SproutVideo's 5th Birthday

Where the heck has the time gone?? It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since SproutVideo was founded. In honor of our 5th birthday, we thought it would be fun to look back and see how our site has evolved over time. Keep reading to take a walk down memory lane with us, and to see embarrassing screenshots of our old site designs.

When We Launched in 2010

SproutVideo was started with just a handful of customers, and a handful of features. For instance, we only offered three video privacy settings at the time – Private, Password Protected, and Public, and very basic analytics.

Here is what our homepage looked like on August 6th, 2010 according to the Way Back Machine on Archive.org:

Old Site 2010

Back in the day, we used to charge $1 for free trials (imagine that!) instead of offering a free two week trial like we do today.

First Major Site Redesign in 2011

It took a while, but after slightly more than a year in business, SproutVideo relaunched a new website that highlighted all the features added since launch.

This was our homepage back in 2011:

Old Site 2011

Certainly, a lot was done on the backend during this time to improve our platform. But in terms of customer-facing features, we beefed up analytics by launching it as its own section of our platform, and added support for playlists and additional security features, like domain whitelisting and SSL embeds.

Added Major Features, and Stopped Charging for Trials

Man, were we busy in 2012. We added some major features that are widely used today. For instance, we built Video Engagement Metrics, which pinpoint exactly how much of a video a user has watched, rewatched or skipped. We also made video embed codes more customizable by adding custom post play screens, and launched the precursor to our new video websites – unbranded video pages. Other great features were a new uploader, RTMPE streaming, login protected videos, and an API.

When SproutVideo was first launched, we charged $1 to open a free trial, meaning we also required credit card information to do so. This resulted in really high quality signups, meaning, most people who opened a free trial were likely to upgrade to a full paid account, and incidents of fraud or free trial abuse were non-existent.

However, the volume of $1 trial signups was not great. To get a prospect to fork over credit card information, along with their personal information and email address, is a big ask, especially just to test out a platform.

In 2012, we began offering a totally free trial with no credit card required, something we continue to do today. We find it’s a much better way to onboard users and to allow people to try before they buy. Also, the volume of signups is now way, way up, while any risks have remained at very low levels. We will look at this change in more depth in a later post, since it merits its own analysis.

2013 Was All About Video Marketing and APIs

In 2013, our company’s focus was on beefing up our video marketing features, and our APIs. For starters, we added video sitemaps to make it easier to point search engines to your rich content, email gating, and brandable video landing pages. The ability to add a logo, customize the URL, change colors, and add custom CSS greatly expanded the utility of video landing pages on our platform.

For the SproutVideo API, we enhanced our documentation around our API. We also added API calls and additional functionality. Finally, we added a whole new API – the Javascript Player API, to make it easier to control and customize our player.

Revised Pricing, Added Features, Launched Video Websites Beta and Redesigned our Site in 2014

For the second time since launching SproutVideo, we changed pricing to dramatically increase the bandwidth and storage for each plan. This was a nerve-wracking decision, which we made after agonizing over pricing models in spreadsheets. With any pricing change, you run the risk of hurting growth or revenue, so it requires careful consideration. Luckily, we didn’t do either of those things, and managed to give a lot more back to our customers without inadvertently impacting our business.

For marketing and security features, we added our first platform integrations for email marketing and marketing automation, as well as support for IP address restriction and single sign on (SSO).

We also launched a beta for our video websites feature, which enabled our customers to setup a basic video website on our platform without touching a line of code. Since we only had one theme, and were still working on a lot of other features we wanted to add, launching them in private beta made sense as opposed to a publicly available feature on our site. At the end of 2014, we released an brand new theme editor, and two additional themes for the beta.

Catching Up to the Present

All in all, 2015 has been a big year for us so far, and it’s not over yet! We finally launched video websites out of beta, after working on them for more than three years. We will continue to add improvements, but we are very proud of the functionality and flexibility of our video websites, as well as our five beautiful themes.

We also completely overhauled the design of our marketing site, including the homepage, features page, and more, which was a major undertaking.

Here is the current version of our site:

Old Site 2011

Especially after staring at our tired old design for so long, we really love the new look and feel of our site. We are also really excited about the fact that the new version of our website features our first explainer video, which was really fun to make.

We Have Our Work Cut Out For Us

The SproutVideo team is hard at work on some great new features coming in the near future. Two big projects on our timetable for the rest of 2015 and early 2016 include adding support for multi-user accounts and video monetization features, as well as support for additional HD formats. We also plan to continue to enhance our video websites, overhaul analytics, beef up video security and delivery, and will continue adding video marketing features.

We’re also hiring and growing our team, so if you want to help make our platform the best it can possibly be, check out our openings here.

Finally – THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for taking this journey with us, especially if you have stuck around since the very beginning, as many of our earliest customers have. We are very excited to see what the next few years will bring!

Written by Courtney Purchon

Courtney is the Head of Marketing at SproutVideo. Follow her on Twitter.

Posted August 5, 2015

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