you oughta be in pictures march 2010
How to use online video to increase traffic, sales, and, yes, your chances of getting a star on the Walk of Fame. Chances are you have watched a video (or two or five) today. We’re not talking about that Chevy Chase classic you picked up at Blockbuster, along with a tub of Red Vines. We’re talking about videos disseminated via YouTube, Vimeo, news websites, Facebook, smart phones, email, or increasingly, business websites. The fact is, you are not alone. • According to comScore, nearly 178 million U.S. viewers watched 33.2 billion online videos during December 2009. That’s an 18% increase vs. November! • More than 170 million viewers watched an average of 182 videos per viewer. • Nielsen reports that online video viewing on social networking sites was up 98% in 2009.
• YouTube reports that over 20 hours of videos are uploaded every minute.
What does this mean for marketers? Well, a lot. Video is not just stupid pet tricks. Marketers have recognized the value of online video as a marketing support tool. Adding video to your online marketing plan has become essential in 2010. Why? I’ll start by stating the obvious: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This oft-quoted adage is supported by research that clearly indicates that words plus pictures (especially the moving variety) are dramatically more effective than text alone. The opportunity of using online video as a sales tool hit its tipping point as broadband use hit its household and office penetration tipping point.
Secondly, if being a more efficient communicator doesn’t get your attention, maybe generating incremental website traffic might. Cisco reported that adding streaming video to its website increased overall traffic by over 600%.
And finally, what about sales, the Holy Grail of marketing. Zappos, the leading online shoe retailer, said that adding a video to a product page increased sales by 8% to 30%.
Trends in online video. Online video is becoming mainstream. It is also morphing on a monthly basis. This means that you will need to pay attention to the latest trends and add strategic planning to your video program. That’s where Citrus comes in.
Bare naked. Websites that do not have embedded videos will look bare. The question “Should we have a website?” left the building in 1999. “Should we have videos on our site?” will be long gone in 2010. Thinking through the objectives of the videos—are they for branding, to demonstrate a product or service, to stimulate a sales conversion, for recruitment, etc.— and where to put them on the site are critical strategic decisions.
Everybody’s doing it. Despite what Mom said in 9th grade, picking up on this trend is essential. Video is everywhere and has become an important landmark on the communication landscape. Videos are being shot 24/7 on camera phones and low-cost Flip cameras. These days, everyone is Spielberg, even your local mattress store. In addition, mobile viewership is poised to increase dramatically to expand the when and where videos are viewed. Imagine a mobile video product review site that helps with in-store shopping.
SEO and video. Now that you have figured out how to optimize your website, it’s time to optimize your video search. Both Google and Bing return video results in universal searches. You can manage the ranking of your videos just as you manage website ranking. YouTube search itself accounted for nearly 28% of all Google searches.
YouTube and you. YouTube will continue to rule, but marketers will begin to exercise greater control of their video distribution strategies. We love YouTube, and it is the core of any video distribution strategy. But let’s face it: YouTube has limitations. YouTube restricts the length of videos, branding opportunities can become expensive and marketers have limited control over YouTube-placed advertising. Besides, do you really want to only build traffic to your videos on a third-party site like YouTube?
Video has gone social. Marketers will increasingly leverage the pass-along amplification of social media by posting videos on Facebook. Viewership of videos on Facebook was up over 1800% in 2009. By soliciting comments via the comment function, you can stimulate pass-along. You can also leverage the video share functions of social aggregators like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon, which allow sharing across their worlds.
It’s getting complicated. With the online video boom and burgeoning social marketing, things are getting more complicated. Marketers will soon need to address a wider range of questions and issues if they want to truly leverage the potential of video.
Five Easy Pieces We see five key elements in developing a strong, efficient and effective video program.
1. Set objectives and strategies that work for your content and audience. What are you trying to achieve? Who are you talking to? What is the key message? The tenets of any marketing program worth its creative brief needs to apply to all online video campaigns. Sounds obvious, right?
2. How will you produce the videos? You have built a brand over time. Will a down-and-dirty video support your brand? Will it come across as half-baked, or alternately, authentic, high-energy, fun, hip and not over-produced? Whether you go for high production value or a no-frills approach, be sure to get professional marketing expertise. After all, there’s a big difference between amateur and amateurish.
3. How will you distribute the video? The first place is on your site. Where will they go? What is the logical flow? The second distribution channel is via third-party sites like Facebook and YouTube. No question that third-party views are great, but how will they be optimized to drive sales? In respect to YouTube, do you know that YouTube can be managed to increase the viewership of your video? Some things to consider include your videos title (adding “How to…” to Home Depot videos dramatically increased views), descriptions and tags.
There are other distribution sites to consider, and a distributor like TubeMogul can automatically upload your video across a spectrum of video sites. Finally, how might you use online video ads in your mix? Citrus has had great success in driving traffic to the Montana Lottery site through the use of Mixpo ad technology that placed our videos on publisher websites.
4. Video Optimization. Search engines are now serving up videos in search results. Go to Google and search “How to fix a hole in the wall.” Video thumbnails dominate the search results. A Forrester Research study suggests videos, when submitted properly, are 53 times more likely to generate a first-page Google ranking than just using traditional SEO techniques.
5. Metrics. We highly suggest that you test your use of video. A/B testing will help you test the effectiveness of various video strategies in driving conversions on your site. Testable options include pre/post use of videos, length of the video, placement areas, style, etc. Video viewer metrics have become very sophisticated. Detailed video viewership metrics include total streams viewed, total number of viewers, minutes viewed, percentage of videos watched, sharing (pass-along) statistics, and geography.
That’s a wrap. The use of video as an online marketing tool has great opportunities and enormous implications for your marketing program. And it’s easy. Or is it? We view online video as 2010’s version of 1980’s desktop publishing. Anyone, even your 12-year-old cousin, can do it. But it will look like your 12-year-old cousin did it. Which means that it might not represent your brand in the best light or meet your marketing objectives. If you would like to hear what Citrus can bring to the party, like over 20 years of video production coupled with an extensive Internet marketing expertise, give me a call. You’ll even get to say “Action!” at the shoot.
Put “Partner with a business that knows how to create attention-getting, ROI-generating TV and videos” at the top of your to-do list. Followed by my phone number. Then call me. We can discuss how you can leverage our TV expertise to meet your objectives, this white paper, how great “30 Rock” is. Anything really. Peter Levitan: 541-550-4255 or email@example.com