Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or someone who’s new to the game, you can’t have failed to notice the rise of video blogging, or vlogging, over the last year or so. More and more bloggers are supplementing their usual content with videos, often recorded just using a webcam or a smartphone, talking about everything under the sun.
However, for those that haven’t taken the plunge yet the idea of vlogging can be intimidating. Just like pitching up for your first day at a new school, there’s a fear that you might not fit in, you might not look quite right or say the right things. Just like the schoolyard the internet is a place full of people who aren’t afraid to comment, and putting yourself out there on camera can be disconcerting.
So what are the challenges you need to overcome and what should you do to ensure you become popular and part of the cool crowd? Let’s find out.
Imagine turning up for your first day at school, you might spend hours thinking about what to wear to make a good impression and look cool. The same thing might apply when thinking about making your first vlog, this is going to be the first time your community is going to see you in the flesh.
Is my hair perfect? What clothes should I put on? What kind of lighting should I have? These are the questions you might be considering, and it’s perfectly natural, but should you really worry about what everyone else thinks? The most important thing is just being comfortable. That means dressing as you normally would and acting like you normally would, it means being yourself.
Are the people, both on the internet and in the schoolyard, who judge you on how you look worth caring about? The people who become your friends like you for who you are and what you talk about. That goes for your blog community too. They visit your blog because they love your content, the stuff you talk about and the way you talk about it. What you wear or how you look doesn’t come into it.
And don’t hold back
Sat in a classroom for the first time it’s pretty tempting to keep your head down and only talk when absolutely necessary. The temptation is the same with vlogging. You might do it, but only because you feel you have to.
Don’t succumb to the temptation though, you’re not afraid to voice your opinions and ideas, you’re a blogger after all! The best way to get started is to just get stuck in, hold your head up high and be confident.
It gets easier
Being the new kid at school isn’t easy, but it gets better with time as you find your feet and settle into it. The same is true of vlogging and before you know it you’ll feel completely at home.
All it takes is a bit of confidence and the courage of your convictions. The idea isn’t to fit in and be part of the crowd, but to be yourself and to talk about the things you want to talk about. Isn’t that why you set up that blog in the first place? So why not get started today?
The ‘Year of Mobile’ has been and gone, we live in a world where instant access to the content we need is considered a given. In this stats pack we’ve pulled together some figures from around the internet on trends in the way we access content, our device preference for online video and the increasingly important role of mobile commerce.The way people access content is changing
US: “Time spent consuming media online and in mobile among 18-49 year olds has ballooned in the past four years while consumption of TV, radio and print have shrunk.”
(SpotXchange, Survival Guide to the Digital Video Landscape, November 2012)
US: “One of the reasons for this is, of course, the growing smartphone and tablet penetration. Forrester found that about half of U.S. online adults now own a smartphone and two-thirds even own multiple connected devices. Tablet adoption doubled since 2011 and is now at 19 percent.”
(Forrester, The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2012, US)
UK “Nearly 1/3 of page views in the UK now occur on a smartphone or tablet. The rapid adoption of internet enabled devices is contributing to a more fragmented digital media landscape.”
(ComScore, UK Digital Future in Focus, 2013 p.3)
“Mobile and tablet shoppers are 3x times as likely to view a video as laptop or desktop users.”
(Forbes. Video+Tablets: The Mobile Catalyst for E-Commerce (Watch out Amazon!). 2012)
UK “The online video audience in the UK grew 8 percent in the past year, whilst the audience for video viewing on a mobile grew 262 percent. YouTube still top video property followed by Amazon and Facebook.”
(ComScore, UK Digital Future in Focus, 2013 p.3)
US: “Last year, eMarketer estimates, US retail mcommerce sales shot up 81% to nearly $25 billion. This year, a further increase of 55.7% in sales is expected, and mobile sales will account for 15% of all retail ecommerce.”
(eMarketer, Jan 10 2013)
UK: “Almost 70% of tablet owners make a purchase on their device every month.”
(InMobi and Mobext, The Role of Tablets in the Consumer Sales Journey, 2012)
If you’re a blogger who has invested countless hours building a community of people who come to your website because what you say chimes with them in some way, you’ve probably started thinking about how you can make some money from your labour of love.
The question many bloggers ask is whether you can do it without getting that nagging feeling you’ve sold out. Let’s take a look at some ideas for how you can create great content, make money from it and sleep soundly at night.
Promote a product
Blogs are credible because of their independence. If you’re a film reviewer, you can be as brutally honest as you want about the latest blockbuster because, well, who’s going to stop you? People can relate to this honesty and trust it, just think about how important user reviews have become on ecommerce websites. We want to know what real people think.
If your blog talks about products, whether just mentioned in a video tutorial or fully road-tested in an in-depth review, the best way to make money is to give your community a way of purchasing that product, assuming you’re being positive about it of course! Your credibility on whatever subject you talk about is bound to influence the buying decisions of your community, so if you recommend a product, give them a way to take the natural next step and get hold of it.
Promote a merchant
However, if you’re a blogger whose content isn’t focused on individual products, this isn’t an option that’s available to you. Never fear though, rather than giving your community a way to get hold of specific items, why not connect them with a reputable merchant in a similar sector to that of your blog?
For instance, you might be a mum or dad who runs a blog giving advice and tips on the trials and tribulations of parenthood, along with all those funny anecdotes about your little terrors! Why not direct your audience to a merchant that sells childcare products, clothing and accessories? The connection is still relevant, and you can choose to only promote a company whose values you believe in.
Promote a brand with shared values
So what happens when you can’t find a way to promote a relevant product, and you can’t think of a merchant or company you want to promote more generally? It’s a difficult one, because the more general you get with your connections to places outside of your blog, the higher the risk there is that your community thinks you’re just trying to make money out of them.
There is another solution though, you can promote a brand that has shared values with you. Let’s use the example of a music blogger who devotes hours to buying new music and reviewing it for her audience. She can’t find an affiliate link for a particular album, but also doesn’t want to be seen to be promoting one record label over another on the back of liking one artist on their roster. However, she’s a keen surfer and most of the music she reviews has come out of the surf scene, so it might make sense to connect her community to a brand with similar cultural values to the music she reviews, like a surf brand.
Before you go to bed
Connecting your blog posts with a particular product, merchant or brand and earning commission on each sale you contribute to is the basis of what’s known as affiliate marketing. ProBlogger has a great article on 10 popular affiliate programs for small and medium-sized blogs for you to check out. If you’re a video blogger, maybe Coull Vidlinkr is for you?
Whatever service you use to make money from your blog, promoting something that’s relevant to your content and your community is key to picking up a cheque and sleeping soundly at night. It might be a bit more work than installing banners or Google AdWords, but it’ll be worth it.
For the last seven years the Performance Marketing Awards (PMA) have rewarded innovation and excellence in what is a rapidly-expanding industry. This year we are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Best Brand Engagement Campaign award.
The PMA categories cover channels such as mobile and search, as well as verticals from travel to retail and technology. The Best Brand Engagement Campaign award, for which our campaign for Tesco Direct is shortlisted, focuses on campaigns that have been successful in engaging consumers and meeting client objectives across channels such as video, social, print, and email.
We worked with Tesco Direct over the Christmas shopping period to deliver an online video campaign with a difference, promoting product videos across mobile and desktop platforms, connecting consumers with Tesco Direct’s ecommerce site and driving sales. Coull’s comprehensive tracking of viewers’ consumer journeys enabled Tesco Direct to link video distribution costs to sales revenue and see a clear return on investment. For more information, see the full case study here.
The awards ceremony will be take place on May 7 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London. Last year’s was certainly a memorable event, so we’re looking forward to catching up with the movers and shakers in the performance marketing industry and celebrating everyone’s achievements over the last twelve months.
See you then.
If you run a blog and have an audience of like-minded people who regularly visit your site for your latest content, it makes sense to think about new ways to engage your community and grow it. If you haven’t started using video on your blog, this is probably the easiest, most effective way for you to give your visitors a rich experience.
In this blog we’ll give you everything you need to know to start using video on your blog, it’s such a simple process that within hours you’ll be dropping videos into your content like a pro!
Step 1 – Getting video content
If you’re going to use video on your blog, you’re going to need some video. There’s two ways of getting hold of video content.
- Option 1: Record your own
Get your smartphone out or purchase a cheap camera, record video snippets like how-to guides, product reviews or daily updates, create a YouTube account and upload your videos there for free.
There’s a reason YouTube is by far and away the most popular video hub on the internet, it’s free for you to upload videos and have them hosted, with simple options for managing your content and sharing it. For a blogger it’s our recommended option.
- Option 2: Choose one from YouTube
There’s a wealth of content on YouTube, and the creators of that content make it available for anyone to share via social networks or embed on their blogs.
Step 2 – Grabbing the ‘embed code’
Once you’ve selected the YouTube video you want to place on your blog (whether your own or someone elses), the next step is to grab what’s called an ‘embed code’. This is a string of html code than you can copy and paste into your blog’s content and it will pull in the YouTube video you want to feature.
With Easter a couple of days away, perhaps a cheeky how-to guide to making Easter Eggs would make a nice bit of content?
- Go to YouTube and find/search for your chosen video, then click the ‘Share’ button beneath the video. If you want to use a YouTube video someone has already embedded on their blog, like the one above, click the YouTube button in the bottom right corner of the video player and you’ll get to the video’s page on YouTube itself
- Click the ‘Embed’ button in the menu that appears below it
- Tailor the options that appear to suit you, before highlighting the embed code in the box and copying it to your clipboard (right-click, select ‘copy’). The ‘Video Size’ option is important, as this will decide the proportions of the video frame when you embed it on your blog. 560×315 is the default, and will look great, but if you have space, try going for a larger size. Make your video the centrepiece of your content.
Step 3 – Putting the video on your blog
Ok, so you’ve found the video you want to embed on your blog and you’ve copied the embed code, nice job. The next thing to do is to place that embed code within your blog article.
Login to your blog’s content management system to add a new post or edit an existing one. Whether you’re using WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or any other blog provider, the interface is generally similar. Locate the point in your post where you want to put the video, and simply paste the embed code there.
When you’re happy with the rest of your blog post that, pretty much, is that! You’ve successfully embedded a video within your blog and added rich new content for your community to enjoy. Now crack on and do some more!
Reasoned arguments, personal insights and gut instinct are all well and good, but there comes a time when you just want some stats to back it all up with. When it comes to the online video ecosystem there’s a huge amount of data on smartphones and tablets, video success metrics and the rise and fall of CPMs, so we thought we’d do the hard work for you and curate it all for you.
Once every three months we’ll post a blog with the key stats we’ve scraped from various recent industry sources and categorize them in a way that makes it easy for you to find the info that’s relevant to you. We’ll also try and link out to the original source where possible. First up are some juicy stats on trends in online video consumption and adspend.Online video consumption continues to grow, helped by mobile
In the US
“More than 188 million U.S. Internet users watched 37.7 billion online content videos in August 2012, while video ad views totaled 9.5 billion, according to comScore.”
(ComScore Video Metrix Trend, August 2012)
“57% of Gen Y viewers say they watched a TV network channel from 8-9pm in 2012, down from 82% in 2008. They are instead streaming video, watching a recorded program or playing video games.”
(GfK Research, PrimeTime TV 2004-2012)
In the UK
“The online video audience in the UK grew 8 percent in the past year, whilst the audience for video viewing on a mobile grew 262 percent. YouTube still top video property followed by Amazon and Facebook.”
(ComScore, UK Digital Future in Focus, 2013 p.3)
“There were 37.5 million online video viewers in December 2012 on PCs, an increase of 8% year on year.”
(comScore Video Metrix, December 2012, UK 6+)
“A YouTube executive recently said mobile accounts for 25% of video views, up from 6% just 18 months earlier.”
(Robert Kyncl, Global Head of Content Partnerships, Abu Dhabi Media Summit)
(Latest official YouTube statistics here)
In the US
“Forrester Research projects online video revenue (online video adspend) to grow from almost $2.5 billion this year to $5.4 billion by 2016.”
(Forrester Research Online Display Advertising Forecast, 2012 To 2016 (US))
“Increased online video budgets will also result from reallocated media spend from banner, search, classified and other online advertising the IAB says accounted for $17bn in the first half of 2012.”
(SpotXchange, Survival Guide to the Digital Video Landscape, November 2012)
Interesting chart here (data from eMarketer), which features in the SpotXChange article referenced above, showing the disparity between the time people spend in a particular media channel and the percentage of advertising spend that channel receives.
“86% of the agencies responding to AdMonsters and Adap.tv’s European Digital Video Outlook purchased digital video in 2012, with 93% reporting an increae in video budget.”
(AdMonsters & Adap.tv’s European Digital Video Outlook, 2013, p.2)
In the UK
“Brands in Britain spent £109 million on online video ads in 2011, a 200% increase on 2010 and 800% increase since 2008.”
(Internet Advertising Bureau, May 2012)
Have you got any stats you want us to add to this list? Leave a comment and let us know.
Last week we looked at Vine and the opportunities this six-second video platform presents for bloggers. This week we’re going consider the value in Vine for brands, or whether for the big players it’s a distracting bandwagon that you shouldn’t be jumping on.
Less is sometimes more
On March 2 French electro-duo Daft Punk released a 15-second teaser trailer for their new album during American TV’s Saturday Night Live. One comment on the YouTube version simply says: “15 seconds are enough to hype the sh** out of me”. Before long it had been cut into a six-second Vine and the Twittersphere was buzzing with rumours and conjecture on what the new album would be like and when Daft Punk would be touring again. A tiny piece of content stimulated massive noise — is this is a microcontent revolution?
An emotional connection
As Daft Punk showed, microcontent can have considerable impact. And, of course the speed of distribution through social media is phenomenal, but Vine’s six-second format presents some creative challenges for brands looking to get involved. 78% of TrueView pre-roll ads on YouTube are skipped as soon as the ‘skip’ button appears (after five seconds), highlighting the difficulty in engaging a viewer in this window.
In our previous blog we saw how bloggers can use Vines to give people a window into their world. Perhaps the same is true for brands? Rather than try and use them to deliver traditional advertising messages, Vines should probably be seen as a way brands can share a bit of personality and create an emotional connection.
The six-second smile
You might be forgiven for expecting General Electric, one of the largest companies in the world, to have a dull, corporate presence on social media, but the conglomerate is one of the trailblazers using Vine to interest people rather than sell to them. They’re using the hashtag #6secondscience to share Vines showing what happens when you do crazy things like mix milk, food colouring and dish soap, or to wish a humourous happy birthday message to a hero of science. It’s light-hearted, interesting and easily digestible stuff.
If brands can use Vine to add a smile to someone’s day, there’s a good chance that person will be willing to then explore other, longer content and start building a relationship. Maybe they’ll check out your YouTube channel, visit your site, or perhaps it might just mean that when a your video advertising appears they won’t ignore it, open a new tab to pass the time or impatiently wait for the skip button. They might pay attention because they’ve already bought into who you are, not just what you’re selling.
It’s a great stepping stone format that can use intrigue and imagination to draw people in to engagement with your brand. So, what’s stopping you?
If you’re using Twitter you might have seen the hashtag #vine popping up all over the place, usually accompanied by a six-second looping video. Vine is the iOS app that enables people to create these bitesize videos, or ‘Vines’, and share them with their followers through Twitter.
It seems as if there’s a new social media phenomenon every day. Knowing which ones represent an opportunity for a blogger and which will just be a waste of time is tough, so let’s take a look at Vine, where it has come from and how you can use it to engage your audience.
The move to microcontent
The Vine blog sums up what it’s all about:
Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special.
As internet users we have serious time constraints. We might be spending a lot of lives online, but the sheer volume of content available, all competing for our attention, means we want to learn, to experience and share things in as short an amount of time possible. That’s the need Twitter satisfied with text messaging and Instagram with pictures. It was never going to be long before video became part of the microcontent revolution.
Where microcontent works best
How many times have you scanned through your Twitter feed until something interesting grabbed your attention? We use social media as a way of curating things that might be interesting to us, before filtering through to get the good stuff. A six second Vine might not seem like very long, but if you’re a blogger six seconds might be the maximum someone who doesn’t know you will give you.
Microcontent is made for social media, it’s instant gratification at the click of a button, and video is the perfect format for it. Social media is the high street everyone’s ambling down, window-shopping as they go. Tweets are kind of appealing, people might stop for second, nice pictures in the window will get some attention too, but an engaging video is the type of thing that’s going to draw the crowds. If you can get people’s attention, you can get them through the door to your blog.
Use Vine to connect people with your world
Going back to the quote above, Vine’s are ‘little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.’ If Vines are the window, your blog is the home of things that make up your life, the things you are passionate about.
As a blogger, you can use Vine to give people a tantalising glimpse of your world. If you’re a film blogger, can you review a film in six seconds? Got a new how-to vlog, can you do a six second version? Give people something interesting that they can digest in a small amount of time and there’s a good chance they’ll come to your blog to find out more.
Check out this Vine from Rolling Stone, who asked followers to guess who was on their next cover:
Or this lessons in layering Vine by fashion magazine Lucky.
Used the right way, Vines can be highly effective in creating appetite for your content, giving people a snapshot of who you are and what you’re about, and if you haven’t started vlogging yet and you’re interested, Vine could also be an easy way to get started. Start with Vine and maybe build up to recording longer content that you can then upload to YouTube and embed on your blog. So, what’s stopping you?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, deprived of any contact from the outside world for the last few weeks, there’s no way you haven’t come across or at least heard of The Harlem Shake, an online video meme that is the latest thing to take YouTube and Twitter, Facebook et al. by storm.
Whether you like this latest of YouTube fads or not, there’s a lot of value in taking a look at what it represents in terms of wider trends in how we interact with media. With inspiration from a great article by Mark Suster, a venture capitalist at GRP Partners, here’s our rundown of what this means…
Gangnam Style, a taste of things to come
2012 was the year of Psy and Gangnam Style. The official music video now has almost 1.4bn views on YouTube and the song has reached #1 in more than 30 countries worldwide. It’s the most-viewed video on YouTube and the numbers continue to grow.
As well as being phenomenally successful in its own right, that success, as it always does, spawned imitation. Videos popped up all over the place with people doing the Gangnam Style dance routine in their bedrooms, in parks, on celebrity chat shows. Viewers wanted to be part of the action, celebrities wanted to raise their profile, everyone was in on it. Success (particularly commercial success) however, was reserved for one video alone. In truth, there’s only one version of Psy’s Gangnam Style, and that’s the official one with the 1.4bn views.
Not just another viral video
The Harlem Shake is different. It’s not a single of piece of content that has gone viral, racked up the views and then generated imitations. The imitations, the crowdsourced content, are the viral aspect of the video.
Sure, Harlem Shake is a song created by Brooklyn producer Baauer, but it’s a song that was first released back in May 2012, two months before Gangnam Style. The official video didn’t get much traction, and it was only when a YouTuber called Filthy Frank featured the song in a skit (the original video above) in January 2013 that the lunatic dancing was introduced. A few guys in Australia copied it, which brought it to the attention of Maker Studies (online video / YouTube content specialists with a massive following), who created their own version in their office.
As Mark Suster says in his article:
It made national news. Maker was contacted by every major news outlet. And suddenly every office in the country was doing their own version of the Harlem Shake.
Current estimates put the number of versions of the Harlem Shake on YouTube at around 50,000, with a total number of views of approximately 200 million. So, not quite at Gangnam-levels of views yet, but just looking at that stat misses the point. We shouldn’t be looking at the views; it’s the sheer number of spin-off videos that have been created that’s remarkable.
Participating and creating, not just consuming
In Mark’s article, he talks about media not just wanting to flow one way, about an alignment of technology that has enabled people to create. He references access to video recording (phone cameras), bandwidth for uploading it, free cloud storage (e.g. YouTube) and ease of sharing through social media. This is the technology that has allowed people to see something online, get their friends round and publish their version of it on YouTube or their blog within an hour.
Creating video content is no longer the preserve of those with big budgets, post-production suites and deep pockets for a seeding campaign. It’s available to everyone and there’s clearly an appetite for people to do it, we don’t want to passively receive media, we want to participate and create.
Gangnam Style is a viral video. The Harlem Shake is more than that, it’s a viral movement. Whether you like the core content or not (I’m ambivalent to be honest), it’s representative of the shift towards widespread content creation that has been happening for a year or two now, but never in such a joined up way. Consumption and creation aren’t mutually exclusive, people want to do both, and that makes the internet a far more interesting place for everyone.
So, if there’s tens of thousands of people willing to dance like fools in front of the camera, what’s stopping you from adding a little interest to your blog with some video content? You don’t even need to look daft… you could provide something useful and relevant… or not, it’s up to you.
If you run a blog, you can’t have missed the current trend for video blogging. The YouTube generation is well and truly here, and the benefits of video to search rankings and user experience are being sung from the rooftops. And, product reviews and how-to videos also give you an excellent revenue opportunity. So, why aren’t you doing it?
1. You don’t have the kit
People often think video blogs should be professionally recorded with a high-spec camera, full lighting rig and struggle for final cut that James Cameron would be proud of. If you’re someone who runs a blog in your spare time, this can be a big barrier to getting started vlogging.
The truth however is that only companies with incredibly tight brand guidelines need to worry about this, and to be honest, even they could probably do with a little humanity and realism in their videos from time to time. Most blog readers actually appreciate a touch of the home-made feel. It looks ‘real’. So, all you really need is a camera, and every phone has one these days. A decent mic might be a sensible investment. But, don’t worry about the quality of your production too much; the quality that really matters is the quality of what you have to say.
2. You’ve got nothing to say
Hold on, aren’t you a blogger? Bloggers have always got something to say, that’s why you started blogging in the first place. Your writing allows you to express those opinions, but no matter how talented a scribe you are it’s difficult to see how your personality could ever come through as clearly as it would in a video. If you’ve made the effort to set up a blog and build a community of readers, putting yourself in front of the camera is a great way to build a closer relationship with that community.
3. You haven’t got time
If you’re a regular blogger you might have a set routine, like a particular evening of the week you set aside after work for a new post. You know how much time it’s going to take, not accounting for writers block of course, and you’re comfortable with that. Vlogging is an unknown, the whole process from recording a video to getting it on your blog probably seems pretty daunting, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quicker than getting words on a page.
Think about it, you record yourself on your phone and when you’re done you watch it back before hitting the ‘Upload to YouTube’ button. A few seconds later you’ve got a link which you just need to copy and paste to your blog. Perhaps turning to vlogging might even be a time-saver for a busy blogger, and enable you to get more content out there?
4. You’re scared of the camera
Some people love the camera and the camera loves them. If you’re not one of those people, and I count myself here, the idea of getting in front of the camera and creating something the whole world can see can be a horrifying idea.
The thing is, while you might care that you’re having a bad hair day, your voice sounds different to how you thought it did, or the lighting in your room isn’t quite right, your audience doesn’t. They’re after your thoughts and your ideas, not perfection. Now, we’re not saying running a comb through your hair and finding an attractive corner of your home to film in isn’t a good idea; it’s just not the be-all and end-all. Get some honest friends to give you some feedback on your first few shoots.
5. Someone else is doing it better than you
You’re new to vlogging, while loads of other people have been doing it for a while and are amazing at it. This is true, and no, you probably won’t be as comfortable in front of the camera as them for a good period of time. But, does this mean you shouldn’t be doing it? No. It might mean that you do a few test shoots, and spend a little longer editing the first few times. If your writing is worth reading, then your vlogs should be worth watching.
Vlogging gives you a new, more personal, more accessible way to connect with your audience. What you say is unique to you, and we all know that showing a bit of personality is key to building a community. So, go on, be brave… it’s worth it.
Whether you’re a hobby blogger using your phone to vlog from your bedroom or a household name publisher producing high-quality video, a lot of time and effort goes into creating content for your loyal community. Putting yourself in front of the camera is a great way to get people to linger longer on your site and it has a positive impact on your SEO, but are you making money from it?
A couple of weeks back we took a look at the consumer journey that starts with a video and saw the benefits of creating a direct connection between a particular video and that consumer’s likely final destination. As a publisher of video, the content you create is hugely significant in this journey, so how can you make the most of the important role you play in shaping the purchase decisions of your viewers?
You create demand
If you publish a video where you’re talking positively about a product, say you’re reviewing a video game, doing a comparison test or giving a how-to guide to achieving a make-up look, you’re driving demand for that item.
Your video is part of the consumer journey of each of your viewers, and if you’ve got an audience that sees you as credible, yours may well be the bit of content that makes them think “right, I’m ready to buy that now.’’
But someone else gets paid for it
So what happens after your viewer decides they want whatever it is you’ve recommended? Realistically, it’s unlikely that the advertising on your website or blog will be relevant to your video content. In all likelihood your viewer will probably open a new tab and run a search for the product they’re after.
As soon as that viewer leaves your website there’s a good chance someone else is going to make some money from the demand you’ve created with your content. You’re like an enthusiastic, knowledgeable sales assistant showing a customer a display model, explaining the features and showing off how good it is, but as soon as they are ready to buy you have to tell them you don’t actually sell it. So what do they do? They go somewhere else to buy it.
If one of your viewers searches for the product you’ve reviewed, they might click on a sponsored search link in the results. Kerrrrcching, that’s money for the search engine! Perhaps they’ll do a price-comparison search. Kerrrrcching, that’s a nice cut of the sale for them. Maybe they’ll find a voucher/coupon? You get the picture.
Show me the money
Rather than create demand for others to make money from, why not capitalise on that demand yourself? The advertising you employ on your website or blog will have varying degrees of relevance to your content, and as internet users we’ve learnt to tune most of it out. Why not give your viewers a way to buy the product you’re recommending, to take the natural next step direct from the video itself?
Connect your viewers with their consumer destination, satisfy the demand you’ve created and reap the rewards by earning commission on every sale generated from your videos. There’s a revenue stream just waiting for you to switch it on. Why don’t you press the button?
Good morning, today is Shrove Tuesday, which directly precedes the first day of Lent: Ash Wednesday. I’ve always preferred the more colloquial term for today though: Fat Tuesday! Traditionally people fasted over Lent, so indulged in a huge session of gorging on rich fatty food the day before. If you’re going to gorge yourself on rich, fatty food, pancakes are the only option, and so Pancake Day was born.
We think it’s important to take a moment to acknowledge the humble pancake, its versatile, floury goodness and share a couple of eggcellent videos.
Happy Hen Co – The Pancakeomatic
In the UK there’s a problem that affects the National Grid called TV pickup. It’s a surge in demand for electricity caused by the simultaneous boiling of kettles and opening of fridge doors as an advert break comes on the TV.
TV pickup highlights the difference in attention that an entire nation gives content and advertising. The ad might be playing in the background, but our focus is on making a brew or whipping up a tasty snack before our favourite programme comes back on. Advertisers are paying big bucks for an audience that not only isn’t engaged, but isn’t even in the room! And this isn’t something that solely affects TV advertising, it’s an issue for advertisers online too.
TV pickup → Online video pickup
As internet users we’ve learnt to tune out advertising. Think about your online activity, popups are closed without a second glance and banners flicker away in your peripheral vision. Online video advertising can suffer in a similar way. It’s often the case that as soon as a video ad comes on the screen we just open a new tab, it’s the digital equivalent of popping to the kitchen to boil the kettle. We check Facebook, update Twitter, do anything to pass the time until the ad is finished.
This may be a slight exaggeration, if a video ad is interesting and grabs the viewer’s attention immediately they’ll probably stay with it, but there’s no arguing there’s a risk that the ad space you’re paying for is delivering a play rather than a view. You could be paying for someone to do something other than watch your video and there’s no way of knowing.
Engage me, don’t pay for me to do something else
It would seem the first thing to do to limit the risk of the ‘Open new tab’ dilemma that faces advertisers using online video advertising is to make sure content is compelling. Video that hooks the viewer from the first few seconds will invariably get more attention than dull content. As an online user, if we see a video ad that’s relevant, entertaining or powerful, we’re more likely to leave the mouse alone.
Another way to keep your audience’s attention and keep their hands from wandering is to give them a reason to watch your video, provide something that goes beyond the typically passive ad experience. If you can give your viewers a way of engaging with your content, you can also give yourself a way of tracking whether your ad spend is delivering the results you’re after.
Include a natural next step
So you’ve got good content and you’re confident people are going to stick around to watch it. Imagine being able to give your audience a way of engaging with your video, a way of rewarding them for their attention. Think about what someone who is paying attention is thinking about doing next. If your content is focused on telling a story about your brand, why not connect them with your community on facebook? If you’re advertising a product, give them a way of finding out more about it, or even purchasing it.
By creating a connection between your online video and and a particular action, you’re giving your audience a reason to engage with your content. Not only that, you’ve also got a performance metric that enables you to find out how much of your online video spend is going on real, engaged views, rather than just paying for people to put on the kettle. Otherwise you’d might as well just send your money straight to the National Grid…
“When you are taking that important leap into the unknown, you can and must draw confidence from the connection that matters most: a clean, straight line to the customer.
“If we ask why whatever product or service we create will make people’s lives easier, better or more fun, rather than just starting with how it might just contribute to the bottom line, we’d see more successful business.”
Strong connections = strong brands
Stefan argues that enhancing a customer’s experience creates a strong connection between them and a brand. There are many ways to do this, some costly, many not. Stefan’s team at Nike created a feature on the Nike+ mobile GPS app. When you’re going for a run you share the fact with your friends on Facebook, and they can cheer you on by liking or commenting on your status update. Every time they do, you hear a stadium roar over your music in real time. It’s a feature that gives you a little spurt of energy and makes you smile.
Others, such as Amazon, develop direct connections with customers that are built on trust. Trust that Amazon have the product they want, that finding and buying it will be easy, that the delivery will be on time and that their credit card details won’t be compromised. Simple things, but easy to get wrong. Amazon gets it right, that’s why the brand is almost synonymous with ecommerce.
Zig zags, polygraphs and the truth
The approach Stefan describes can be applied to any product or service, it just requires us to think about what matters most to our customers, rather than what matters most to us as marketers. If we look at online video advertising, we need to think about how we engage with video as consumers. Fortunately, we all tend to watch online video these days, so it shouldn’t be too hard.
When we watch video it often acts as a catalyst for taking action. It makes us do something. How many times have you watched a video and then instantly popped open a new tab and searched for more information? Video is part of our discovery process. You see a movie trailer, you check for release dates or show times. Maybe it’s a car ad, so you check if it’s in your price range. If you see a great piece of creative you might think ‘yeah, I’d like to see more of this’, and end up subscribing to the brand’s YouTube channel or liking their Facebook page to get more content.
Think about the process you have to go through to get to your final destination, it’s rarely a straight line connection, it’s often more of a zig zag from web page to web page, a journey that resembles the polygraph results of a compulsive liar. The truth is that we would all rather be able to take just one step to get to our destination, not several.
A to B, that’s a straight line.
So, how you help your consumers using online video? How can you make their lives easier? Wouldn’t it be great if you could create a connection, a straight line from point A, your video, to point B, the place your consumers are trying to get to?
Take the example of a consumer trying to find the official Facebook page for your brand after enjoying one of your videos. They want to become part of your community but there are loads of unofficial fan pages, locating the right one can take time and they might just get bored and give up.
Create a straight line, a direct route from where your audience is to the place they want to get to. Make it easy for them to do what they want and you’ll have made a strong connection.
The most powerful impact of last week’s Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas was delivered by Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger’s presentation about how his personal triumph as an ordinary guy is something everyone can share by dreaming big and taking the steps to fulfill those dreams.
Having arrived after the keynote session began; it took me a few minutes to realize this motivational speaker was in fact the very same person as the heroic dreamer portrayed in the true story film Rudy in 1993. When that realization hit me my eyes welled up with tears. The movie about his story is one of our generation’s most loved and inspirational films. Rudy is made of the stuff that compels climbers to reach mountain peaks and entrepreneurs to create great businesses for their customers.
Rudy’s story is about dreaming big. It’s about sticking to your guns in spite of people telling you it’ll never happen. In the picture shown here, Rudy is the guy who’s a good bit shorter than me and I’m only 5’8”. His dream was to play for the University of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team and if I was one of his 20 year old friends in the late 60’s, I might have been one of many who said “You will be happier if you stay at the factory Rudy. Your GPA and size aren’t a fit for getting into Notre Dame and playing on their top ranked Fighting Irish Football Team”.
In 1974 he achieved what others said he couldn’t and became both a Notre Dame student and after an exorbitant number of punishing practices he played in a football game in the final 27 seconds of the season in his senior year at the school. He sacked the opposing quarterback and is one of the very few players to ever be carried off the field on the shoulders of Notre Dame teammates.
Just as Rudy’s true potential wasn’t recognised straight away, neither has that of online video advertising. The traditional television advertising model has been dominant for so long that people still say to me “well… online video hasn’t really proven to deliver results yet. Good luck.” Now I have the maturity to know this is old, stuck thinking. Like Rudy, we at Coull have turned a deaf ear to nay sayers.
Our dream for video advertising is built on the principle of empowering people to be successful. We work with brands, but also with the little people, the average joes who actually aren’t average at all, to give them a way to make money from the video they create, to help them accomplish their dreams.
Like Rudy, we are dreaming big. It is not a fantasy that online video advertising will be a big player. Coull and its users are on their way there. In the past six months we have:
- Released an HTML5 video solution for mobile; a tool to automatically add commission paying products to any YouTube video on publisher web sites and a very handy WordPress plug-in.
- Distributed interactive advertiser video directly across mobile devices and the web with greater analytics of customer engagement and performance than has been possible before.
During the rest of Affiliate Summit I had the honor of participating as a speaker on a panel discussion for a session entitled “The Future of Affiliate Marketing”. The panel was moderated by Marty Fahncke, Director of Gragg Advertising and the other speakers on the panel included Oliver Roup, CEO of VigLink, Peter Hamilton, CEO of HasOffers and Jonathan Mendez, CEO of Yieldbot. We have not yet earned the standing ovation that Rudy received for his presentation but there were strong takeaways for the entrepreneurially minded audience:
- Advertisers now measure the assist value of all ads and this positions publishers to show the value they are delivering. Data enables us to respond to what customers really want.
- The most obvious of data points is the shift in Web access from PCs to mobile devices with the driver being world demand for improved user experience.
- The publishers who win the most advertising dollars will be those that meet the demand for improved user experience.
Here at Coull we’re supporting this trend by enabling publishers to unlock a new revenue stream by combining contextually relevant product links with their most engaging content, their video. With user experience so important, ads that delay or interrupt content are a thing of the past, especially on mobile devices.
Coull Vidlinkr is our beta product for publishers that we believe delivers on the promise of online video advertising. Check it out.
President and US / Canada Operations
If you’re a brand or merchant who makes something people like, the chances are someone has made a video saying so. Great products lead to endorsements, free publicity and promotion from the most credible source of all, your customers. Brands often forge a relationship with influential players in traditional media, such as journalists. But these days we turn to our peers online for information and opinion as much as any other source. So, how have consumers turned into content creators? What presence do they have and most importantly, how can you connect with and reward them?
Consumers aren’t passive
Twitter, Facebook, blogs and any number of other platforms act as a megaphone for us to rant or rave, to praise or put down. The internet has created a universe of opinion, and whether it’s valid or not there’s no denying that it’s there.
The sheer volume of opinion means most will have little influence, but within this maelstrom of inane Facebook updates, tweeted cat photos and conspiracy blogs there are people who care very deeply about things, express their opinions clearly, and because of these two characteristics develop a following that makes them an opinion leader in their online community.
As consumers we don’t care strongly about mediocrity. When was the last time you went out of your way to strike up a conversation about something average? What we tend to care most about are things that are either great or terrible, we want to recommend or warn. Pinterest is a great example of a platform that taps into our appetite to share the things we love. People pin and repin craft ideas, fashion items, delicious recipes and great photography. Its success is wholly reliant on our willingness to curate content.
For many people, a personal blog is where they talk about the things they love, and recently this has taken the form of video blogging, or ‘vlogging’. Make-up tutorials, ‘Get the look’ fashion tips, product reviews and gaming walkthroughs, these are just some of the vlogs featuring your brand’s products. There are thousands, if not millions more.
These vloggers are your advocates, they love what you do and they want to share it with everyone, and they do it for free, usually in their spare hours outside work. This content is hugely valuable for your brand because it rings true with other consumers. It’s credible.
Reward and be rewarded
There are many ways to reward your brand or product’s advocates. Give them VIP access to your events, sneak previews of new products or just give them free stuff. Some brands, such as LEGO, have truly appreciated the importance of fan content and built an entire online community around it, enabling them to upload their homemade LEGO videos to share with likeminded enthusiasts.
Furthermore, through Coull LEGO are able to reward their fanbase by enabling them to make money from their videos by integrating affiliate links for LEGO products. Check out this great fan movie about a daring LEGO bank robbery and escape:
By creating a video about one of your products, your fans are implicitly recommending it to their audience. Why not give these advocates a way to not only direct their audience straight to that product’s page on your ecommerce site from their video, but also to earn commission on every sale from that connection? After all, you’ll be rewarded with sales too.
If you want to find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Online video is about branding, not selling. That seems to be the general attitude. There’s no doubt video is a great way to get people talking about your brand or products, and done properly it can generate a wow-factor that lingers long in the memory. But is that the end of the story for brands using video? What do consumers do after their appetite for a product has been whetted by a slick piece of creative? And is there a way to tie the two together?
Whether you’re watching a multi-million dollar marketing effort like the Red Bull Stratos mission, or a viral video produced on a shoe-string budget like Dollar Shave Club’s, there’s no denying that video gets us talking.
When Felix Baumgartner skydived from the edge of space, 8m of us tuned in digitally, using our phones, tablets or desktops, to see him do it from a Red Bull branded spaceship, via a Red Bull branded YouTube channel. It delivered into the hundreds of millions of dollars in global exposure for the brand and associated it with a daring spectacle that is still being talked about months after the event.
Not every brand can afford to put $30m behind a space mission, but successful campaigns by Old Spice, who use irreverent humour to get people sharing their videos, or Dollar Shave Club’s ‘Our Blades are F****** Great!’, show how good creative gets eyeballs on videos.
Dollar Shave Club’s video cost $4,500 and went viral through social media channels, clocking up over 7m views. It’s offbeat, funny and subversive, ripping into established players like Gillette for their expensive endorsement deals with celebrities like Roger Federer. It perfectly positions the brand.
What comes next?
The big question though, is what do we as viewers do after we watch these great bits of creative? We might share it with our friends, but what we also tend to do is start a journey of discovery, we want to know more.
Great videos stimulate demand. I want to be like the Old Spice Man (who doesn’t?) and, despite lacking the facial foliage required for this to be a reasonable investment, I’m also interested in buying good value razors from a cool company so I can look like him too. I might subscribe to a Facebook page or Twitter account to get any new content and offers when they come out. What I might also do, and this is especially true of good product videos, is search for a product page, read some reviews and buy the product. In essence, I’ll start building a connection with the brand.
Can you tie the two together?
Winning a Cannes Lion or a Yellow Pencil award for your ad campaign is great and everything, but there’s a whole consumer journey that begins with a good piece of creative. If you can influence that journey, shape the conversation that you’ve started with a consumer, you can tap into the true potential of that video.
As Stefan Olander, VP of Digital Sport at Nike points out in the book Velocity, brands should be looking to establish a straight line connection with consumers, a direct path from creative to brand channel, whether thats a social media presence or an ecommerce site. Letting online video off the leash might tick the branding boxes, but without control over the consumer journey that follows that line will zig and zag all over the internet before finally getting to you, if it gets to you at all.
Imagine being able to define the next step from your online video, nudge an engaged viewer to like your Facebook page, follow your brand on Twitter, or even go straight to your product pages, all direct from the video itself. Say you’re distributing a video showcasing your latest fashion lines, why not connect viewers directly with the product pages for those lines? Maybe then you can sell from video.
Get in touch on twitter @Coull_RichD if you’ve got any comments.
Next time: Have you ever thought about all that user-generated there is out there? There’s a world of video bloggers with loyal followings who love to talk about your products. Connecting your video with your products is just the start, in our next blog we’ll ask how you can connect your products with their content.