Research quoted in Greg Sterling's Screenwerk blog entitled, Survey: Print YP ' Most Effective for SMBs, demonstrates the growing options that SMB advertisers have to reach, engage, and convert more customers through online video. It also speaks to, how publisher's like the Print YPs, must evolve to act more like an agency and bring new products like online video to their SMB clients. Are they doing a decent job? Read on...
- About 53% of SMBs said they expect to buy online ads featuring videos within the next couple of years
- About 23% advertise online currently, and two-thirds have their own Web site
- 43% said they spend more on keyword-search traffic this year compared to last year, and 34% expect to keep increasing that spending next year
In addition, for those of you that have been following, local search and search engine marketing is undergoing rapid change. What was once a static, text-only environment is now full of other forms of media, including video. In fact, many search engines and directories pay close attention to video and currently seem to offer higher rankings to video search results. This new mixed approach to search engine results allows local businesses to use it to their advantage to generate leads, increase brand awareness and market virally as well as socially. At present if a search engine marketer is willing to take the plunge into video it may well be worth the effort.
Both Superpages.com and YellowPages.com are already offering video-based advertising on their sites. This in essence could allow you to reach your local shoppers with a media-rich ad which may end up having a higher ROI than a simple entry in their directory. YellowPages.com is already running television commercials in some states promoting this new service wherein some old ladies are looking for knitting needles and accessories and end up in a tattoo place with 'needles' in the name. They then go on to state that a video-based ad would have prevented such a mix up.
As with all early-adoption scenarios there are still major issues that need to be resolved. In my opinion and that of others (read thess recent posts from Michael Boland), the IYPs need some serious help when it comes to online video strategy, specifically with regard to video search. For example the yellow pages sites haven't properly made their video content discoverable in their own space and search results, let alone bothered to create a way to get it listed in the other major search engines. Additionally the video ad content is not even submitted to the large video-only sites like YouTube. So how exactly are conversions happening if at all? Is the system search engine friendly in the slightest? YellowPages.com seems to be betting on its own visitors making up the majority of the target audience which seems like it is drastically limiting the potential of the market.
According to the sites, advertisers with video elements in their ads will receive better placement, yet early reports show that there has been no increase in advertisers' search-based traffic. The higher placement in the yellow page sites themselves seems to have had little effect, however it seems that self-promotion of the video in other sectors has accounted for some of the success.
Advertisers have been turning more to places like Facebook and Myspace to virally market and distribute their videos. These types of social networking sites, whether posted by the advertisers themselves, or through other friends or accounts seems to have a faster ROI than the yellow page programs thus far clearly due to the mass exposure. This shows a large hole in the yellow page marketing strategies whereby the client must promote their own videos via mainstream search and social networking sites. Much of the problem comes from the fact that they have not even made the video content on their sites optimized for search, they haven't focused on indexing it and they haven't bothered to promote anything outside of their programs. This has basically attracted advertisers but lacks the long terms strategic vision whereby advertisers will purchase video advertising due to exposure and conversion; something that has its limits currently with the IYPs.
In order for their programs to become viable outlets for video advertising they need to make them search engine friendly so that the search engines that go out looking for video content can readily find it on their sites and identify it. This might be done by including all video ad content in a video sitemap with basic details of each video. They could promote the content via MRSS feeds and/or sitemaps and they themselves should have some system in place that submits the content to search engines when the client uploads the video. They should also make video a searchable option in their directories. This would then allow people to search for ads specifically with video attached to them. Surprisingly this most basic of features has been omitted thus far.
Until these features are implemented, video-based advertising in the yellow page sites will run second to self-promotion via social networking, video search engines and other outlets. In fact, this lack of strategy and vision has allowed for many other successful companies to spring up and offer valuable video marketing solutions to small and medium sized businesses. One of my favorite companies in this space is Mixpo. We will be doing an overview of their service in the next few days along with an interview with the VP of Marketing. Stay tuned for more....
The ROI from these venues is much higher and will pay for the video in a far shorter time than the cost of including them in the yellow page ads and results. It all goes back to that old adage, if you want something done right…