Marketing Master Class: Edward Wood


Each month, we will be publishing an article as part of our Digital Marketing Master Class. In this series, we speak with experts in a range of disciplines: content marketing, sales, e-learning as well as media, and learn about how they use video and the future they see for the medium.

In the first edition of this series, we sat down with Edward Wood, who leads the Content Marketing Team at Babbel. Babbel is a Berlin-based company that has built a range of wildly successful cross-device language learning apps.

But Babbel has not just created a great solution to an age old problem – that of learning languages – they have also developed a sophisticated content marketing strategy around their product. Video is a pillar of this strategy. By telling engaging stories through video, Babbel has captured the attention of ambitious language learners around the world, introducing them to the Babbel product and ultimately helping them achieve their language learning goals.

Edward shared his insights about how to build a successful video content marketing strategy and, more specifically, where he sees video developing over the next few years. We also discussed Babbel’s incorporation of storytelling into their video content and how this helped them to develop their community of Babbel fans.

This is an interactive interview. If you like to create your own interactive experience, sign up, it’s free!

How do you define content marketing and what does it mean for Babbel?

Edward: It depends upon what you define as the purpose of your content marketing. You could use content marketing to build your social media presence or to add a more complex narrative to your brand.

In our case, we have placed content marketing under the umbrella of performance marketing. So for us, the content is used to bring people to our magazine where we can then introduce people to the Babbel product. Once you have people engaged with content on your website, you can start to direct them towards a more focused area of interest.

How did you build up your content marketing department?
How important is video for creating a successful brand now ?

Edward: Video is becoming ever more important; on one hand it has become easier to produce video in terms of equipment, editing and distribution.

On the other hand, the behavior and expectation of the viewer has also changed. Videos don’t have to be high quality – homemade-looking videos are also in demand as they enhance the perception of authenticity.

So companies of all sizes can now make videos which are viewed and shared. Moreover, the advertisement is way easier now – a YouTube video campaign can be set up fairly easy in a short space of time and can drive significant traffic and traction. This also depends on the quality of the content itself, of course.

Can you give us some good examples of successful video marketing?

Edward: In terms of specific examples I quite like some viral videos. For example, the Volvo spot with Jean-Claude van Damme or the Old Spice videos.

But we at Babbel are inspired by the videos that create a community around them – videos that focus on a particular point of interest and involve a more traditional way of storytelling. These have shown to be successful as well. A good example are the videos of Northface

What is Babbel’s video strategy?

Edward: Our video strategy originated as a consequence of our work with different advertising channels on YouTube.

We had videos called Activity Videos, where people could learn a language by taking a journey through a sort of interactive video by using YouTube annotations. This gave people a feeling of how the courses in Babbel would be like.

We also had Babbel Voices Videos, which included interviews with people with a talent for languages – for example the Polyglots series. These were more “sensational”, so we used them as display advertisement on YouTube, in order to inspire people to learn a language.

Then we had Insights Videos, which focused on a certain area of language learning.

For our Magazine, we come with ideas that we think will work really well on social media channels or on content discovery systems. We then decide the specific channel and ask the question: is it more relevant for existing users or for new users?

To drive the point home, we always try to enrich our videos with an emotional touch point, since we believe that the motivation to learn a language often stems from an emotional trigger. So we try to build the videos around a personal story, so the viewer can empathize or relate to it better.

How do you incorporate videos into Babbel Magazine and how do you distribute those articles?
Can you share some results of your video marketing actions?

Edward: In general we see that if we have content with video, people are more engaged and spend more time on that specific page. That is rather logical, since videos tend to be 2-5 min long, so it takes longer to consume all the data.

Moreover it depends on the type of content you are showing. If you are showing an infographic on a social channel, then people watch it rather quickly and the session time is lower. However, these may have a high share rate.

But what we see with videos compared to other types of media is that people are more engaged and often try our product after watching.

What is the role of video in Babbel’s marketing strategy?
How do you see the development of video marketing?

Edward: In my opinion, the development in the video segment is surprisingly slow so far compared to other aspects in online marketing – especially in regards to interactivity in video.

We have been tracking this over the past few years, and we thought it would develop faster. But we are excited about companies like Videopath who are investigating that area and offering tools that fit our needs.

I also hope that there will soon be a general understanding within the marketing community of how useful videos can be in terms of pushing conversion and performance marketing.

I imagine that, with the advent of new formats, video marketing will evolve to include more complex and creative ways of storytelling. Video remains an area that hasn’t been pushed far enough by the marketing community and I am curious about what the future will bring.

What are some additional trends in the video and content marketing space?

Babbel’s approach to video is about building up relationships to their users, connecting with them on an emotional level, staying authentic, but still attracting new users. Definitely a great takeaway for any marketer looking to drive better engagement and conversion with video. 

Babbel successfully integrated Videopath into their video content marketing strategy and used interactive video to increase the user engagement and conversion. If you’d like to check out our helpful tool and add web to your videos, try it out today!

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