We Are Heading to FutureM!

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Calling all Branded Entertainment FANatics!

We are SO excited to announce that we are hosting a session at this year’s FutureM in Boston, October 16-18. FutureM brings a one-of-a-kind experience to Marketing and Media trendsetters by debating the cutting-edge development and future landscape of Marketing. The programs are unique, forward-thinking, and will challenge, integrate and bring to life what tomorrow holds for businesses in the digital age.

 Our session “Better than RedBull: Converting Your Brand into an Entertainment Hub will be held on October 17th at 9:30 A.M. This interactive panel will involve YOU with our guest panelists Evan Rimer (Walden Media), Matthew Valentinas (Entertainment Legal Counsel) and Sharon Vosseler (FoA Entertainment). Come tell us a bit about your brand’s creative brief and we will pitch you social video ideas live on the stage! 

As a valued member of the ZoomTilt community, we hope you’ll join us – register for FutureM today at FutureM.org .

 

Look forward to seeing you there!

10 Key Measurement Metrics for Video Marketers (Part 2)

In the first installment of 10 Key Measurement Metrics for Video Marketers, we looked at earned media views, content sharing and subscriber and sign-up conversions.  In this week’s post we’re going to explore three more key video analytics data points for marketers and advertisers: (A) click-through rates (CTRs) and referral traffic, (B) audience retention (view-to-completion), and (C) social conversation.  Let’s dive in.

4. CTRs

Marketers we talk to seem to be split about 50-50 on whether to track CTRs and referral traffic from videos as a campaign metric.  On one hand, it’s worth asking the question of any digital marketer – “why wouldn’t you want to track clicks?” – considering how focused many are on email, call-to-action button and social media post CTRs.  The flip side however, is that measuring referral traffic and CTRs from video tends to be challenging: primary social video hubs like YouTube and Vimeo offer very limited native click-tracking support. In the full-service version of our video A/B testing tool ZoomTilt Analytics, video experiments can be customized to track video click-through-rates for videos where YouTube annotation links have been added.  ZoomTilt Analytics can also estimate and compare CTRs for any type of video by capturing closed-loop audience data, but doing so currently requires additional custom client integration.

Video A/B Testing Software

If you’re not using ZoomTilt Analytics, there are still a few options to track CTRs on your video.  One option is using trackable links (like bit.ly) within YouTube annotations then calculating your CTR manually with bit.ly’s analytics data.  For enterprise customers using Brightcove or Wistia for video hosting, both platforms also offer click and conversion tracking insights on individual video call-to-actions within their respective analytics reporting.

Overall it’s helpful to monitor and A/B test video-specific CTRs, as well as track video referral traffic from YouTube and other content hosting destinations.

5. Audience Retention (View-to-Completion)

Video Audience Completion

One of the best video measurement metrics is, of course, audience retention or the video’s view-to-completion percentage.  The higher the average, absolute percentage, the more engaging, relevant and/or enjoyable the content is to audiences.

What’s a good baseline view-to-completion benchmark for branded video? One data set from Tubemogul indicates that, on average, only 15-25% of skippable online video ads are viewed to completion. In most cases, when viewers are allowed to skip pre-roll, they’ll jump ahead to the content they want to watch.  When video viewers are forced to watch ads, additional data indicates 85-95% view-to-completion rates for long-form videos and 65-70% completion rates for short-form (<5 minute) videos.

Since social video and branded entertainment is clearly the right content strategy in digital video, our view is advertisers should be sure to open their content to choice-based viewership and evaluate content traction with people who can freely skip or share it.  Audience retention rates won’t be as high as forced pre-roll or mid-roll ads, but that’s exactly the point: content marketing should be pull-based because of its value, not push advertising that’s forced into audiences viewing sessions.

When it comes to measuring view-to-completion, we see a new layer of valuable data emerging in demographic and audience-profile-specific retention data, a key feature within ZoomTilt Analytics.  For example, a branded entertainment spot aimed at working mothers might have 100,000 views and an overall view-to-completion rate of 30%.  That’s directionally helpful to a marketer, but it would be great to know what % of those views came from working mothers and what their subsegment-specific audience retention rate was.  Was it higher than the mean? Lower versus the mean? That’s a critical campaign insight that deserves to be tracked.

6. Social Conversation

Another metric we recommend video marketers track is the volume of social conversation around their video (where, at the risk of repetition, it helps to develop content worth talking about). Generally, the best places to track conversation is in comments sections (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, blogs where the video has been embedded) and on Twitter.  Generally, our baseline recommendation is to measure three conversation dimensions:

  1. Total number of comments, responses or social mentions for your video or campaign
  2. General sentiment of comments (positive, negative or neutral)
  3. Distribution of comments across owned media properties and other channels (is your content most discussed on your YouTube channel? more popular on Facebook? Why might that be?)

By understanding (and participating) in the dialogue around your video, as a marketer you have another great feedback tool to measure what works or doesn’t work with different audiences. Moreover, by encouraging your viewers to take a follow-up action by including a call-to-action that incentivizes user-generated content responses or conversation, you can help amplify your message and brand experience well beyond your own content.

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In next week’s Part 3 we’ll continue our discussion of key measurement metrics for video marketers, looking at viewer sentiment, redemptions and the viewership distribution curve, so stay tuned!

Instagram Video or Vine: Why Not Both?

Vine vs Instagram Video

Image credit: Matt Nazaro

In the biggest user divide since Apple and PC, the showdown between Twitter’s Vine
and Facebook’s Instagram Video has prompted heated conversations about which
service reigns supreme for branded entertainment. However, as a marketer, you don’t necessarily need to get caught up in the debate, since both platforms offer unique benefits for content marketers and advertisers looking to start conversations with customers and prospects around engaging, sharable video.

Overall, online video engagement is booming as users rush to view, create, and share “viral” videos and clever branded content with friends and family. It’s no surprise, then, that social video sharing has seen massive growth across all devices.  For marketers, both Instagram Video and Vine present an opportunity to distribute branded entertainment in a short-form, packaged format most consumers are actively participating in and seeking out.

Already, brands have begun to take advantage of Vine and Instagram Video, two of the
most popular social video sharing apps. Though technically these services are
competitors, you don’t have to choose a side: both platforms have their advantages and short-comings, and both can be leveraged in order to connect with consumers cross-platform in interactive and authentic ways.

Vine

Key features:

  • 6 seconds
  • Loops
  • Embeddable for easy sharing
  • 13 million+ iOS users & ~1 million Android users

Consumer attention spans have never been shorter – particularly when it comes to intrusive and uninteresting content.  When use properly, six seconds can be more than enough time for a company to create unique, sharable messages for its fans and social media followers. With Vine, sending a clear, creative and succinct message is imperative. But remember, less is more.  Keep the video simple and avoid bombarding
fans with too much information in the short clip.  Moreover, Vine’s intrinsic loop function makes the app particularly suited for repetition-friendly content like animated GIFs, memes and recurring sequences.  There are also great opportunities for brands and agencies to incorporate Vines into contests, product launches, sneak-peeks and helpful tips, hints and informational content.  At the end of the day, if your brand has a large presence on Twitter, Vine is a must.

Instagram Video

Key features:

  • 15 seconds
  • 13 filters
  • Editable
  • 130 million current Instagram users

Yes, you have a few more seconds of story-telling time with Instagram Video.  Nonetheless, make sure your clip captures viewers’ attention early on so viewers don’t drop out early. Filters and editing ability allows more creative freedom, but don’t abuse it. Again, simplicity and creativity are key. If your company already has a large fan base on Instagram, use video features to broaden brand awareness, improve your messaging to mobile users and engage your social media followers with richer content.

Ultimately, Vine and Instagram Video both share benefits video marketers shouldn’t ignore. In particular, both services are optimized for search engine indexing with the ability to use hashtags and tag individual users. Brands can search for user-generated content and monitor the ways fans share or respond to specific branded content campaigns, messages and hashtags.

Since Vine and Instagram Video have natural distribution channels through their respective parents Twitter and Facebook, distributing content is relatively cheap across both platforms.  Moreover, with branded Vines are shared four times as often as branded online videos, and branded content making up four percent of the top 100 tracked Vines, there’s evidence to suggest short-form video users are receptive (or, at least, more agnostic) to creative branded messaging.

As a marketer, if you aren’t already using Vine or Instagram Video, it’s time to
start.  Keep it simple; send a clear, effective message; don’t be afraid to experiment; and amplify the consumer-brand conversation through innovative social video.

5 Lessons for Startups Working with Large Brands

Written by Chris Bolman

As a one year old social video advertising tech company, our core target customer base is medium-to-large brands, agencies and media companies. In a lot of ways, we’re selling enterprise software products and video content marketing services. It’s been a blast so far, but at the same time we’ve definitely learned a few lessons over the past year as startup entrepreneurs serving the enterprise space that it would have been really helpful to know on day one. With the hope of imparting some wisdom that may help other current and future startups, here are 5 Lessons for Startups Working with Large Brands:

1. Expect Older Technology

“By the way, your [web]site keeps breaking in my browser,” an exec at a Fortune 500 company emailed me one afternoon.

Me: “What browser are you using?”

Exec: “Internet Explorer 7.”

Me [to myself]: Jesse from Breaking Bad

It was a particularly funny and pointed lesson that big, mature companies tend to use older technologies. Yes, I realize we’re all tearing through Github with our blazing-fast Macbooks doing epic, efficient things backed by cloud-hosting, but we need to keep in mind most of our big brand clients and prospects are probably reading emails in Outlook, working on PCs and using much different workflow tools than we are. Not only does this make product elements like backwards browser compatibility (and, *shiver* IE support) for your website important, but it’s also important from the standpoint of thinking about how your product might incorporate into an existing B2B user or department’s existing workflow.

2. Nothing Happens as Quickly as You Want it to

I’m going to preface this by calling this a generalization – in some cases I’ve seen big companies execute very quickly. That said, generally, there are controls, checks and decision-making hierarchies in place at enterprise customers that will never move at the pace of your lean, nimble startup.

Before you even start selling to most large brands, you’ll need to go through vendor approval. Rarely does vendor approval ever happen quickly. Sometimes vendor approval processes can completely stagnate, even if you have an internal champion trying to push your application through. If you’re selling a B2B product (unless it’s a low ticket item that can easily be expensed by a department manager with a small budget), add vendor approval timelines into assumptions about your sales cycle and revenue roadmap. It really matters.

Vendor approval however is just one example; others include invoicing, setting follow-up meetings, getting contracts completed and many more. As much as you want to come into a first business development meeting with a client ready to revolutionize their business, just realize their world is a lot bigger, safer, slower and more process-controlled than yours and set realistic expectations.

3. Most Big Companies Are Not Looking for the Next Hot Thing

Personally, I’m scanning Techcrunch and my Twitter feed on a daily basis trying to keep up with the pace of startup innovation and information flow. If you’re reading this, you probably are too. Most people are not like us. Quite the opposite, there’s genuine professional (and businesses) risk in adopting a new enterprise app that doesn’t work, doesn’t perform or doesn’t deliver its expected ROI. It’s a really good thing when your product or service makes someone at another company look good internally, or helps make their job safer. It’s a bad thing when it doesn’t. Build this thinking into your product development, sales and customer support process.

4. Always Go Into Meetings With an Agenda

A meeting with a Fortune 500 company is not a daily standup. When I’ve gone into meetings with a clear agenda and structure to run the meeting they typically go well. When I’ve gone into meetings with big clients unprepared sometimes it goes very not well. [Painful] lesson learned.

5. You Really Can’t Over-Communicate.

If you’re working with large brands (or agencies), chances are you’ve got stakeholders and points of contact in different business units, roles and teams. Unless you’re selling lower-priced, no-touch SaaS without much client-side customization or implementation, it’s critically important for your mutual success you try to ascertain what each contact is looking for out of the relationship, how each unit or stakeholder benchmarks their success, and how they like to be briefed or communicated to you. Moreover, there really is no such thing as over-communication with your larger clients. Quite the opposite, in many cases it can be really reassuring that at least one person on your team is a stable, available, friendly and transparent presence during the course of the relationship or engagement. It also re-communicates your brand and value. Even great inbound marketing companies with self-service SaaS products like Marketo and KissMetrics maintain consistent communication with customers via emails, blog updates and new product announcements (even if most of it’s automated). Again, to repeat, you really can’t over-communicate to your customers early on, particularly when it’s done on a person-to-person level.

What has your experience been as a startup or entrepreneur working with larger clients? Care to share your wisdom or war stories in the comments section?

10 Key Measurement Metrics for Video Marketers (Part 1)

Digital Marketing Measurement

Campaign measurement and metrics tracking is a must for digital content marketers. But, unlike other brand communication and advertising channels like PPC/SEM and blogging, where success is typically dictated by clicks and follow-on signup or purchase conversions, a common core objective in video marketing – particularly social video marketing – is to create content that encourages a strong enough emotional connection or response from a viewer that leads them to (1) share the video, (2) display a more positive affinity toward the brand, (3) explore additional brand properties (potentially further down the conversion funnel at a destination like a landing page or e-commerce store), or, even better, (4) perform some combination of all three. In other words, social video typically reaches people outside or at the very beginning of the typical inbound marketing funnel, a place where identification and attribution analysis can be most challenging.

As a result, video marketing success must be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively (with a heavy emotional component to the latter). Because of this, and with a goal of clarifying some common video marketing misconceptions, we’ve put together a practical guide to help digital marketers get started measuring the results of their video efforts.

1. Earned Media Views

Although a simple view count is the typical conversation starter when it comes to video performance, outside of directionally indicating content quality an impression count, total views are primarily a vanity metric that convey more symbolic significance than bottom-line results. In fact, probably the single most important thing a video view count establishes is social proof (or lack thereof) that the video might be worth looking at. All other things equal, from a consumer psychology standpoint, a video with 1,000,000 views will get a viewer’s click over a video with 10 views simply because of the perceived “potential interestingness” the higher view count conveys.

Why? For starters, views can be paid for. While there’s nothing wrong with this practice (in fact, quite the contrary, we actually encourage reasonable video distribution spending to help effectively seed marketing videos and help quality content get discovered online), the simple fact is that anyone can get a million views on their video with a large enough budget backing it. Second, a high number of views can still translate to low engagement from a minutes viewed and viewer retention standpoint if the video has a high, steep drop-off rate during watch sessions.

Our recommendation: Track your video’s absolute earned media (e.g., non-paid) video views from social media and search engine referral views.

Earned Media = Total Views – Owned Media (views from your website, Facebook page, etc.) – Paid Media (CPV or other promoted views)

If 20% or more of your video’s total views aren’t coming from earned media from social and search, you aren’t reaching audiences beyond your existing follower base, and it’s likely you should explore improving both the quality and the discoverability of your video content. Videos that are shared are 3 times more likely to be watched and are watched 3 times longer than a video that a user finds himself.

2. Shares

Over half a million branded videos are shared every 24 hours. What kind of share rates is your brand getting?

Based on ZoomTilt research and branded content performance data we’ve observed, a quality baseline share rate for social video is approximately 0.25%-0.50% direct shares (from the player or player-embedded page, excluding re-shares from social networks) as a percentage of total content views. In most cases, even smash hit digital video ad campaigns only see circa 2.5% direct share rates.

Be sure to track how your content is being shared. And, just as importantly, consider and try to benchmark why your content will be shared during the creation.

Why do people share things online according to the New York Times?

Psychology of Social Sharing

3. Subscriber Conversions

As marketers, we all recognize the importance of subscriber lists. In many cases, email lists are the backbone of web commerce companies like Fab, Karmaloop, Birchbox and Rue La La. Video marketing is no difference: there’s much less value in a one-time view or share than a subscriber who sticks around for more.

In fact, if you’re using a hosting provider like Wistia, you can even capture email conversions within your video player:

Wistia conversion

However, with the bulk of social video activity happening on YouTube (and driven by shares of YouTube embeds on blogs and social networks), YouTube channel subscribers is a critical metric for the ongoing success of your video content marketing efforts.

An interesting case study example is “The Beauty Inside” video campaign by Intel & Toshiba. Released as an interactive web series, “The Beauty Inside” reached close to 7 million YouTube views and 14 million Facebook page interactions, according to Intel. At a high level, clearly a success, particularly in light of the fact that a concurrent Toshiba laptop campaign running through Best Buy saw sales increase from 200 units a week to 900 units a week during the campaign’s early release.

But one place the “The Beauty Inside” campaign seems to fall short is cultivating YouTube subscribers. As most social media marketers know, a Facebook page like just isn’t what it used to be (more specifically, it’s about 10% of what it used to be), so getting high Facebook engagement from a social video campaign is nice, but less impactful than adding new YouTube subscribers. Moreover, because Intel and Toshiba released “The Beauty Inside” on a special branded channel titled TheBeautyInsideFilm, the 16,000 subscribers they collected don’t subscribe to Intel or Toshiba’s YouTube pages, which TheBeautyInsideFilm doesn’t even bother to link to. In some way, while insulating the artistic integrity of “The Beauty Inside” from overt branding, both brands sacrificed their opportunity to build their YouTube subscriber base – a mis-step in our view.

Our recommendation: pay attention to and encourage subscriptions (channel, email) within your social video campaigns. Building a robust subscriber list on YouTube is one of the best ways to drive recurring brand engagement with your video content.

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In next week’s Part 2 we’ll continue our discussion of key measurement metrics for video marketers, looking at click-through-rates (CTRs), view-to-completion, and more, so don’t miss out!

Introducing ZoomTilt Analytics

Today, we’re pleased to announce the beta release of ZoomTilt Analytics – a self-service software tool for A/B testing videos to help users identify and optimize their top-performing video content. The goal of ZoomTilt Analytics is to help businesses and video creators:

  1. Make better, more audience-targeted videos by compiling feedback and data from real, relevant viewers;
  2. Make smarter decisions about what videos to create, how to edit them and how to release them; and
  3. Increase video marketing return on investment.

The trial version of ZoomTilt Analytics, which allows experimenters to easily set up and run video A/B tests from YouTube, is now available as a free service on ZoomTilt.com. In addition, our ZoomTilt Analytics Premium service now gives brands, agencies and media companies the ability to create and customize video A/B tests around specific target audience profiles and marketing metrics.

We’re very excited to share ZoomTilt Analytics with you, we have plans to introduce lots of new features and capabilities, and we welcome any feedback or questions you’d like to share with us. Interested in learning more about the benefits of ZoomTilt Analytics Premium for your business? Contact us today to get started.

Check out the video below for a demo of ZoomTilt Analytics in action:

Online Video, the Catch Twenty-Two of Advertising?

The online video production and online video advertising industry insiders were buzzing yesterday when this Tubefilter article was published announcing that 80-85% of video ads are skipped.

REELSeo responded and published this article, which asks the question, “are we too optimistic when it comes to online video advertising?”

Is everyone really as shocked as they are writing? Online video and video on demand services have allowed us to skip advertising for years now. Skipping advertisements is almost the pioneering purpose for why people have turned to watching online video in the first place. At least, my thought has always been:

“If I watch my video online than I can watch what I came to watch and that is it. I don’t need to sit through an ad that I know is intentionally trying to sell me something.” 

First and foremost, however, I watch video online to be entertained. If I can’t skip an advertisement I am still pretty hell bent on watching a video, however I am just going to walk away really quickly and come back when the video is on.

I continuously search for the best in online video so that I can share with my friends and they can see that I am knowledgable of what is out there and also portray that I am a funny, witty and carefree kind of gal.

Due to an increasing use of tablets, smartphones and the like, mobile and online video numbers are on the rise according to this Business Insider article. I have to ask advertisers: is online video the “catch twenty-two” of advertising? 

Since it seems inevitable these days that some thought needs to be given to online video but online video advertisements are only watched about 15% of the time, how can advertisers guarantee that their message is going to be viewed?

This is a call to big ad agencies and ad executives: Tell me, how do you feel about this? What are your plans to handle this? Do you think it will change? Can it and how will it?

I think the answer is simple, advertisers need to consider putting their dollars towards entertainment. Less ad focused content and more entertainment focused content will guarantee that your dollars are being spent wisely. Think about it. If I am going to watch a video, skipping an advertisement, you might as well find a way to make the entertaining video somehow your advertisement.

I’d like to hear some thoughts on this. Tweet me @TheeAmyDee.

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Need to learn more about how to create an entertaining video for your brand? email Bryan Ryczek, Business Evangelist at ZoomTilt;  bryan [at] zoomtilt [dot] com.