In our continuing Web Videos That SUCK series, I review a YouTube trailer for an upcoming "Science of Email Marketing webinar," being hosted by the self-proclaimed "Social Media Marketing Scientist" and author of "The Social Media Marketing Book," Dan Zarrella. This guy may know email, but he sure needs help with video!

I received an email last week from the company hosting the webinar, HubSpot. Clicking on the email link took me to HubSpot sign-up page, which features an embedded YouTube video of the webinar's speaker, who announces his own event. Below is the actual video as it appears on the HubSpot YouTube channel:

Why HubSpot's Science of Email Marketing Webinar Video SUCKS

And just so that you dont think I'm the only one being critical (no those aren't my comments):

Aspect ratio is off. The video's opening graphic has vertical black bars, and the speaker's video has a thick rectangular box all around him. This could have been fixed easily if they had followed advice in our earlier post: "How To Fix The Aspect Ratio on YouTube Videos – Remove Black Bars.”

Background music is way too loud – it's even louder than the speaker himself! Watching this video gives you the feeling that you're in a dance club and have to really struggle just to hear the person talking right at you.

What's with the duplicate words? Right at the beginning Dan's video track is spliced to show him repeating saying "really awesome," and "super pumped about it." He or whomever he had editing his video probably thought people would think this would look cool, but I think people will think it was a mistake. Either way, I find it annoying (like the feeling you get when a CD or record skips on you).

Graphics shows no context. In the middle of the video, Dan throws a large number up on screen, which I later learned is supposed to represent millions of "email data sets." But since the number is just thrown up very briefly on screen without any other graphic text explaining what the number means, it will likely be lost on most people watching the video the first time. Even worse, a quick graph is thrown up on screen with an arrow pointing to a jagged line. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I can't tell – the music is too frickin' loud!

Image thumbnail looks dreadful. Hey Dan, do you really want the first thing people see with your video to be something that makes you look like a cyborg with digital numbers messing up your face?  Granted, I realize that you have 3 limited thumbnail choices to choose from, but wasn't there a better one?

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YouTube optimization? If you are going to put a video on YouTube to market your marketing webinar, how about doing some YouTube SEO for it so that others can find it?  You have a 1 sentence description with no link, 3 hardly-related tags, the wrong category choice and so on.

What I would have done differently… Tips for next time

Separate the audio tracks. Most bare-bones video editing programs will allow you to do what's called "ducking" – where you reduce the level of one audio signal when another appears. So if you have two audio tracks – say, one for your vocals and one for your background music (or any other background audio), you can simply select the ducking feature on your video editor to make the background audio fade to any degree you want once your own vocals come in.

Make a new video from clips of previous videos. Dan has 128 indexed videos featuring himself in Google Video Search. You would think that at least in some of those he's already talked about email marketing. Taking previous content and mashing them up into your own new piece (with a shorter new introduction), makes it appear like fresh content, in context.

Have the HubSpot guys produce your video. I checked out the HubSpot YouTube channel and they have some outstanding video production to show for. Now I'm not expecting them to do any special choreography or dance numbers for Dan, but you'd think they could at least lend one of their videographers (or some of their own marketing budget) to any webinars they're putting with their own name behind it?

Put some effort into optimizing the YouTube Video. We covered this so many times that I wont go into a "tips" list here, but you can read up on optimizing your YouTube videos here.

What Do You Think?

Dan may be teaching a webinar on the science of email marketing, but I think he should have learned something about "video science" before doing his mad experimentation! And to HubSpot – even if you guys aren't responsible for producing this video (at least I certainly hope not), anything you put up on your company's YouTube channel should at least have some basic professional standards, don't you think?