6 Months of Research and Experimentation with Fintech Social Video Content


In January 2019 we launched InvestOrama: a Fintech and financial education channel, based on a couple of observations.

  • Many Creators, mainly on YouTube, find success with complex, niche, business topics ranging from science to business to law.
  • Businesses covering similar topics typically struggle to find a significant audience.
  • Successful creators in the field develop their own style and inject their personality
  • Businesses communicate generally with talking heads or format inspired by business TV (interviews, panels)

This led to testing a few assumptions with potentially far-reaching impact for the marketing and communications of financial services firm.

  • Technical business content can be made engaging with storytelling and cinematographic techniques
  • Thought leaders or businesses that operate in a technical B2B context can also engage and grow their audience faster with video than other media

With that in mind, we started filming the first videos in late 2018 and have been posting content regularly since January 2019.
Below are some key findings from the journey so far, along with actionable takeaways for Fintech video marketers.

Production: How to showcase expertise

Hundreds of references were analysed in the research leading to the first InvestOrama video. One that emerged in terms of production was Vox’s “Explained” on Netflix. Each episode is a mix of interviews with real footage and graphics.

Here is a free episode on YouTube. If you browse to the end you will see that over 20 people are in the credits. It’s not quite a Hollywood film, but we are clearly looking at high production values and significant budgets.

Although these resources are out of reach, the show remains a reference and a benchmark.

Here are some observations from the first 20 videos produced

  • It’s about real expertise, not fluency in front of the camera

The format we are using allows a lot of cuts. The first benefit is that the speaker doesn’t need to learn something by heart and therefore can be more natural. The second is that for some of us who hesitate, are not native English speakers, or often need time to think before answering, none of that counts. With clever editing it becomes just about the actual content you can deliver.

  • No subject proved too technical

To properly test the model we didn’t skip any topic, no matter how dry it appeared at first. These include regulation, investment strategies, cutting edge technology.Β As the methodology and toolkit expand it becomes easier to address abstract concepts.

  • The style has an impact on ROI

MSCI Inc and our partner Solactive AG are in the same industry, where the former is the leader. MSCI has 38x more followers on LinkedIn. You’d expect them to have a greater organic reach with their videos. Yet, the videos we produced for Solactive reached over 3,000 people on average vs. less than 1,000 for MSCI’s. (Very reassuring given the amount of work on post-production)

  • Cohesion is a critical element

Although the feedback on all videos posted from 2019 has been very positive, this was not always the case. Earlier tests in that style were produced that did not feel right. Mainly, because as we blend many different elements together (interview, stock footage, images, graphics, icons), the cohesion of the piece was lost. Only after doing considerable work on the branding and formatting did it start feeling right. We now operate based on a template that is regularly updated.

  • Personality matters

Showing the speaker on screen may not be essential to the message (which could be narrated by an actor). However, it provides context and personality which has a dramatic impact. We also make sure that the interviewees talk directly to their audience, not an interviewer.

Where and how to post your Fintech video content

So far, we have published content on YouTube, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, in that order of priority.Β 

Facebook is an obvious absentee with which we had great success in the past. The context, however, is less favourable.

Tik Tok, Snap, and others are not part of the list (although I was into Vine) as they don’t fit the potential audience, but this can evolve.

Here a few observations valid for distribution across all networks

  • First few seconds are critical

It doesn’t matter where you post. It is very hard to capture the attention of the modern viewer so you need to carefully plan and address this.

  • It’s ok to duplicate the content on all platforms, except on YouTube

What differentiates YouTube when all other social media offer native video? Its search functionality. You don’t want to confuse the algorithm with duplicated content.

Based on our experimentation so far, LinkedIn has been the most effective. Below are some key takeaways for LinkedIn and others.

Linkedin: has become a place for content

Linkedin is where we’ve registered the most views and engagement ORGANICALLY. Over 4 posts, we have noticed an average view count of about 4,000 per video with an engagement rate of 3% and a click-through-rate of 2%

The video below has raked almost 6,000 views organically.


2 years ago, LinkedIn didn’t even support native videos, but the recent changes in the algorithm have made it very effective for video marketing, especially for B2B and technical industries, like Fintech.
Aside from the elusive algorithm, there are a few reasons why this type of content performs well.

  • LinkedIn provides context:

For hyper-niche content, context is essential as the viewer may otherwise not have all the elements to comprehend the content. Watching something on “Index Regulation” makes a lot more sense on the page of an index provider than somewhere else

  • Influencers matter:

This is very different from the “Influencer Business” on Instagram

In the video above, the fact that it was posted by Olivier Bossard made a big difference. He has built a significant following but more importantly he is a Finance professor, is regularly invited on financial media who previously held global roles in derivatives. His voice in financial matters carries a greater weight than the average.

  • Existing audiences:

B2B and Fintech businesses often have a larger following on LinkedIn than elsewhere, here is an opportunity to leverage it

  • Captions are required.

While testing on different browsers. We noticed on some of them, the LinkedIn video did not offer the possibility to view captions. So we went for “burned captions” like in the video above.

  • Employee sharing is an easy hack:

Even if you are a small business with just a few followers on your page, your employees statistically are likely to have over 500 followers each. Encouraging them to share it, means you can multiply your reach, like Solactive below.

YouTube: a longer term play

Whereas on LnkedIn, like on Facebook the active life of a video is about a week. On YouTube content can live forever and grow. So far, it’s been a relatively modest start for the InvestOrama channel (about 90,000 views in total and 1,775 subscribers as of 21 May 2019)

  • Thumbnails and optimization are essential
  • It’s relatively easy to rank for long tail keywords
  • It’s hard to get organic traffic quickly
  • On the other hand, well-targeted paid-for traffic tends can be meaningful, we see a decent rate of subscribers and engagement

Instagram: make it easy for yourself

After trying out different tactics, we’ve now found one that works in terms of workflow on the InvestOrama account.
Initially, we were creating content for Instagram, transforming videos in square format and creating specific content.
It turns out that we get the same results, or better, by using screenshots from the video. This has now become the way to keep the feed alive without too much effort.

Twitter: Pin it

This tweet has generated over 1,300 views and significant engagement


It seems that it’s only the case because it’s been pinned to the profile.

Conclusion

We are just getting started.

The format and style have been well received. The content has performed well overall, in particular within a business context, such as LinkedIn.
LinkedIn stands out so far. It has transformed from, mainly a place to recruit to a great platform for B2B content marketing.

So far we are only talking about organic results, now that we know what worked best we are just starting promoting the content in a targeted way. The results and approach deserve a whole new chapter.

We still have a lot to develop in terms of formats, storytelling and editorial choices.