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.

YouTube Creator Academy: Lesson 1 – 3

This week our Manager of Brand and Community Relations, Amy DePaola (also known on Twitter as @TheeAmyDee), dove into her first ever MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with the YouTube Creator’s Academy.

Amy, who has produced several web based series, including 617 The Series and the second season of The Rookie Bartender, decided to let us in on some of the secrets that only 32,000 YouTubers are partaking in.

In lessons one through three, which were led by Tastemade’s SORTED Food, Amy learned the difference between subscribers and non-subscribers and how they effect “watch time” and “clicks.” Ultimately, it is subscribers who up your channels “watch-time” and the YTCA is divulging insight into how to increase your subscriber base. In fact, in the new welcome module that YouTube deployed, your subscribers and your non-subscribers see two different page set-ups. Non-subscribers are prompted with a welcome teaser video while subscribers are led right into a channel’s playlist and related content. Both of which creator’s can control.

In addition to how to gain subscribers and design/layout, Amy learned about branding, which brought some perspective as to how you should treat your YouTube page. That is if you are serious about making yourself or your creation about a business. Amy has mentioned that this experience has been motivating for her and she would love if you will follow her as she rebuilds her individual YouTube presence.

YouBrand RoundUP: Auto Edition

ZoomTilt is bringing you YouBrand RoundUP, a once a week in-depth analysis of  video content from top brands in focused industries.

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The auto industry is no stranger to viral video marketing. In fact, there is a reason why we chose this industry as our first industry of focus in the YouBrand Round Up.

Last week Crain’s Business Detroit published this article that discusses how marketers in the auto industry are focusing on delivering TV content that jumps to the “second-screen”; those devices hardly anyone can live without: lap-tops, tablets and mobile phones. It is proven that TV content drives internet search so the logic is that eyes that are watching advertisements on TV, especially ones that leave them with something to search for, or something that has “repetitiveness” and it just has to be watched again, will generate “second-screen” attention and more importantly it will be shared on “second-screen” platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Another Crain’s Business Detroit article highlights the “Top 10 viral auto ads” however, all the listed ads also began on television and only entered into the “second screen” sector following their television debut. Yet, in order to be considered “viral” they had to go to the second screen. Interesting.

It is fair to say that the auto industry considers a successful advertising campaign to have “unimaginable Superbowl like numbers,” and these days marketers have to look to the “second-screen” chatter to calculate these numbers accurately.

So, who is taking the brave and the incredibly smart leap over the budget-wasting step of television and heading straight to the “second-screen” from the auto industry. Here’s our YouBrand RoundUP: The Auto Edition:

The 8 YouTube Original Channels: Automotive:

What began as eight featured “original channels” promoted through the “YouTube Original Channels Series” now lists about ten channels that focus on topics that affect consumer opinions on their car/motorcycle purchases, fantasies and general knowledge.

On the Drive Channel, Swedish luxury car designer, Koenigsegg, had their own show which goes inside the meticulous process to create the car, which is a sleek, high-end, sports car, in nine-episodes.

Jaguar F-Type presents Desire:

The most recent video campaign in the auto industry accompanies Jaguar’s release of their first sports car in 50 years. The 12 minute short film that debuted online last month stars Homeland’s Damien Lewis and features a commissioned song by Lana Del Ray. The film itself only has about 43,000 views on YouTube while additional videos such as the behind the scenes and the making of have between 1,000 and 3,000 views.

This is nowhere near “viral” or the Superbowl like numbers that advertisers in the auto industry like to see but there is a lot we can learn from this. I’ll explain further.

Audi and BMW, been there, done that:

In 2010, Audi released an original mini-series The Next Big Thing which starred Justin Timberlake. Big Thing, unlike its predecessor BMW’s The Hirewas told serially, meaning you had to watch the episodes in order to understand the story, whereas Hire was a series of different stories with the same lead character portrayed by Clive Owen.

Both Big Thing and Hire had views that dipped into the several hundred thousands. It is hard for me to sit here in 2013 and even state a fair and accurate number because fans of the cars as well as the actors and the series’ themselves also uploaded the episodes to their channels as well to share (key word here) with their friends.

Ford, still doing it and doing it well:

Ford has a decent amount of original content that they have been churning out over the past few years. Late last year they announced the launch of their original series to accompany the release of the new Ford Escape, Escape My Life.The series has over 2,000 subscribers to its channel and over 1 million views. Its channel page has added features that allow viewers to create their own content that relates to the series, such as the Barry memes, of which one can assume that when it is shared (huh, huh, that word again!) it will spark the interest of others and they’ll click through a bunch of hyperlinks to find out where the source of the meme was – and oh – “ta-da! Its part of Escape My Life…that’s weird I was just thinking about a new car . . “

I really enjoy the series over the other’s that I’ve discussed in this YouBrand RoundUP but that is because I am a woman, who works in the film industry that needs a car that is not only functional for my work but is comfortable, stylish and affordable (I’m single too.).

At first glance, one would say that Jaguar “did it wrong” because they chose to make a 12 minute film as oppose to a short episode no more than 4-5 minutes. Something shorter would’ve gotten them more views, no?

I wouldn’t consider Jaguar a failure based on their low number of views. The Jaguar F-type clearly has a very niche customer. And there aren’t many of them. The average consumer isn’t purchasing a sports car, let alone a luxury sports car. Those guys, well, they are like Damien Lewis in a gray suit and tie, classy, educated and fantasize about beautiful Latina women.

I’ll stop beating around the bush: Visual marketing and advertising these days needs to go beyond showing your consumers what the product is or who uses it. Brands, such as the brands listed here in our YouBrand RoundUp: Auto Edition have gone beyond the traditional commercial that does so and have told the stories of their consumers, or at least how their consumers want to see themselves.

I’m just saying. I’m a quirky, fun-loving, humorous, late twenty-something who drives a crossover very similar to the Ford Escape.

 

 

Brands Take Note! Online Video Was in the Headlines Today (and yesterday..and probably tomorrow too).

Other than the fact that the humidity in Boston was turning the mop on my head into something that looked straight out of Welcome Back Kotter, I noticed something this morning: The topic of online video was prevalent in my Twitter feed.

That’s right, my brand ambassadors, online video is making headlines and it is time to take note.

From, local Boston based media outlet, BostInno to industry insiders such as Tubefilter and REELSeo, to the Wall Street Journal, today’s news highlighted the key notion that online video is coming close to viewer domination.

Tubefilter, the curator of online video and online video news, reported this morning the Comscore Online 2013 April Rankings boasted that online video ads were up to a whopping 13.2 billion views.

With that many eyeballs glued to online video, BostInno’s business editor, Walter Frick asked the question “can ad targeting be creative?”

Frick goes on in his article (a part of Genuine Interactive’s sponsored series, Branding that Clicks) to say that “[he] expect(s) that as our targeting technologies continue to improve, a new form of creativity in advertising will arise, one that seeks to tell stories through targeting. Just like a TV campaign might begin with one ad and then progress throughout a narrative, expect ad targeting campaigns to be even more elaborate.”

Obviously, you know over here at ZoomTilt we’ve gotten rid of old-fashioned words such as “ad” and “advertisements” and have replaced it with “web-series.”

What better way to get creative than trimming the fat and just using the ingredients your brand cares about? Let us streamline your message to your consumers. Let’s do without your “ads” having to support another narrative. Let us make your “ads” THE narrative; the reason why consumers and audience members are watching; the reason why consumers are sharing content. Call me crazy but to me that sounds more like “branding that clicks.”

Established brands are hopping into the ocean of YouTube distributed content with Discovery announcing just this week plans for expansion with online video. The cable network’s original channel is joining the likes of Yahoo! and Amazon, who also recently unveiled original programming plans.

Investors are taking note too. All the buzz on Wall Street is over which platform will get them their big golden seed of ROI. 

Tubefilter’s Sam Gutelle, sums up our thoughts exactly by adding this fun fact:

“84.7% of Americans are now online video viewers. We can’t rest until that number is at 100%. Tell your grandparents about YouTube today!”

At 15.3%, grandparents probably do allocate for the only members of the population that aren’t watching online videos. Even my 4 year-old nephew watches video on my sister’s cell phone while she tries to enjoy a meal in public. Reaching a younger audience was Discovery’s “big reason” for taking the leap into online video. How are you reaching those consumers, you know the ones who have a lifetime of spending ahead of them?

But no really, take note and ask yourself, how are you spending your advertising dollars these days?

Can a Social Video Series Save HubSpot $31K?

HubSpot is offering a $30,000 referral bonus for referrals to help them recruit qualified software developers. ZoomTilt offers a social video package priced at $29K. If the use of a widely-shared, demographically-targeted and Hubspot-branded social video series (which we’d be happy to produce) inspires [at least] two great developers to apply to Hubspot, ZoomTilt would save HubSpot $31,000 without blunting the force of their HR-driven PR campaign.

Every company on the cutting edge of technology needs great software developers, right? Hubspot agrees.

Know a great developer? Refer them to HubSpot for $30K!

This common notion has been emphatically reinforced by Inbound Marketing heavyweight HubSpot’s announcement of a $30,000 bounty for a successful developer referral. Hubspot hopes to fill 15 developer jobs through the referral program, meaning there is up to $450K to be claimed by those possessing an extensive developer database. 

Is throwing money in the direction of the problem the best way to attract top developer talent? Generally accepted thought says that monetary compensation is often secondary to developers, who typically care most about things like:

  • Autonomy
  • Environments where they can learn and try new things
  • Creativity in problem solving
  • Building something that matters
  • Excellent management
  • Recognition

Does Hubspot have a culture problem, preventing top talent acquisition? Not from conversations I have had. Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of talking with three Hubspot developers after an event, all were quick to evangelize Hubspot’s working environment as one of the best in which they had participated.

Hubspot also goes above and beyond to promote great office culture and share culture insights openly. Hubspot’s CultureCode Slideshare garnered over 300,000 views in three weeks after hitting the web.

So why the $30,000 referral bonus? Is there a different way to get the same result?

To answer this question, I reached out to Luis Reyes, video content producer at video game company Nexon. Luis was the creative force behind Nexon’s web series, ‘Testers’, and had this to say about the impact a web series can have on company culture,

“In general, I would say, just having video content that featured the staff, either fictionalized by actors in Testers, or in interviews in Blabber Box (which was our variety show), it helped engage everyone that worked at Nexon. In fact, our Marketing Director from about two years ago sited our video content as one of the reason he wanted to come to Nexon. So I think there is a benefit.

A web series is always good. Its [impact is] two fold. (A) I think that a web series helps put a human face on an industry for a broader audience; and (B) It becomes like defacto entertainment for the current staff, able to articulate the frustrations and emotions of an industry in a way that more blanket entertainment can’t.”

What do you think? Is sharable, entertaining video a valuable recruiting tool internet companies are missing out on? Does spending $29K on a ZoomTilt social video package that results in one qualified developer hire or a developer remaining at Hubspot makes financial sense? What are some other creative solutions to this problem?

New Web Series Episode: Why You Never Set Your Friend Up on a Blind Date in Boston

A new episode from Boston comedy dating web series “617: The Series”

New Filmmaker Opportunity: Vistaprint Independent Business Owner Web Series Competition

Vistaprint Independent Business Owner Web Series Competition

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our newest filmmaker opportunity in partnership with Vistaprint: the Reality or Fiction? Independent Business Owner Web Series Competition.  Vistaprint, a global leader in affordable, high-quality products for small and emerging businesses, is looking for both narrative and reality show web series that will captivate viewers with the unique emotional highs and lows of being a small business owner or entrepreneur.

Starting today through February 24, pitches are being accepted at ZoomTilt.com. Interested filmmakers can pitch to Vistaprint’s narrative brief, reality show brief or both – best of all there’s no limit to the number of times you pitch!  Multiple finalists will be selected and funded to produce pilot episodes of their series, and if Vistaprint (not to mention your audience) loves your pilot, you could win a $15,000 per episode web series deal!  For more information, visit ZoomTilt.com – and feel free to forward this opportunity to friends and colleagues if you think you can handle the extra competition.

Good luck – and may the best filmmaker win!

All Five Web Series Finalists Now Live

Overcoming hurricanes, floods, location cancels, equipment malfunctions and more (although, admittedly, some projects did a better job of overcoming than others), all five TV Reset Project web series finalists’ pilots have now arrived on ZoomTilt TV.

The five finalist pilot episodes are presented below in alphabetical order. Remember, all five shows are competing in our first web TV competition, so go check them all out and, most importantly, share the shows you like with your friends and social media followers. Your share is your vote!
 

“Cool Justice” by Todd Rulapaugh and Brian Groh


 

“Not So Super” by Christophor Rick


 

“The Pickup Chicks” by Stacie Capone and Small Media Extra Large


 

“Shining City” by Douglas Stark


 

“Spycology” by Tenth Gate Productions


 

Thanks again to all of our entrants, semi-finalists and finalists for all their hard work and dedication through the entire competition. Now everybody go view, vote and share!

7 Video Marketing Benefits Brands Need to Know

Video marketing is a content marketing cornerstone, and an integral aspect of brand reach, influence, experience and inbound engagement. Regardless of what your brand identity is, if you aren’t prioritizing video marketing within your content marketing roadmap, then you’re missing one of the best opportunities to draw audiences and customers to an immersive message that is (1) highly sharable in digital and (2) when done correctly, creates high-valence emotional connections. Video marketing can put tiny companies like Dollar Shave Club firmly on the blog roll in a matter of weeks, catapult fledging startups like Ministry of Supply to Kickstarter campaign immortality and event help an established brand like Samsung reinvent itself as the hip, iconic upstart usurping Apple’s smart phone dominance.

AudiencesWantaStory

Source: Edelman and Adobe.

Overall, there are many benefits to video marketing, including these seven benefits every digital marketer needs to know:

7. Less Investment Needed for Video Marketing Than You Might Think

Did your agency just quote you $200,000 for that social video campaign activation for two quarters from now? Then you’re talking to the wrong solution provider. The reality is technology, information access and competition among creatives has dramatically dropped the cost of procuring high quality, professional video. Moreover, branded video doesn’t need sparkling big-budget studio color-correction to succeed with online audiences.  Rather, it needs to resonate with viewers by being hilarious, edgy, inspiring or shocking, and above all, authentic, with characters, visuals and experiences people relate to.  As a result,  companies like Ford, Ikea, Proctor & Gamble, KMart, Target, AT&T and Fidelity are finding that with just a fraction of their TV ad budget, some savvy storyboarding, social media integration and a thoughtful distribution strategy, digital video marketing significantly outperforms the ROI from traditional TV ad investment.

Which would you rather watch?

Traditional media (sorry eHarmony):

New media:

We thought so too.

6. Precision Targeting

With digital video marketing your brand can reach a targeted consumer audience with relative ease.  And by properly taking advantage of social media, distribution channel and keyword targeting, your priority demographic audience can be engaged with near-surgical precision.  By combining good content with sufficient seeding to drive an initial, critical mass of viewers to their content microsite, YouTube channel and/or social media hub, brands can hit an earned media home run from social sharing and viral referral.  Advocates who like your video are more than empowered to tag, retweet, repost, pin or re-blog it if you make content that is highly sharable.

5. When People Care They Share and Participate

Watching video generates approximately 60% of internet traffic. Other data show that YouTube’s 1 million daily unique visitors watch nearly 3 billion videos per day, with 46% of those viewers taking some sort of action for every TrueView ad they see – typically by clicking the “skip” button.  Today’s consumers are highly-connected, easily-distracted internet-informed socialites who recognize when a company is creating value for them rather than just trying to shove a product or message down their throats.  This doesn’t mean Millenials can’t be advertised to; but it does mean the way advertising communicates and engages them has fundamentally changed.  When 18 to 24 year olds were asked “How do you want to a brand to interact with you?” in a study performed by Global Web Index, over 65% of respondents replied “Entertain me,” a response which occurred higher than “Keep me informed,” “Connect me with people” or “Provide me with interesting experiences.”  Moreover, because video is such “leveraged communication” (if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be 100,000+?), the stakes for both success and failure are bigger as well as faster.  A truly viral video is elusive – as well as marketing nirvana – but it’s a lot easier to create audience engagement magic and widespread social chatter with a recurring, character-driven video story viewers tune into episode after episode.

Generally, a broad range of recent success stories in branded video entertainment points toward five key themes in winning the battle for video engagement: (1) be authentic, (2) tell a compelling, recurring story, (3) manage content duration and pacing for maximum entertainment payload, (4) give audiences a way to get involved and participate if they want and (5) experiment; try new things.  Particularly relevant (and good news) for marketers is the fact that audience’s social sharing of content happens irrespective of the presence or absence of branding and branded messages within the content.  Additionally, highly engaged audiences do convert better, in many cases showing 300% higher ad click-through rates on high-quality web TV series compared to average industry pre-roll rates.

4. Humanizing the Brand Experience and Increasing Accessibility

Being more than just a brand is essential to the dialogue you maintain with our customers and social followers. Audiences today want to see the heart, people and characters behind the logo, and video marketing is the one of the best ways to achieve that.  When Hubspot rallies its inbound team to perform a cover-rendition of Psy’s viral YouTube opus “Gangnam Style” or Pixability puts its team front and center in entertaining, informational skits on its YouTube channel, it demystifies the brand in an accessible way that enables audiences to enjoy an insider’s perspective.

3. Video Marketing Simultaneously Solidifies Your Inbound and Outbound Marketing Presence

Having a strong, joint outbound and inbound marketing presence is not just smart; in today’s digital marketing landscape it might as well be a necessary. Strong, video marketing allows for this to be achieved with a great deal of ease by generating and proliferating content that simultaneously broadcasts the brand experience and also draws in audiences around conversion destinations.

2. Trial & Error

In the old days of video marketing, brands could simply advertise their product on someone else’s content (for example, TV), because the content brought people’s captive attention to their message.  But with traditional TV viewer growth stagnant, time-shifted TV becoming the status quo and 33-50% of TV viewers also consuming additional content on a second-screen device, brands need to embrace new content marketing approaches to bridge the engagement gap.  According to the Ruder Finn Intent Index, not surprisingly 82% of people want to be entertained, 96% of people want to be educated, and 92% of people want to be participating in something meaningful.  Put that together and it’s not surprising in hindsight that “This is Not Yellow” was a smash success.

But who could have predicted that? The great thing about digital video is that its cost structure and its medium makes experimentation and controlled tests with different content types, experiences and ecosystems a lot easier than, say, experimenting with Super Bowl Commercials.  At ZoomTilt, our business centers around testing, piloting, analyzing and distributing a broad range of branded entertainment concepts before we advise our clients to make their media buy and serialize content.  That way, video marketers have a lot more certainty around the brand experience they’re creating, the app integration(s) they want to run, as well as the ROI, engagement, reach and earned media outlook for the campaign.

1. Striking Gold: Content that Goes Viral

The holy grail of video marketing is seeing content catch on like wildfire and end up instantly spread all over the web within days. When this happens, a little-known content creator or brand can find themselves transformed into a cultural icon overnight.  While it’s impossible to target “virality as a strategy,” gradually building a vested audience with steady, high-quality video content marketing certainly increases the chances that a specific video will catch and ignite.  But rather than chasing a single, viral “home run,” steadily hitting singles and doubles – videos that collect tens of thousands of views, consistently broaden awareness of your brand’s message and increase your social reach –  can not only supercharge the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts, it can set the stage for when that perfect storm of a video happens to come along: