Twitter built its reputation and entire platform upon the credo of brevity. 140 characters, in a tweet. No more. In a time when content creation was “the more verbose, the better”, Twitter released it’s microblogging social media service. The rest is history. So what can your video learn from Twitter?
Well for one, Twitter thrives on being short. I mean really short. In a prior post I wrote about online video viewing habits - 10% of your audience clicks away after only 10 seconds and more than half click away after a minute. Getting to the point can be difficult when you are scripting a video, particularly when you are passionate about what you do. Having someone write your script for can be critically important because they are not as close to the product as you are and therefore can be ruthless in cutting to the core message.
When you are on Twitter, you don’t cram everything you have to say into one tweet. The tweet is a tease. It’s the peanut butter in your marketing mouse trap. Your introductory videos should be treated the same way. Rather than cramming everything about your product or service into one video, break up that video into snackable content that will keep your audience engaged. Make it sweet and to the point but leave them wanting more with a strong call to action built in.
Think about how Twitter treats video and their recent release of the Vine video app. Like Tweets, the brevity of videos featured on Vine is 6 seconds or less. Requiring the user to get to the point quickly and creatively.
So did this blog post get to the point in 140 characters. Unfortunately, no. That would have been awesome but I needed a few more characters to get my point across. Do any of your online marketing videos emulate Twitter?
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!
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.
*140 characters or less, on Twitter
The Shorty Awards honors the year’s best content producers on Twitter.
Congratulations to the winners!