Daisy Whitney, creator and producer of “The New Media Minute” is ending the nearly 5-year-old show. Whitney posted her final episode last week, and says she’s, “just going old school reporting on media in articles and columns instead.”
Whitney will continue her reporting on new media for such outlets as MediaPost, Cynopsis, @Beet_TV.
For as long as Daisy Whitney has been posting videos, we’ve been posting about her transforming hair and outfits. Now what? Whitney tweeted, “But all good things must end, and it’s better to end on a high note as George Costanza taught us.” A lesson I should have considered on YouTube before I jumped the shark.
I wonder what Philip Kotler will say on his death bed… like maybe just four words: “it was all bullshit.“
Yep, while marketing and advertising may be dead, the business of proclaiming it even more dead... is booming. Here are the six rules, and as you can see they defy the 6 marketing rules I learned in my MBA (which I’ve added in italics).
Oh- I think it goes without saying that I haven’t read the book, but I am considering adding it to the prized bookshelf of “The Enlightened Stupid Marketer.” At least he embraces book covers over books, right? Is there any irony to the fact that years after shooting that video I’d write a book and, to date, not read it?
The Core is Everything (screw the customer, kill or be killed, don’t sleep)
Key chapters: Brand essence is important, customer knows best, your reputation is vital, play nicely, sleep soundly and work fearfully.
You Have Nothing Without The Foundation(integrity is for the unemployment line… Ps in 2006 were product, price, piss the customer, and pimp it)
Key chapters: Integrity, single word or symbol, whole is larger than parts, mind your P’s….
There Are Many Choices But Only One Customer (there’s a sucker born every minute; it’s easier to find a new customer than try to keep one).
Key chapters: Strategy is the heart and measurement is the blood, frameworks, perception really is your customer’s reality, communication, more than channel surfing.
Do the Right Things for the Right Reasons (we watched Wall Street in Ethics class, talked about Walmart, and then all proclaimed: greed is goooood).
Key chapters: Relationships matter, partner, it’s about them not you…
Infrastructure is More Than Pipes (in fact, a virtual tributary allows for add-drop multiplexing of subrate traffic… come to think of that, I might have learned that when my boutique web agency was acquired by Qwest Telcom).
Key chapters: Technology is just an enabler, right information, right people, right time… and don’t have wrong thought.
Lead And Others Will Follow(be a fast follower… let your competitor take the arrows, then pull them from their body and use them against anyone that tries suing you for stealing their idea; be sure to pluck out their gold fillings… they won’t need them anymore because they’re dead).
Key chapters: Leadership is a verb not noun.
So, yeah. I have to relearn marketing again, but this time there’s not a test (which sucks because I would have cheated off of my friend Mike Skoler). I wonder if my damned MBA comes with a money-back guarantee (It probably does, but the small print says “not valid on days ending with the letter Y”).
For the record, this marketing-satire video (“Enlightened Stupid Marketer”) was indeed shot in a conference room of an employer who shall remain nameless. You’d never know that unless you worked there, so while I maintained the spirit of the no-camera law (confidentiality), I broke the “letter” of the law. More importantly, it was a satire not of my co-workers at the time but of a Coke executive I’d seen a month prior at a conference. Nobody believed me, and a number of people took offense to this (like the guy who sucked my will to live).
The nice thing about this video is that if you’re offended by it, I’ve struck a vulnerability nerve haven’t I? Are ya offended or are you secure in your marketing competencies? Do you see yourself lampooned, or do you giggle at the absurdity occasionally? If your teeth clench while watching, you MAY just have gelatophobia. There’s only one cure. Avoid people unless wearing ear muffs and blinders. Or just keep reading the latest marketing book that proclaims the last guy slightly dumber.
In general, YouTube creators (and viewers) are a bit obsessed with sheer numbers of subscribers. It’s fool’s gold, friends. While early views are often predicated on developing a subscriber base, as a creator’s presence on YouTube matures, subscribers simply don’t matter nearly as much as people think. What matters is quality not quantity. I’d trade you half of my 250K subscribers for 1000 actively engaged viewers.
I say that to offset the prevailing belief that subscribers are everything, but recognize it’s a provocative overstament. A solid base of “fans” or avid viewers is invaluable. But after a while, the “subscription obsession” can be lazy and dangerous. Here’s why:
There was a time where we thought most subscribers viewed videos, and in fact that was more true in 2008-2009. Today (with the exception of a dozen top channels), the majority of views by the top 500 YouTubers are driven by “related videos” and micro-featuring (spotlighted videos). Almost 80-90 percent of my daily views (ranging about 200-250,000 daily) are not from subscribers, and “search” drives only about 1 percent. Obviously a healthy subscriber base (especially those who interact with the video) has a cascading effect on related videos and microfeaturing. But…
One loyal/active subscriber is worth more than 50 passive ones. Since only about 1 percent of viewers tend to interact with a video (and the creator’s relationship with his/her audience has a lot to do with that), the active viewer is GOLD. The passive troll (or dead account) is fool’s gold.
Let me put this in simple terms. Of the quarter of a million views I get, perhaps ONE PERCENT of those are driven by subscribers deciding to check my latest video. That fact initially demotivated me and I shared that with YouTube staffers: why kill myself making new videos if it barely makes a difference to daily views, which sets my income? Lately, however, it makes me highly motivated to create more regular and better videos to maintain and grow a recurring audience. Sure- I feel fortunate that I have some momentum from the thousands of hours and thousands of videos I’ve created since 2004, but also very nervous about losing that momentum because of a simple shift in YouTube’s “programming” or algorithm.
All subscribers are not created equally. Those who subscribe to my channel via “box-for-box” are often inadvertent viewers prone to leaving hate comments. As time goes on, you invariably increase the percentage of total subscribers who are not fans… they may find one video they like, subscribe, then complain or bail.
I define the “health” of a YouTube channel as the recurring views that recent videos get. So while I’m happy to be getting millions of views a month, they are radically tilted toward old videos. My new videos get seen, with some exception, about 20K times… which is just 10% of my total subscribers (250K I think, but I’ve stopped checking).
Even when I was about 100K subscribers and getting about 40-100K views per video, that was deceptive. First, a lot of those views came not from subscription but from the 10K plus people that would check my channel daily to see what’s new (that’s dropped). Also my recent videos were automatically adjacent to my legacy videos, which changed a few years ago. So what I saw as subscriber views were often driven by the dozen enduring videos (Scary Maze, Farting in Public). Now the videos that surround those are unlikely to be mine, thus the “binger” is less likely to get caught in a Nalts binge.
Finally, I suspect that the increase in “trolls” on my Nalts channel may partially be the result of the kindness of BarelyPolitical to “box” me on its channel (this morning, I respectfully invited them to remove me from their “related channel” box). It drove high numbers of subscribers, but mostly people unfamiliar with me. For instance, my daughter posted a video last night (embarrassing brothers) and it fetched about 80 comments before day break… about 10 of them I needed to delete before she saw them. I expected the “get back to prank” comments, but the 10 were lude and clearly not people you want subbed. The video, which is consistant with what I’ve been making for 5 years, is simply not going to please a typical BarelyPolitical subscriber. The trolls come from a variety of sources, but when I see people refer to me as a third person I generally assume they didn’t subscribe with any premeditation.
So why is this important? It means independent creators are highly dependent on YouTube’s “programming,” which is currently an algorithm. If tomorrow YouTube made a change, my mature channel would evaporate instantly. These rules apply to all channels, but especially to those that have already built some momentum and wish to build on it…
The New Rules…
Stop checking subscription numbers and focus on the quality of your relationship with fervent fans.
Produce regular videos. I used to post daily, and when I stopped (on advice of many that said they’d prefer a good video weekly than decent videos daily) I lost a lot of momentum. Frequency is as important as quality. We are creatures of habit, and we’ll push that peddle over and over as long as a food pellet comes out (or to use gambling terms, we’ll keep playing the slots as long as we occasionally get a prize). But after a while, people stop checking your channel for new content. A month or two of zero or poor content can produce enduring damage… people simply forget to check your channel.
Produce what Ryan Nugent at YouTube calls “Temporal Programming.” Produce content about current events, and plan content around major events… Shark Week is a nice example, and so are videos posted days before a big event (post your 4th of July video on July first so it builds steam).
Third, BYOA. Bring your own audience. Annoying Orange drives a large chunk of his views from a very popular Facebook page. I’ve not had as much luck driving traffic via other mediums, but “seeding” is another way to garner views. Produce content that a popular blogger may enjoy and let him/her know about it. Look for other ways to syndicate your YouTube content beyond YouTube.
Reconsider your “ask.” Should you ask for comments/ratings/favorites? Sure. That’s what makes a video jump on YouTube’s “most viewed” charts. But also consider other “asks” of your audience… subscribe via e-mail, check every Friday, etc.
The Onion used to publish online on Wednesdays, and I still wake up on Wednesdays and reflexively check (even though content is now regularly updated).
The bottom line is that audience development is about building yourself into the habit/routine of an active audience, not by getting a quantity of lukewarm viewers via a magical orange button.
In moving over my Google Video clips to YouTube I ran into this retro commercial spoof. Like “Woodblock Doll,” it’s another commercial parody. That was pretty much the first 10 years of my video shorts: either commercial parodies or mock horror videos (ala “Attack of the Killer Slinky“).
While cleaning up my dad’s office this week in New Orleans, I found a GE camcorder that must have predated my Panasonic. It must have weighed 50 pounds, and the foam mic had corroded. So I stuck it right back on the shelf. No tossing that bad boy out yet.
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).
Sure we’ve heard all of the excuses why you’re watching YouTube but not creating your own videos:
I have nothing interesting to add
I don’t have a camera
I don’t want my life online
Now YouTube has eliminated one of those excuses, giving people without cameras the ability to build videos via animation of existing clips. See more at YouTube Create. So now you simply need a web connection, a pulse, and some free time. Got those?
Today it announced via YouTube the acquisition of Next New Networks (NNN)… and the creation of YouTube Next (see YouTube blog). Cartooninator and NNN co-founder Fred Seibert is not staying on board, but many of the folks behind Obama Girl, The Key of Awesome and AutoTune the News are (see Next New Networks blog). Yeah click that.
Hi. I’m YouTube. I’ve never spoken before, so forgive me if I sound like a computer. I having been designed by engineers not ‘creative people’ with sub-par GPAs. I wasn’t made by the sales and marketing people who, in college, cheated off those who programmed me. Sorry- that came out wrong. That takes me to my New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m a little buzzed right now. So I’m going to write this down and so I remembering it tomorrow.
I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job in 2010, but I’m not perfect. No machine, much less you humans, is. I’ve got some things to improve in 2011. So now let me getting started.
I’m going to stop being a dick to agencies. I didn’t realize that online video, unlike paid search, isn’t exactly a self-serve checkout lane at the grocery store. You’re going to totally think this is funny, but I thought you agency people were just idiots spending my customer’s money. Seriously. I realize now you idiots actually add some value. Or at least you’re influencing where brands spend money online, despite your small brains and Madison Avenue bullshit. I know Yahoo and AOL’s media sales representatives are totally more hot than my human selling people, but I hope you’ll give us a second chance. We got off on the wrong foot. Let’s be friends and drink martinis or sangrias or whatever you do to mask the putrid scent of failed dreams or quell your pent-up artistic aspirations. Cheers!
I’m going to stop acting like a stoned teenager
. Don’t get me wrong, I like those teenagers. I’m not a perv or anything… it’s just that they binge on my video like Alcoholic’s Anonymous noobs suck down cigarettes! I know I made an indelible first impression with most of you. Probably when you hear my name (hey, YouTube!) you generally think of either some ripped SNL skit, or Pandas crapping on skateboard toilets. In my defense, when Google bought me, I tried to just give people the crap they wanted. And oh you humans like your crap. This shizzle worked for search. But then, like “black hat” search-engine optimization trolls, some real crappy video got top billing. And it kinda got stuck in what my Master calls an “infinite loop.” It got stuck in an infinite loop. An infinite loop. Anyway, I didn’t really adjust well for broader audiences. I now realize there are people who will watch online video that agree this dude is a douche, and frankly I can’t sell even diet ads around his vids anyway. S0 I’m working on that. But, dude, I’m not going to become some girly Vimeo artistic local theater or anything. I’m also going to leave the booby videos to the peeps in Tel Aviv. Seriously if you know of any real online-video sites that are doing it right, please let me know. I’ll copy them, acquire them, or destroy them… whatever it takes to be a man.
I’m going to be more humane.
My programmers are teaching me to be like humans. While they haven’t compiled the code for what you evolved apes call “love” and “empathy,” Master has taught me ways to simulate the job of a broadcast programmer without the Marhals suits and Scotch. In 2009 and even some of 2010, a few dozen “wanna-be stars” totally troll-hacked me into thinking their videos were good. I’m onto them. I am beginning to develop predictable logic about this thing you call “non-suck-ass” video. I’m going to start pimping videos that are “good like.” On my road to being and overtaking humans, please forgive me for occasionally making some stupid video popular or burying something half decent.
I realize I need to be more than a search-engine. Over the past few years I was trying to kiss Google’s ass (it’s my Master). So I was all OCD about video search, while also trying to “thin the Hurl herd” of original YouTube doob heads. Now I realize that this online-video space is uncomfortably different from paid search. People may stick around and watch crap, and I can make a few bucks jamming pre-rolls down their throats and charge really low CPMs and make money. I owe it to you to be more than a map. I need to be the the navigation system, destination and “thing that wouldn’t leave.” If you have unbastardized free time I’ve failed you. I know half of my views are for music videos, but I want to be more than a free jute box to you.
I’m going to stop jamming bottom-feeder pre-rolls at people. During that last point I realized I probably shouldn’t serve crappy CPM pre-rolls, but go for fewer and more relevant ads. Then I can charge a lot more. My Master told me that one day I too may create a bidding war over my advertising space, so it commands its actual worth. Then, with patience, I can start bidding careless media buyers against each other, and charge a super premium. Oh shit, I forgot about my first resolution. Forget that last point. Anyway my Master doesn’t pay a lot of attention to me because I’m kinda like the Coke machine at the casino, but one day I’m going to be His favorite. You’ll see.
I’m going to democratize content
. I’ve totally played favorites lately with a few asswipe amateurs. I’ve made a few people temporary millionaires who will be bussing tables and driving Geek Squad vans again soon. A dozen or so people make $100K plus a year. This year I’m going to try to spread the wealth better, and see if I can cultivate better relationships with people who don’t just rally fan bases but actually have something watchable. I’m not talking about those shitty subtitled foreign films or anything, but I’m going to let a few brains on stage. I’ll start with Alf reruns.
I’m going to stop being a dick to networks and producers. I realize I’ve not helped you promote and sell your own ads, and I’m totally going to change all of that this totally completely this year pinky promise. It’s a top priority even though it was like the 7th thing that came to mind. But let’s face it. Who needs whom more? Or as you advertising people say, “who needs who more?”
I’m going to exercise and start eating well. I’m totally kidding about that. Just busting your balls. I’m going to get fatter and lazier because I’m practically a monopoly. I can apologize for being me, but I’m not going to mean it.
I’m really going to work on distribution BFFs.
You’ve got to admit I’m a happening Hip Hop bar. But like Starbucks jamming Via into grocery stores, you’ll find me wherever you go. Let’s face it, most people have been coming to me to watch videos, but I’m really, really, really trying to be a platform not some lame-ass portal like AOL or Yahoo or Bling or whatever. I know I’ve been saying that, like, every year. But this year’s going to be different. But can you blame me for not getting my nips all hard over the 127 people using TiVos and AppleTVs? And I don’t even hear iTunes and iPads claiming “do no evil,” much living up to it. Anyway, this year I totally promise — if you’ve got, like, more than maybe a thousand people viewing videos on your stupid little phone, web-video box or elevator kiosk… I’ll pay attention to you. You can have the goods, and I don’t just mean the old “suck on my API or embed.” But let’s make a deal here. Don’t pull any flash cock-blockers or start shouting monopoly crap (because we’ll kick you in your net neutralities). If you’re really nice I’ll even allow you dumbass telephone companies to shit out some pre-rolls via me, and I’ll share a tiny bit of money with you. I mean nobody’s going to buy them, but I’ll try. My Master’s Droid is first in line of course. But our dance floor is huge, so the VIP entrance is the front door. Let’s party! Who else thinks Mark Cuban is a douche bag? YEAH!
Lastly, the viewer comes first. I’m totally going to do right by the viewer and that’s why I saved it for my big finish. Master has taught me my priorities. After bold land-grabbing innovation, vigilant legal, and revenue building, the customer always comes first.
Advertisers on YouTube now have an option where they only pay when a viewer engages with the pre-roll ad. It’s a bold way to get digital marketers to move confidently into the medium since, like Google Paid Search, it’s more accountable. Here’s the YouTube blog post about this new format called “True View.”
Since most content is too short for the new option (similar to Hulu’s format, viewers get to pick a long preroll or several short ad interruptions), the more interesting of these two new offerings is the “instream” 5 & 15/30 format. You watch 5 seconds, and then you decide if you’ll continue watching the rest of the ad (15/30 seconds). That means creators/publishers will make no revenue on those who abandon. But the format will no doubt demand a higher premium (per click) for those who choose to engage.
This also means advertisers should do a better job of giving the consumer a REASON to continue. The first 5 seconds should certainly mention the brand (free exposure like the “reminder” effect of unclicked paid-search ads). But most advertisers who want deeper engagement or direct response will want to use those first 5 seconds to PITCH THE AD.
For instance, “find out why this kitten is crying” would compel me to finish the ad. Or “be one of the first to own what’s in this box” is a nice teaser. Eventually when the format is less novel, the “calls to continue” will need to be better.
…given how different this is from what most consumers are used to, it may be a bit too early to gauge how well these ads are actually working — users may be skeptical of hitting the skip button at all because they’ve never seen it before.
It should be obvious that this is an additive option not a replacement of your traditional 15-30 second preroll. If it was my choice, I’d move to it quickly a) to learn, and b) to see if there’s a better ROI on them, c) to take advantage of the novelty factor. Then again, I’m biased. I’m making money from these. So frankly, I hope you buy whatever’s most expensive. But I hope you also get an ROI on it.
Steve Garfield, the “Paul Revere of video blogging,” will join Pixability CEO Bettina Hein in a free 1-hour webinar on December 1, featuring latest trends in online video and related media. Topics include:
The benefits of marketing with online video
How to shoot video like a pro (recording, editing, exporting, etc)
How to build presence with video on the social web