ZEFR, which was launched in 2009 as MOVICLIPS, today unveiled its latest research, “Beyond Reviews: The 12 Types of Video Already Influencing Your Customers.” ZEFR’s research doesn’t reach obvious conclusions like: “YouTube isn’t just for funny cat videos.” In fact, the 12 types of video that ZEFR has identified stand a lot of conventional wisdom on its head. The findings also represent significant business opportunities for more than a million creators from over 30 countries around the world who are earning money from their YouTube videos, as well as significant marketing opportunities for thousands of advertisers which are using TrueView in-stream ads.
It may seem surprising that ZEFR would share a dozen content marketing insights that are this valuable. It reminds me of the scene in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) where General “Buck” Turgidson (George C. Scott) says, “I… I don't know exactly how to put this, sir, but are you aware of what a serious breach of security that would be? I mean, he'll see everything, he'll… he'll see the Big Board!”
Instead of surreptitiously taking pictures of the Big Board like Soviet ambassador Alexei de Sadeski (Peter Bull) did in the War Room, video content producers and internet marketers can download the 65MB PDF file and read all 41 pages of ZEFR’s research. Right now (link below).
So, what are the 12 different video styles and/or genres related to products that ZEFR uncovered?
According to a recent survey, YouTube videos influence the purchasing decisions of 53% of all consumers in the U.S. But, what do these videos actually look like?
Conventional wisdom says that searching for “reviews” of products is a good place to start. However, videos involving products come in many forms on YouTube and not every video uses the word “review” in the searchable metadata. That’s why a wider understanding is necessary to uncover where and how these videos are influencing shoppers. And whether you are creating content or buying advertising, this is incredibly valuable information.
12 Product Video Styles that Influence Shoppers on YouTube
ZEFR has uncovered 12 different video styles and/or genres related to products that exist throughout the platform. Each one reveals that YouTube is a place where shoppers can go above and beyond basic product reviews. They are:
1. Unboxing Videos
A video showcasing how a product looks by carefully removing it from its packaging, showing each individual element to the camera.
2. Torture Test
A video testing the durability of products through a series of destructive actions.
A video showcasing the spoils of a recent shopping spree.
The male, urban term for a “haul,” often seen in the “Sneakerhead” community
5. How To’s & Tutorials
A video teaching someone how to do something… obviously.
A video showing the details of a space, physical or digital, to showcase its arrangement, contents, and overall feel.
A video showcasing the products that a Beauty Guru has used up.
A call to action entering a subscriber in a chance to win a featured item in exchange for social engagement.
A video showcasing a portion of a collection that the YouTuber likes best.
A video that compares one product’s functionality and appearance against a competitor.
A video imitating the style of another piece of media, usually a song or commercial, made for the purposes of humor or critique.
A video in which a person answers a set series of questions, or completes a set series of tasks, the format of which is passed from one YouTuber to another.
Why are ZEFR’s findings so valuable?
So, why is this list so valuable? Well, many creators and advertisers might have guessed a couple of the video styles and/or genres related to products, but only a few would have been able to identify all 12. And the entire product cycle is on full display, from pre-purchase to post-purchase information. This radically expands the customer journey to online purchase beyond AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. And the result is a powerful new opportunity that creators and advertisers need to get ahead of. Right now.
Imagine what might have happened if these content marketing insights had been available back in October 2011 when YouTube announced its Original Channel Initiative. Maybe YouTube would have more to show for the $100 million it invested in 100 “premium” channels – which grew a year later by another $200 million and 60 more “original” channels. That’s why ZEFR’s findings are so valuable.
I’ve seen this movie before
Launched in 2009 as MOVICLIPS, the company was rebranded as ZEFR in August 2012. According to the comScore Video Metrix service, ZEFR had the #3 YouTube Partner Channel with 26.6 million unique viewers in December 2013, behind only VEVO with 38.5 million viewers and Fullscreen with 27.3 million viewers.
Today, ZEFR builds social marketing and rights management software for online video. That’s why its research is so eye-opening. Who know you could build a top YouTube Partner Channel out of licensed clips from movie studios that could be shared on the web? That’s another video style and/or genre that could be added to the list. But there are at least two more.
ReelSEO honors embargoes. All that means is that we’ll talk with trusted companies and PR firms in confidence so they will show and tell us stuff way early. This enables us to analyze something before we write about it, put our story in a queue to be edited, and then publish it the moment that the embargo is lifted. And that gives you a healthy mix of expert analysis and informed opinion along with breaking news and the latest trends.
So, I was able to read ZEFR’s latest research, “Beyond Reviews: The 12 Types of Video Already Influencing Your Customers,” back on Sunday even though my story was embargoed until today. That gave me time to figure out why four of ZEFR’s 12 findings gave me the feeling that I’d seen this movie before.
Back in 1988 – long before YouTube and even before the World Wide Web – I was the director of marketing for PC/Computing, a monthly magazine published by Ziff-Davis. One of our challenges – on both the editorial as well as the ad sales sides of the house – was to explain why anyone needed yet another PC publication. Heck, Ziff-Davis already published PC Week and PC Magazine. So, why was the company launching PC Computing?
(By the way, two of my colleagues at PC/Computing back then were Suzie Reider, the Director of Media Solutions at Google, and Brian Cusack, the Industry Director at Google. Suzie wrote the introduction to the first edition of my book, YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day, and Brian wrote the introduction to the second edition. So, they could tell this story, too.)
We learned – and then went on to explain to the rest of the industry – that Ziff-Davis had uncovered a new segment of buyers of PC products that were looking for a different type of information than the ones that its other PC titles provided. Although “Volume Buyers” were attracted by the product news provided weekly by PC Week and “Brand Specifiers” were attracted by the product reviews provided bimonthly by PC Magazine, this third segment of the market wanted another kind of content. We ran lots of tests and experiments to figure out what that was – and discovered that it included torture tests, how to’s & tutorials, favorites, and vs. We dubbed our segment “PC Champions” and created content and sold advertising for that audience. PC/Computing’s monthly paid circulation grew to more than 1 million in less time than it had taken its older sister, PC Magazine, to reach that milestone.
It’s worth noting that Ziff-Davis was sold in 1994 to Forstmann Little & Company for $1.4 billion. So, finding an unserved segment of buyers is a pretty valuable thing to do.
And ZEFR has identified 12 of those segments. If you add movie clips, product news, and product reviews, that’s 15 segments. And I have this funny feeling that there are even more.
But here’s the bottom line: If creators and advertisers can figure out where consumers go before they hit checkout, then they are much more likely to be successful than most of the participants of the YouTube Original Channel Initiative were. The last time I looked, many of them were living underground in deep mineshafts in order to escape the fallout, with a high female-to-male ratio to allow the well-known personalities and content producers from the TV, film, music, news, and sports fields to repopulate the surface after a hundred years have passed.
The full report can be downloaded from ZEFR here.