What do you need to know about online video for 2016? Here’s a convenient “round up” for your viewing pleasure.
Mobilization. Mobile advertising is growing 66% and desktop is just 5 percent. What’s interesting to me is that 36% of our time is spent on TV, and 39% of the ad spending is there. But we’re spending 25% of our self on mobile, while only 12% of ad spending is on mobile. Implication: watch for way more advertising in your apps, on mobile-enabled site, and perhaps even while you text. (KPCB Internet Trends, June 1, 2016)
Mobile vs desktop tie. By 2020, online-video advertising will be about 50% mobile and 50% desktop.
Pay TV is stuggling. About 86% US Internet users think pay TV is too expensive. Some forecast a decline (source: TVFreedom, : SNL Kagan as cited in Video Advertising Bureau, 2015).
TV ain’t dead. According to eMarketer “TV will continue to grow and remain the top video advertising format through 2020.” That said, our time with digital video (versus TV) changed in 2012 and the gap has widened, with digital outpacing TV (Nielsen, eMarketer).
Netflix is rocking it for time. The streaming time of Netflix is growing insanely. 600M hours in 2009 and 42 billion hours in 2015. And originals are the reason (Netflix and Cowen & Company, 2016)
Digital Video Ad Spending is Growing But Slowing. We’re seeing about 30 percent growth in digital video ad spending this year, but in the next few years the growth will slow somewhat…. Down to 20 percent next year and about 10% by 2020. Still growing, just not as radically.
Video ads need help. Many Online video ads are ineffective. About 80% of us mute video ads, and the majority (62%) are annoyed with pre-rolls. And 93% consider using ad-blocking software (Unruly Future Video Survey, July 2015). Given mobile use behavior, online videos are going to have to adapt.
Block You. You know that thing about mobile users being annoyed by ads? The growth of mobile ad blocking is happening radically faster than desktop (as cited by the KPCB report, PageFair & Priori Data 2016 Adblocking Report.).
What works in mobile video ads? Keep it less than 10 seconds, shoot it for mobile, and try for full-screen delivery. (Snapchat and other sources).
What makes for good video ads? Unruly’s recommendations: be authentic, entertain, evoke emotion, go personal/relatable, be useful, give viewers control… and work with sound off and in non-interruptive ad format.
AdWeek reports that Paul Kontonis, former online video producer and agency guy, is heading the new Global Online Video Association (GOVA). Kontonis has been a leader in the online video space from its inception, including such roles as founder of “For Your Imagination,” VP at Digitas’ Third Act, and chairman of International Academy of Web Television.
By day, Kontonis heads sales and strategy for one of the top “multichannel networks” (MCNs) called Collective Digital Studio. GOVA is made up of nine of the top MCNs (also called online-video studios and “new networks”). These include Collective, Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Big Frame, BroadbandTV, DECA, Discovery’s Revision3, Magnet Media and MiTu Networks. Machinima is conspicuously absent, but unlikely for long (it’s quite common for the biggest in an industry to initially think they don’t need an association).
Caveat: I know Kontonis and like him (which is why I am allowed to call him a gavone as a term of respect). He was even in one of my videos where I thought I turned invisible. But I haven’t spoken to him in a while and know nothing directly about his GOVA appointment. So this is all my speculation based on watching this space mature. And I wrote a book, so shut up.
What’s ahead, and what does GOVA mean to the networks and the maturing landscape of online video?
Bargaining Power with YouTube. The online-video networks, or “multichannel networks,” will now have a collective voice they’ll need more in coming years. That’s in part because YouTube, the virtual monopoly on distribution, is increasingly turning its attention to more mainstream studios and traditional networks. As YouTube grows, it will be increasingly difficult for individual studios to command the attention they’ve received in the past. How do we know that? History is the best predictor: Initially top YouTube stars could garner attention from Google and resolve issues. But eventually YouTube creators needed the power of a network. The networks don’t know it yet, but in years ahead they’ll need strength in greater numbers than they have today.
Bumpy Road, Herding Cats. Associations can be tricky, as participants theoretically want a collective voice, but they’re also competing against each other for precious advertising dollars. Kontonis has shown he’s got the diplomacy and persuasion to herd these network cats.
Could Slow Down Acquisitions. In the coming years, we’d expect to see more of these online-video networks get acquired by larger players. Discovery ate Revision3. Google ate Next New Networks. GOVA may give some of these players more time to play independently, if they wish, before the eventual consolidation of traditional and “multichannel” networks in the 2015-2020 period. That doesn’t mean the MCNs will be less attractive to acquiring parties, it just means they won’t be as desperate to be sold. That’s a very good thing for individual creators of these networks. (When they do get acquired, they’ll try to convince you it’s a good thing… but as a loyal WVFF reader you’ll know better).
Developing Emerging Channels to Reduce Dependency on YouTube. As we look beyond YouTube, the major stakeholders are technology companies, advertisers, and content creators. Years ago, an individual studio could negotiate their video content onto new platforms — like we saw Revision3 do with Roku and College Humor do with TiVo. But that will be more difficult as stakes increase and traditional networks start seeing more meaningful “TV dollars” moving to emerging channels. This coordinated approach through GOVA will increase the studio’s voice with new platforms. Watch for GOVA serving a role to keep them “out in front” of new platforms — from Roku to Netflix and Hulu to Amazon. And more importantly, the emerging video distribution platforms we don’t yet see coming. Maybe one day even AppleTV!
Other Boring But Important Crap. GOVA can also help with legislation/regulation, advertising formats, metric standardization, growth of the online-video, and thought leadership. Depending on the issue, they will likely partner and challenge other players like IAB, ComScore, traditional media associations, and marketing agencies.
Four More Years. That’s how long I see this lasting. By 2018, we’d expect GOVA to roll into the Internet Advertising Bureau, IRTS or some other association. But no other association has the knowledge of or focus on this medium.
Bottom Line. Creators and studios need GOVA whether they know it or not. Otherwise the technology platforms and advertisers will set the agenda.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses sometimes struggle with YouTube and online-video marketing. So I teamed with ReelSEO to write a guide called “Online Video 101: Small Business.” It’s free, and you won’t get a pesky sales call if you register and download it.
Sorry the blog’s gone a bit grey lately, but I’ve been busy posting a video each day (every time you poop). Caught the virus from Trippy at his wedding. See ’em in this playlist called “Holiday Blitz.”
According to a recent comScore report (May 2011, released June 17, 2011), Hulu was the last-place site in the top ten for unique viewers, it had the highest number of ad impressions of any site included in the survey. Tremor Media Video Network ranked second overall (and highest among video ad networks) with 700.8 million ad views, followed by Adap.tv (642 million) and BrightRoll Video Network (565 million).
So Google (YouTube) maintains its leadership with 176 million viewers engaged in 5.6 billion viewer sessions (about 16 hours per viewer in the month). Vevo is now the #2 video-sharing site, even before Yahoo and Facebook (as well as media companies like Viacom, Turner and NBC). But advertisers are choosing the ad networks like Tremor, Adap.tv and BrighRoll, presumably because they’re providing better targeting on niche sites.
The Social Media for Nonprofits conference series kicks off in SF w/ @kanter, @GuyKawasaki & @jdlasica. bit.ly/lWLDQO #nonprofit #nptech
Perfect timing for what I’d planned this week… The 10 Commandments for YouTube/Viral Marketing for Causes and Non-Profits…
1. Though Shall Not Stop With Text. If you blog, also vlog. Use video to simplify your message, and to SEO optimize it. A good video travels farther than great words.
2. Honor Thy Description. Pack cause-related videos with dense descriptions and tags, and links to websites placed prominently where they can be seen in YouTube’s truncated description.
3. Useth Thy Stigmatized Words Too. In thy language, be true to the “right” way to speak about thy cause. BUT also use words people actually search. If you’re promoting equal rights, add politically incorrect terms too.
4. You Shall Not Carry Thy Message Alone. Find those with large YouTube audiences who share your non-profit’s mission. Ask them to carry your message in their own voice. Expect not your boring video to be found and go viral.
5. Be Not Boring. In Title and Thumbnail Especially. A non-profit need not be dull. If humor, dancing, song and shock aren’t appropriate… than use emotional videos to promote sharing. Use metaphors or images to reach the hearts of viewers. Be bold, controversial, kind and uplifting. Don’t paint a hopeless situation. Fire people up with how close we are to solving your challenge, and find an entertaining way to ask them to help you reach the nearby finish line.
6. Ask Not Just For Money. Social currency is as important as cash. Just like asking for a token amount ($10) ask viewers for small gestures. A “like,” comment or “favorite” on a video is a donation that will help many others find the video, and that may be worth more than the non-social currency you call cash.
7. Focus Not on The Viral Video Idea Alone. Don’t stop with video ideas that you think may fly. Focus instead on getting the video seen via as many social mediums as possible. Ask your Facebook friends to share them, and highlight other videos related to your non-profit (even the “competitor” counter intuitively). Rather than do one “big” video, do many, many that are customized to various audiences and stakeholders.
8. Get Input Before Campaign. Ask people who are immersed in the medium for ideas. Even if they have none, they’ll be more likely to share your final work because they have “buy in.” It’s harder to say “no” when asked to spread a message if you’ve already provided some ideas before the message was cooked up.
9. Use Thy Coalition To Reach Webstars. YouTubers are bombarded with direct pleas, and begin to ignore messages (especially those via YouTube mail). Ask your advocates to reach out to YouTube “stars” via Twitter and Facebook. What top Tuber can ignore dozens of pleas mentioning his/her ne and a cause or non-profit? We all search our names on Twitter at least daily.
10. Time Thy Campaign to Project4Awesome. This Fall program spawned by the Vlogbrothers is the annual cause-awareness initiative on YouTube and even the least-viewed videos are usually seen more than the best-produced cause videos.
It’s true that ad units generally decrease on interaction rates as people get used to them. The article cites a .09 percent click thru rate, but I’d say that’s being quite generous. It’s also worth noting that some ads are measured not by clicks but by recall rates (and how they improve as measured by surveys).
The piece does have some nice pointers about making ads look less junky (and, duh, relevant). The more flashy and obnoxious, the more they’re ignored. As Brad Aronson (author of Internet Advertising, Wiley) told me… The best color for an ad is the same color as the website. When an ad looks like editorial it gets more attention.
In my experience reviewing eye-tracker studies there are lots of learnings… And the vast majority of ads are “impressions” that make no impression– they literally are never seen by an eye.
The nice thing about video ads (especially mandatory preroll) is while they’re somewhat intrusive… The recall rates are generally far better.
As Hannibal used to say on A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
One of the most rewarding things about participating in online-video campaigns for big brands or network shows is seeing these launch simultaneously with television and print advertisements. We call it “integrated marketing,” and it’s easy in concept and difficult but wonderful in fruition. Okay, I like the payments better, but integrated marketing is still rare enough to be a pleasant surprise… especially when it involves “new media” and social. Of course, it’s difficult for a marketer or agency to time precisely a campaign’s “peak” in various mediums, given paid “insertion orders” (formal booking of space in media) often requires months of lead time. Likewise the “books” (magazines) can require months of advance notice.
The very week these YouTube videos launched, I noticed a prime print advertisement in Entertainment Weekly, a NYC “out of home” component,” and some “earned” media uptake (PR). Furthermore, the YouTube “branded entertainment” video series were wrapped with display and InVideo ads.
I like these “organic” YouTube campaigns that don’t force the brand in the webstar’s videos, but let the creator carry the campaign theme in their own way. The comments I’ve read are largely positive (a contrast from campaigns that require sponsored YouTube videos to have a branded slate at the intro, which is so forceful as to scare people away).
What can producers, networks, agencies and YouTube do to make these campaigns work even harder? A few ideas, but they all have executional nuances so it’s a bit unfair for me to “Monday morning quarterback.” Again- I know nothing more than what I’ve seen as a Dr. Who fan (and the very simple directions got via YouTube to make my video).
Cross-link the videos so Dr. Who fans (I know you’re out there because many of you noticed the picture on my son Charlie’s shirt) would be able to move through them without having to leave YouTube (only a few percent of people leave a YouTube session for an ad, and that’s when there’s a strong reason).
I would suggest the digital agency also run paid-search ads for related keywords (even though I doubt there are loads of people searching “time machine” and “ifihadatimemachine” the cost of that inventory would be minimal). I’d certainly be buying ads for those people searching for “Dr Who, BBC America” and related terms, which would help get more eyes on the campaign website: “TimeMachineTales.” Buzz drives search, and it’s a shame to see Amazon books rank higher than the 2011 version of the timeless show.
Take advantage of YouTube’s “live” programming to augment the April 23 premier with something real time (perhaps one of the webstars watches the debut and invites interaction with fellow fans). If MysteryGuitarMan said he was going live on YouTube on the evening of April 23, I imagine hundreds of thousand would follow.
Recognize that the YouTube aspect of the campaign is valuable far beyond the campaign. For instance, my Fringe promotions have accumulated significant views long after the debut. There’s a perpetual nature to these programs. As Hitviews CEO Walter Sabo says, “Campaign Duration: Forever.” The 105 videos his company has delivered for brands have accumulated in excess of 30 million views.
Finally the real way to “break the fourth wall” is to allow a television show’s cast to interact and collaborate with prominent YouTube creators. This can be difficult, but possible. In the case of my “Meet the Fringe Cast” video, I simply learned the cast was at ComicCon, and I convinced the sponsor (Fox) to allow me the same access the network/producers gave to professional media. In another example, we saw V’s “Anna” (Morena Baccarin) appear on YouTube’s homepage with a custom message for YouTubers, and that was a “bar raising” move. Now imagine iJustine mingling with Mark Sheppard, which would carry as much weight as a local media tour to promote the show. iCarly’s Freddy Benson (Nathan Cress) met with YouTube’s prolific “ShayCarl/Shaytards” in a casual meeting that I would have paid to facilitate if I was Cress’ manager or iCarly’s promoter.
Lastly, and this is really difficult, it would be great to find ways to permit clips from the show intermixed with the YouTube videos. For very good reasons this is rare. Often the network promoting the show doesn’t have the rights to use the content in promotion. The benefit, however, is you can give people a contextual teaser of the show’s actual content… as I did with “Fringe is Scary.” These clips were approved by the producer (JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot) for use with media, and I even snuck in some very tiny snippets beyond those in the media library.
I’m sure it was not part of the campaign that Elisabeth Sladen died this week (she’s the British actress who played intrepid investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith throughout the classic BBC series’ 30-year run). But only one Guy calls those shots, and he’s not much of a marketer (thank God).
Okay let’s just get this out. I’m a big Google fan, user, and customer. I’m also making non-trivial income from Google’s YouTube Partner program (through ad sharing on my Nalts videos seen 200 million gazillian times). So I really hesitate commending the company in a post headline. It looks I’m friggin’ shilling incognito and I hate that crap (see my parody on f’ing buzz marketing).
Instead I prefer to prank, complain and criticize the company to ensure my “checks and balances” are in place. It can border on “biting the hand that feeds you,” but I’ll call it tough love. You don’t own me, bitch (sorry I’ve got an authority issue).
Today’s post, however, is to observe that Google’s brain seems to be developing a frontal lobe (the rather useless part of the brain where insanity and marketing occurs). I’ll be damned if Google isn’t using video (even the YouTube player to keep Salar “Little Superstar” Kamangar happy) in increasingly effective ways. (The marketer rubs little puppy’s tummy and says good boy, as he naively thinks he’s more evolved than a wonderfully blissful animal).
Parenthetically I literally laugh outloud every time I refer to the head of YouTube as “Little Superstar” because I’m aware it appears so completely inappropriate and racist. But I’ll trust you WVFF loyalts will know that if I really felt that way I’d suppress it incredibly well. I stereotype into only two segments: people who make me happy and people who suck away my will to live. Anyway Salar isn’t even Indian he’s Persian or Iraq, and frankly I don’t know the difference or care. I just needed something to use to “downsize” him, since my ego is threatened by him having the coolest job in the world. It was the same thing with Chad, but Chad was a much easier victim since he generally looked stoned.
I wonder if Chad and Samar ever went to Dubai together and ate sushi off of woman’s stomaches.
Okay back to the news. Google using YouTube shouldn’t surprise us at first glance, but put aside Google’s products and branding (it’s hard to do), and ask yourself a question. Do you see Google as a great marketing organization? Or put more succinctly, how well does it tap the advertising medium that feeds it? Right your reaction because I’m coming back to read ’em.
Google historically has done almost no advertising for itself. It kept quiet, muted PR, and rarely showed evidence of advertising/marketing competencies from an external view. Sure, you might credit YouTube took out a Superbowl ad years ago (side note: good luck finding it on YouTube). But I’m convinced that was not for viewers, but simply to sneak access to “Superbowl Buyer’s Man/Boy Club” to pitch well-funded brands on the merits of diverting TV dollars to web.
But now I’m seeing real signs of life. Google print ads with direct-response offers? A discount on Google ads and to encourage app purchases? Really? It’s like watching my son Grant suddenly blossuming academically and reading voraciously. I know I had nothing to do with it, but I’m proud of the double G’s. Sidenote 2: Did I ever tell you I had a clubhouse in my house that I named Google in the late 1970s? Note to self: get time machine, go to 1995 and squat domain name for your childhood clubhouse.
So now the engineering anthill is using video to engage customers and promote? How charming! Let’s review recent and cumulative examples.
2) Satire/Entertainment: On April Fool’s Day Google pulled its annual prank by rolling out advanced “Gmail Motion” via video. The new solution featured a typical Google product director’s awkward monotone, complemented by a model (Steve Buscemi) demonstrating how physical movements (thumbs up, waves) can be interpreted it into text. One might expect a collective drone if he/she concedes that it was a clever prank, but I liked it. Why? It wasn’t too far fetched, it was executed fairly well, and I interpreted it as a subtle diss on Apple and its self aggrandizing swipes, pinches, and three finger whatevers.
3) Product Launch: Google is increasingly using video to promote and teach out new products (see “advanced gmail” video). Sure Google has been criticized for a somewhat dated approach to product marketing (and some “areas for improvement” in its design/test/launch). But the sheer number of new innovations have me increasing my daily time-share significantly, and I want a Google GPS, Android simulator on my iPhone, and a Google-search brain implant for “just in time” information.
Editor’s note: If you miss the hyperlinks in this post, you’re missing 95% of the humor.
As you may well know, Google’s CEO Larry Page promoted seven executives recently, and effectively eliminated the power of a “product manager” Lord and an operating committee that was previously “hands on” in the critical businesses of the Internet mega-giant. It’s a smart choice: in the name of speed an innovation, Page pushed down/out responsibilities to trusted confidants. Of course like any change, it has positive and negative implications that I’ll now analyze like a sad commentator/pundit digesting a freshly delivered political speech.
Salar Kamangar is the head of YouTube (see his video), and depending on your source he’s either the 9th or 13th employee in Google. The other chief engineers are: Andy Rubin (mobile), Sundar Pichai (Chrome and OS), Alan Eustace (engineering/research), Jeff Huber (commerce and local), Vic Gundotra (social ventures), Susan Wojcicki (the token “ad” lady).
Up until here, I’ve been fairly accurate (except for the Salar clip– here’s the real one, and he’s Persian not Indian, you racist). But From here out, I’m totally speculating if not embellishing.
But dangit I’m an “expert” who wrote a “book.” Plus I’ve got loads of previous blog predictions that, in hindsight, are astonishingly accurate (and I’ve not groomed any posts, or changed them… sure maybe I’ve stopped referencing the ones that predicted Revver.com would dominate, but that’s called “optimist Alzheimer’s”). For instance- remember when I anticipated how Google’s sales team would integrate with YouTube’s? Yeah currently YouTube “display” experts are pollinated across industry teams, and spread based on the industry’s spend: entertainment higher than something like pharmaceuticals). And I think I was fairly accurate about Google squandering YouTube’s potential.
Anyway I’ve got me some predictions based on my personal experience facing the joys and perils of working for centralized and highly decentralized companies, as well as startups that grew to endups, and startups acquired by bureaucracy-o-matic-machines.
So (insert drum roll) please scan (or read) my seven predictions for what this change means to YouTube — mind you, these are just the seven that are related to (or might be implied by) the Google reorganization. My other predictions would make this post too long for my ADHD WVFF back row peeps who have already begun to wish there were ads on this blog… or animated koi fish like my hairloss blog.
1) YouTube More Tied to Core Business: YouTube has an “insider” with P&L responsibility on YouTube. I’ve never met Salar Kamangar (although if/when it happens I can only hope he recalls me as the guy who likened him to “little superstar”). But at Google people drop their “hire” number sequence like Kerry dropped “Purple Heart” wins. Or like former McKinsey or Harvard people referencing their alma mater.
2) A More Autonomous YouTube is a Better YouTube: If Salar “little superstar” Kamangar is a good leader, he’ll recognize that he needs a more diverse workforce.
3) A Sad Interim Effect: Google is an engineer company that hires people on GPAs and obscure interview questions like “how many beach balls could fit into the radius of a square building moving from Baltimore to Washington at 25 MPH.” The sad fact is that Kamanger’s breeding will cause him to keep engineers close, sales people at a safe distance, and label everyone else “specialist.” I’m not kidding on that last point. In my non-scientific research, I’ve found a 73% increase in people who weeks ago had no title and are now called “specialist.” At most companies, there are four layers: C-suite, VPs/directors, managers, and the unwashed masses. Google appears to be dissing anyone that doesn’t manage people with the lame title “specialist,” which is not going to help them externally.
4) YouTube Right Hand Meets Its Left Hand: YouTube has largely functioned in silos, and treating it like a separate business unit means Kamangar and his team can facilitate better coordination of scarce resources located in San Bruno and NYC. That’s good news for smart people who have often been marginalized (or left).
5) Opposite Effect: Decentralized Premium: Sure YouTube’s right brain and left brain (west coast and wrong coast) may connect its corpus callosum. But Google’s move to decentralization may come at a modest price. I tend to like the autonomy and responsibility that comes with decentralized companies. However that comes at a premium. The best example is large agency holding companies, which are loosely assembled small agencies that share in infrastructure and a logo… and that’s about it. This keeps companies customer centric, nimble, fast and engaging… but it also can be difficult when some “go to market” approaches require an aligned front. We can expect Kamanger to assign people within YouTube to liaison with each of the sister Google companies, but occasionally we’ll see chinks in the armor. For instance Android may be more inclined to do what’s in Android’s best interest even at the peril of YouTube adoption. I would predict this threat to be minimal based on the interoperability and consistency of Google’s offerings. Sure there are bastard children (poor Vic will have to make social matter), but Google’s singular hiring profile may make it easier to keep the ducks in a row. When in doubt, shut up and let the engineers do their work… you silly specialist.
6) YouTube As More Than a Platform: This move could accelerate YouTube’s transition from a media platform to a content programmer. See my recent post on the various phases of YouTube’s evolution. You should go read that fabulous post. I’ll admit I wrote it on a lark and could have proofed it better. But I recall it being interesting.
7) Poor, Poor Salespeople: This isn’t good news for the second-class citizens at YouTube we call “sales people” (they’re “specialists” ranked just above “marketers” by the engineering elite). Poor Susan has to run sales at a product/innovation centered-organization. Sure it depends on revenue and customers, but that’s not exactly a priority for Google. Hey it’s working so far, so who am I to fault them? I’m just saying that a customer-centric “go to market” can be a bit easier in a centralized organization that actually values a sales & marketing function. But if the going gets really tough, the tough can get going… to AOL. You’ve got mail.
Okay you didn’t read this did you? At least you gotta dig the freaky fortune teller guy, right? Right? Ah heck maybe it will make the rounds among the unwashed YouTube “specialists”… or not.
Charlie Nalts makes a return to Yahoo’s “This Week in Moms” with his “stupid puter” video (see him in an Austin-Powers-like wig and glasses as he laments the slow computer). There are also some cute bambinos with similar laptop woes.
My running gag with the producers of this show… I dare you to pick a topic about which I can’t provide a related video. Dare ya.