As a contributor to ReelSEO, I’m supposed to “offer expert advice, guidance, and commentary about the world of online video.” Hey, I didn’t make that stuff up. That’s what it says on the page About ReelSEO and our Team. But, the other members of our team are supposed to do this, too. That’s why they also read YouTube’s Official Blog, the YouTube Creator Blog, and YouTube Trends twice a day to provide “news, analysis, tips and trends for the online video and internet marketing industries.”
So, by the time the weekend rolls around and I sit down to write another column, the pickings are slim. That’s why I’ve adopted Monty Python’s catchphrase, “And now for something completely different,” as my own.
Google, God bless ‘em, has put the studies it’s conducting, the trends it’s tracking, and the ideas it’s exploring — across industries, platforms and audiences — all in one place. Think Insights includes everything from high-level visions to deck-ready data points. You’ll find data, insights, tools and inspiration.
Finding the Meaning in Memes
For example, you’ll find an article by Abigail Posner, the Head of Strategic Planning and Agency Development at Google, entitled, “The Engagement Project: Finding the Meaning in Memes.”
Posner says, “The stats tell us that we’re spending more and more time on the web creating, curating and sharing visual content. We uploaded over half a million videos related to the 'Harlem Shake’ to YouTube in the past few months. Google searches for Cat GIFs hit an all-time high last month. And we took 380 billion photos last year – that’s 10% of all the photos ever taken. But let’s be honest, these memes are fun, but they don’t matter, right? They’re pretty much a waste of time.”
Then, she asks, “Why would we be doing so much of this ‘visual play’ if it really means so little to us? And ultimately, what can brands learn from it to engage with their followers more meaningfully?
To get to the bottom of these questions, Google assembled a team of original thinkers – anthropologists, digital vanguards and content creators – to dig a little deeper into this “visual web.” Google also spoke to members of what it calls Generation C – the people who grew up on the web or behave as though they did – and who thrive on creation, curation, connection and community.
Posner says, “The research showed us that far from just distracting us from more serious things, these viral pictures, videos and memes reconnect us to an essential part of ourselves. By understanding what’s at the root of our obsession with the visual web, brands can create the kind of content that resonates in today’s culture.”
The YouTube Ads Leaderboard for Cannes
You’ll also find an article by Jim Habig entitled, “The YouTube Ads Leaderboard for Cannes: Celebrating the Ads People Choose.”
Habig looks at the winners, which were determined by applying YouTube’s Leaderboard methodology to ads uploaded to YouTube during the Cannes submission period.
In first place was Dove – Real Beauty Sketches.
He says, “It’s hard to believe this ad is less than two months old, when you consider the trove of response videos, parodies and the sheer magnitude of positive response (see the comments) – it’s already become iconic. The most noteworthy quality of this ad is that it doesn't look like a traditional ad. Its pacing is deliberate, it has characters and a narrative arc – all serving a brand story that goes well beyond a :30-second spot. It’s an excellent demonstration of what’s possible with the artistic freedom and expanded canvas offered on YouTube.”
In second place was Turkish Airlines – Kobe vs Messi: Legends on Board.
Habig says, “Having two megawatt stars try to one-up each other almost ensures a highly sharable ad (a formula employed by another Leaderboard winner, Nike Football’s Cristiano Ronaldo vs Rafa Nadal, original video now set to private). Accordingly, this blockbuster from Turkish Airlines has steadily racked up the views since its debut in December. Charming and playful, Turkish Airlines’ ad trades on star power to translate easily across markets.”
In third place was Evian – Baby & Me.
Hidden Frame Volkswagen
In the Creative Sandbox, you’ll also find Hidden Frame Volkswagen.
The film shows a man walking on the streets and inviting you to see how good it would be if the future could be predicted. For that, all you need to do is place the mouse on YouTube’s play bar at the point he specifies. When that is done, you can see a frame of the film that hasn’t happened yet. A few seconds later, he carries on walking and steps to the side. Then we see the biker from the frame fall right next to him. Our man ends by saying this is how Side Assist works, an innovation from Volkswagen’s cars.
Of course, if Think Insights isn’t silly enough for you, then you can always watch What About Asstrology on the Monty Python channel.
Hey, it isn’t easy to offer expert advice, guidance, and commentary about the world of online video that the rest of the ReelSEO team hasn’t already shared. Besides, Posner said in her article that far from just distracting us from more serious things, “these viral pictures, videos and memes reconnect us to an essential part of ourselves.”
Just don’t ask which “essential part of ourselves” she was talking about.