I just discovered a report published late last year on video trends observed in the 3rd quarter 2011 (ending Sept. 30). It seems we watch 30% more video when on an iPad (versus desktop). Ooyala, a service provider to media companies, tracks a mess of activity and provides some nice signals in this report (see PDF). The company defines “conversion” as the percent of videos viewed against those displayed. I’d estimate these to be rather small (low single digits) on YouTube. But the publisher sites seem to be doing much better, with 40% to 60%. Game players take the lead with 60% which is remarkable, but probably a function of fewer content choices.
I really like this visual of the complete rate by form factor. It confirms what we’ve been saying about our tolerance for longer form when on devices beyond desktop.
This Dan Greenberg story in MediaPost is good news to online-video advertising enthusiasts. Seems the “gap” is closing, and online video is moving into critical mass. Did I just say “critical mass”? Oh well.
Dan provides 5 reasons:
Big brands be making video content investments
Top agencies be making online video a practice/priority
Agencies are creating titles like “director of earned media” (a residual of PR)
We’re developing better metrics than fargin’ clicks. Remember that clicks are like hits (which stood for “how idiots track success”) and impressions aren’t impressions unless they make one. Don’t be a click prick.
Forrester and Nielsen are validating this approach with reports. Whatev.
Anyway this is good news to online-videophiles. Yeyy the market is catching up.
I used to write quite often about online-video contests because for many brands, that was their online-video strategy. It’s similar today when brand’s create a Facebook page to check off that nagging “social media” objective.
Yes, $7,500.00 for a contest victory for three weeks work is decent pay, but if you really worked for three months, because it is the true frequency rate of your ‘wins’, than you now are netting about $26,000 per year. I pay more than that in rent alone.
This is a good reminder that, with some certain exceptions among recurring Poptent winners, few are making a “living” with online-video contest winnings.
Key Point: I would urge those pursuing contests to do so as a) a creative outlet, b) a way to build a good reel, and c) an additional income source. This is true for YouTube as well… a handful of stanky rich creators making way more than your salary and mine combined. Lots of people making what we’d consider a fantastic second income. But if money is the primary motivator, it’s not a safe bet.
Beardy’s “Video Contest News” has some nice coverage, and even offers occasional production tips (I liked this one since I’m always having audio problems with my DSLR camera as a primary video recorder). We like Beardy’s homeless theme, which reminds us of our WillVideoForFood name.
Poptent Neil Perry told me the company has received increased investment, hired a team of sales people, and are beginning to attract larger brands that align with the company’s original vision (where the content is used on television not just online-video).
Weeks ago (during PattyTube) we crashed the Poptent office and binged on loads of new contest entries. Years ago many looked like bad CableTV ads, but the ones we watched were damned-well close to agency work. Common- who else loved the “Sour Patch Cannibals“?
Collaborations by independent creators with specific talents — like writing, acting, production, editing, music — are on the rise according to Tim Breslin, the mad genius behind Poptent’s technology.
King Jared teamed with Joel Berry (aka Tavin Dillard on YouTube) to create a Poptent entry for Trident Gum (titled “Grease Monkey Business,” which is a far cry better than the “consumer-generated” entries of past.
Let’s face it. Social media, like digital marketing initially, has been overhyped. We don’t even need any more “social media” gurus in 2011. We just need executives and marketers who understand the channel well enough to be realistic, patient and smart. We’ve been asking “what?” and “why?” for several years now, and the big questions for 2011 are “who?” and “how?”
It’s time to get back to the basics this year, and recognize that when a CEO or marketer says “I want a popular Facebook or YouTube account,” what she probably means is this:
She wants to increase sales by: a) making her company appear contemporary, b) capitalizing on a new and efficient way to market, and c) engaging more meaningfully with her customers than is possible through advertising. But the operative word in that last sentence is “grow,” because the rest is a means to an end. Even if she’s using a very soft, educational and entertaining approach to social media, her goal is to sell. Her goal is to sell. And that’s okay.
Consider for a moment the evolution of advertising and marketing agencies (dates/credit to Big Fuel, the creators of the embedded video:
Advertising Agency: The first traditional advertising agencies were established in the 1850s to help brands drive awareness through newspapers, then later radio and television. They distinguished many otherwise undifferentiated products, and taught the business community that the medium works.
Direct Marketing Firm: In the 1960s through 1980s we saw direct marketing proliferate. DM or DR (direct response) agencies focused less on driving awareness, and more on generating measurable sales through accountable channels like telemarketing, direct-response mail and catalogs.
Digital Agencies: From 1993 to 1999, we saw the emergence of digital agencies helping optimize the emergence of the Internet. It was the ultimate direct-response playground, a place to conduct more targeted advertising, and most importantly… an efficient way to target buyers while they were looking (searching), then engage them in custom ways that were cost-prohibitive before.
Stagnation: After the bubble burst, and before web 2.0 became vogue, consumers began to protect themselves from ads through spam filters, ad blockers and simply ignoring what they could. Forced homepage takeovers and prerolls, while breaking through ad fatigue, has brought back the corporate desperation of dinner-time telemarketers and junk mail.
Social Media Experts: Now we’ve got thousands of people claiming to be “social media marketing” experts, and that annoys me as a former Product Director. I want someone who understands my product, category and customers above all… and I hope they’ll come with some common sense and experience about the workings of social media. But a channel-specific “guru” can be very difficult to weave into a brand team.
Meanwhile, where does online-video marketing fit in? It has been sometimes dangerously isolated from social media, which is odd to me. Even more tragically, online-video has been buried in the “black hole” of digital media advertising. I hope a marketer can appreciate that oline-video marketing is a broader discipline than simply buying display ads (pre-rolls) or “going viral.” So where does online-video and social-media belong? And why are so few brands achieving their social media and/or online-video marketing goals?
First, some goals are unrealistic (going “viral”). More commonly, however, brands are “pushing too hard,” by trying to marry prospects before a proper courtship. Although less common, some brands have fallen to the opposite extreme. Soft, charitable education and entertainment comes at the expense of any meaningful business return.
The balance (being a “social” company or brand but also selling products or services) is difficult, hence the explosion of social-media experts that understand the medium and how marketing can play nicely. This balancing act impacts online-video as much as any other component of online-marketing or social media. Is a video designed to capture the hearts, minds, and wallets of the largest possible audience? Or is it built to capture the attention of prospects, and propel them from awareness to sale (and even loyalty and advocacy)?
The answer, of course, is yes. Video can and should do all of those things. Although that requires a strategy, and different video content for various stages of the “funnel.”
This video below (an oldie but goodie) speaks to the need of a “customer engagement” (CE) agency or specialist, and I would contend that the CE term is more fitting than social media. Customer engagement what companies want and need, and online video (as well as social media) is a way to do it. Companies don’t need a “social media” guru, they simply need marketers and agencies who know what’s appropriate for these mediums and how to tap them efficiently and effectively.
Again, social media is just another place to market with some new and unique nuances. It’s certainly different from traditional “reach and frequency” media or the “hyper targeting” Internet as we’ve known it. While social-media marketing can complement those other forms of advertising, it’s risky to bring best-in-class advertising approaches to social media without refining them.
The bottom line is that we can be “social” and savvy about online video… without adding a lick of value to customers or the business. We can also add tremendous customer and business value without being so damned social or “viral.” So what’s the answer?
First, let’s remember what we’re really trying to do. We want to use social media to achieve justifiable goals: target, find, help, educate, court, convince and engage new customers.
This means we’re creating a social-media presence not just to “hang out and be cool” or go “wicked viral,” but to add value to both customers/prospects and our company/brand.
A lot of social media and online-video fits nicely into a public relations agency, even if most of them are more familiar with media influence than customers. And it’s everyone’s job not a guru, specialty agency or department (for instance, even the traditional media buyer needs to know social so they don’t turd drop in a medium where people are far less interested in “boast and push” advertising).
If we’re offering a really good product or service, customers will voluntarily use social media to help others find us. We can encourage that, but ultimately it’s something they’ll do to reward us, not just because we ask them to “like” on Facebook or “subscribe” to our YouTube channel.
Finally, there are a lot of things best-in-class “social” brands are NOT doing. They aren’t simply trying to become “popular” via social media or “viral” on YouTube. And they’re certainly avoiding the temptation to become a content creator or publisher unless it’s a necessary “means to an end.” Entertainment is not job of a brand, can’t be done well by most sales/marketing teams, and can severely detract a team from great marketing strategy and execution.
Great brands aren’t pimping themselves on social media. They’re trying to earn the right to introduce products or services appropriately.
I’ll get off my soap box now, and let you enjoy this animation. If you’re not careful, it might just give you ideas on how to attack the two big 2011 questions: “who” and “how.”
How is this list similar or different from 2007, 2008 and 2009?
Commercials are still the exception not rule. This year’s popular advertising campaign/commercial was Old Spice, and last year it was Evian’s roller skating babies. I referred to the latter in my book as the “exception to the rule” that promotional videos don’t often go viral. Even though this is increasingly true, 2011 to spawn some Old Spice knockoffs nonetheless. Hopefully a few brands and agencies will try a “road less travelled” with better odds.
Both 2009 and 2009 lists had a Twilight trailer. Again- this says less about online video as the fact that the films are extremely popular.
Last year’s “double rainbow” was the quirky “David After the Dentist,” now at 75 million views (that’s almost half of the views I’ve garnered on my entire collection). Hopefully we’ll continue to rally around odd moment like these.
As the medium matures, we’ve seen fewer “quirky” amateur clips than, say, 2008 when we had viralizations like Fred, “Christian the Lion” and ImprovEverywhere’s “Frozen Grand Central.” The memes of 2007 were even more interesting to me — from The Landlord and “Leave Britney Alone” to Obama Girl (Next New Networks) and the South Carolina Miss Teen USA clip
Almost all of the top-10 popped on YouTube. The world’s second-largest search engine remains the most vibrant channel.
The teen factor is still driving views, even if each year offers content for a broader demographic.
Each year the top 10 most-viewed hits are a smaller percent of overall views… it’s the long tail effect. Finally, do you notice anything missing for the first year in a while? No SNL Digital shorts… or sadly, anything from The Onion, College Humor or Funny Or Die.
Okay now go buy my book, or tell a journalist to interview me for a delightful year-end segment on viral videos.
Continued web-to-television bridges. While we’re still far from a merge of cable, television and online-video, we’ve seen some interesting changes already. Roku, Netflix, AppleTV, and a few brave television manufacturers pre-embedding software and wireless access or Ethernet plugs. I’m going o once again bet on the lazy man’s alternative to setting up their own PC media player. I see a $199 device that allows us to access the Internet right from our televisions. It’s a small PC, a remote-controlled keyboard and mouse, and it plugs into any television via HDMI or even less progressive connections.
More stars dive into online video. Ashton Kutcher, Felicia Day, Tom Green. These guys have embraced new media, and there’s a wild rush to Twitter. 2010 is the year that more stars put themselves on YouTube. Don’t believe me? Wired reports Kutcher IS the future of video. They won’t always “go viral” but their strong fan bases offline will propel them to the most-subscribed pages of YouTube, eclipsing many of the web purists.
AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo Catch Up. Ironically, the laggards are web portals and search engines that had a media bent a decade ago. Google leapfrogged them with YouTube. They can’t stand on the sidelines forever. Watch for these players cutting deals with larger players (cable, telecommunications, etc.) to establish their dominance. Since it’s almost impossible to battle YouTube directly, they’ll focus on partnerships with tech companies and premium content providers. The result may not be as popular, but it will command the attention of advertisers that like pro content and “safe” plays.
Programming Not Sporadic. When I was posting daily, I didn’t realize how important that was. It kept my audience active, and ensured my recent videos got 50-100,000 views. In past months, I’ve posted unpredictably and as little as 10 times a month. The result? I’ve plateaued. Meanwhile the regular posters (Sxephil, WhatTheBuckShow, CharlesTrippy and ShayCarl) are souring. The creator community is learning about the vital need to post predictably. ZeFrank used to post at 1:00 daily. TheOnion was always updated online on Wednesday. If you’re not predictable, you’re forgotten. Many amateurs are hosting live shows once a week, and the crowds flock to see their favorite “stars” unplugged. Audiences like routines.
Division of Audience Focus in Conferences and Publishing. In the early days of the Internet, attendees included marketers, tech folks, and about every other business function that thought the web was going to be more than a fad. Online-video conferences and publications have taken the same approach. Watch in 2010 as conferences and publishing focus on more concrete audiences. AdTech for advertisers. StreamingMedia for technology people. And other conferences for marketers or web-studio playas. These conferences are too frequent and too broad to serve any audience well.
Niftier Audience Participation. We’re still doing little more than putting VHS tapes online. The power of Web 2.0 (or 4.0 or whatever the hell you want to call it) is the interactivity and the engagement it facilitates in storytelling. Sure we saw 2009 videos that took advantage of “annotations” to create “choose your own adventure” series. But watch as advertisers and content creators merge to create more robust engagement experiences built on video, but with lots of tools that create a deeper, immersive experience. SevenEcho is one company to watch.
White Dwarfs and Luminous SuperGiants. The lifecycle of the average weblebrity is compressing, despite a handful of amateurs that have maintained a vibrant presence. In 2010 we’ll see some new talent and more popular talent fading. There are not many people that have the persistence and creativity to sustain a continued audience. There are “Gary Larsons” that burn bright but short. There are Charles Shulz’s that don’t stop until they die (or their lines become jagged like someone drawing on a motor boat).
Advertisers Forced In. Every year we predict advertisers will finally embrace online video (but the spend levels are not proportionate to the audience reach). That pretty much HAS to change dramatically in 2010. Not enough impact on television’s fragmenting and depleting audiences. So even the most traditional and laziest media buyer will be forced by marketers to spend more and spend more wisely. Watch for more obnoxious takeovers on YouTube and other sites, but also some clever alternatives that get brands “inside” the content.
There is No 9th Preduction. That’s because I have to go wake up the kids, and don’t have time.
News, News, News. We have watched as “consumer generated media” has made its way to many televised news stories. Now that cell phones with video cameras are fairly common, we’ll see more of this. And that prediction I made years ago… a live broadcast from some crisis directly from a person’s cell phone? That’s happening in 2010 or I’ll stop predicting it. I promise.
Laurie Sullivan of MediaPost reports that paid-search and video are the “bright spots” of online ad spending according to a recent eMarketer report. “Search and video were the only two media that experienced growth this year, although much less than the prior year,” according to the article.
Two trends to watch according to David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst.
The first is the move toward non-advertising marketing. That is particularly true in the online space, where marketers focus more on social media (so estimates on spending can be misleading because the numbers fail to capture the full extent of the growth in online marketing).
Second, the way we’re using various media impacts ad spending by traditional media losing audience and associated ad dollars, and the social Internet has begun to alter how marketers need to communicate with customers and prospective clients.
Go check out the article in MediaPost for some fun-filled stats that reaffirm that video has power… because it’s a hot portion of the online mix, and has direct impact on a company’s ability to show up on search results (more YouTube videos means a greater chance of placing high on organic results on Google). And if you’re rich enough to buy the $700 eMarketer report, please send me a copy. 🙂
What are the people who were early adopters of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube doing NOW?
Hitwise tracks tens of millions of people via ISP data, and could identify a collection of those who were early to social media. By watching their recent ISP data, we can fairly accurately predict the next big thing. I’ve searched but can’t find the information about this that Tancer provided at the iMedia Connections event in Vegas.
First of all… the snow. Does it stay or go? I kinda like it, but when a vlogbrother says it’s “gotta go” it gives you pause.
I just invited a few of my favorite thought-leaders in online video to write a guest blog post about 2009 highlights and 2010 predictions. If you’re steeped in online video (as a creator, industry expert, marketer, journalist) and can write goodly, please feel free to e-mail me your own short guest post.
As 2009 wraps up, I am going to review my annual predictions (nailed some, but been quite wrong on others) and put some serious thought into where 2010 is headed.
I’m still surprised at how fast AND slow this online-video space is maturing.
Some amazing things have occurred in 2009 (we’re seeing networks, cable companies, marketers and technology firms getting quite serious about online-video distribution). But a few of my long-standing predictions have not yet proven accurate.
I thought we’d see a popularity shift from amateur vloggers to professional creators (that still doesn’t appear to be happening). The most-viewed video creators are still individual “web stars” with minimal costs and largely 0ne-man bands.
We still haven’t have broken down the gaping chasm between “lean forward” computer-driven online video consumption and “lean backward” viewing on that giant monitor we call still call a television set. Sure some of us are using some band-aid approaches (Roku, Boxee, AppleTV, Netflix, web-enabled televisions, and home-grown tricks). But I’m truly surprised we don’t yet have a broadly marketeted, low-cost ($200 or less) hardware device that allows us to surf web video from our television using a simple processor, wireless receiver and wireless keyboard/mouse. Then again, it was 1998 when I almost purchased a Dell “media” device to enable this. Unlike mobile, this area seems to be caught in a Catch22, and some fierce protectionism by big-stake players.
Most importantly, I remain perplexed at how cautious media buyers have been. We’ve seen tremendous shifts from other mediums to online-video, but the advertising inventory remains widely available. I believe this is due to buyers using banner metrics to assess a different medium. I’m trying to echo my mantra that “an impression isn’t an impression unless it makes one,” and show advertisers that they’re underestimating the persuasive impact of online-video advertising because they’re obsessed with CPMs (cost per million impressions) and click-thru rates. If we had held television to those criteria, we’d probably still have 3 television networks and perhaps be viewing black & white programming.
As most of you WillVideoForFood readers know, I’m writing a book with Wiley publishing (tentatively called “Beyond Viral Video”). So I am hoping these guest posts awaken me (and you) to dimensions I don’t see as a marketer & YouTube personality.
Stay tuned for what I hope will be some interesting insights!
At today’s iMediaConnection “Breakthrough Summit” in Vegas, Hitwise’s Bill Tancer (ilovedata.com) told hundreds of leading marketers about three trends based on research of “early adopters.” Tancer will release the data this week on his blog, but here’s what matters:
Tancer developed three classifications of “early adopters,” in part by isolating the people who began using YouTube in the early days (fall 2005). He and his team observed their recent web behaviors (via Hitwise’s panel of 10 million US and 25 internationally), and noticed two video-related trends.
First, early adopters are shifting from finding videos via “most popular” (crowdsourced) content to portals with editorial viewpoints. Remember when YouTube editors picked what was on the homepage? Seems these early-adopters want their help again. Maybe your blog featuring your favorite new videos will be more useful to us than the most-viewed pages? Certainly there are some of you who send me videos, and I’m far more likely to trust Nutcheese or Jan’s opinion about something I should watch.
Second, video and social-media are colliding. These “avant garde” peeps want more social-media tools mixed with their video content. YouTube, in an attempt to attract more mainstream users and monetize content, has minimized its attention to social-media tools that facilitate dialogue adjoined to video. Instead, the videos “spotlighted” are chosen presumably based on a) “hot” trending videos, b) videos which captivate viewers longer (relative to similar videos of the duration), and c) based on content that commands higher advertising revenue. I’m not sure I fault that algorithm, but it may not satisfy the early-adopters. If Tancer is right, perhaps there will be a surge in Facebook or other social-media sites offering video as an add-on (either hosted or via embedded YouTube widgets).
Third, he expects to see more mobile-driven sharing of video and other content. So watch for sites like TwitVid (I’ve been asked by TwitVid founders to advise the company, and Alexa shows the site is taking off). The site allows for sharing of video content using the Twitter API and login.
I’m keenly interested in any WVFF readers who might have been among these early adopters… people who joined YouTube even before I did (in January 2006). How are you finding videos now?
This could be a new niche for people who watch lots of videos, and have knack at finding videos that many other people may enjoy. Perhaps in the next months, we’ll begin “subscribing” to individual’s “favorites” (which YouTube functionality permits) because we trust their opinion of good content.
Perhaps the day of the YouTube editor (or even novice) is soon to return. I’m going to try using Twitvid now that I learned how to do so via my Blackberry.