The Harlem Shake is dead. Well…at least I hope so. For the past month or so I’ve seen a multitude of companies making their own copies of this “dance craze”. Why? Well they are easy to do. All you need is a few people willing to wear some ridiculous props and a video camera or smartphone. They are also fun to make. At least I’m assuming so, otherwise there wouldn’t be literally millions of them.
Few Harlem Shake videos had any true viral reach. The biggest being the Miami Heat’s version which had over 41 million views at the time of this posting, even more than the original Harlem Shake that started the craze. Another Harlem Shake video that had a true viral reach was the Simpsons “Homer Shake” with 26 million views. The vast majority of other videos with millions of views were compilations or best of Harlem Shake videos. So what did both the Miami Heat’s and Simpsons Harlem Shake videos have in common? They were both professionally produced. Coincidence? Probably not.
What troubled me was seeing marketing agencies doing their own versions of the Harlem Shake, which begs the question “Are you a sheep or are you the shepherd?” This doesn’t just apply to the Harlem Shake but any sort of band wagon trend that is going on. As a marketing agency you are trusted to lead your client’s creative marketing efforts, they rely on you and your expertise. So how do you market yourself and set yourself apart from the herd of competition? By doing something everyone else is doing. Brilliant!
Trust me Harlem Shake videos look fun to make. I’d personally need a few adult beverages to loosen my limbs first, but I get it. The problem is that sort of “fun” should really be part of your HR marketing not your main brand marketing. Especially as an agency. It just makes you look lazy and aside from the internal company fun of creating one, what does it get you? A “bunch” of views on YouTube? Great. But were they “quality” views? In other words, how many were views that led to potential leads entering your sales funnel?
So when it comes to the next Harlem Shake, ‘Call Me Maybe’ Sing-A-Long or whatever the next craze is…do it for fun at your company. Have a blast. You could even share it as part of your HR messaging. It’s a great way to show your company culture and to build camaraderie from within. But please remember to avoid the pack mentality and be the shepherd. That is what truly will set you apart and get you noticed.
In May of 2005, YouTube was born and its been a rocket ride for the company ever since. They announced their birthday on their blog and included some great statistics of their growth and more extensive statistics were also shared on their media page. I figured I would grab a few statistics and fun facts I thought were the most interesting:
72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
that equates to over an hour of video is uploaded every second. In 2008 I was wrote about how staggering 10 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute was. If 10 hours is staggering, I don’t really know how to classify 72 hours.
Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
That is billion…with a “B”. That’s a whole lot of Nyan Cats.
Over 1 trillion views in 2011 or almost 140 views for every person on Earth
You read that correctly, one TRILLION views in 2011 on YouTube and 140 views for every person on EARTH. Now remember that only 32.7% of the world’s population has internet access. Which means that among the active internet users in the world, that amounts to over 440 views per person over the course of a year!
YouTube mobile got over 600 million views a day, and mobile traffic tripled in 2011
Six hundred million views accounts for about 20% of YouTube’s total traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number at least double in 2012 as mobile viewing continues to explode, particularly with the number of tablet devices continuing to flood the market.
500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute
Video is the ultimate way to grab people’s attention online so whether that is just some ridiculous video of cute cats on up to a video branding your business, the ability to share videos from YouTube across social platforms is what makes it so powerful.
So what does it all mean?
More than ever these stats illustrate in mind-boggling terms that there is a slew of content out there. The takeaway is that to be the needle in the haystack – you have to stick out. To stick out in 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute you need to make sure that you optimize your video for search so potential viewers searching for your video can find you more easily and remember to be creative. Don’t be bland, be memorable. But be memorable for the right reasons. If you do all those things there’s no guarantee you’ll reach every potential customer on YouTube, but there’s a better chance you’ll reach more of them.
It is harder than ever to get a first page result on Google. Not only does Google continue to change how it searches and indexes, but now it is dedicating more and more of its first page to “blended” search results – displaying video, images, shopping results, etc. This can push traditional high-ranking web results down – and sometimes off – the first page.
Since you can’t beat Google, you need to join them and adapt. Although there is now more competition for fewer traditional search results, it has allowed sites with video assets to successfully achieve first-page rankings. In fact, Forrester Research found that videos were 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking. So what do you need to do to your video to help your business get found through search? Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind that will optimize your video for SEO whether it is self hosted or you put it on YouTube (we recommend you do some combination of both):
Optimize the title / file name –
When you choose a title for your video, don’t just leave it as a meaningless file name to anyone but yourself. You don’t want viewers to be turned off because the title is something like “YOUR_VIDEO_FINAL_REV6.mp4″. That’s just lazy. Don’t get too clever with the title or file name either though. It’s important to pick a keyword friendly title which could help your video SEO. Think like the viewer: “If I were looking for this video, what would I type in the search field?”
Optimize Your Video URLs –
This is true of ANY page on your website, but you should always customize and optimize the URLs of pages on your site by including in them keywords and relevant descriptive terms about the page itself. To put it another way, www.adeliestudios.com/blog/tips-business-video-get-found-seo is a much better URL than www.adeliestudios.com/blog/post-2341. Obviously anything including “video” in the URL will tip off search engines that there is likely video on that page.
The related text description around your video or in the meta description code can make or break whether someone will watch your video or whether they will even be able to find it in the first place. Your meta description should be around 160 characters but the text on your page can be far richer. Describe what the video is all about and include some relevant links, information or a call to action for the viewer. Make sure to keep it simple and to the point. It’s important to use “relevant” keywords but don’t stuff the page with irrelevant keywords. You could be penalized by Google just as easily as rewarded with high rankings for good content! Make sure to not keyword stuff!
Video Transcript / Captions –
Including a transcript or captions with your video is critical to help the hearing impaired understand the content of your video, allow viewers without speakers to still under stand your video but the real benefit, is SEO. The entire transcript for your video is text and becomes a searchable and indexed document giving search engines detailed information on the topics, keywords and general subject matter of your video.
Create a video sitemap –
A sitemap is a document that tells Google exactly what is on your website and exactly where it can be found. You can submit multiple sitemaps for your website, say one for your HTML pages and one specifically for video. Hence the video sitemap. If you have uploaded a video directly on your website and it isn’t hosted anywhere else, a video sitemap will include the video’s title and description, the URL of the page on your website where the video plays, the URL where the video thumbnail image is stored, and the URL where the raw video ﬁle is stored. If you can’t do it yourself, your webmaster should be able to take care of this for you. Sitemaps are a technical entity in and of themselves but if you want to learn more about video sitemaps you can using Google Webmaster Tools.
These 5 tips are the basic building blocks of getting your video found online. There’s probably a million more that could be included like distribution, social sharing, etc. but these are the basics to getting found by search engines. The whole idea is you want to make your video as easy as possible for the correct viewers searching for your content to find you.
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/
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I am a proponent of using video in email. In the past I have written about how non-profits can use video in email to increase donations and how you can greatly increase your click through rates by including video in your email marketing strategy. I’m a bit of a tech geek so its always been easy for me, create a thumbnail image that “looks” like a video will play and link to the video on a landing page. A simple formula. However having the right tools to edit that thumbnail image has always been a bit of a hurdle for the less technically savvy to get videos integrated into their email design. Thankfully Constant Contact has come up with a very simple and intuitive solution to solve this problem.
They have added a feature so you can very easily add a video link that will automatically generate and insert a video player thumbnail image into an email template. To begin, open an email layout. I recommend you select a block near the top of your email, if the video player appears within their email preview window, they’ll be more likely to open the email or click the link directly within the email window. Within a block on the email, place your cursor where you want the video image link to appear. Then click “Video Link” button that is under the insert menu on the left side (see below).
When the new window opens all you have to do is copy and paste the URL link for a specific video on YouTube, Vimeo, Goldmail or Blip.TV. Then click the “Create Image” button. This will automatically pull the thumbnail image for the video you selected into your email template. If you need it larger or smaller you can utilize the slider function to resize the image so it visually fits the block within your email template as you’d like it to appear.
You can also optionally change the title if you are segmenting your list and you want the video’s title to be geared specifically to the audience’s needs. Leave the “Title” field blank if you want the video to show without a title or text underneath.
Click insert and the video will appear within the block. Save the block and, as always, don’t forget to save and test the email by going to preview, you want to make sure that the video will actually link correctly to any links you include (not just a video).
This feature makes it incredibly easy for pretty much anyone to add videos to their email. If I had to say one thing I don’t love about this feature is that it’s limited to integration with YouTube, Vimeo, Goldmail or Blip.TV. I know, I know most people have their videos on YouTube. But if you had the choice between driving the viewer of your email to your website or to YouTube, which would you prefer? On your website you can guide the viewer easily toward what you want their next action to be rather than on YouTube; the giant candy store of visual distractions.
One way to get the viewer to take the next step over to your website is to include a link at the very top of the video description on YouTube (see below). There you could include a call to action to watch the video with additional features, download a free related ebook, etc. Then once they have clicked over to your website, you have them in your playground and you’re holding the ball.
My nit-picky comment aside, this is a very cool upgrade by Constant Contact. Ideally you want to drive traffic to your website not YouTube, Vimeo, Goldmail or Blip.TV. The bottom line though is if you keep viewers interacting with you content, no matter where it is – it’s a good thing. Kudos to them for developing this to make it simple for their general user to integrate videos into their email marketing. They’ve also developed a short screencast video showing how to use the new feature. Have you used this to integrate video into your email marketing yet?
HubSpot, creators of an inbound marketing software that helps businesses get found on the internet, hosted a webinar titled “Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing”. Although we’ve been involved in online video and animation since 2004, I always like to see what new statistics, tools, tips, etc. I can share with my customers to help them better utilize the animations we create for them. In this post, I put together the “Cliffs Notes” version of the webinar with a few tips and statistics I thought were the most interesting to share with you. If you are interested in listening to the webinar in its entirety, you do so and download the slides from HubSpot’s On Demand Archive of the Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing.
The first speaker was Maggie Georgieva, an Inbound Marketing Manager at HubSpot. She shared some interesting insights into how HubSpot utilizes video in their own marketing efforts including case studies for sales empowerment, webinars and events for lead generation. They also build brand awareness through podcasts (like their weekly marketing video podcast HubSpot TV) and entertaining videos (such as the Captain Inbound Animation Series we worked on for HubSpot).
She also shared how video screenshots have performed far better than static images or text links in email marketing. She didn’t share any exact findings but here’s some statistics we compiled about using videos in your email marketing campaigns.
Next up Yelena Kadeykina, the Marketing Director of Pixability, shared a few interesting statistics and suggestions largely around video discovery. She stated that 30-40% of video views are the results of search queries and another 30% are the result of social sharing on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Think about that. That means that roughly 75% of online video views can be attributed to a combination of proper tagging and SEO optimizing your video and having a social strategy for your video content.
Jay Wilder, the Director of Product Marketing at myBrainshark spoke next about sharing / promoting videos and the importance of placement.
Jay had some great points and did a fantastic overview of how to use and distribute video on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn. The real amazing statistics he presented were regarding mobile and QR codes. According to Nielsen, mobile video viewership soared 40% in 2011 and the smartphone market grew to a 50% market share. He also illustrated how QR codes “connect the online and offline world” through their ability to show you a product in action. I personally believe that combining QR codes with your mobile video strategy will truly start catapulting video marketing to new heights in the next few years. Particularly for people selling products to consumers. Imagine rather than hemming and hawing in a store over Product A or Product B, if Product B has a QR code taking the buyer to an interactive video experience right there on their phone to answer any questions they may have about it…which product are they more likely to buy? That’s where things are going…the industry leaders are already there.
Last up was Jim Kukral who has worked with companies like Fedex and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how find success on the Web. He kept his presentation fairly simple and focused on how to measure video.
One of his points I personally enjoyed was when he talked about how videos on landing pages convert better than traditional text & images. It’s important to remember that people don’t consume content offline the same way that they do online and that is what makes video so effective as a messaging tool.
All in all the presentation had a ton of great content for people new to video marketing as well as some tidbits for someone like myself who has been doing this for a while. One of my favorite quotes from the event was from Jim and it sums up my thoughts on why video is critical to the success of every business marketing online:
“When faced with a choice between a video or a bunch of text – they’re going to choose the video. Recognizing this and building a strategy around it is the type of thing that changes a 1 million dollar company into a 10 million dollar company.”
After over two years of rumors and threatening, Google finally “officially” pulled the plug over the weekend on its Google Video service. All users who had uploaded videos to the service received an email stating that playback of video content on Google Video will end on April 29. The move will affect only videos hosted on the site, not the popular video search engine tool.
Since its creation in 2005, Google video was a video sharing site very similar in concept to YouTube. Which is obviously why they bought YouTube the following year. Since Google Video ceased uploads in 2009, it has settled in to be more of a search tool for video discovery. This redirection to search is reflected in the email message sent from Google this past weekend:
“We’ve always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.”
What does this mean to you?
If you have content on Google Video, download instructions are included in the email they sent out to users. They also encourage you to move the content over to YouTube (big surprise) and give you until May 13th, 2011 to retrieve any videos you may have uploaded to Google Video.
If you do not have videos hosted on Google Video, absolutely nothing will change. It will be interesting to see how and what they have in store for search on Google Video. Will it be to further augment content discovery? Will any developments drastically affect how online videos will need to be search engine optimized in the future? Will it develop some sort of video advertising platform that works intuitively with how people consume content online?
My guess is if search is how they are going to “officially” focus the site, then drastic changes may be coming soon. Time will tell.
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!