Video Marketing and Video SEO Best Practices WhiteSheet

The folks over at TubeMogul have compiled a great report titled, "Web Video Marketing – Best Practices." They were kind enough to let me know that I could share this report with my readers.

In this report, TubeMogul shares with us a formula that they feel works in terms of where to focus your efforts with marketing and optimizing videos online. You can read the entire report below.

Their formula is = .5C+ .15M + .20T + .15P = success where C=Content and Production, M=metadata, T=thumbnail, P=promotion. In other words in order to position your videos online to have the greatest impact and exposure, Tubemogul suggests spending 50% time on the actual video production and creation, 15% of time on creating metadata, 20% of time on choosing the correct thumbnail, and the remaining 15% of your efforts on promotion and marketing of the video once it is online.

Here is the report:


Why should Video Marketing be included in your marketing mix?

Online video is one of the best venues to engage an audience – don't even think about excluding it! This new medium allows the video creator to communicate a message on multiple levels – via visual imagery, the spoken word, music and visual text. It may sound like a commercial for a Montessori school – but this is the way people learn, and consequently, the way legendary brands are created. As a case in point, think of traditional internet marketing; when was the last time that a paid search listing or banner ad raised your blood pressure or induced you to forward something to a friend? Get the point?

With online video you can also reach a huge audience for a minimal investment, thus the ROI of online video marketing can be astounding. Consider that according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau; more than 50% of the US population will watch video online next year. That's 155.2 million people, and we're just talking the US! Increasingly, people are watching a lot of video as well. According to comScore, Americans watched 9 billion online videos just in the month of July.

Like everything else, there is no "free lunch" – the video-sharing sites don't charge to host your content, but getting your target audience to watch and forward your video is no easy feat. That's where we come in. Since we are tracking videos across the major video-sharing and social networking sites, we know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't.

"Secret Formula" – .5C + 15.M + .20T + .15P = Success

Alright, we admit that an exact formula may be a bit over simplistic, but when it comes to deciding how to allocate time and resources on a video intended on marketing something virally, the weighting of these four components should follow closely to something like this: That's it. Write down the formula above on a cocktail napkin and you have the code cracker for getting people to watch and forward your video. The formula above says that creating a video is a weighted function of four components:

50% C = Content and Production – this is storyline, style lightning, production, etc.
15% M = Metadata – the text title, keywords, descriptions, and categories that help people find your video
20% T = Thumbnail – the packaging which draws people in when displayed on the page
15% P = promotion – just good old fashioned marketing

These aspects help communicate your message far and wide in a way that makes an emotional connection with the viewers in a way that motivates them to pass it along to others. Now we will dive into each component of the secret video marketing formula.

Content and Production – (.5C)

We know now that 50% of creating a great viral video is about content and production. The goal in this stage is to create something remarkable, literally, something that causes people to remark – and in doing so to effectively convey your message. We've noticed that certain categories tend to garner the interest of large audiences. Regardless of your message, utilizing a proven content category to package your message is a good way to spread your message wide and far. The remarkable comes in many shapes and sizes:

  • Humor – everyone loves a laugh, but many of us like to make others laugh as well; this is what makes comedic videos so viral.
  • Avant-garde videos – videos that push the boundaries of what is acceptable can be incredibly viral – especially since this content never makes it to network TV. But be careful not to damage your brand and to obey by the terms and conditions of the respective video-sharing sites.
  • Talent – true talent is rare and fascinating. If you can showcase true talent people will forward your video.
  • Celebrities – we are fascinated with celebrities, and any videos featuring a celebrity are very viral, in part because there are hundreds of websites that follow celebrities and will embed these videos. Beyond virality, celebrities endorsements have a powerful influence on decision making.
  • Kitsch – don't kill the messenger, but a remarkable number of the most popular videos we are tracking also contain one or more of the following qualities:
    • Special effects – the Ray Ban sunglass catching video is a great example. In general, any video that generates debate generates viewers
    • Animal/pet tricks – man is drawn to animals just as he is to fire… it's hard to explain, but it seems to have to do with primitive wiring in the brain
    • Cute kids – one of the draws of online video is that real people capture real moments, and nothing is as straightforward as a child just being herself
    • Repetitive, catchy music – certainly not a new concept, but with infinite channels come many more opportunities to put up the experimental jingle
    • Physical injury – thank goodness it's not me!
    • Pranks – thank goodness it's not me!
    • Spoofs – ride the coattails of the tried and true
    • And of course, sex always sells

The trick, as with any marketing effort, is to both be remarkable AND communicate your message. Use the right package to make your video a hit, but don't create a vehicle without passengers. Make sure the content is doing what it supposed to do.

In the online video community, discussions around production are typically in reference to video quality – as it relates to camera, sound, compression, and editing. Some believe that higher production quality is an important component in gaining popularity for ones online videos, while others believe that the popularity of the medium is authenticity, and that lower quality video has a genuine nature that gets lost with higher quality. Given the plethora of widely seen videos over the internet, this concept of quality hasn't seemed to correlate with audience size or popularity. One thing is for certain: high quality human components of production, such as shooting and editing, make any video more watchable. Paying attention to lighting, framing the shot, and crisp editing is not only more pleasant, it's often required to make the picture viewable in a small window and on sites with file size restrictions.

Bottom line: choose production components that fit with your message, content, and intended audience.

Some great resources for tips on video production can be found at such sites as:

http://videomaker.com

http://www.reelseo.com

http://studio.metacafe.com/ (along with many of the sharing sites)
http://ourmedia.org/learning-center/video

http://www.theshirtlessapprentice.com

http://www.digitalvideosolutions.com/

Metadata (.15M)

Each video-sharing site let's you create "tags," which are 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 end users on video-sharing sites like YouTube. This is a simple concept, so it's remarkable that so many content creators screw it up.

Good use of metadata for video has recently become a requirement. Search engine optimization and search engine marketing used to be the realm of text only, but with search engines like Google and Ask adding video to their search results ("Universal" and "3-D" search, respectively), optimizing the metadata around your videos is increasingly important. This means creating rich and relevant video titles, descriptions and tags.

There are only a few specifics that you need to know about tags. First, max out the tags, title and description for every site. The more metadata describing your video, the more likely someone is to find your video. It's surprising to see so many uploaders let so much opportunity go to waste by adding few or non-descript tags. Second, your tags, and particularly the category you choose, should be relevant to your video. We have seen video creators go from little viewership to becoming regularly featured producers simply through a better choice of category.

If you are hosting a video on your own site, the same rules apply. But in such a case, be sure to create a relevant file name for your video. It is also advisable to have just one video per page with a simple text title and description place near the video itself. It's important to keep in mind that most videos are watched in social networking sites, blogs and content sites – not video sharing sites. This means that while you may post your video to YouTube or MetaCafe, many of the views are a result of people embedding that video into another site. The implication is that your video should be hosted on both your website and the video sharing sites for maximum exposure.

One more hint on tags – the TubeMogul "Load and Track" tool shows you how your tags will look on each site as you are uploading videos, and soon will show you the most popular tags and video search terms to help you select appropriate metadata.

Promotion (.15P)

Videos that have relevant and rich tags and descriptions will be found and will be forwarded. But there is nothing wrong with supercharging this process, and this is where promotion comes into play. This is especially important as many video sites employ a "bubble up" methodology that promotes videos and content creators that receive the most views, subscribers, comments, ratings and forwards. Thus, then "bubble up" to the top of video sites and become even more popular. So in the video world, popularity begets more popularity.

Building a community is the single best method for promoting a video. This isn't an overnight process, but can be done by using the infrastructure of the various video-sharing and social networking sites. This means subscribing to people's videos and leaving creative comments so that people click on your profile. Also, it's important (and fun) to befriend people and invite them to subscribe to your video channels. You can also join and be a meaningful contributor to various newsgroups and chat rooms. If you can pull off these things, you've just created your own set of groupies that will watch your content just because of the relationship, and this applies to both companies and individuals. Yet another way to build community is to write an interesting blog and create a following, as well as responding to the blog posts of others. Also, you'll be surprised how open bloggers and category experts will be to plug your video in exchange for a "sneak peak" or an interview.

Also consider submitting your videos to other "Web 2.0″ websites that employ voting systems to promote content. Some of the most popular sites are Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon. As your video or article gains more votes, the video will attract even more attention and may even end up in a featured or "top 10″ type category which can generate hundreds of thousands of views in a day.

Generally, deploying videos to multiple sites makes sense as different sites have different content niches and audiences. Essentially, each site represents a community opportunity that you can tap into. TubeMogul "Load and Track" is an easy tool to deploy to multiple sites at once. Here is a handy grid that provides some information on a few of the top video-sharing sites:

DescriptionDemographicsRegistrationUploadNotes
YouTubeNo intro needed hereEvenly female/male audience, even age distribution, U.S. East and West coasts.EasyFast review process, mainly automatedExperimenting with ad sharing
Yahoo! VideoAn original video destination, but late to the gameSlight more male viewers, slightly older, even US geographic distributionMediumRelatively slow and unpredictable review process
MySpacePrimarily a social networking site, but video is still hugeHigh percentage of female and under 18 viewersEasyNo review process. Videos go live immediatelyBeing rebranded as MySpaceTV
MetacafePopular worldwide, prides itself on community votes driving featured contentSkews towards older, more educated, male viewersEasyFast human review processOffers ad sharing
Google VideoIncreasingly becoming more of a video search engineSlightly more male viewers, disproportionately more Hispanic audienceMediumLimited review process. Unlimited content length and sizeIntegrates with other Google apps like Web Albums and Picasa
RevverOne of the first video sites to offer ad revenue sharingSlightly older, white male crowdEasyDiscriminating human review processAds inserted into all videos
DailyMotionThe YouTube of EuropeOverwhelmingly white male. Higher age and income than mostEasyFast and easyGrowing in the US
Blip.tvPublisher-friendly video sharing and distribution siteSlightly more male, slightly higher income level than most video sites, even ethnic distributionEasyEasyPublisher can choose to insert ads
BrightcoveTrying to bring TV to the internetEven split male and female. Few under 18 viewersEasyEasyAd share options available
CrackleFocused on making people starsLargely male, disproportionately African-American audienceEasySlick Flash upload tool allows many videos in one shotOwned by Sony
VeohFocused on full-screen video programming for anyone with a broadband connectionSlightly more male viewers, predominantly Asian, distributed across all age categoriesMediumEasyInvestors include Michael Eisner and Time Warner

Thumbnails (.20T)

The last component of our secret formula, and often the most overlooked, is the thumbnail. A thumbnail is the single image that represents your video. This is the image that someone will see before they decide whether or not to watch the video. If your thumbnail is bad it often doesn't matter if you got all of the other components of the formula right.

So what makes a good thumbnail? Typically thumbnails that are relevant and match the video title, description and tags are all you need. Beyond this, try to select the image that best captures the essence of your video. Unfortunately, each of the video-sharing sites has a different methodology for determining which frame will comprise the thumbnail. At one point, for example, YouTube used the frame that is in the very center of your video as the thumbnail, then they used 1:20 into the video, and now you have a choice of three frames. Other sites give you more options. It will pay off to invest the time to understand how the thumbnail is determined for every site where you deploy your video.

If you have any doubts about the power of thumbnails just check out this video on YouTube – http://youtube.com/watch?v=nhSZs-aAZbo. The video features a thumbnail of Britney Spears topless, but the viewer is soon disappointed to see that the video never delivers upon its promise. In fact, the video has no content, just two frames played over and over – this hasn't stopped close to 7 million people from watching the video!

CASE STUDIES

There are thousands of successful commercial videos that have gone viral, but we thought we'd share with you a few of our favorites:

Nike – "Touch of Gold" –

This video features Ronaldinho – one of the most famous footballers in the world. He is sitting on the practice field and all is quiet, when he is presented with a gold box containing a pair of gold Nikes. After putting on the shoes he goes on to hit the crossbar with a soccer ball four times without the ball ever hitting the ground. You find yourself wondering, "Did he really do that?" At the end, the url nikefootball.com is displayed – the message comes across loud and clear. As of 9/24/07 this video has been viewed closed to 17 million times on YouTube alone and continues to garner around 30,000 views daily.

Video characteristics: grainy quality, celebrity, special effects

Blendtec's "Will It Blend?" video series – www.willitblend.com

Think blenders can't be viral? Blendtec created a video show, complete with theme music and a host that feature their blenders pureeing everything from iPhones to Chuck Norris dolls. The videos are hilarious and definitely convey the message that Blendtec blenders are bad ass. While the videos are distributed on video-sharing sites, the company also built an entire website around the concept. As of 9/24/07 the videos have generated well over 30 million views! Think about what that would cost on network television.

Video characteristics: humor, special effects, integration with retail website, building community (they take requests of what to blend)

FrenchMaidTV's "How To Register A Domain" – www.frenchmaidtv.com

Think of the last trade show you attended – the most popular booth was probably the one seeded with scantily clad and beautiful women. Take that same concept, inject steroids, and you have FrenchMaidTV where sexy French maids demo products. In this video, the maids show us how to register a domain on GoDaddy. Beyond the obvious attraction, the videos are well produced and feature over the top humorous French accents and interesting story lines, reminiscence of an old Benny Hill comedy spoof.

Video characteristics: Sex sells, humor, pushes boundaries

Summary

Online video is a powerful medium for marketing because of its engagement potential, SEO value, and measurement opportunities. There are specific steps one should take to maximize the chances of producing a wildly popular (and widely viewed) web video campaign, and specific tools to help manage those steps. Remember to choose content that is remarkable and incites an emotional connection with the viewer, recognize the value of metadata to help your videos get found and thumbnails to draw in viewers, and last, use the platforms at your disposal to build communities around your video messages. Online video is a powerful marketing tool if you use it to the fullest!

About TubeMogul
TubeMogul is an online video analytics company serving publishers large and small who need independent information about video performance on the Web's top video sharing sites. TubeMogul's analytic technology aggregates video-viewing data from multiple sources to give publishers improved understanding of when, where and how often videos are watched, track and compare what's hot and what's not, measure the impact of marketing campaigns, gather competitive intelligence, and share the data with colleagues. www.tubemogul.com


Don't Miss Any Stories!
Get daily online video news, tips and trends via email!


About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.videoadmaster.com Bernie Day

    Why create your own video when you can have it made by us for as little as $49? Even live shoot onsite is ONLY $800. Don't mess around – call the experts at Video AdMaster!

    • http://www.worldhiphopbeats.com Hip Hop beats

      Thats a good point, but I think that this is more geared toward people who are more than casual photographers. I could be wrong, but it makes sense.

  • http://www.lastsecondmedia.tv Frank

    Web Video Syndication is really disruptive technology for search engine ranking on key terms. Our TV and radio clients that are paying $1-$4.50 per click on Google are seeing huge financial returns replacing competitors rankings with their own video. One client just saw $16,000 in free clicks and now dominates their category. Additional Case Studies on our website.

  • http://www.lastsecondmedia.tv/webvideosyndication.php Frank

    We uploaded a new video on Veoh and AOL about Web Video Syndication today. Google "Web Video Syndication" to see our results in 3 of the top positions this evening. Watch it. You may find our web video is kind of surreal and I think I'll coin the phrase "MetaVideo" I say this not in the sense of meta data –but as in multi-dimensional "meta storytelling". It's a web video about web videos you'll find searching for web videos.

  • http://www.robpongi.com TokyoJoe

    Thank you for posting this interesting article. I like the grid on the top video sharing sites.

  • Real World Traffic

    Awesome, awesome in-depth article on video marketing. Also, lol, blendtec is amazing. Another really great case study is (I THINK it's called) Devil's Pizza in New Zealand. They did a "choose your own adventure" youtube series that was incredible. Definitely an awesome medium and incredibly easy to get started with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689826432 John Currie

    Really good info here for anyone interested in video seo.