Let’s say you have a website and you post regularly to a blog. At some point someone (not affiliated with your company) randomly posts a comment on one of your blog posts mentioning another company or linking to a video about that company on YouTube. Then that company mentioned sees the comment and isn’t happy about it. Rather than engaging in a conversation in the comments to defend their brand position or asking that the comment be removed; they have the power to shut down your ENTIRE domain. Sound like censorship? It is.
The Protect-IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are bills which would give corporations and government the ability to censor websites on the net. Both of these bills had, at their heart, good intentions. However both bills are so horribly written with vague definitions of piracy that basically ANY website including any form of user-generated content could be at risk of being shutdown. Think of Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and the implications these bills could have on the way these websites fundamentally operate if passed into law. All of these websites rely heavily on user generated content. SOPA /PIPA would completely alter the way Americans would be allowed to use the Internet. Key word in that last sentence is “allowed”.
It also presents a nightmare for web hosting companies which will be forced to police all of the domains that are hosted by them. Let’s say you own a boutique baby clothing store and you had a post about how babies do the cutest things on your website blog and someone posted a link of their baby dancing to a top 40 song. If that top 40 song’s recording company were to claim that this content were piracy, your web hosting company would have to shut down your ENTIRE domain as soon as the complaint was received. There would be no pre-shutdown notification email and no friendly ‘please remove this from your site’. The next day you’d wake up and like flicking off a light switch – your entire website would be gone.
Companies such as DreamHost where the Adelie Studios website and blog are hosted, have over 1.2 million domains that are hosted by them. If this layer of enforcement were required because of the liability they’d be forced to take on, you can all but say goodbye to affordable web hosting. DreamHost has their own response denouncing the bill and the negative effects it would have in their blog post “Don’t drop the soap, drop SOPA!”
As a small business producing niche animated content and marketing animations for the web, both of these bills are incredibly frightening to us. Fight for the Future produced a great little animation (which we are always fans of people using animation) to explain and illustrate the way these bills could potentially censor the internet. Check out their animation below.
SOPA comes up for a vote on Tuesday, January 24th. To find more about the SOPA & PIPA bills yourself and to see what actions you can take, visit: http://americancensorship.org/
Full Disclosure: I may be a bit biased here since I was the writer and animator on this project. While I tend to be hyper-critical of my work (is any creative person not?) I am more impressed with the strategy behind the branding video carried out by HubSpot.
They didn’t just create the video and throw it out to the whims of the internet, they had a plan. In the word’s of the Episode “Guru” of David Meerman Scott “Create exceptional content that people will want to share, and point the world to your virtual doorstep.”
So the video was posted on their blog, they built a custom landing page for the series to reside (oh yes…there will be more), started a fan page on Facebook and launched a Twitter account for Captain Inbound. Practicing what they are preaching. The video was also mentioned as a great example of how “Content Rules” on the MarketingProfs blog today by Ann Handley. Enjoy!
Have you considered Facebook video advertising units as part of your online video marketing strategy? If you haven’t (or didn’t know it was an option) here’s some statistics to consider.
TubeMogul just released a recent report analyzing Facebook Video Advertising where they took a look at 25 major video advertising campaigns that ran identical videos within Facebook ad units and also ran similar click-to-play video ad units on various publisher sites. The sample compared resulting cost, viewing-time and spans over 60 million cumulative views. Here are some important findings from their report with some of my own opinions intertwined in their results:
Why should you care about video on Facebook?
Facebook is one of the top-ten video sites in the world without even trying to be. According to a report by Comscore, Facebook was the 5th largest video site in April in total videos played coming in above dedicated video sites like CBS Interactive and even Hulu.
According to the study done by TubeMogul, Facebook also delivers some of the most engaged viewers online. Their study found that Facebook leads all other discovery sources in terms of minutes-watched per view.
Overall, it found that completion rates for Facebook ads were roughly 5.5% to 9.5% higher than identical videos run in display units on outside publisher sites. The Facebook virtual currency (or in-game video ad) also had the longest average view time, at 54.7 seconds per view, followed by the Facebook in-banner, at 48.6 seconds, the third-party in-banner, 39.6, and the Facebook interstitial (i.e. preroll video ads), at 11.2.
It’s no surprise to me that the interstitials had the shortest view time because most viewers if given the option to skip them and get to the content they were originally trying to get to…will skip them. Even though in most cases they are much shorter than any of the other video ad formats here.
3/4 of Facebook ad units sampled have a lower average cost per view than comparable offsite display. Virtual currency ads were also the big winner here at 30 cents on a cost-per-view basis. That compares to $5.27 for Facebook app in-banner ads, $1.06 for Facebook’s sponsored video unit, and $1.07 for stand-alone video ads on other sites.
Other interesting stats
Viewers were more likely to share videos in Facebook’s virtual currency and app in-banner ads with friends on Facebook or Twitter at 1.5% – 2% than video ads on other sites which were less than ½% for offsite video ads.
The click-through rate on the virtual currency ad was also highest, at 5%, versus just over 3% for video display ads on third-party sites.
Herein lies a problem for marketers
So you may be thinking “Wow you get a lot of bang for your buck with the virtual currency, where do I sign up?” Not quite so fast. While social games like Farmville have a monthly audience of over 70 million this may not be the right demographic for your product, service or brand. So research the social game carefully before placing a video ad campaign. Also be wary that many of these game developers break the rules and allow gamers to click play on a video ad multiple times just to rack up points.
So while the numbers may look impressive make sure you know your audience and research the game first. Is the virtual currency model in gaming the next big thing for video advertising? Are you REALLY getting an engaged viewer or are they just clicking through because they think that will earn them more points? What do you think?
Once again TubeMogul has released some pretty awesome statistical analysis regarding how people find videos online, from embeds on blogs to video search engines. For a two-month period, they recorded inbound URLs for a sample of over 35 million video streams from six top video sites. But which sources drive the most video views? For the full report from TubeMogul Industry Analysis, continue reading here. Here are some of the highlighted statistics that I found truly interesting:
45% of viewers find a video by direct navigation to a video site (i.e. going to YouTube and searching or clicking around the featured or related videos).
No surprise here given that over 10 hours of video footage are uploaded to YouTube every minute that going directly to the video sharing sites and searching would be the top method of finding videos.
In terms of individual web sites referring traffic, no single source dominated, here are the top 20 individual referrers:
|Site||Share of Video Referrals|
However, since there are a limited number of players in certain areas online, TubeMogul was able to infer that:
- 11.18% of all traffic comes from search engines
- 3.66% comes from social networks
- 3.19% comes from social bookmarking sites
- 0.63% derives from video search engines
- 0.05% is directed from Email/IM
- 80.88% makes up the rest of the referred traffic…of this mix it is almost completely made up of blogs from the thousands of different blogs they scanned.
Here are the really interesting facts here:
Digg beats StumbleUpon by nearly 0.4% for video referrals
I wouldn’t have guessed that. When I share videos on both social bookmarking sites my traffic from StumbleUpon is nearly triple the traffic I receive from Digg. StumbleUpon is my #4 traffic source for the website (which of course does include my blog posts) bringing in 9.97% of my site traffic while Digg is my #10 source of traffic (also including my blog posts) accounting for about 3.85% of all my site traffic. About half of my bookmarks are for videos while the other half are for blog posts (possibly even this one will end up on both). Of course this is just me and I am not profiling over 35 million videos for my statistics.
0.05% is directed from Email/IM
This I find staggering to be so low. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to get people to share your videos is through email marketing – particularly to an existing base of people who have opted in to receive your email newsletter. In a recent post about integrating video into your email marketing campaign I found that there was a significant 175% increase in click-throughs when video content was included in an email campaign. It sounds like a lot of people are missing the boat on this possible distribution channel.
Blogs sourcing most of the 80.88% of all referred traffic in this sample.
To those trying to make a video go viral, this should be telling you to reach out to relevant bloggers who could help you tremendously with the push for video views.
0.63% derives from video search engines
This is bad news to the ever increasing number of online video search sites that seem to keep popping up promising to help your video go viral or supposedly helping you search. With less than a 1% take, that doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. I’ve long held that most of these sites have very little value to the online video producer – this study just proves my theory.
So the real take-a-way here…
…is engaging bloggers to work with you by sharing the video with them. If nearly 81% of video traffic is coming from blogs it only makes sense to try and engage relevant bloggers to share your video. The other real key that isn’t really discussed is to make sure you optimize a video’s meta-data to ensure it can easily be found by those who are searching.