

    One idea need to have a product which may offer a course like program. People register with their emails, so that they can get weekly emails on the videos/modules to read or to complete towards certification.

    Other idea could be to give emails so people get alerted when you add new videos in a sections (say On-page) . BTW, this is in-built in Youtube, if you are a subscriber

  41. Hi Neil,

    How long do you usually wait before you measure the results and consider your launch a success or failure? I am asking because it seems a bit too early to add the just-launched University in the “didn´t do so well” colunm…

  42. Yep, it’s only when they get other options or alternatives they tend to get choosy. Some prefer textual content over videos and vice versa, but in the end, I think, it all comes down to the value that the content provides. :)

  43. Agree, most definitely prefer content to video, read fast and just don’t have the time to watch videos. Thank you!

  44. Hi Neil, LOVE the idea of Quick Sprout University, so thanks for providing that content free of charge. However I completely agree with you on your mistake. My first thoughts upon discovering it were, “I wish he had told me where to start”. All those videos are overwhelming! Instead of just starting a video, I bookmarked it to return to later and ended up not watching any. Look forward to watching at some point tho!

    • Leah, thanks for the great feedback. Everyone’s feedback has been so helpful in confirming to me what I thought all along: I need a better navigation and need to give people time to check out all the videos :)

  45. Hi Neil, me again, everywhere I read, internet marketing are saying how people love videos. Do really busy people really love video’s? Reading is far quicker. Thank you for your blogs and your great site. Regards, Heidi

  46. Hey Neil,

    First of all thanks for the freebies you provided, i’m amazed that you got less traffic from videos. You cleared my point. I thought that if readers like videos then i would receive more traffic if i would upload video content.Videos will be beneficial in building loyal readers not traffic. Thanks :)

    • Siraj, thanks for the great words of encouragement. I look forward to hearing more from you. Let me know what you think of the videos once you get through them all :)

  47. I think it’s too soon to know whether your QS videos were successful. How the heck could anyone watch 107 videos the same day they get your email? I bookmarked it, like many people probably did. I’ll go there eventually, like many people will. Your results are better than your bounce rate suggests.

  48. Brian Stachurski :

    Very informative, thank you Neil. In terms of the wisdom of investing another $100k into Quick Sprout University: I think that would provide substantial value to the brand, especially if it is organized in a logical progression, i.e., courses taking the student gradually from novice to expert.

  49. If you’re going to do it just for delighting your tribe regardless of the low viewership and the conversion drop, then I think you should make it available on your YouTube channel.

    I know you’re using Wistia because it enables you to collect emails. But, The “On-site” volume is already low as you say. This kind of tutorial videos gets loads of views on YouTube from Video Suggestions and YouTube Searches plus they get “featured” a lot.

    If I were in your shoes, I would use Wistia for serving videos on QuickSprout. But, I will also upload the videos on YouTube to help attract a whole new audience to the “tribe”.

    I do really appreciate your generosity in both providing such premium videos for free and also for sharing the stats. Chapeau!

  50. The university will definetely drive more traffic, it will get viral and the time per visit will increase. For example, I just looked quickly at contents, but not stayed to watch the videos (yet).. I plan to watch all videos in the following days!

  51. first i must thank and appreciate you for your massive investment and quality value to us: quicksprout users. Sorry for the university turn out and revenue fall. just like you said that text generate more traffic than video, i believe the reason is this. Most readers are natural skimmers and most people are used to text. Text offers the basis but video provide clarity which goes a long way to build loyalty. Finally i agree with you in providing direction to users and break it categories

  52. I think for a video course with that many videos, patience is a virtue. it’s only been a few days.

    My experience is that I haven’t watched yet because my life is kind of upside-down. Weekends are my busy times, and this weekend was especially busy. I bookmarked it to watch the videos during the week. I most likely will not watch more than one per day, so it’s going to take me a while to get through them. I plan to watch those most relevant to my needs first, and then do the rest because I figure I’m likely to need them in the future. Thus, I hope you’ll leave them up, even if they don’t give you immediate results.

    Thank you for all the stuff you give away. I’m on a fixed income and without the freebies, I’ll never have a shot at increasing my income to the point where I can pay for the good stuff. :)

    • Linda, thanks for the great feedback.

      I think time is essential. I just have to be patient and wait it out.

      Glad I could help you. Please let me know if you need help with anything else :)

  53. You have less visitors may be because people dont have time to watch all the videos in one go. They will visit it when they get time :D What say?

  54. Neil – whether you should continue with video depends upon how frequently your content will need to be updated. In the case of the social media marketing videos, that will be almost monthly.

    Video is cumbersome to update: you generally just re-record what you need, so if tools and text are doing better for you, I say stick with that.

    You’ve found a niche that few others can excel in: everyone does video, but few do tools & advanced guides as well as you do.

    Thanks Neil!

  55. The videos are awesome. I’m more visual. Although the videos wont play on my android phone so that caused me to put off watching them until I had time at my computer.

  56. Hi Neil, been following your various sites since early 2012, and love your integrity and transparency.
    Your knowledge is superior to most , so PLEASE don’t abandon this project, we have so much to learn from you – and then pass on as we become successful too.

    QS UNIVERSITY – MY IMPRESSION
    I looked yesterday – was excited at first and then a little flummoxed – I couldn’t see where to “sign Up” to be a part of this group.

    So felt like I had to at least be part of something – to be a student of this university – as in like Udemy, Khan or Udacity, before I could actually/rightfully take part and start watching the videos.

    I guess my other experiences played a part in this assumption.
    So I opted to go back later and search for the sign up.. before partaking..

    In all education , sequential order is essential for new students. Skills and understanding need to build in order, for the student to progress efficiently, after 40 yrs teaching I firmly believe this.

    The greatest problem facing those coming into the IM space, is the lack of formal sequential trng to take one from A – Z.. This you would expect to find in a university.

    I agree with Rollie, regarding free level for beginners, then paid levels , either via fees or subscriptions- make affordable for all. No one expects it all for free. If people learn “enough” to earn some, then they are more than happy to pay some in order to scale up.

    Individuals learn at a significantly different pace from others, and have differing and multiple instructional preferences.
    You need to deliver by all means – that’s the reality to capture the widest audience, who then become the best educated subscribers online. What a legacy to aspire to.

    Many people will watch a video, or listen to a podcast /audio whilst taking care of other time pressing activities like uh.. email.

    Over a quiet coffee, they then enjoy reading the pdf later on, or listen to audio in the car, what they don’t absorb because they were not fully engaged, they will pick up in the next format.

    In fact people need to absorb the same trng several times over via different media to really grasp and have the concepts “stick” well.
    Very boring to either read, watch or listen to the same info, on the same media repeatedly – BUT if you do you via various formats , the knowledge is more readily absorbed because your perception alters with different media, giving you imagery, text and sound – involving more senses, rounding your overall perception and understanding..

    There are a ton of Gurus teaching stand alone sml tactics and strategies without teaching the manner in which it all comes together for a successful outcome business wise.

    In Mark Ling’s Affilorama.com – in the free beginner level, the modules are presented sequentially and the site actually ticks off your progress for you, so you KNOW what you have completed when you return. In the paid levels there is homework,/ assignments – ie you have to really work, so you know exactly what you are paying for .

    SUMMARY:
    Allow a sign up to QS University – have group/ forum within . .
    ( hope I just didn’t “see” it, for looking- or I will surely die of embarassment- lol)
    If you cant do Videos yourself at least do an intro by you.
    Create sequential training order, for your own benefit, as much as students- to ensure no much needed step is left out..
    Acess = Beginners : Free – Intermediate : Paid, Advanced : Paid.

    Ok thanks for all you do for the community, it is very much appreciated.

    • I never thought about charing for it until everyone told me that I should… I’ll consider doing it in the future.

      As for registering, there is none, but I should create one so everyone feels part of the community. I can even tie it in with the existing Quick Sprout forum.

      Overall, thank you for the feedback, it is helpful.

  57. Wistia also has turnstile email capture abilities!

    http://wistia.com/doc/turnstile

  58. In my experience, I have found that 2 minute videos are the sweet spot. I would typically see viewers drop off at 60 seconds if it was a non-informational (training/instruction) video.

    I think a valuable test would be to take the 8 minute video and break it down to 4-2 minute videos.

    You’d want to package them accordingly, in other words, give them a proper lead-in and closing rather than just a simple continuation.

  59. When you release a video, I’d for one appreciate a transcript or other text version that can be downloaded to go along with it. That way it is easier to refer back to a particular section without going through the whole video again.

    Different people learn better using different media. I think that it is great that you are exploring ways to get your excellent content to more people.

  60. Julio Ceres Ibay :

    Hi Neil,

    This may sound weird to you all living the in the US, UK, Europe or anywhere there is fast and cheap internet access and bandwidth.

    Some 3rd world countries, like where I’m based (Papua New Guinea), internet access can be expensive (many are not availing unlimited plans, or the cost of per MB can be ridiculous compared elsewhere) and the bandwidth can be an issue more often than not.

    So availing you free videos may not be totally free at all for some viewers. Personally I learn more quickly using videos, so I’m sure many out there as well would prefer this medium to learn stuff. But these are 2 factors that a few users will have to deal with if they find themselves in situations/locations similar to mine.

    regards.

  61. First of all, thanks for sharing all this great information. Your advanced guides are really great, clear and helpfull to me.

    For me the reason that I haven’t watched a single video yet is that reading and also practicing the things in your advanced guides multiple times takes me about 2 months per guide. So your creating content at a faster rate then I can consume and use, So it’s kind of overwelming.

    Personally I like youtube better then Wistia because I can convert youtube videos to MP3 and can listen to them in my car (I spend 15 hours a week in my car), so I can listen to the content without spending the time I would normally use to work on my business.

    So again thanks for all the great content and your forum and I’m sure I’ll get to your videos eventually.

    • Patrick, thanks for the great feedback.

      Sounds like you are doing it the right way. There is a lot of content that needs to be consumed before anyone actually goes into the videos.

      As for the Youtube issue I am definitely weighing that option.

  62. Neil,

    I think the videos are an awesome idea and great for internet marketers who are noobs at various parts of internet marketing. Though some of us like to think we are knowledgeable in some areas, there are tons of areas we are not, and these short videos are great to pick up some tips on specific SEO and internet marketing tactics.

    With videos you can’t really just open your browser at work or on the bus and start watching… you need sound obviously and you need some more prep time to get ready to watch them. I don’t think the ROI can be truly measured by traffic per se, but by the overall trust and recognition the Quicksprout brand is bringing. I for one am extremely grateful for the content you put out and always recommend your blog to anyone I talk IM with. Perhaps the videos could be organized better but that is for you to test and find out. Just because something is new and not similar to other sites (lynda, treehouse, etc) doesn’t mean it is wrong, it just means people don’t like change and are used to things a certain way. How many people complain when facebook makes changes? Almost everyone, but you get used to it.

    I appreciate all the money, passion and hard work you put into this blog and I think I can safely say I am not alone!

    Cheers,
    Andy

    • Andy, thanks for the great words of support and terrific feedback!

      I have had people voice similar concerns about the hosting. Everyone seems to be more inclined to check out youtube videos. That is something I am definitely going to have to look in to.

      Over time I think the variables will skew in my favor as people find more and more time to look at the videos, etc..

  63. Don’t factor too soon on the losses.

    I would use lead player or clever gizmos for capturing the emails and host them in YouTube. If people find you through YouTube you could link to a capture page (easy with lead pages) in the description and a hot link in the video before sending them to the main site.

    Not mandatory to watch but allow for sign ups with Facebook to leverage open graph actions to spread the word. Even if sign up with emails was allowed that is a tool that you could leverage with Facebook as well. They’ll sign up to keep track of what they watch , favorite, and stuff like that.

    Sorry I might have skewed your stats with a few hundred views from me :)

    • Lenny, thanks for the words of support.

      I am working on getting a lot of those initiatives implemented. As for Youtube, I am checking to see if hosting on their is a viable option for me. Thanks for all the views and I look forward to hearing more feedback from you :)

  64. Hi Neil,

    Firstly, I love the content of the University. I appreciate the time and money that you have put into it to give value to your reader base. Between this and your Advanced Guides, this site is an amazing resource.

    In terms of feedback and my 2cents.

    1. I agree with your thoughts to categorise the various sections. Maybe in order of deployment or importance to add to your sites.

    2. I am more inclined to scan the transcripts, rather than watch the videos. The player is a little clunky and is very difficult to scrub back to go over important points. I like video as a teaching medium but this player is not the best.

    3. I’d love to request some analytics based content for the University. Ideally, implementing analytics, what to focus on and how to interpret the various results. Particularly in the wake of the Hummingbird update on Google.

    Otherwise, I’m keen to continue to work through the content and implement these skills.

    Cheers

    Mick

    • Mick, thanks for this great feedback. I am finding that people like to peruse through a transcript or text when they are on the go. I am waiting for people to find the time to look through the videos so I have a better understanding of what is going on.

  65. Hey Neil,

    Interesting I really enjoyed the videos and you know I am active in the forum, I have been sharing the link around, But I cannot help but to notice there is no way there from here?

    How is one meant to find the site unless it is linked? I cannot see one link in the page source code which links there. I think you need a link in the heading to the university.

    Unless you do a google search and stumble upon it it’s very hard to get there.

    Even when I am linking in the forum, I am having to google it to get the link to give to someone. I personally think this has a huge impact on the poor results, I also noticed that the tool doesn’t have a link and i personally think it is getting more results based on it’s the home page of the website people hit it more often.

    Just some input! I like the videos though and I did learn from them.

    • Yep, the link is coming Nov 1. I have been waiting to remove the consulting link and my deal for that is over soon so I am going to replace that with “University”.

      You make some good points though. :)

      And thanks for participating in the forum. I really appreciate it.

  66. Hi Neil,
    Quick Sprout University looks impressive. I’ve had a short look around but haven’t dived in yet because I haven’t had the time to do so.
    But I will.
    What I did do was to scan the topics to see what is going to be of greatest benefit for me over the next few weeks so I can return and start watching the videos.
    Time appears to be a contributing factor for a lot of people, judging from the comments here. The name ‘Quick Sprout University’ implies a comprehensive resource, not something for rapid scanning and consumption.
    I think it will be interesting to see where traffic is at in 12 months time (especially with the planned addition of 200 new videos) once people have the opportunity to peruse in their spare time.

    • Tracey, thanks for your words of support. Your assessment is spot on with my findings. I think over time people will find the time/value in all the videos. Text is so much easier to peruse through. Whereas, videos take time and patience.

  67. Scott McKirahan :

    Hi Neil,

    Almost everything you do is top notch. I’ve been following you silently for a couple of years and have linked to many things of yours in posts that I ghost write.

    Videos have their place but I think they are overused. Perhaps it is because people believe that Google ranks videos higher than the same content would rank in printed form (which actually might have been the case if you would have used Google-owned YouTube).

    Personally, I only prefer video when something is so complex and visual, that video is the only medium that will convey a point succinctly and accurately. Otherwise, I will take something in print every single time over a video.

    The reason is simple; I can skip things that I know or don’t care about when it is text. With a video, I am constantly thinking, “hurry up and get to the point” or “please get to something I don’t already know.” If too much time is wasted on things that don’t interest me, I’ll bail on the video.

    Your findings are interesting; though, I thought I was the only one left in this world who preferred to read!

    Oh, and when I checked out the Quick Sprout video collection last week, my very first thought was that it should have been organized into modules. People like to know what to do next and step by step is always a winner!

    • Scott, I couldn’t have voiced these thoughts better. It’s like you are reading my mind :)

      I have been finding the same results you speak of. I think people are often times more adept at picking and choosing what they want to read/hear.

      I am currently working on getting everything into a module format so keep your eyes peeled :)

  68. I agree with you Neil. Releasing video content will help you build loyal audience. Aside from that,incorporating video content into your digital marketing strategy allows you to efficiently boost your metrics across the board, since video content is sharable on social media in addition to its advantages in search.

  69. Neil, if your intention with the video isn’t to make money, but rather to help people and further strengthen your brand, then it might be a good idea to republish them on YouTube. That way they will reach a much wider audience and help you promote your brand to others, who might not have heard of it, till now.

  70. Hi Neil,

    Love your blog, guides, tools and now the ‘university’. I learned plenty.

    Video has upfront production costs and the videos themselves are difficult to split test (even if the pages they are embedded can be). Therefore doing a handful of videos to start getting feedback (lean startup style) rather than cooking up over 100 videos and then putting them out there, might be a good way to go. By doing this you can learn what people respond to and what you’d like to change before spending much time in the studio on a large batch of videos doing screenshots, narration, voice-over, editing, encoding etc only to find there’s something viewers prefer would be different.

    Thanks again very much for your transparency and for sharing your experience. Amazingly useful.

    • Shachar, your feedback is amazing. Thanks so much. I really liked the point about production costs and testing that out. I will definitely consider all those variables further with each new batch of videos.

  71. Oh you are already helping me a lot, Neil :D

    Creating tools like the web analyzer and universities like QuickSprout itself is helping me a lot! ;)

    Will let you know though if I ever need something extra. Thanks for being there :)

  72. Neil,

    Two things:

    1) Perceived value plays a huge role in the nature of the psyche. That translates to: People will pay for something even if it is bad information, because they “think” the information is better, because they have to pay for it. But, it’s best that your information be good, because that is what builds loyalty.

    2) Many things, particularly in advertising, take a while to see results. Case in point, if a business advertises a special, to run for a week, the reward may not be as great, because the public is finicky…it could take a month before the public realizes that you are indeed running a special, while at the same time they may find it difficult to pencil you into their busy schedule.

    I might also add that the “overwhelming” factor plays a role here as well. When I saw your videos, I didn’t criticize the manner in which they were presented (as opposed to Treehouse or Lynda) but rather, the vast amount of information I would have to take in to watch them all. This led to me bookmarking the videos page and slating a time to come back and watch them in the future.

    This is no way a disregard to you, or your knowledge, it does however impact your results. I think that some people will download your content and then come back to it when they have more time, which is why your written content has a larger impact than your video content, because it can be downloaded and viewed at ones leisure.

    With that being said, I would give your video content a few more weeks to really sink in, continue pushing them in emails and then come back and look at the results…you may be pleasantly surprised…then again, I might just not know what I’m talking about.

    -Aaron

    • Thanks for the feedback Aaron. A lot of people mentioned the bookmarking fact and I think it will play into it’s growing popularity over time.

      Thanks for the input.

  73. Personally I feel if you are using videos on your own site without it being a paid course. Most never treasure because in our current day and age, impatience and instant gratification and spoon feeding is the a great seller.

    I for one dun watch your videos because it takes to long but ridiculously as it sound, 8mins can be long if it is not narrated by a sweet lady voice.

    2nd, with text I can refer back to your site over and over again which gives you low bounce rate. But with video you have to scroll and worst can’t remember which timeline.

    You are undermining your PRO sales. Video has and always been in my opinion, a quiet time between the user and the presenter. By making it free, there is no branding or privileges factor anymore.

    But that is just me.

    You should be looking at generating continuity program.

    • I’ve thought about the continuity as I’ve been told by literally 20 plus people in the last few days to create one.

      I am not setup to create one yet as it will create more support and work, but I am working on something special that will be launched in a few months. ;-)

  74. Neil,

    Maybe they weren’t as successful, but personally I thought they were great videos…people dont know what they are missing! I have only had the chance to watch some of the link building ones with brian dean so far, but they have been very informative, and very useful. I’m really glad you were able to put this together. Hopefully, for you it turns around, but many thanks and a happy quicksprouter over here!

    • Ryan, thanks for the words of support. Also, thanks for the great feedback. I am going to take all of this great advice from the readers and work on creating an even better user experience.

  75. Hey Neil

    I am with the crowd on this one, I really think these videos will bring back a great ROI albeit slower than the usual articles . There is a wealth of grwat knowlege on the vidoes and at first it will be offputting for a lot of people – similar to “analysis paralysis” but I am certain as time goes on and with improved structure the vidoes are going to be one of the biggest drawcards to your site, and for me at least will be an invaluable resource.

    Videos seem to me to be harder to commit to as most people scan text at their own pace and are not “trapped” by a pre set running time.

    I also wonder why you do not get Youtube subscribers on top of your usual channels?

    We have been very fortunate the last few months you have brought out industry leading resources. Thank you for that Neil as ever I cant wait to see what you come up with next.

    Paul Back

    • Good point on YouTube. On Jan 1, I will be working on a YouTube strategy and I will place the videos on both YouTube and Wistia.

      I will also be spending money on YouTube advertising to see if I can boost the subscriber rate.

  76. You can use youtube with leadplayer and get emails. :)

    For me, the video content is something I will return to as I face specific challenges. And it will be one of the first places I go. At the time of the opening I didn’t have a specific challenge.

  77. You hit the nail on the head for me. I loved the idea of Quicksprout University, but when I first logged in I was looking for direction. Where should I start? What order should I watch the videos? Without a starting point it was a bit intimidating. I’m excited that you plan on breaking it down into modules and will take another look once that is complete.

  78. Pat Flynn uses Leadplayer, leadpages and lead player are pretty awesome.

  79. Hi there,

    The University along with the all the videos is a great concept as we could all do with additional learning. I would just like to stress something. Most of us are short of time. So perhaps, less videos, shorter and to the point as much as possible.

    Also believe simple is best and less is more !

  80. Hi Neil, I guess there is a reason why text drives more traffic and videos aren’t that successful: they work only for English mother tongue while text is for everyone.

    Being Italian I have some issues with spoken English but I’m able to read, and partly write, without problems so having to choose I always jump on text, even better if it’s a pdf fle.

    Videos are fine but only if they’re presenting visual concepts with text possibly.

    Just my two cents. :)

  81. In this particular case just dont look at ROI as you have done fabulous job helping people by creating videos. Keep the awesome work :)

  82. The free tool, the forum, now this? You really know how to spoil your readers, Neil. I’d love to see how your readership grew over the past 4-6 weeks.
    And what about the forum? Didn’t that increased your time spent on site?

    I guess using Wistia was a great move otherwise you would have found your videos all over the Internet.

    Even if that’s not you narrating, Brian does a very good job and also he is very suitable for the job. It doesn’t have to be you as long as he has your endorsement.

    Thanks for the content, was a great read over the weekend for me.

    Whatever you do there, please don’t stop

    • Yes it did, but not by much. The forum isn’t generating as much traffic as I want so the overall time on site increase isn’t that large as the blog still gets the majority of the traffic.

      I need to focus on promoting it more. :)

  83. Ross, I second that.

  84. Very interesting analysis of tools, text and video data. Thanks for sharing.
    If somebody is really interested in the topic at hand and feels that it may solve his problem, he’ll be ready to watch a 8 minute or longer video. That’s why making shorter videos may not provide a solution. Someone recommended to break a longer video into parts. That’s a brilliant idea. Maybe put a 10 second tune or positive image in-between for the uneasy mind.

  85. I think the design played a minor role in the lack of video engagement, but i also think its primarily due to the fact that you gave too much too quickly. While the videos are high quality content, giving too much at one go can be a downfall – “information paralysis” is at play here. Imagine if you had released 10 videos per month, the engagement would’ve been much higher.

  86. don’t worry Neil, i still watched the video in full-length.
    so generous of you to give those knowledge for free.

    waiting for your next 200 videos :D

  87. Hi, thanks for all you do, I subscribe to many newsletters and many times end up instantly deleting the emails I get, but when I see a email from you I always give it more attention, think its because you come across as a person with integrity who is not just interested in using people to make money.

    • Bernard, I think integrity is important which is why I constantly seek feedback from all of you. Thanks for your feedback. I look forward to hearing more form you :)

  88. Hi Neil,
    I came to you via Ramit Sethi – can’t remember how – but since then I’ve found the quality of your content absolutely outstanding. Every time I see an email from you, the headline 9/10 makes me click the email and most of the time I come through to the article, because you proved from day 1 that you provide amazing, unique informative content. I’m sure you know all this, but thought you’d like to hear it from a short term reader, first time commenter that proving without a shadow of a doubt your quality, will make me definitely purchase your paid material – it’ll just be a matter of right time, right place. I love your stuff! :) Camilla.

    • Cam, glad we could connect through Ramit. I really want to create the best experience for all my readers and I find that providing timely content that is often times free is a good way to go. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  89. I think this is a really valid comment. I watched one video just now but since I know those others are there, I figure I will get back to them ‘at some point’ – and I’m sure I will, but if there was more incentive to watch them immediately, such as a staggered release, I’d say overall I’d watch more, instead of feeling like i need to cherry pick the most pertinent due to time constraints in the moment.

  90. Hi Neil,

    The moment you released the videos at Quicksprout University, I was expecting a Blog post from you analysing the outcome of the release. And so it was…
    I did my bit of sharing your videos on social media, but there were some many of them….
    The videos are well made and each have a some value information in them.
    To pay you back, I was obliged to purchase your Quick sprout Traffic report. And it is worth every penny.
    Thank you for all the information you provide in your blog, Guides and video.

    Have a nice day.

    Tony

  91. Hi Neil,

    Quick Sprout University video response is very slow. Please use another options like YouTube. I think current server speed is very slow. I am trying to see QSU but some video response is very slow.
    Please make it fast.

    Thanks,
    Pavan

  92. Hey Neil,

    really wouldn’t call it a mistake since you got me to buy something from you through QSU.

    Over time, I think you’ll generate a lot more sales from this investment and build an authority that will plaster competition.

    You know this of course.

    Perhaps though the outro forwarding link of the videos is a bit misleading, even though you got me I was a little irritated and thought: Hey, if this guy is such a “kind of a big deal” (which of course I’d never dare questioning) why would he redirect me in such a manner?”

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to our call!

    THX for the value
    Versand Verpackung (from Germany)

    • Versand, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I can’t wait to speak with you over the phone so we can discuss more of your ideas and the thought process you went through when purchasing. Let me know if you have any questions or need with help with anything in the meantime :)

  93. :) I don’t know if you are crazy or a genius but if there would be an online marketing Oscar to attribute :) I VOTE FOR YOU!

  94. Your videos are awesome!! I already listened to at least 20 videos and almost learned something in every video!!!

    You did a great very job with these video! And yes you should make more videos!!!

  95. Hey Neil, love the videos! One reason you may not have received as much traffic is because the videos are actually quite hard to find on your site.

    I actually don’t see any navigational element to get access to them?

    Kindly,
    Monica

  96. This is a great article for my students. The value is not so much about the bottom line answer “yes, do video” or “no, don’t do video” as it is about how you show the process of your analysis.

    Of course, most of my students arrive with the goal of a “magic fairy dust” solution. I put that idea to rest pretty quickly!

    • Nora, hahaha thanks for sharing. It’s funny how our views change as we get older. Let me know what you are your students eventually come up with. I’ll keep you posted on my results :)

  97. Hi Neil,

    I think the content is great, but I also think you “overdid” it somehow. 110 videos at once, that is a whole pile to look at. Personally I think it would be better to add x videos per week and not all at once.

    By doing this you would be able to sent out a mailing to your subscribers once a week announcing your new videos. Now you blasted all your bullets at once.

  98. Hi Neil,

    Good job on the Uni, again 10/10 for quality.

    I do wonder your take on the psychology of free vs paid?

    Much of the research I have read would suggest that when people pay for something they are more likely to use it that if they where simply given it?

  99. Neil, another insightfully great piece as always! From a similar evaluation from my end, people are definitely apt to share text content than they do video content. Hence, the not-so-great relative traffic.

    However, as you rightly mentioned in your piece, the quality, loyalty, and authoritative qualification {not that you need the last part that much anymore ;-) } of video content consumers far outweigh those of text/guides. Also, loyalty and revisits to text content are flitting but people would revisit video content over again, for many reasons.

    In the short term, it might seem like text wins over video. In the long term, video wins over text, as long as the content remain relevant. Hence, the quantity-vs-quality effect tend to reverse role in the long term, with video still retaining the quality effect part of the equation.

    The re-organization of the videos page structure is definitely a great idea. It wouldn’t just add to the consumption process, it would also augment the perception of the overall university itself.

    As always, great piece Neil!

    • Douglas, thanks so much for this amazing feedback. I think you have a lot of great points. I am definitely going to wait it out to see if the video picks up. It usually takes time for people to adjust, so that may be the biggest obstacle now. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  100. Even though, many people prefer to watch Youtube videos since it is more entertaining, it generally takes more time to go through the topic than when reading the content. I totally agree than in many cases, people didn’t watch every single minute of each of those videos as an average video is 8 minutes long.

  101. am still very new to your blog, this is the first time i heard about the quicksprout university – checking it out now, thanks,

    what about infographics? they are cheaper than text and generally gets more recognition. They are easy to promote as well.

    thanks,
    Uttoran Sen,

  102. Hey Neil,

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    I love all the content that you put out! But as it happens, there is simply way too much to learn nowadays that it can get overwhelming pretty fast (which is what I assume happened with your viewers too!

    I feel that the following points might have created a better user experience, with much more engagement and viewership:

    1. The videos would have been better off in a playlist, or any other “structured” way. It would also be amazing if we could have categorization according to levels too. E.g. many users might only want your advanced email marketing material and not really browse through a list of how to setup Aweber. Allow them to sort of “graduate” to more advanced topics.

    2. How about remembering which videos we have already seen, and then allowing us to continue on the same path / course / playlist the next time we arrive here?

    3. A little more interactivity, such as very short quizzes, maybe? This might keep learners engaged and help them remember the stuff better.

    4. Possibly some sort of interaction between the users to create a stronger sense of community?

    Actually, what about having a gamified university?! :D The people who complete all the courses get a free lunch! :P

    Keep up the great work!

    PS: Btw, I always thought that videos would be much more shareable / viral than text, and that videos / infographics are better for inbound marketing. I guess this post would teach me to not have blind beliefs!

    • Samudra, great suggestions and awesome feedback. I really like everything that you have suggested.

      I think the gamification element is something that is really interesting. I will have to look into how to incorporate that onto the videos. I also like the playlist idea a lot. Many people have been suggesting it to me so I’ll definitely have to dive deeper into the whole setup. Thanks!

  103. Hi Neil,

    thanks for this honest post. In my point of view, QS University launched as a 1.0 version. As a user I would change these features:

    1. First I would change the player to Vimeo (it has the greatest UI) but minimum Youtube

    2. I would solve the filing of the videos in a more structured way.

    3. I would create a simple but smart filter search block in the middle of the screen to find the videos I’m looking for via some easy filtering clicks.

    4. Maybe comments would be great under the videos. It needs moderation efforts but comments could work nice as social trust elements.

    Hope to be useful. :)

    • Peter, these suggestions are very helpful. Thanks for the feedback. I really like the suggestion about the video comments. I will definitely be looking into a strategy that is tuned to that. Let me know if you need help with anything at all :)

  104. Interesting, videos are for the lazy.

  105. Video stuff is not too mainstream in SEO industry, and I believe one day it will come out as one of the viral content. People need time, I believe you are just depending on one week stats. ;-)

    On the other side, I believe that it will takes your reach to next level means that new visitors will be increased.

  106. Hi Neil,

    What if you combined blogging and video in one? I love your guides and, at times, I wish there was a video to break down or further illustrate the concepts. Combining long-form text and video may facilitate further engagement.

    In its current state, the site features an overview of the video along with a transcript. But transcripts are not guides. When it comes to learning, guides are needed. So, turning the transcript into a step-by-step guide could be a starting point. Also, context matters: is this for beginners, intermediate, advanced users? Where do I start?

    In terms of making the videos searchable, YouTube offers a feature wherein you can click on an area within the transcript and it will bring you to that point in the video. This may help people find the information they need and you can pair that with a searchable transcript by using headings when a new concept or step is introduced. Finally, it would be great to also suggest the next relevant video in the series after the completion of one.

    Thank you and the team for all you do!

    By the way, it would be great to meet the rest of your team through these videos. Instructor profiles help.

    • Rafic, thanks for the great feedback and suggestions.

      I am really working towards making it more modular so people know where to begin and end. As for combining the blogging and videos that is a great suggestion that I would have to look into. Many people have suggested I used youtube so I will definitely have to look into the feasibility of the option with how my site currently stands.

  107. Despite the lack of initial traffic generation, thank you so much for creating the videos and Quick Sprout University. I can’t wait to dive in.

  108. Hi Neil,
    Great insights here.

    Here are few things that could have been done differently. Specifically to get more exposure to the videos aka university:

    1. The videos were released all at once without any sequence and this was overwhelming. If these could be packaged via an optin-form sequence, it would build a lot of momentum and more importantly help the audience in consumption of the content. It would also help serve the purpose of email marketing – the leads could have been captured via optin-form.

    2. To get more exposure to the university, you could add “University” to the header menu on top (and on home page as well). An advanced step for later would be to integrate the analyzer results (Free Report) with the video links. For instance, if the sitemap is not setup properly as per the analyzer, then you could refer them to “HOW TO SET UP AND OPTIMIZE A SITEMAP” video

    3. Add a community feature by integrating videos with the existing forums (or a simple comment box) where the students could discuss more or engage with you.

    4. Provide navigation options to the modules right from the single video page as well.

    In any case you have awesome video content and it will only grow in future and I am looking forward to it.

    Thanks for creating amazing content.

    You rock!

    Cheers,
    Athif.

    • Athif,
      Thanks for the great suggestions. I’ll respond to each of your suggestions as you ordered them:

      1. I realize that was one of the things I could have done differently. It was a bit overwhelming to many of the readers. I will have many more videos to come :)

      2. I am working on getting that button up.

      3. great suggestion. I will definitely look into that option.

      4. I am working on making the whole section more modular.

      Thanks for the great suggestions. Looking forward to hearing what you think of the all the videos once you have gone through them :)

      • That’s cool Neil.

        I have already gone through several videos in full length. Looking forward to more videos in email marketing and conversion optimization.

        Let me know if there is any way I could help.

        Have a nice day ahead :)

        Cheers,
        Athif

  109. Neil,

    I think no other popular bloggers did like this stuff for free.. I hope you will come up with new ideas in future. Happy to be a subscriber of Quicksprout.com.

    Thanx….

  110. The videos are excellent, and it will be quite some time before I see them all. I would like to offer suggestions for two more videos: 1)How to optimize website structure and urls
    2)How to select a Content management system (or Features of a good CMS)
    Also, it would be better if the videos were classified topic wise e.g. SEO section could be classified as On-Page SEO, Keyword Research, Google Webmaster tools, Link Building, etc

    • Joseph, thanks for the great suggestions!

      I will look into the feasibility of making those videos. Also, I am working on making the whole video section more user friendly.

  111. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. The level of detail and transparency made it a really valuable read.

    The content is top quality, and am therefore sharing a few thoughts. Since most of my suggestions/ideas have been captured in the comments already, let me make some suggestions on the implementation.

    I am the co-founder of MindTickle, a cloud based gamified platform for delivering online learning content (videos, powerpoint, quizzes etc). I have had the opportunity to study the usage data from hundreds of deployments of gamified learning sites. I would also recommend staying committed to the video based university, and trying out a few things to drive up visitor(learner) engagement.

    In my experience, learner engagement is driven by:

    1. Quality of content – which is top notch in your case. You can rev it up a few notches by using a different video player, and maybe breaking it down into shorter videos, but it will not result in dramatic improvement imho

    2. Structure – this is low hanging fruit. Building on Samudra’s suggestion, if you could string related videos into a course, and perhaps even offer badges or certification, that could significantly improve learner retention and engagement. Most learners get lost when presented with a hundred+ videos across 11 pages without a clear representation of learning tracks. I would highly recommend combining related content into learning tracks starting from beginner – leveling up to more advanced content.

    3. Ease of discovery – being able to search or visually browse content will driver higher retention. What applies to content websites (think related news / articles) applies to learning as well

    4. Social – ability to share and benefit from the experience of others, just like this thread. Adding quora like Q&A threads works lot better than horizontal, free for all discussion boards. We have consistently observed that contextual discussions (presented in context of a piece of content or course/series of content) drives higher participation.

    5. Tapping into the human behavior/motivators – This where gamification shines. If you can drive a sense of achievement for completing a course of string of three related pieces of content through a achievement badge or social bragging rights of climbing higher in the leaderboard. The rarer the achievement, the higher is the aspiration. You will be surprised to find that learners will voluntarily share their badges and certificates on social media – driving even more traffic to your university.

    6. Visual presentation – Presenting the content against a variety of visual backdrops that are representative of the content theme helps break the monotony, enhances retention and sustains higher engagement. For example, one of MindTickle’s customers educates travel agents by educating them on hundreds of travel destinations. Each travel destination has a series of videos around attractions, transportation options, holiday packages etc. which are presented as thumbnails on overlaid on top of a collage representing the top tourist attractions of each destinations. During user surveys, the recall of those attraction was found to be much higher compared to youtube like interface.

    If you are interested in checking out a sample implementation of a gamified learning platform that combines all of the above, you could check out this live demo: http://bit.ly/19KxMuh

    Will look forward to your feedback…

    Good luck!
    -Mohit

    • Mohit,
      Thanks for this great bit of feedback. It is much appreciated and very in depth. I look forward to having more dialogue with you.

      In reference to your numbered points:

      1. Quality of content is the most important factor I consider

      2. That was a great suggestion and I will definitely be looking into improving the ease of use.

      3. Noted

      4. Social is something I have spent a ton of time on. I think this is one of the strengths of the Uni.

      5/6. Great points. The points you brought up touch upon a lot of my previous blog posts.

      Thanks!

  112. Hi Neil

    Fascinating Blog. What is interesting is that rather focus on ‘traffic’ alone you have shown that building loyalty and high perceived value will eventually lead to higher conversion.

    Simple but powerful stuff.

    Kind Regards

    Ravi

  113. Hi Neil,

    I read your post with attention and I can say you, you made a big mistake when you ddn’t use youtube. Why ?

    If you can create 200 videos to show people how to succed on the net so you’ll get 10 more followers.

    Another thing is google will put your videos in their search results.

    Today Youtube is the #1 search tool in the world, so you need to use it and catch people with it.

    I only use Youtube videos to get in the first page on google and build all my lists.

    You have to put your link in the description and indicate people to click on it.

    See you

    • I think those are valid points. However, I hosted on Wistia because it allowed me to modify and arrange certain elements in a specific way. Thanks for the terrific feedback!

  114. - “Do you think it is wise that I am going to dump another $100,000 into it?”

    I don’t really know if it’s wise… What I think is you’re awesome, man. You’re building one of the greatests authority I’ve ever seen, providing real awesome, USEFUL value, laser focused on marketing and business.

    Drop a casual blog post about high-end credit cards, buying condos or stuff like that (that’s also educational btw) because you’re driving me crazy with this huge value Neil. Thanks so much.

  115. I think this is just a nice reminder that people learn in different ways some are visual some are conceptual and we have to find ways to reach them all

  116. Hey Neil,
    I need to say, your videos helped me alot.
    Everything is explained with all the details necessary.
    Thanks :)

  117. Hi @Neil

    After Long time I come to your blog and finally I found something interesting.

    That is about Your Marketing University.

    It’s a awesome one but I did not understand why is it fail according to you, but I can forecast this that one day it work for you, I am telling this because, you have asked this question.

    That one may be tomorrow or after one year but definitely one day.

    That is totally depend on what the market wants, what would be the taste of people.

    By the way I liked it.

    Thanks @Neil

  118. I went to Quick Sprout University and was excited to view the content. However, at work, where I do a bulk of reading, I was not able to view any of the videos. Typically, I like to review content in my inbox and comment when I have something to contribute but if I find a resource I will visit it often, make notes, and even subscribe when applicable. Regarding the University, it would be something I could use more if there were images in the transcription section but, either way, I definitely think it is an asset. I just have to remember to watch the videos at home. Thank you, Neil.

    • Suzanne, thanks for the feedback. I have heard similar things from other users. I will definitely work on making it more work accessible. Please let me know if you have anymore feedback :)

  119. That was a great observation on driving traffic via text or video. I seem to think text is better because it seems more personal when reading text/content oppose to video. reader

  120. Another great post. Honestly I like your content more than your videos. Thanks for the share, Neil.

  121. The content is always awesome, you have my trust for sometime. As someone esle was saying, the university is a potential greater commitment of time so people tend to delay it further and further. Maybe a little article or summary going with the video would help?

    Also one thing, when you get free stuff you definitely build up loyalty and trust. I personnally feel that I have to go through all the free stuff before checking out the paying stuff. I also hear a lot that you have to give out your best content for free. So that’s why I’m still checking out the free stuff.

    Last but not least, I’m amazed that you can answer everybody. If you have VA’s they’re good.

    Keep up the great work,
    Raphael

    • Raphael, thanks for this terrific feedback. I think the point about loyalty and trust is one of my biggest motivators. I actually respond to all comments on my own. Thanks for the support :)

  122. Some times the reason why I don’t like podcasts or videos is because I have no control over the velocity at which the information is transmitted to me.

    I can skim through a post, or read the most important parts but you can’t do that when it’s a video or pod cast. You have to stay for the whole thing.

    Does that make sense?

  123. Hey Neil- We loved your article and wanted to let you know it was featured in our Monthly Resource Roundup http://www.northcutt.com/blog/2013/11/november-resource-round-up-the-best-of-seo-social-media-and-content-marketing/.

  124. Hey Neil,

    I was wondering if you had a chance to review the demo. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Mohit

    @mohgar

  125. Neil,

    Thanks again for the awesome video content in the University. It truly is a “game changer” for us.

    I wan’t to piggyback off of Rohit’s comment and urge you to try LeadPlayer.

    We don’t produce enough video content yet to try it out, but I always thought it was a cool way to get emails via YouTube.

    Also, if optimized properly these videos have huge share potential. I think if you built up the quicksprout YouTube Channel it would be of great benefit from you.

    I think it’s worth a shot, how can it hurt? I’m also really interested to know your results.

    Thanks again for all the great content.

  126. Video’s get less views than text content, but I feel it is more easy to learn new things watching videos.

  127. ?Tools generate the most traffic –
    ?Text generates more traffic than videos –
    ?Videos build loyalty and have a higher perceived value

    …for you… MAYBE.

    This wasn’t exactly a single variable test.

    I also wouldn’t expect equivalent engagement from a new, previously unused channel to an audience that’s been trained to receive communication from you in a certain way.

    This doesn’t discount that the article raises some issues worth considering.

  128. I see the point about video driving less traffic than text. However, I would like to be a little controversial here, I see thousands of youtube videos are driving crazy amount of traffic and there are brands build their businesses around publishing videos only.

    I guess the question would be which type of videos drive more traffic, and how we would be able to promote those videos?

    With technical background, creating free tools is a great option. I love this strategy, but haven’t got time to invest in it.

    And I learnt 1 lesson long time ago, the more value you create for the market, the wealthier you would be. You really need to see if that $100k would bring a lot of value for your readers?

    Tony

    • Tony, thanks for these great nuggets of wisdom. It’s more than just creating the videos its all about how you promote them as well. Having a good network and tireless distribution strategy is key!

  129. Your site definitely needs more modal popups to block the content I’m currently reading in order to try to get me to sign up for more crap.

    There will never be a point in my life when I will sign up for anything here, or pay you anything, ever.

    Spam hell.

  130. Neil-

    Are you still happy with your decision to use Wistia for QuickSproutU? I am starting a video blog about best practices in the bar and restaurant industry and I am wondering if you have found a better service? I am not interested in having the YouTube branding all over my site amongst other things…

    Thanks!

  131. I love what you guys are usually up too.
    This sort of clever work and reporting! Keep up the
    terrific works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

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