Length is an important factor to consider when creating online video content. Viewers will only stick with your video for so long, but the optimal video length tends to vary depending on the purpose of your content.
What’s the ideal online video length for marketing?
There are so many different rules of thumb when it comes to the length of online marketing videos, it’s difficult to come up with a steadfast strategy. It’s pretty clear, however, that when it comes to on-demand video content, shorter is better.
Most experts will tell you that studies show viewer retention tends to drop off around the 90-second to two-minute mark. But does that necessarily mean that all of your marketing
videos need to stick to a 120-second cutoff? Probably, but not necessarily.
For example, according to ReelSEO, the average length of the top 10 most shared global video ads is 4 minutes 11 seconds, which helps prove that if your content is compelling, people will spend more time with it. Others, like Skyworks Marketing, will tell you that video length often depends on the focus of your content (“intro” videos can be as short as 30 seconds, while more detailed content can go as high as 10 minutes in length).
The general online audience has a lower attention span for business-focused video content than it does for the typical entertaining YouTube fare. (For example, here is a
nearly eight-minute video of cats doing funny things. It’s been watched over 48 million times.)
So, tend to abide by the two-minute rule for most marketing messages.
At the end of the day, however, the most important thing is that your marketing content is
long enough to
A) get your message across sufficiently, and
B) include an appropriate call to action
If you’ve noticed that there was more to watch online this past year than old TV shows and puppy videos, you would be right. This year, there was an explosion of professionally produced videos that were made just for the Internet. Sites like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix all produced exclusive new programming in 2012.
Mark Suster, an investor, says this is where the Internet is going. “People watch on average 5.3 hours of television per day,” he says. “We know what the future of the Internet’s going to be … It’s going to be a great, big video platform.”
One of the best barometers of Internet videos may be YouTube’s top 10 list.
Last year, only three of the top videos were made by professionals.
This year, seven of the top videos were made by pros.
There are probably a few dog and cat stars who are bummed out about this. But for the rest of us, the year to come may bring more variety to our online menus.
This year, YouTube looked at “views, shares, searches, parodies, remixes, and responses” to identify 10 videos that everyone was watching and talking about.
Turns out, the majority of this year’s top 10 were not advertisements, they were videos that touched viewed on an emotional level to the point where they were compelled to share them on their networks.
Another striking difference between this year’s list and others is that professionally produced videos outshined amateur clips.
“Almost everything on the list this year was created by professional or creative talent for an online audience,” said Kevin Allocca, YouTube trends manager, following the release of the list this week. “It’s different from years ago, when homemade videos or random, funny stuff from smartphone cameras were the hits.”
YouTube is also seeing a shift in how videos are being consumed — with smartphones, tablets, and social media networks becoming preferred viewing methods over say the desktop computer, according to Mr. Allocca.
The most-popular videos are also longer than they’ve ever been: this year’s longest was a documentary running 31 minutes. Also, more are gaining worldwide attention. Consider Gangnam Style. While most viewers have no idea what the lyrics mean, the eye-catching music video was shared across the planet.
More than four billion hours of video are watched every month on YouTube. It’s a number that’s hard to ignore and you really shouldn’t. If you have a business and want to create original video content take note: it’s not about hard selling, it’s all about creating and posting content that people want to share… and, if it’s produced professionally, you’ll have a better chance at success.
The proof is in the numbers:
- YouTube’s Top video of 2012 should come as no surprise: PSY was 2012’s YouTube star as Gangnam Style approached 1 billion views, earning the title of YouTube’s most-watched video ever, in just 6 months time.
- Canadian band Walk off the Earth, created this cool and unconventional take on Gotye’s single , becoming an international hit, taking the top spot of music ‘cover’ videos.
- Back in March, the most-shared video in the world was a 30-minute doc from a non-profit, which drove unprecedented traditional and social media discussion. Kony2012 was reported to be the first cause-based video to make YouTube’s annual list.
- This Call Me Maybe lip sync video kicked off a trend that helped make it 2012’s song of the summer.
- Epic Rap Battle’s Season 2 earned 250 million views as one of the many videos we watched during the U.S. election season.
- One of the most popularly watched ads was TNT’s launch in Belgium, accompanied by this epic stunt.
- Emmanuel Hudson teamed up with Spoken Reasons, producing 2012’s most entertaining commute.
- Lindsey Stirling’s unexpectedly awesome combination of dubstep and violin helped launch her onto this list.
- Early in 2012, this extreme look into family relationships in the social media age sparked a storm of discussion on and off social media platforms.
- Finally, Felix Baumgartner’s epic jump from space was one of the most viewed live events ever with millions of viewers tuning in live or watching these highlights .
Want to go through 2012, month by month? Check out the year’s defining moments in this nifty interactive timeline . Just use the arrows to scroll between months, and click on the thumbnails to watch the videos. With this, YouTube invited a number of YouTube ‘stars’ to play a role in this mashup of culturally defining moments of 2012 .
To recap: it’s all about the ‘content’. This year’s list also further supports the thought that professional is also way to go when it comes to web videos that pack the most punch – which is good news for businesses that maybe felt their stories had no place amongst all the cute cat videos.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist/anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV , a web video and social media marketing agency based in Calgary.
No matter how you define it, brand journalism has a number of key principles:
- It provides customers with true value. It’s not a sales pitch and is without a hidden agenda.
- It’s transparent. Like traditional journalism, brand journalism is built upon a commitment to factual, unbiased information. It provides an opportunity for you to provide comment on important industry issues and trends, and helps to establish your brand as a leader.
- It’s relevant. Good journalists know what kind of content their audience wants. Brands need to know this too. Make it a priority to understand what your customers want and need from you. Answer their questions and provide them with the information they care about. This is exactly what a traditional journalist does.
- It’s trustworthy and “real”. Journalists have to be unbiased, and although you’re handling PR for a brand, you should make an effort to provide content that offers your audience more than a plug for a product or service. Feel free to express individual ideas and respond to comments on Facebook, Twitter and your blog with a “human” voice. Don’t forget to encourage conversation.
- It’s compelling. Think outside the box and focus on storytelling. Find the human angle of your business and share it. This is one of journalism’s fundamental characteristics.
- It’s built on multimedia. Journalism isn’t limited to print and your brand shouldn’t be either. Get creative and use as many mediums as possible to tell your brand’s stories.
Use of video on the Web for business has been the talk of the marketing world in 2012. If it isn’t already obvious to you, data from multiple sources confirm, yet again, the amount of video watched via the Internet continues to climb.
It’s no wonder. As the benefits become more obvious, more businesses are leveraging the power of the medium to its full benefit. From profiles to how-to’s to product and sales demonstrations, businesses of all sizes are realizing the potential returns on investments of using video to tell their stories.
Businesses already on board are ahead of their competitors, but they’ll have to keep producing great video content to keep up, as everyone else starts to catch on.
And it looks like they’re about to. Global video traffic is expected to make up 54 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2016, according to the Cisco VNI Benchmark Report. That’s up from 51 per cent in 2011.
And it hasn’t just been because of PSY’s Gangnam Style. This year, YouTube, the second-largest search engine, dropped an even bolder prediction that 90 per cent of all Web traffic will be video in the next few years.
Worldwide, Internet video-to-TV is also expected to continue to grow at a rapid pace, increasing sixfold by 2016, Cisco’s report also predicts.
As consumers are increasingly watching their favourite shows and movies online, the ad dollars are following, according comScore . Video ads have become the most popular rich-media format for ad buyers, and as advertisers are recognizing the return, Forrester predicts that video advertising will grow to $9-billion by 2017 from $2.9-billion in 2012.
This week, Unruly Media, which tracks not only what videos people watch but also what they share, released its list of the ads that went most viral in 2012:
1. Invisible Children: Kony 2012: 10,068,928 shares
2. TNT: A Dramatic Surprise On A Quiet Square: 4,352,283 shares
3. Abercrombie & Fitch: Call Me Maybe: 2,435,774 shares
4. DC Shoes: Gymkhana 5: 2,292,354 shares
5. P&G: Best Job: 2,227,528 shares
6. Dancesport Studio: Two-Year-Old Dancing The Jive: 2,094,766 shares
7. Melbourne Metro: Dumb Ways To Die: 1,217,751 shares
8. Chevrolet: OK Go, Needing/ Getting: 1,140,769 shares
9. Volkswagen: The Bark Side: 1,127,479 shares
10. PBS Studios: Mister Rogers Remixed, Garden Of You Mind: 1,045,039 shares
You can find the final 10 here.
“Overall, the number of video shares of branded content increased in 2012. The top 500 ads of the year attracted a total of 113 million shares in 2012, a 21-per cent increase over 2011 (93.34 million.
“Shares of the top 10 ads rose from 16.8 million in 2011 to 28.0 million in 2012 – an increase of 67 per cent and a clear sign that media consumption habits are continuing to evolve rapidly,” said Unruly in its release of its list.
“Emotive content and bottom-up sharing stole the show this year,” is how Unruly co-founder and chief operating officer Sarah Wood digested these figures. This means the story you are telling is very important, as is creating a compelling story that encourages or inspires people to share it with their network, and increase its reach.
Those of you who are in tune and ready to join the revolution, awesome. For those of you who needs stats and hard data to back up your business decisions, the above should work quite well.
Video has ruled 2012, and will for years to come.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist/anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV , a web video and social media marketing agency.
What do people want? To connect.
Marketers know that emotion plays a massive role in getting a message across. Consumers choose and stay loyal to certain products and brands because of how they make them feel – and what they broadcast about themselves.
It’s no surprise that re-purposing TV commercials online is not nearly as effective as creating Web video content specifically for an Internet audience. With high-quality video more affordable and more accessible than ever before, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to connect with potential customers.
A few of video’s main benefits include:
Video makes your website and e-mails ‘sticky’
The longer that someone spends time learning about your product or service, the more likely he or she is to become a customer. Video also works great when it’s delivered by e-mail too, even if it is just a click-through link. See:, for instance, Embedded video lifts conversion rate 50 per cent . More video equals more sales.
Let video fast-forward your way to success. According to MarketingSherpa : “Putting video on websites has been a huge success. Marketers gave us hundreds of great examples touching on dozens of ways in which adding video to their site has had a positive impact on sales, lead-generation, use of the site, and improved customer relations”.
Whatever can be said through text can be better expressed through video. If a photo is worth a thousand words, video is worth many, many more.
Video is awesome for SEO
Studies have shown that videos are 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of search results. “Not only are video results increasingly common in Google’s search results, but your videos stand a much better chance than your text pages of being shown on the first results page,” says Nate Elliott at Forrester, a global research and advisory firm.
Search engines offering video as part of integrated search results lend themselves to obvious benefits. With YouTube being the second-argest search engine, it just makes sense to have a presence there.
They key is to make sure your uploaded videos are listed using the correct words you want your business to be found by.
Video is delivered ‘on demand’
No matter what use you find for video, it is easily experienced on demand. It’s like being able to deliver your best sales pitch 24/7, and to a worldwide audience, at that.
Companies are using video to their advantage in so many ways:
- Corporate profiles
- Client testimonials
- Sales presentations
- Product introductions and demonstrations
- Website FAQ’s
- Team bios and profiles
- Q & A expert series
- Original Web TV content
- Video blogs
- Event promotion and coverage
- On-location events and tradeshows
- Recruitment and training
- Executive and staff presentations
- Video press releases
As well, video is the No. 1 way to connect with people via social media, with video links being shared more often than any other types of content, such as articles or photos.
If you’re tweeting or on Facebook, you should definitely consider rolling video into the mix of your engagement strategy.
If you’re a camera-shy business owner, you may have to work to get over it. With much of business being about trust, it’s no wonder why videos featuring CEOs outperform those that do not feature them.
It’s time to put your best face and your brand’s best message forward via video, and start to reap the benefits.
Lisa Ostrikoff: Special to The Globe and Mail
First Published Thursday, Aug. 30 2012
Calgary Web Video Ads : 4 Tips
You’ve spent time money creating your web corporate video or videos, so take steps to make sure it gets the kind of attention you want it to get. Here are a few tips:
1. Don’t Show Your Web Video on Just Any Site – The study confirms the long-held belief that viewers equate the video ads they see with the sites they see them on.
2. Ban Auto-Play – You know how annoying it is when you visit a site and a web video ad on that page begins playing all by itself? Well, you’re not alone in finding that annoying; everyone does.
3. Left, Right, or Center: It’s All Good – One surprising result of the study is that the position of the web video ad on the page has no significant impact on the ad’s effectiveness. So don’t worry where the agency puts your ad — as long as it’s above the fold.
Branded online videos are a great way to boost consumer engagement.
Martha Stewart Living is investing in web video production in a big way. Lisa Gersh, CEO of MSL, recently told Digiday, “The biggest piece of change in consumer behavior is the . . . convergence of content and commerce. They want to learn about something and then buy that. That convergence is a sweet spot for us.”
So be bold and take advantage of the power of online video. Tell a story, enhance your brand message, and showcase how your products look and feel! Create interactive shopping experiences this season with web video content.
Brand journalism has become the buzzword in the marketing and PR profession. As the digital space takes over and marketing and PR campaigns gear themselves towards “engaging” with their customers, brand journalism is two words on everyone’s lips. But what is it?
For starters, it’s nothing new. Smart entrepreneurs have, for many years before the rise of social media, realized the importance of sharing knowledge, weighing in on industry ideas and giving themselves a voice that potential customers are interested in hearing. It’s not about selling or promoting your product, but rather about sharing your industry and its human face.
It is also not content marketing. While they’re two very similar concepts there is a difference. Content marketing is centred on creating and developing content relating to your brand that is interesting to your target market. It catches their attention, draws them in and they then become focused on the brand. Content marketing employs marketing principles and concepts when determining the content and direction the brand wishes to go in. Brand journalism is a bit different in that it’s about applying journalistic principles to traditional marketing ideas.
So instead of asking, how does the brand benefit? A brand journalist is asking how a general audience benefits from the content being produced by the brand. Content is produced in a more general way for a much broader audience.
So it’s just good PR?
Tom Foremski published a blog post during the Holmes Report’s Global PR Summit – in it he argued that the term “brand journalism” was simply a rebrand of PR. I tend to disagree with Foremski. Granted, many good PR firms have always head hunted potential employees from print media and have at least one “former” journalist on staff. Those same PR firms have been employing the brand journalism concept long before social media took over.
The lines between content marketing, brand journalism and PR do blur but there are distinct differences and many big corporates are jumping on the brand journalism band wagon (try saying that three times fast).
Coca-Cola recently launched a website specifically aimed at its corporate offering. It can be found at Coca-ColaCompany.com. This clever offering pulled at elements of the company’s internal employee magazine and bought it into the digital space. Pay the site a visit and you’ll see it offers far more than investor statistics, board member biographies or company reports. Actually, the “traditional” corporate mambo jumbo makes up a very small percentage of the website. The rest is filled with stories, videos and interesting opinion pieces. The articles are varied and submitted by a variety of people – not just the Coca-Cola marketing team. It’s mirrored on a typical news and entertainment website and it works.
Stuart Elliot wrote a piece for the New York Times on Coca-Cola’s flirtation and final implementation of brand journalism. An executive at the soft drink giant told Elliot that Coca-Cola had reformed its digital and social media teams and it now resembled an editorial team. Things like production schedules and an editorial calendar were littering the offices. More big corporates are moving away from traditional marketing and are working towards becoming “media companies”. Coca-Cola joins the ranks of Red Bull and Apple along with a host of other big names who’ve realised that pushing product and the occasional funny status update is not what potential clients are after.
How does this benefit you?
Brand journalism is a fantastic tool for niche market or B2B SMEs. It can be used for a variety of marketing platforms including direct marketing campaigns, all social media platforms and traditional print journalism.
So many companies get social media so wrong. The likes of Facebook and Twitter are not about simply telling potential clients about discount specials or new products, it can be used to inform your audience about changes to a particular product standard which affects your industry. Moving from that, you can write a blog post or print worthy article on how the changes to the particular standard came about, why they were instated and how it impacts the industry.
Business professionals can be quick to fob off traditional B2B print publications and argue that “no one reads them”. People do flick through them though and they’d likely be far more interested in reading an article about why a particular industry standard is now in place and the mitigating circumstances of the implementation, over an advertorial about your latest wonder product, all the new complicated features and how it conforms to said new industry standard.
Brand journalism doesn’t focus on telling your client how “cool” your product is or why they should buy it. It informs a large audience about content that affects them and that they have an interest in. Your brand becomes the industry authority.
Potential clients feel a kinship with your brand because you supply them with information to make their own informed decision rather than simply shove the “buy our product/service” message down their throat.
Some of the clear – and perhaps obvious – benefits of web video for businesses are:
- Expressing who you are and what you’re all about
- Educating viewers about your products, services and brand
- Boosting your credibility
But did you know that web videos offer tremendous search engine optimization (SEO) benefits as well?
More video = higher page rankings
You might be surprised to learn that a quality web video hosted on your site makes the page 50 times more likely to be shown on the first page of Google search results. This fact alone makes online web videos one of the most powerful marketing and SEO tools you can have in your arsenal. In a nutshell, web video leads to both higher conversion rates and more organic web traffic to your website – which in turn leads to even more conversions.
Ever since Google purchased YouTube, the likelihood that they will rank these videos favorably in search algorithms has markedly increased. In fact, it is possible to obtain a high ranking on Google practically overnight when web video is effectively used on a page. Google now rates web video even higher than high-quality, keyword-rich articles.
Steps to SEO success
The key to high rankings is proper optimization of the online video for SEO purposes. Ideally, web videos should have relevant, quality metadata titles and descriptions. Relevant keywords should be used artfully within the video’s title. These days, Google tends to present search results that offer a mixture of text-based web page results, images, news items, local results and web videos. But of these blended results, online video tends to be most likely to be clicked through.
Consider also hosting web videos on your own servers for additional advantages. The videos hosted on these sites can sometimes achieve a first-page ranking by merely optimizing the video title with appropriate, relevant keywords. Google algorithms tend to have a bias toward YouTube videos to begin with, so a keyword-rich title usually seals the deal.
Another way to increase your online video’s exposure is through sharing. Videos can be shared via email, on social networking sites, blogs and on other content sites. Videos are the most shared content opportunity on social media — more-so than article links or pictures.
Easily embeddable links are provided by most online video hosting platforms. With these tools so easily accessible, the result is a powerful addition to your regular marketing approach. The feature encourages video sharing and makes it easy for viewers to do so.
To maximize your chances of hitting the SEO lottery with web video, be sure to add as much relevant information to the video’s description page as possible. If hosted on your own site, be sure to optimize the video’s URL to be descriptive and keyword-rich as well. Add content around the video such as a high-quality, well-written, keyword-rich article about it, and, of course, related meta-tags.
Of course, SEO is just the icing on the cake. Be sure to start with thoughtful, relevant content and professional-level quality web video production. Too often I come across video representing an otherwise ‘polished’ brand, but the quality is anything but — and therefore a detriment to the brand messaging and strategy. Consistency of online video content is important too. Regular video content will also greatly assist in your SEO efforts. If in doubt, you can take the guesswork out and hire a web video production company to do it for you.
Special to The Globe and Mail