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How video technology startup Clipchamp went from 100,000 users to 3.5 million in just 18 months

Dominic Powell /

Clipchamp

Clipchamp co-founder Alexander Dreiling. Source: Supplied.

A video technology startup that launched in 2014 has clocked in a massive milestone of gaining 3.5 million users over 18 months, and is continuing to skyrocket its user growth.

Clipchamp is a Queensland-based startup that spruiks itself as being one of the few companies in the world that provide full-blown video conversion, compression, and recording in-browser via HTML5.

Co-founder Alexander Dreiling explains that most available online video services use a cloud-backed system, meaning users have to upload videos to the cloud before the browser fetches them for playback. He says this excludes 90% of the world thanks to many users having sluggish upload speed, making Clipchamp’s solution a popular one.

The startup has four founders in total, including Dreiling, Dave Hewitt, Tobi Raub, and Soeren Balko. It was officially established in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the founders started rolling out the first version of the Clipchamp platform.

“Then for two years it just sat there, with more and more people jumping on and using it. Then we raised capital in March 2016 and started to work on different versions of the platform,” Dreiling tells StartupSmart.

That included an in-browser webcam recording function, a video compressor, and the recently launched Clipchamp Create — a “full-blown” video production and editing tool that can be within a browser.

It was around this time that the number of Clipchamp users began to spike, with the company reporting 100,000 registered users in September 2016. And just 18 months later, that number is now at more than 3.5 million users, with 80,000 new users being added every week.

Content marketing the key

Dreiling puts Clipchamp’s extraordinary user growth down to the fact that “Google keeps sending us a lot of people”, but the answer is a bit more complex than that.

The Clipchamp team have been avid content marketers and search engine optimisers since the startup began, and the co-founder says the company’s vigilance and savvyness in these areas is paying off in a big way.

“Our content marketing really took our customer acquisition to the next level. It’s something we started right at the beginning when we got to blogging and writing articles, and while we tried a lot of things that didn’t work, it was one of the things that did,” Dreiling says.

“As our domain authority grew, more and more of the articles we put out would be number one in Google for the specific searches we set for them. We also picked niche topics, but we always made sure the content was useful and set out properly.”

This was coupled with a significant amount of search engine optimisation, which helped Clipchamp land the organic traffic crowd of inquisitive Googlers. But the startup also benefited from being able to fill a very specific niche for Google Chromebook users across the world, providing a way for the browser-only laptops to record a user’s webcam.

Clipchamp is one of the few tools available that allow Chromebook users to record their webcams, which Dreiling says helped the product “spread like wildfire” across the US, with large chunks of the education sector using and linking to the product.

“When you open up a Chromebook, they’ve all got these physical webcams but no way to record with them, so naturally people go and Google it and we’d come up as number one,” he says.

“We also set up a referral program which gave additional quota on our plans for those who referred people, and that did well also.”

But despite this, Dreiling still puts Clipchamp’s success down to his team’s snappy content marketing plan. But he advises other startups that writing good content, and getting customers from it, is not something that happens overnight and requires a good deal of planning.

“It’s going to take a long time, and you need to keep writing about stuff that’s important to you and your product. One of the first things we did was look at how popular different keywords are, and we’d pick out terms with a long tail, but nothing like ‘insurance’ or one of those insanely competitive keywords,” he says.

“We’d pick something less popular and write something specific around it, and as that got more popular we’d grab more and more high-value keywords.”

Dreiling objects to calling this a gaming of the system, instead believing its just “giving Google what Google wants”. He also advises founders to make relevant and interesting content, not just “fabricated articles”.

“Give people something to engage with, something useful,” he says.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is the lead reporter at StartupSmart.

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