Integrating Online Video Into the Marketing Mix

November 23rd, 2008

You are now free to watch whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want.

In addition to DVR timeshifting, we can now easily placeshift. Thanks largely to the confluence of ACCESSIBILITY (widespread broadband, public wi-fi, 3G mobile networks); EASE (camera phones, web cams, laptop cameras, simple and low-cost production and editing equipment); and free DISTRIBUTION (YouTube, MetaCafe, Yahoo Video), the supply of, and demand for, online video is skyrocketing.

Video has emotive power. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh, were awestruck or got goose bumps from a newspaper ad? Video can tell a compelling story and boosts comprehension, retention and response. And can be forwarded easily.

To leverage the potential of online video and encourage viral-ity, do more than repurpose your existing TV spots. Develop creative that is relevant to the medium and fosters a more engaging relationship with the viewer. Try this recipe: 2 parts Content + 1 part Tagging + 1 part Promotion.

Content

It doesn’t have to be an expensive production. But it does have to be a good storyline. Like the brilliant “Will it Blend?” online videos from Blendtec. Engaging, compelling, with a strong core message — resulting in millions of views.

Through research, marketing analysis company Millward Brown has identified four key attributes that can help propel an online video to success. The video must have “L.E.G.S.” and work in one or more of four key areas:

L (laughter) Everyone loves a laugh, and many of us like to make others laugh as well.
E (edgy) Stories that push limits of acceptability can be incredibly compelling — but be careful not to damage your brand and to obey by the terms and conditions of all video-sharing sites.
G (gripping) Could be based on some amazing talent, a suspense, a prank, potential physical injury, animal/pet tricks, cute kids, special effects or music.
S (sexual innuendo) Enough said.

Tagging

Each video sharing site lets you create and post metadata or “tags” — words that describe your video. These tags, along with the title and description of the video, are the basis for how your video is located by viewers on sites like YouTube. In addition, search engines like Google have added video to their search results, so optimizing your video’s metadata is increasingly important.

The more accurate the metadata, the more likely someone is to find it. Use as many keywords as possible and think about how someone might search. But be sure your tags and keywords are relevant to your video.

19% of total video consumption is now online, versus 11% just a year ago: 76% of children and 44% of seniors watch video online. (BrightRoll)
75% of the US Internet audience viewed online video
in July spending 558 million hours. (ComScore)
50% + of the entire US population watches online video now and there will be 190 million US online video viewers by 2012. (eMarketer)

Promotion

Generally, deploying videos to multiple sites makes sense since different sites have different content niches and audiences to tap into.

Many video sites employ a “bubble up” methodology that promotes videos that receive the most views, subscribers, comments, ratings and forwards. Popularity begets more popularity. So consider ways to supercharge the process.

Building a community is the best method, but it isn’t done overnight. Invite your friends to subscribe to your video channels. Subscribe to other videos and leave insightful comments so people click on your profile. Write an interesting blog post and/or respond to the blog posts of others.

Submit your videos to social bookmarking sites that employ voting systems to promote content. Some of the most popular are Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon. As your video gains more votes, it will attract more attention. If you end up in a featured or “top 10” category on Digg, you can generate 100,000 or more views a day.

Don’t forget the thumbnail, which is the single image that represents your video and often what compels someone to watch it. Each video-sharing site has a different method for determining which frame will comprise the thumbnail. It pays off to take the time to understand how the thumbnail is determined for every site where you want to post your video.

To be successful, it’s important to reframe the notion of how advertising has functioned over the last 60 years of traditional TV. Not to completely dismiss what we know, but rather to blend our knowledge of video, TV advertising and online dialogue to create executions that leverage both in a relevant way for the consumer while respecting the brand’s broader marketing objectives.

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