How HubSpot‘s Long-Form Video Strategy Drives Brand Affinity and Business Growth

In the battle for audience attention online, video has emerged as one of the most powerful weapons in a marketer‘s arsenal. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 96% of consumers have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service
  • 84% of people say they‘ve been convinced to make a purchase after watching a brand‘s video
  • 88% of video marketers are satisfied with the ROI of their video marketing efforts

But not all video is created equal. While short-form content can be great for quick social media hits, many brands are finding that investing in longer, more substantive video content can pay big dividends.

HubSpot is a prime example. The inbound marketing pioneer has built a reputation for creating incredibly valuable, in-depth educational content across formats – and video has become an increasingly important part of that mix. From thought leadership interviews to storytelling series to step-by-step tutorials, HubSpot has fully embraced long-form video as a way to engage its audience and communicate its brand ethos.

I spoke with several members of HubSpot‘s video marketing team to get their insights on the role of long-form video in their overall strategy and how it has driven results. I also dug into some specific examples and case studies of their work. Here‘s what I learned.

The Case for Long-Form

"With long-form video content, you have the opportunity to create a much deeper connection with your audience," says Jamee Sheehy, HubSpot‘s Director of Video Production. "You can tell more engaging stories, share more valuable information, and establish more credibility and trust with viewers."

Sheehy‘s team has seen this play out firsthand. One of their most popular video series is "Success Story" – an episodic look at how real customers have used HubSpot to overcome business challenges and drive growth. Episodes typically run 5-8 minutes and include in-depth interviews, on-site footage, and data visualizations.

"The longer format of Success Story videos allows us to really dig into the customer‘s journey and paint a vivid picture of their experience," says Sheehy. "Viewers get very invested in these stories and walk away with a ton of actionable insights. The feedback we‘ve gotten is that the depth makes the content both more useful and more emotionally resonant."

HubSpot has seen strong quantitative results from the series as well. On average, Success Story videos:

  • Generate 2.5X the engagement rate of HubSpot‘s shorter video content
  • Drive 18% more qualified leads compared to other video types
  • Have a 35% higher average view duration compared to benchmark

"The data clearly shows us that our audience will stick around for longer content as long as it is truly valuable and compelling," notes Sheehy. "There‘s this misconception that everything has to be snackable and short-form, but we‘ve seen again and again that people appreciate when we take the time to tell a complete story or explain something in depth."

Thought Leadership That Makes an Impact

Another key way HubSpot leverages long-form video is by showcasing subject matter experts and providing thought leadership on important industry topics. Its #ThinkGrowth series on YouTube features in-depth interviews with internal leaders and outside experts on the cutting edge marketing, sales, and customer service trends.

Videos often run over 10 minutes and rack up thousands of views, outperforming many of the shorter videos on HubSpot‘s channel. Popular episodes like "Rethinking the Marketing & Sales Funnel" and "5 Must-Know Ecommerce Trends for 2024" serve up incredibly valuable insights for HubSpot‘s target audience of business owners and marketing professionals.

"#ThinkGrowth has been a highly effective way for us to demonstrate expertise and build authority with our core audience," says Mackenzie Swanson, Video Marketing Manager at HubSpot. "Being able to go in-depth on topics, back up points with data and examples, and provide tactical advice in an interview format sets us up as a go-to industry resource."

The series has had a measurable impact on key brand metrics for HubSpot as well:

Metric #ThinkGrowth Other HubSpot Videos
Avg. View Duration 4:37 2:13
Subscriber Growth Rate 14.6% 8.2%
Return Viewer Percentage 31% 17%

Not only are #ThinkGrowth videos being watched for longer, they‘re driving significantly higher rates of subscriber growth and return viewership compared to other content.

"Consistently putting out longer videos packed with valuable insights has helped turn casual viewers into loyal subscribers," notes Swanson. "It gives them a reason to keep coming back to our channel for more great content."

Driving Action With Episodic Education

Long-form video also plays a key role in HubSpot Academy – the company‘s extensive library of free video courses and certifications. Multipart video lessons allow HubSpot to provide incredibly detailed, tactical instruction to its audience.

"Our goal with HubSpot Academy is to help people master the skills they need to succeed in marketing, sales, and customer service," says Eric Peters, Senior Instructional Designer. "Video gives us a powerful way to deliver that education in a step-by-step, engaging format."

Courses include high-quality, presenter-driven videos walking through everything from marketing automation best practices to sales call techniques. Lessons are typically 10-20 minutes each and designed to be consumed in sequence as part of a learning path.

This highly visual, guided instructional approach has been a hit with HubSpot‘s audience and driven significant business results:

  • HubSpot Academy videos have been viewed over 35 million times
  • Course completions have increased 27% year-over-year
  • Leads who complete a course before becoming a customer have a 32% higher retention rate

"We‘ve found that learners really appreciate how immersive and in-depth our video courses are," says Peters. "The longer lessons give us the opportunity to break down complex topics in an accessible way. And the episodic structure provides a clear learning journey for them to follow."

By investing in long-form educational content, HubSpot is able to deliver immense value to its audience – and create a powerful funnel for acquiring new users and increasing customer lifetime value.

Putting It Into Practice

For brands looking to incorporate more long-form video into their own marketing mix, Sheehy offers this advice:

  1. Start with a strong strategy. Know what role you want video to play in your marketing and what kinds of stories you want to tell. Make sure everything you create ties back to your core brand narrative and business goals.

  2. Put your audience first. Do the research to understand what information, insights, and inspiration they‘re really craving – then deliver that in an in-depth way through video.

  3. Focus on quality over quantity. Longer videos require more planning and production time to get right, so be very strategic about the topics you take on. Prioritize quality over cranking out lots of content.

  4. Leverage the power of series. Building episodic video content (like a customer story series or thought leadership show) gives you the opportunity to create a consistent destination for your audience and encourage repeat engagement.

  5. Amplify with other channels. Long videos are substantial enough to fuel lots of other content – from social media clips to blog posts. Create an integrated promotion plan to drive traffic from other marketing channels.

The main takeaway? Long-form video can be an incredibly powerful tool for building affinity, providing value, and growing your business – when it‘s done with a clear strategy and an unwavering focus on quality.

"The beauty of committing to longer, more in-depth video content is that you have the space to let your brand‘s unique personality and expertise really shine through," says Sheehy. "You can communicate not just what you do, but who you are in a way that truly resonates."

If the results HubSpot has seen are any indication, that deeper brand connection can have a major impact on the bottom line.