Online Content Marketing Trends to Watch Out For in 2014

2013 saw some pretty interesting changes in the world of online content marketing.

Possibly the largest was the rolling out of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm in August (possibly the biggest change in search since 2001), hurting many ‘black hat’ marketers, while at the same time, serving to elevate niche websites within the SERPs; creating an even playing field between what some have compared to ‘good vs evil’.

But besides upgrades and amendments to Hummingbird, what does 2014 have in store for the world of content marketing?

1. Video Content is going to take off in a big way

Though we’ve got just about all that we can out of the likes of infographics, the mainstream emergence of apps such as Vine  and even Snapchat is somewhere things are looking to grow – which is especially great for marketers who rely on visual media to connect with their audiences.

To add to this, many agencies are beginning to realise that video marketing isn’t as expensive as it used to be, and if done right, it can be sent and well received through almost any channel.

If you aren’t convinced yet, a single video (lasting 1:31) of Felix Baumgartner’s space dive has so far given Red Bull an extra 35 million views on their primary YouTube channel alone.

 2. Whether you like it or not, Google+ is about to get bigger

Though the significance and worth of Google+ is currently up for debate, the world’s second largest technology company isn’t about to drop its bone yet.

In terms of outreach, social media is basically mandatory via Twitter etc. anyway, but technology experts are predicting a greater reliance on what is deemed to be the second largest social networking site after Facebook.

Largely due to advancements with Google Authorship (though it doesn’t help rankings yet), Google+ is set to be one of the defining elements of social and content outreach by the end of next year. Indeed, if marketers don’t want to be left behind, then forgetting about Google+ could be deadly.

3. In some sectors, content will become more exclusive to certain people

Although for the moment, people are pretty much free to consume as much content as they want (besides those who read The Times and other subscription based media), marketers are expected to incorporate select audiences for their brands – incorporating the idea that exclusive content is better content, and therefore, far more valuable for both the audience and the brand.

By providing exclusives such as articles, offers, games and videos to only a privileged few (thousand), marketers will be looking to heighten trust signals, quality and value during 2014 on this basis.

4. The area is going to grow massively next year.

If someone was to say that there would be only a marginal growth to be had in 2014, they would probably be wrong. In the United States, 60 per cent of businesses already use some form of content marketing as part of their overall strategy.

And this is set to increase to the point where the overused and increasingly stale motto of ‘content is king’ will not be just a buzz phrase on internet blogs, but a mandatory and widely accepted fact.

In addition to this, according to a survey by the Marketing Institute, 48% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets into 2014.

Amidst fierce competition, getting it right will be imperative.

5. The job market for content creation is set to explode

Whether in-house or agency based, one of the top marketing jobs of 2014 is tipped to be ‘Director of Content, with many writing, video and editing jobs set to open up as the year continues.

Indeed, in HubSpot’s Fifth Annual Review of Inbound Marketing, the company states that the top marketing job of 2014 may well be Director of Content, and they aren’t the only ones making the claim.

GSF_BANNER

More than 80% of marketers use videos on their own websites

In recent years, the costs of video production have dropped tremendously thanks to digital technology, while the barriers to distributing video content have also fallen, owing to the internet. Those two factors have likely hastened the adoption of video marketing, which is now near-ubiquitous among US senior marketing professionals, according to a survey conducted during Q2 2013 and Q3 2013.

The poll found that 93% of marketers had used video for online marketing, sales or communications purposes at some point during 2013, up from 81% in 2012. Another 3% said they had not used video in 2013 but were considering doing so.

The growing importance of digital video marketing is also reflected in the number of dollars marketing professionals are allocating to the channel. The poll found that 70.5% of respondents expected their outlays for video to increase in 2013 over the previous year, while 14.6% indicated that budgets would remain static. Just 1.3% foresaw a drop in video marketing budgets for the year.

Marketers are also taking advantage of a number of content delivery platforms in order to get their videos in front of an audience. While the website was the most popular destination for video content, used by nearly 84% of respondents, almost two-thirds tapped YouTube to post videos. Social media platforms were employed by close to 62% of respondents, while around 60% of those polled sent videos via email.

The report also found that user-generated videos were contributing to the increasing number of overall videos produced and disseminated on sharing sites and social media platforms. But it concluded that these types of videos were less effective as marketing tools than professionally produced videos with higher production values.

Are you looking for professional produced video’s please get in touch.

GSF_BANNER

Social Video ROI: Relationships That Convert

Many marketers assume “social video” mostly means sharing on YouTube, Facebook, and other social networks. What’s forgotten? The “social” part.

To successfully incorporate video into your search marketing, you really need to create a experience that’s first and foremost about building personal connections. That means genuinely listening, engaging, and helping others in ways that turn visitors into followers, users into contributors, critics into evangelists, and individuals into communities.

But social video can’t be helpful if it can’t be sustainable as a business model. That’s why social video needs to be treated like a financial portfolio – nurturing relationships like one nurtures stock investments, carefully qualified and continually measured against pre-set performance goals so you see a tangible return on investment over the long-term.

What is “Social Video?” What Should it Really Mean?

We need to start with how we choose to define “social. I regard social as a personal investment into genuine relationships for shared value.

The next step from there is “social business” – a term often used to describe the evolution of modern business through technology and consumer culture, and worker relationships. That is how I came to my definition of “social video” – the blending of video into genuine relationships for shared value.

Too often, video is still treated as a broadcast tool with expectations of short-term transactions, rather than a true engagement tool for building meaningful connections.

You should no longer ask, “How do I create a viral video?” Instead, you should ask, “How can I create value and build trust with my audience?”

“Video is one of the greatest ways to help personalize the brand and create a trusted experience,” according to Frank Eliason, SVP of Citibank and author of “@ Your Service – How to Attract New Customers, Increase Sales, and Increase Sales Using New Customer Techniques.” “We tend to trust humans, not some corporate logo; and video is the best way to do that on a scaled basis.”

Externally, video is used to communicate to broad audiences, often designed to bring a human touch to a brand. It’s a great way to share insight into your company, share thoughts, and add value to your customers without intruding into their conversation.

Internally, larger companies are using video to create more nimble, interconnected teams. Work groups now live in a very different environment. Today, people use video to speak with each other across the globe, for knowledge management and collaboration.

Here are some other strong business reasons for why search marketers should be doing social video:

  • Video is the most powerful communications tool on the web. It invites more engagement with audiences, and drives the social signals with Google for augmented search results.
  • Video enhances storytelling. People are moved by stories; and video is better at storytelling than text, graphics, and audio combined.
  • Video augments both the rational and the emotional. Some audiences are persuaded more by logic and instructional content; others are motivated more by strong feelings of passion that are either positive or negative.
  • Audiences now expect it. Your audiences are likely creating and sharing their own videos, and want the brands they follow to do the same with them in mind.

Social Video Tips for Every Professional Marketer

  • Make it a real commitment to personally engage with your audience. Anything advertised as “social” should come with a promise. It’s not just putting out video content regularly and consistently to where your audience is; it’s a promise to listen and personally engage with individual followers and subscribers (i.e., conversation), and to provide mutual value for what you share. Simply placing repurposed ads on your website or YouTube channel isn’t going to cut it.
  • Be transparent and believable. Zappos has always lead the way but that’s because social fits within their existing culture. Mistakes happen in social when brands like to portray themselves as something they are not. That means, think about what your existing business culture is like, and have your video content be a natural representation of that same culture.
  • Always start with being helpful. The best video you can create is never going to make up for poor customer experience. The best companies winning in social media aren’t doing so because of a marketing or PR message. They are winning because their products and experiences live up to their brand promise. If you do social video without reviewing, acknowledging, and demonstrating a serious attempt to fix those issues, your online video will just invite conversations from upset customers that you aren’t giving them attention like you should.
  • Use it to learn about, acknowledge and correct your mistakes. “My favorite example will always be the a Domino’s pizza response to crisis on YouTube a few years back. That is the power of video where the CEO is speaking from the heart,” Eliason said. One thing you should never do is ignore someone who puts up a video genuinely expressing their bad experience with your brand. “They care enough to talk about your brand, so that tells me they are passionate. If they did not care they would not say anything.”
  • Acknowledge interesting videos, not just interesting people. “Some of the famous instances over the years. I worked for a cable company [Comcast] and at one point there was a video of a technician sleeping,” Eliason said. “The person who put that video up had posted two videos, ever. Let’s face it, it was just good content. It was just something we enjoyed watching – so we watched it over and over again.

Social Video Strategy in 3 Simple Steps: Start Soft, Then Get Hard

The word “social” in media should never be an excuse to avoid showing measurable business outcomes; nor should social be measured under the exact same metrics that apply to direct marketing and traditional advertising.

The key part is demonstrating causality – connecting the dots between the “soft” metrics of engagement towards the “hard” metrics of transactions and financials. Here are three simple steps how you can achieve that:

  1. Set measurable performance goals. Before starting any video campaign, have a clear objective of what you’re looking to accomplish that will be a positive business value. Set a budget for your spend and time investments, and how you plan to get in the positive column with sales and revenue over a period of time. Think anywhere from 6-18 months, and be ready to measure intermittently so you can see your progress toward your goal.
  2. Know the social metrics that really matter. Go beyond views and shares. Focus on the metrics show sustainable engagement – audience retention and completion of video views, subscribers, clicks on calls-to-actions and soft leads (like filling out a short form or becoming an email newsletter member). Social business pros already understand that word-of-mouth marketing is a proven connection between traffic and sales,
  3. Create a scorecard and regular report system. This means assigning different values to different social metrics. Once you have data coming in, you can start to see how many of the soft metrics it takes to generate the hard metrics. From there you have a benchmark for ongoing and future campaigns, and you can use the numbers to compare performance over the past week or month, and measure growth.

Screw Viral, Tube Responsibly!

Social video is most apt to be successful for your business when you stop thinking about “going viral” and really focus on being useful.

Think of social video less like a megaphone and more like a customer specialist or concierge, building interesting and helpful video content that acknowledges their needs and wants; and personally engage with audience members individually around the video experience. You’ll see how good will with a responsible business plan behind it leads to social video success.

Work together with us to create a social video and generate success!

GSF_BANNER

7 Essential Video Settings to Check Before Shooting your video:

When every day shooting new content its important not to loose track on the important essentials things.
Thats’ why we create a list of things to check before you hit the record button on your camera.

1.) Resolution & Frame Rate: This is vitally important when shooting with multiple cameras each camera needs to have the exact same resolution and frame rate.  Making footage settings match each other will make it so much easier to edit.

2.) White Balance: Important to make sure color temperatures look natural.  This is crucial to remember when going inside then outside (or vice versa) because color temperature of light is different outdoors than indoors. Make the time to adjust your white balance properly with every set-up.

3.) Gain or ISO: Your Gain and ISO settings make sure your image is properly exposed. Higher ISO settings are for low light and lower ISO settings are for bright lights.  Higher ISO settings also equals more camera noise and lower ISO settings makes a cleaner image.

4.) Scene Profile (Picture Profile) Mode: The correct picture style can make or break your image.control over the image in post.  Looking for more control over the contrast and saturation to your image? Use a neutral setting. Looking to do less work in post? Try using a standard setting.

5.) Shutter Speed: A great rule of thumb is to double the frame rate you are shooting and that will be your shutter speed.  A good setting for 24p footage is 1/50th, a good setting for 60p footage is 125th, and so on.

6.) Aperture or F-Stop Settings: Knowing what F-Stop settings to go with really depends on the type of lens you are using. Knowing your lens’s maximum aperture will help you choose the best f-stop setting for the situation. A general rule of thumb is a lens will generate the sharpest image towards the middle of the glass..  So a setting like f5.6 may be good.  But to create moreshallow depth of field f2.8 or lower may be better

7.) Focus: Nothing is worse than having great exposure settings only to pull up your footage and find a crucial shot was out of focus so use the focus assist in your camera.

If you would like more FREE advise on shooting your next video get in touch !  Looking for content to use in your next video? Make sure you check ReeldealHD or Greenscreenfilms.com and choose from over 5000 HD premium RF stock footage clips perfect for your next project.

Walmart Turn To Online Video with “get on the shelf” original series

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and biggest private employer, has launched its first ever web series aimed at giving the American public the opportunity to decide which new products get to go on the their shelves, both on and offline. Wrapped up in a reality series format, the first episode features products from four U.S. entrepreneurs, picked from thousands of entrants to a crowd sourcing product contest. The four showcase their merchandise and the one that proves the most popular with the audience wins the chance to see the retail giant stock and sell it. There are five weekly shows in the series, the first one is launched today with the others following suit on a weekly basis through to October 22nd. Products included on the first show include a line of gourmet scented stuffed animals and a brilliant wheelchair for infirm or injured dogs. You can see the full list of finalists and their wareshere (Elvis Presley Bedding Collection anyone?)

Viewers can visit the Get On The Shelf site and vote online for their favourite product/entrepreneur each week. The series is produced by the digital studio team behind Shark Tank’s Mark Burnett so the format is a pretty tried and tested one. To drive further engagement, viewers are given just 72 hours after each episode goes live to vote. The winner, based on the amount of pre-orders gained, will receive additional marketing support from Walmart. You can see the first show here (at time of writing it’s still shown as unlisted on YouTube):

Kelly Thompson, Senior VP of Merchandising for Walmart.com is excited for the project and confirms that:

Get on the Shelf celebrates the resilient and tenacious spirit of American entrepreneurs, many of whom have been working hard for a big break like this. The web series creates more exposure for finalists to share their inspiring stories, which makes for captivating reality TV that’s also interactive since American consumers can vote for the next great product at Walmart.com.

comScore Releases August 2013 U.S. Online Video Rankings

AOL Climbs into Second Place in Online Video Content Ranking with 71 Million Viewers

comScore released data from the comScore Video Metrix service showing that 188.5 million Americans watched 46.7 billion online content videos in August, while the number of video ad views totaled 22.8 billion.

Top 10 Video Content Properties by Unique Viewers

Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in August with 167 million unique viewers. AOL captured the #2 spot with 71.2 million, followed by Facebook with 62.2 million, NDN with 50.7 million and VEVO with 49.4 million. 46.7 billion video content views occurred during the month, with Google Sites generating the highest number at 17.4 billion, followed by AOL, Inc. with 992 million and Facebook with 803 million. Google Sites had the highest average engagement among the top ten properties.

Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
August 2013
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Property Total Unique Viewers (000) Videos (000)* Minutes per Viewer
Total Internet : Total Audience 188,499 46,746,596 1,294.3
Google Sites 166,966 17,437,897 521.6
AOL, Inc. 71,202 991,800 56.8
Facebook 62,183 803,148 21.6
NDN 50,650 569,815 92.0
VEVO 49,371 609,833 42.3
Microsoft Sites 48,894 689,704 33.0
Yahoo! Sites 45,049 368,975 79.2
Viacom Digital 44,434 452,938 45.2
Amazon Sites 34,499 133,380 22.5
Collective Video 31,857 149,318 29.1

*A video is defined as any streamed segment of audiovisual content, including both progressive downloads and live streams. For long-form, segmented content, (e.g. television episodes with ad pods in the middle) each segment of the content is counted as a distinct video stream. Video views are inclusive of both user-initiated and auto-played videos that are viewed for longer than 3 seconds.

Top 10 Video Ad Properties by Video Ads Viewed

Americans viewed nearly 22.8 billion video ads in August, with Google Sites ranking #1 with 3.2 billion ad impressions. Adap.tv came in second with more than 2.4 billion ads, followed by BrightRoll Platform with 2.4 billion and LiveRail.com with 2.2 billion. Time spent watching video ads totaled 8.5 billion minutes, with BrightRoll Platform and Adap.tv delivering the highest duration of video ads at 1.1 billion minutes each. Video ads reached 56 percent of the total U.S. population an average of 132 times during the month. Hulu delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 71.

Top U.S. Online Video Ad Properties Ranked by Video Ads* Viewed
August 2013
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Ad Videos Only (Content Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Property Video Ads (000) Total Ad Minutes (MM) Frequency (Ads per Viewer) % Reach Total U.S. Population
Total Internet : Total Audience 22,755,256 8,518 132.3 55.6
Google Sites 3,171,612 301 28.5 35.9
ADAP.TV† 2,448,969 1,126 18.0 44.0
BrightRoll Platform**† 2,392,855 1,103 14.4 53.7
LIVERAIL.COM† 2,203,060 859 28.4 25.1
Specific Media** 1,665,541 645 13.0 41.2
SpotXchange Video Ad Marketplace† 1,249,149 467 14.4 28.1
Hulu 1,247,868 475 71.4 5.6
TubeMogul Video Ad Platform† 1,148,595 380 15.0 24.7
Tremor Video** 846,112 390 13.2 20.7
Videology† 751,183 291 9.8 24.8

*Video ads include streaming-video advertising only and do not include other types of video monetization, such as overlays, branded players, matching banner ads, etc.
**Indicates video ad network
†Indicates video ad exchange/DSP/SSP

Top 10 YouTube Partner Channels by Unique Viewers

The August 2013 YouTube partner data revealed that video music channel VEVO maintained the top position in the ranking with 47.8 million viewers. Fullscreen held on to the #2 position with 34.5 million viewers, followed by Maker Studios Inc. with 29.6 million, Warner Music with 26.9 million and ZEFR (formerly MovieClips) with 24.9 million. Among the top 10 YouTube partners, Machinima demonstrated the highest engagement (91 minutes per viewer), followed by Maker Studios Inc. (65 minutes per viewer). VEVO streamed the greatest number of videos (580 million), followed by Maker Studios Inc. (521 million).

Top YouTube Partner Channels* Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
August 2013
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Property Total Unique Viewers (000) Videos (000) Minutes per Viewer
VEVO @ YouTube 47,764 580,437 40.8
Fullscreen @ YouTube 34,541 361,302 32.7
Maker Studios Inc. @ YouTube 29,573 521,066 65.1
Warner Music @ YouTube 26,921 159,047 19.2
ZEFR @ YouTube 24,893 126,822 13.8
The Orchard @ YouTube 21,197 87,548 12.1
Blizzard @ YouTube 18,261 43,062 4.1
rumblefish @ YouTube 17,784 44,429 7.0
Machinima @ YouTube 17,050 391,755 90.9
UMG @ YouTube 16,311 55,998 10.5

Other notable findings from August 2013 include:

  • 87 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The duration of the average online content video was 5.2 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes.
  • Video ads accounted for 32.7 percent of all videos viewed and 3.4 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.

8 Ways to Use User-Generated Video for Marketing

User generated video is gaining more and more ground in today’s marketing landscape. But what can YOU do with user generated video for marketing?

Here are 8 ways to get you going, but first off all we take a look at the rise of “UGV”.  User Generated Video is used for a wide range of applications, including marketing, problem processing, news, and reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies like smartphones, tablets & laptops. Even media companies are starting to realize that user generated content is interesting enough to change their business models.

User-generated video has gained in popularity over the last few years, as more and more users have begun to use social media and “‘content-based'” sharing sites like YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, et al.  Below are some examples on how to use user-generated video.

1. Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials are the easiest way to use User Generated Video in your online marketing efforts. Using customer testimonials adds credibility to your business, because people rely on other people. This lift in credibility can also lift your conversion rate.

Have you ever tried recording a video? You will notice that it’s very hard to fake emotions on camera (if not, you should consider an acting career). This means that the people who do record a video testimonial are your best brand ambassadors. They talk in a positive way about your brand or business, and they are out there to spread the word for you!

2. Product Reviews

Have you ever bought a product or service online? And did you read or watch a review before purchasing? When shopping online 70% of the people say they read reviews before they actually purchase a product or service. Lots of the reviews you find will probably be text-based.  If you know that people don’t really like to read online, because it’s so time consuming, you can consider using video reviews.

Besides the social proof which is being added to your website, shop, or Facebook page, you also get valuable feedback of your customers or users, and that feedback will definitely help you to improve your product!

Video is also easier than text to spread across the web. It’s harder to get text reviews to become viral, a video on the other side is made to share. Imagine having your customers spreading the word about your products on social channels.

These first 2 ways of using User Generated Video can help you increase conversion rate, but besides conversions it can also boost your inbound traffic.

Product reviews to increase conversions & inbound traffic

As videos get shared on across the web, we can even track which viewers visit our client’s website and eventually convert into customers.

3. Video Contests

Video contest with user generated video

Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets & laptops come with a built-in camera & an internet connection. This enables the users to capture video everywhere, making it easier to get user generated video content.

Unlike most people think, a video contest doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several tools that can be used to set up a video contest. You don’t need big bucks to get your own custom YouTube page where people can upload their video.

Tips when organizing a video contest:

– Add gamification elements to get users start sharing their videos. Our leaderboard calculates a score based on shares, likes, views, …

– Reward contributors with an incentive to activate them to upload  a video (coupon, freebie,  or even just their social status…)

– The first video entries are (most of the time) the hardest to get. Once you have a couple of videos, the other visitors will be more likely to enter the contest as well.

4. Support & Customer Care

Video technology has introduced a better way for companies to provide better online customer service. One of the most common ways to use video in Support & Customer Care are prerecorded How-To videos solving common problems. But you can go a step further! Every company has service, acquisition or loyalty goals, and for every goal there’s a way you can use video to reach those goals.

Land’s End, an online apparel retailer, is using a live video chat to help customers during their shopping experience. It has proved to increase sales, and the loyalty of customers has grown as well. It’s like having a personal shopping assistant helping you out when shopping online.

Besides the How-To videos or the live video chat you can go a step further and give your customers the possibility to add a video when they fill in a support form. People really don’t like to type a problem, because it’s time consuming and it’s not clear if the support operator understands the problem.

5. HR & Recruiting

It’s always great to receive hundreds, maybe thousands of cover letters and resumes when posting a job on an online job board. Unfortunately it’s your task to read those letters in an attempt to get the best candidates.

It’s hard to find the right candidate by only judging their resume and cover letter. How do you know if they will fit in your company culture? How do you know if they are motivated, or skilled enough to work for you?

Video Job Applications help hiring managers to get the right candidate faster, so your company saves time and money. Candidates have the opportunity to highlight relevant experience and skills and at the same time they are showing off their personality and passion for your company.

Hiring managers can read the candidate’s body language, listen to speech patterns, test certain skills, etc.  This surely is a win-win situation for both candidate as hiring manager.

6. Classified Ad Websites

Video will help you to create a richer experience for your visitors, and give your advertisers the tools they need to show off their listings.

Classified ad websites using video are rare, and in most cases they just ask you to copy and paste the link to a video posted on YouTube, Vimeo or other video platform. Niches like real estate or automotive classifieds can add compelling content to their listings using devices like smartphones or tablets.

7. Events

When you visit an event these days, you will see lots of people recording stuff using their smartphone, but the day afterwards you turn to YouTube and can’t find a video of this event anywhere. So what do they do with those videos? Do they upload them? And if they do, where do they do it? All this precious video content gets fragmented or even lost.

This video content can be used to drive more buzz during and even after an event. Give your attendees the possibility to contribute with their videos, and provide a space where all those videos come together.

The cool thing is that contributors are very likely to share the video they recorded during the event, generating inbound traffic to your website or Facebook page. On the other hand, the attendees will be more likely to come back to your website or Facebook page if they know that they will find valuable video content of the event. Example of what we created for our client PACA during their conference last year in Chicago:

8. Point of Sale

I’ve never seen a retailer doing this, but I do think that using User Generated Video in a Point of Sales environment can stimulate in-store traffic.

How many girls show off their new outfit with their friends after a day of shopping? Why not give them the possibility to get feedback of friends WHILE shopping for a new outfit? And by rewarding them with a coupon or other incentive they will be excited to show off your products.

But how does it work? Well, there are several possibilities to use video in a point of sale environment, but the key in getting those videos is to keep it simple. Don’t ask your clients to upload something on YouTube or other video platform, not everybody is tech-savvy and has a YouTube account.