Stats & Measurement

The Importance of Video Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

MDG Advertising just released a fantastic new infographic with a data from multiple sources. The numbers that immediately caught my eye are:

  1. 100% of Adage’s top 100 leading National Advertisers run campaigns on YouTube
  2. The top 500 brand channels on YouTube average 884,000 monthly views.
  3. Top YouTubers earn $23,000 in monthly ad revenue.
  4. YouTube reaches more adults aged 18-34 than any cable network.

The rest of the stats are just as startling, check it out.

Advertisers, You Need YouTube [Infographic]


Infographicby MDG Advertising

25% of Branded Video Shares Happen in the First Three Days

A quarter of the average online branded video’s shares occur in the first three days of its launch. That’s according to new research by video technology company Unruly Media into the lifecycle of a viral video.

They are sharing what they call the Social Diffusion Curve based on the 200 most shared branded videos of 2012.

“The Social Diffusion Curve, which measures the average number of shares a video attracts across the social web throughout its lifetime, also found that the ‘viral peak’ of a brand’s video campaign occurs on the second day, when the average online ad will attract one in 10 of its total shares across the social web.”


This makes it critical to be absolutely prepared when you launch your video by making your video search friendly as well as investing in promotion right out of the gate. 

The State of B2B Content Marketing in 2012 [Infographic]

2012 was a great year for B2B content marketing and all signs are pointing to 2013 being an even bigger year. This infographic created by Marketo highlights the effectiveness, budgeting, social media trends and challenges of content marketing over 2012.

  • On average, B2B content marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, up from 26% last year; also, 54% plan to increase content marketing spending next year.
  • All content tactics are being used more frequently than they were last year, with the use of research reports, videos, and mobile content having increased the most.
  • On average, B2B content marketers are using five social distribution channels; the most popular of those channels is LinkedIn, whereas Twitter had been the most popular the previous two years.

A surprising trend is that smaller companies allocate more budget than larger companies. Also interesting to see that the top two challenges in creating content are 1. Creating enough content 2. Creating engaging content. Hmmmm….


Online Political Videos & Campaign 2012 – a study from Pew Internet & American Life Project

Pew Internet & American Life Project did a survey about viewing habits of registered voters who use the internet during the run up to the US elections this year.

Long story short, lots and lots of American voters watch political videos and content online.


And, it applies to both major parties.  So, if you’re in the political game, whatever side you’re on, you need to get some video online.  According to the survey:

There are very few partisan differences when it comes to watching political videos, or to having them recommended by other people.

Here is the overview statement from the survey.  Go to Pew for the full report.

Some 66% of registered voters who use the internet—55% of all registered voters—have gone online this election season to watch videos related to the election campaign or political issues.

Likeability and The Effect on Cost Per Promoted View

Sentiment is the way your audience feels about a particular video. Do they like? Do they hate it? Are they indifferent? How do you know? An easy way to track that is looking at some of your video engagement data on YotTube Analytics. If someone leaves a comment that says “great video” it’s easy to tell that that person liked the video.

What is Video Engagement?

Video engagement is any action a viewer takes while they are watching your video or immediately after. This could be anything from someone subscribing to your channel, Commenting, liking or disliking a video directly on, clicking an annotation, favoriting or sharing a video.

One of the many promoted techniques we use at AboutFace when we’re optimizing a video is Stumbleupon Paid Discovery. We mix our videos in with user generated content based on content topics that users self select that they are interested in. Our video is then served on a native YouTube watch page, so in addition to all of the video engagement actions a user can take from Youtube like subscribing to our channel they also have a chance to rate the video by hitting “Like or Dislike” in the Stumbleupon toolbar.

Stumbleupon Tool Bar

Stumbleupon Tool Bar

After a couple days I can log in to the Stumbleupon dashboard and see the initial results and make any necessary changes to my targeting based on wether the users are liking or disliking the video.

Stumbleupon Paid Discovery Dashboard

Stumbleupon Paid Discovery Dashboard Sample

The likes and dislikes then compile what Stumbleupon calls a quality score: “Quality score reflecting a ratio of thumbs up to thumbs down.” so in this example the quality score is 88.7% which is very high. Because the score on this sample was so high in addition to the 2,001 paid stumbles that I bought for a little over $100 the video was well liked enough to get another 1,083 organic stumbles that I paid nothing for. This dramatically lowers the eCPV, which Stumbleupon calls Effective Cost Per Visitor of $0.032 a visitor (normally when we refer to CPV in terms of video it means cost per view).

I can then log in to my YouTube analytics and check out the traffic sources for that particular video (Stumbleupon referrals will show up under ‘External Website’)

YouTube traffic sources

Stumbleupon Traffic Source

So in this case my $100.05 netted me 509 targeted views or a cost per view of only $0.19!

But let’s look at another case of a video on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Stumbleupon Low Quality Score

Stumbleupon Low Quality Score

In this case I spent the same $100 and get those same 2,000 paid stumbles and a quality score of 40.0%. This video was not nearly as well received and I only received 2 additional organic stumbles making my Effective Cost Per Visitor $0.05.

Now back to Youtube analytics and I only received 222 views which makes my cost per view skyrocket all the way to $0.45

Stumlbeupon View Referrer

Views from Stumbleupon

So creating videos that are not well liked is not only punishing you in YouTube’s search algorithm it’s also costing you more to promote them.

Audience Retention can be a great tool as well. YouTube defines this as “an overall measure of your video’s ability to retain its audience”. At AboutFace we sometimes make future editorial decisions or alternative cuts based on peaks and valleys in any given graph. We already know that it’s important to make engaging content, especially with YouTube’s new focus on Time Watched driving their search algorithm, but it’s equally important that people actually like your video and you’re driving viewer engagement. In general the more liked your content is, the longer your audience will watch it.


Video and the CMI’s 2012 Content Marketing Benchmarks

It’s that time of the year!

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs just published their third annual research results: The 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America.

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest jumps in tactics is the use of videos, which has grown from 52% to 70% adoption year over year.

Mobile content also more than doubled.

Check out this slideshow summary of this always interesting report.


The Dirty Secrets In The Viral Video Sausage Factory Via Venture Beat

Check out this article on Venture Beat that delves into the myth and mysteries of “viral video”.

The realities its author, Mitchell Reichgut, surfaces, are valuable points to embrace for any video campaign.

Here is an excerpt:

I’ve been distributing branded videos online for seven years. My company has run hundreds of campaigns for the world’s biggest brands, many of which have reached tens of millions of users. It may surprise you to learn, therefore, that I think viral video is a fantasy. It is a flawed and outdated concept that does not reflect the larger reality of how some videos gain traction and become online megahits.

When a video is special people see it and they want to share with their friends. But the reality is, videos don’t reach audiences of 1 million people or more without the help of at least one major media outlet, no matter how good they are.

Video View Number Pumping (Don’t Do It!) – Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas

Welcome to the fourth installment Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas.  You can check out the last installment called YouTube SEO Tricks And Reply Girl Treats here.  This installment deals with pumping up video view numbers and why the higher the number doesn’t necessarily mean the higher the value.

JM:  So now let’s talk numbers – inflating numbers, especially.

TL:  Sure.  The internet is a crazy place, dude.  People are going to always be thinking of new methods to manipulate numbers, and even when one technique is stopped, they are going to come up with another one.  They can find deceptive ways to inflate video view numbers, but those views aren’t actually worth much, if anything.

JM: Right, yeah yeah.  So, at AboutFace, you’ve told me before that when you’re doing optimization, you’re not doing that sort of thing where you’re trying to pump up the numbers up to get bad views.  Why do you think that it’s actually a disservice to your client if you are doing that?

TL:  We’re not just trying to pump up numbers – that’s true.  The numbers can be gamed, sure, but, at the end of the day, the reason people are marketing at all is to show a product or service to a particular audience.  So, if I’m Henderson Global Funds and I have a video series, the desirable ROI isn’t likely tied a huge number on YouTube.

The real ROI is an action by one of those very targeted people you want to see your video.  An investment advisor.  A financial professional looking at funds.  Someone watching that video and then either going to their website to learn more or calling their office to look at their funds or invest money.  That’s what makes Henderson, or any investment firm, money.  Not if a million people who have no interest in funds or investing or don’t have the money to do so watch their video.  That audience is irrelevant to a financial firm.

The conversion or the action of what happens after these un-targeted, or “fake” even, numbers go through is probably zero, whereas we want the videos to be seen by the proper target audience.  So imagine if you were Kmart and you’re marketing women’s apparel.  Does it help you if 50 million John Murphys and Teddy Lyngaases watch your videos?  Are we going to buy women’s apparel?  Nope.  You want women, obviously.  And you want women within certain age ranges and certain geographic areas and certain income levels and interests – like fashion, for example.

We’re here to actually get the videos seen by the target audience.  So, yes, we play by the rules.  We pay more for our views but it’s the right thing to do because we hit our target audiences instead of dudes who don’t buy women’s clothes.

The classic song "Teenage Suicide" in Heathers says "Don't Do It!" We'd add, "Number-Pumping - Also Don't Do That!"

JM:  Paying more for each video view?

TL:  Yeah.  So take Trutanich – I don’t have the article right in front of me but – he or someone on his team paid one of these services to get him something like 150,000 views.  And the service wrote some code or they hired some kids to hit the “play video” button over and over in the browser and the numbers grew and grew… but they just couldn’t turn it off in time.  It ended up getting so big that people noticed it.  Once it gets to some crazy level of views, it raises some eyebrows.  Like, really?  Really, there are 400,000 people or whatever – what does the article say?  400,000 people that are watching this video on a seemingly low profile city attorney race or district attorney race.  And there’s not that many interested people in LA county.

JM: (Laughing)

TL:  It just raised eyebrows and they couldn’t turn it off.  That’s one of the downsides of these techniques – (laughing) they’re doing shady things that can’t always be stopped.

JM:  Right.

TL:  Out of all those people that watch the video or all those computer programs that algorithmically refresh your browser over and over again, are they really eligible LA County voters?  My guess would be not.  And so if we were going to take on Trutanich as our client, our view would be to show videos to people that are of voting age, first, and create a subsection of people in the district that are eligible to vote and only run the videos to those people.

It didn’t do Trutanich any good to be advertising in Wisconsin.  If Kmart doesn’t have any stores in Canada, why would I run videos in Canada?  They’re not my potential customers.

In reality, those kinds of number-pumping services don’t deliver the right results.  They don’t get to the customer base that the client is looking for.

I’d be willing to bet that Trutanich didn’t know anything about this.  I bet his people set it up, and at the end of the day he’s the guy that looks bad.  The same way that a brand hires some agency, and if the brand doesn’t really know how those videos are being served up or how the agency is going about getting views, there is no transparency – and they can be the ones to look bad.

Optimization can be farmed out.  A brand might hire an agency and that agency then hires a service that specializes in getting lots of indiscriminate views.  This could easily be what happened with JC Penny looking terrible for their blog back link debacle.

It all becomes very technical and so it has a high potential for misuse if you don’t completely understand how it works.

Did JC Penny or Trutanich know that some service they never heard of is the one handling their video optimization or the their SEO?  And that they’re building programs to click Play or else employing sweatshop-like labor in developing countries to just keep clicking?  Doubt it.

So that’s kind of our deal – we try to help our clients along the way and then we tell them exactly how their video or ad is going to be displayed.  And how we’re going to target and get the right views.  Full disclosure.  We’re not hiding anything.  We’re not farming out our optimization to 11 year olds in India…  I’m looking at you, Trutanich.

Teddy Lyngaas is our Optimization expert here at AboutFace.  Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas is where I ask Teddy about stuff I don’t understand and he explains it and then hopefully I understand it (and if not, I will definitely pretend I do so that no one thinks I’m stupid).  If you ever have any topics in Optimization you’d like us (read: Teddy) to tackle, email me at and we’ll see what we can do.

YouTube SEO Tricks And Reply Girl Treats – Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas

Welcome to the second installment of the series Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas.  You can check out the last installment on Gaming The System here.  This one deals with YouTube SEO manipulation and, well, dudes-who-like-cleavage-on-the-Internet manipulation. JM: Now in that email you also talked about other ways to hack the system as far as video goes.  You mentioned the creators or marketers uploading a video and paying a bunch of money to promote it.

The YouTube homepage list of top videos on June 7, 2012

TL: Yeah, to try to get it to be considered a hot video and go up on YouTube’s homepage.  If something is on the YouTube homepage it’s gonna get a lot of views just because it’s on the YouTube homepage.  But the way that that’s determined is changing as we speak, basically, with the new channel redesign. Part of how it works is if I upload a video today and then tomorrow I have a bunch of views on it, YouTube has an algorithm to figure out how popular that video is.  And if it is getting a lot of views in a short period of time it can trick that algorithm into thinking it is really more popular than it really is. So, this is one of those things that YouTube is trying to figure.  If a blogger or tastemaker is embedding a video on a website that’s probably legit whereas if you look at where your video views come from and it’s a solitary source or, you know, a couple of essentially paid sources, it’s probably a sign of someone trying to game the system. A little story – So, I have a blog where I sometimes write about YouTube and other online video topics.  And one day, this guy from California called me and he was like, “What do you know about really hard core YouTube SEO?”  And I basically told him what I knew.  And he was like, “Oh, I mean not like that corny shit,” and he kind of belittled me.  “I mean the really hardcore stuff.”  And I said, “Oh… what do you mean?”  That’s how I heard about this. His company would upload a video and then if it didn’t perform well after a couple of days, they would take it down – and  upload literally the same video again.  They are just trying to get at that algorithm.  And he said they will do that five or ten times, and it usually works.  Then they get all those views and more just by being on the YouTube home page. So, YouTube is trying to change that with their new channels.  What they’re doing is putting more value on who you actually have subscribed to and what you have actually watched before.  That’s instead of just a generic “this video’s really popular right now” approach. So I mean that that is just one more way that they are trying to change that

Here's an innocent video about video game Minecraft

Really, the big thing that is going on right now on YouTube is those reply girls, which I am sure that you have seen.  It’s just a cleavage shot [laughing] of a buxom young woman and the meta data is whatever the most popular video game or television show is at the time.  And that isn’t to promote anyone or a video of any kind, it’s just set up to create ad revenue.  So, the only reason that Reply Girl video exists is because they put ad words on it and the more people to click on it the more money they get. JM:  Right, what is the, like if you click on those, what is the video that comes up?  Is there a girl in a low cut top kind of thing? TL:  Oh, don’t pretend you haven’t clicked on it, John. JM:  I have not!  [pause]  I have. TL:  No yeah, it’ll have, it might even be about the game, because they are getting better at this, where it is like this girl talking about “Halo 3″ but the camera will never move from the cleavage. JM:  [laughing] TL: She’s probably just reading some script that this company handed her.  And she’ll talk for 5 minutes about the game. On YouTube, when you when you upload a video, you only have three options to create a thumbnail, right?  And there’s all these people trying to figure out exactly what that algorithm is – how YouTube determines the three options they’re giving you – because everybody wants custom thumb nails.  If you’re a YouTube partner you can have your own choice and if you’re on Vimeo you can upload your own. But if, in YouTube’s eye, they just let every uploader go and pick their own, then it’s just going to be misleading  Thumbnails are, at the end of the day, the most important bait for people to click on and watch a

The top Reply Girl result on the side of the Minecraft video page

video.  So if the camera never moves from this shot of the Reply Girl’s cleavage, the thumbnail is going to be a shot of the cleavage  And guys just can’t help themselves, they can’t.  They want to see some… well, you know. JM:  [laughing] TL:  But the weird part is that YouTube is pretty good about policing their content.  Where, you know, you’re not going to see anything too bad on YouTube.  These guys might as well just watch porn. JM:  Right, right. TL: Which is also readily available on the Internet.

This one is also in the related videos for Minecraft - note it's posted by "ReplyGirlsReviews"

JM:  Is it? [laughing] TL:  Yeah. JM:  I’m gonna write that down. — In the next installment, we (Teddy) will talk less about pornography and more about the difference between a bad (or “junk”) view versus a smart, targeted view, and why clients shouldn’t be fooled by big numbers of the former. Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas.  Teddy is our Optimization expert here at AboutFace.  This is where I ask Teddy about stuff I don’t understand and he explains it and then hopefully I understand it (and if not, I will definitely pretend I do so that no one thinks I’m stupid).  If you ever have any topics in Optimization you’d like us (read: Teddy) to tackle, email me at and we’ll see what we can do.

Video Value Common Currency – A Datarrific Article From Reel SEO

Is a view when someone clicks play on a video player, than clicks off 3 seconds later?

Or is it when someone watches a video all the way through and no less?

And how do you put a currency value on both or either of these “events”?

Christophor Rick over at ReelSEO has posted an intriguing article exploring these concerns and more in a quest to arrive at a common standard for the whole industry.  If you’re into the dollars and sense side of the online video game, you’ll want to give it a read.

A Follow-On To Gaming The System – Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas

This article at Gizmodo is a good example of how fishy activity usually looks as off as it smells – and folks notice.

It’s about one of the tactics – buying Facebook Fans – for Gaming The System our Optimization Guru Teddy Lyngaas talked about last week.

Gaming The System – Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas

Welcome to the second installment of the series Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas.  You can check out the first installment on Black Hat, White Hat, And Gray Hat Video and SEO Optimization here.  This one deals with shady tricks some folks employ to, as Teddy says, game the system.

Teddy Lyngaas:  So, back to the Trutanich scandal.  He paid some agency, I do not know exactly how it worked, but he or his people paid some agency some low amount of money.  And they were buying

I did a Google search for "Facebook Fans" and this is what came up... apparently you can buy them!

Facebook fans, essentially, incentivizing these kids in Malaysia and China to sit around and click like on some game they where playing.  They obviously can’t vote in California.  I don’t know if they are paid or if they’re paid in virtual currency.

But then all of a sudden there’s an article in the paper touting how well their social media campaign is going.  So, it has real world effects – it is bullshit is what it is, an artificial facade of effectiveness – but it’s kind of the game that people are playing.  So it extends far beyond that.

Trutanich is doing this YouTube stuff but there’s other ways to game YouTube where, I think I saw the most common one was, you  know… Justin Bieber’s “Baby” video is the most viewed video on YouTube [editor's note - 739 million views - scary], so common sense would tell you if I put Justin Bieber as a meta tag in my video description I might see some residual effect on that.

Now, is someone looking for a Justin Bieber video interested in my marketing message?  Chances are, probably not.  And so it’s not really in the best interest of the brand, it’s just this game that people are playing because everyone is looking for that new job, everyone’s looking for that higher number of stats that they can report to the boss.

So it’s just this weird SEO thing in the hacking world.  And hackers get painted as all being all these terrible people, but there are a lot of smart people that are considered hackers that are just more or less curious.  They are just doing things to see what they can get away with and what they can do.  It’s not necessarily with a malicious intent.  I think that’s where it separates – your intent.  Are you really trying to do what you are saying you’ll do?  Or are you lying and trying to jack up the numbers in any way possible?

It applies all over, too.  Not just Facebook fan numbers, or Twitter followers, or video views and SEO positions.

Look at Yelp.  If I go to and the top 5 reviews of a restaurant I’m checking out are all positive, but they are positive because the owner paid some people in China to post various reviews and messages that aren’t going to get caught up in spam filters – because they haven’t caught up with it yet – is that legit?  Is that positive review or reviews that I’m possibly making my decision based upon legitimate?  Nope.  I mean, the whole reason that the web 2.0 user-reviewed and peer-reviewed thing exists is to give people a second opinion.  People trust the opinions of their friends and their peers more than they do of of what the company is saying.

John Murphy:  Yeah, it’s a manipulation of that trust.

TL:  I mean it’s set up to look like this grassroots love for the place.  All these people are wowed by the food at this restaurant.  Or on YouTube, they’re all interested in watching a Trutanich video.  When in reality it is all a bunch of reports that are not what they appear to be, not what they claim to be – it’s wildly deceptive.  People are paying pennies on the dollar to create this appearance by farming it out overseas.

In the next installment, we (Teddy) will talk about more ways people manipulate YouTube rankings and views, and what the deal is with those Reply Videos featuring young women in low cut tops (hint: it’s got nothing to do with the video they’re “replying” to).

Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas.  Teddy is our Optimization expert here at AboutFace.  This is where I ask Teddy about stuff I don’t understand and he explains it and then hopefully I understand it (and if not, I will definitely pretend I do so that no one thinks I’m stupid).  If you ever have any topics in Optimization you’d like us (read: Teddy) to tackle, email me at and we’ll see what we can do.

Black Hat, White Hat, Gray Hat – Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas

I think The Man With No Name was sort of, um, gray hat, probably.

Welcome to the first installment of Demystifying Optimization With Teddy Lyngaas.  Teddy is our Optimization expert here at AboutFace.  This is where I ask Teddy about stuff I don’t understand and he explains it and then hopefully I understand it (and if not, I will definitely pretend I do so that no one thinks I’m stupid).  If you ever have any topics in Optimization you’d like us (read: Teddy) to tackle, email me at and we’ll see what we can do.

This post focuses on bad guys versus good guys – black hat versus white hat – and what the bad guys are up to.

John Murphy:  Thanks for taking the time.  So yeah, so basically this all kind of started from the Trutanich thing, right?


Teddy Lyngaas:  Yeah, I think you brought it on yourself.


JM:  (Laughs)  Can you talk a little bit about the black hat, grey hat, white hat, sort of, what all that means?  As far as ethics…


TL:  Yeah definitely.  It’s derived from old westerns.  I don’t know much about old westerns, but apparently bad guys would wear black hats and good guys would wear white hats.  And it kind of evolved from there in the hacking world and later adopted in the marketing and SEO world: the search engine optimization world.

I was actually just reading a couple of articles about how if you just Google “black hat social media” there’s a new term that they call crowd turfing.  And what crowd turfing is, basically, is this billion dollar industry of hiring these people overseas to do mundane tasks.  So stuff like posting user reviews on products, watching videos or clicking on ads or any other internet activity.

So it’s all just trying to dupe the system, because with everyone using social media and peer reviewed or user generated content, anything you can do to kind of shift it momentum and statistics your way is helpful.

I’m just looking at, right now – I just did a Wikipedia search for search engine optimization, and they have a section on Black Hat vs. White Hat.  So this is SEO, and I think they have a good definition of it on here where they say, “An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engine guidelines and involves no deception.”  And, so that is kind of the same thing for social media, right?  If you’re not following Facebook or YouTube‘s terms of use, essentially, which no one reads anyway – black hat.  Even if you don’t read it, though, you can use common sense to know that they are not going to like some of this stuff that’s considered black hat.

Then it says that Black Hat SEO “attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved by the search engines or involve deception.”  One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either the text is a similar color to the background or is invisible.

So, basically, what that means is that Google will crawl websites to figure out what the subject matter of the content.  And instead of having the page show up as what it is actually about, they will put text color that is the exact same color as the background color so no one can actually see it.

Google will actually crawl it and think that that is the content of the website.


JM:  Right right.


TL:  Basically black hat is anything that you are not supposed to be doing that you are anyway.

There are good things you can do and then there are bad things and there are some things that sort of fall in the middle.  That’s gray hat.

All of these technologies are new and we are kind of inventing the rules as we go.  There is always going to be someone out there that is trying to game the system.

In the next installment, we (Teddy) will talk about more ways people do game the system.

Why Video Is Bigger Than Search – TrendWatch from iMediaConnection

I was surprised to read the statistics in this iMediaConnection article.  Should I have been?  Apparently not.  Video is apparently MUCH bigger than Search.  Check out this excerpt and then go read the rest at iMediaConnection.


Quick, which do Americans do more each day: watch YouTube videos or conduct Google searches? Hint: According to Google and comScore data, Americans do one of these activities four times more than the other.

According to comScore, Americans conduct about 12.5 billion Google searches each month. According to YouTube data, Americans watch about 40 billion videos per month. By that math, we’re watching four times as many videos as we are doing web searches.

Driving Social Video Success

Here’s a really interesting article and study on social video from the good folks at iMedia Connection – what you spend, and what value you get in return.  Check it out at iMedia Connection.

YouTube Analtyics Optimization

Understanding Youtube Insights / Analytics can help you to make informed decisions about future content and maximize your existing content. Youtube’s Andy Stack gives us a nice view inside Youtube Analytics that unless you are partner probably aren’t privy to.

It’s interesting to take a peak under the hood and see what might be in store for the future of Youtube Insights, I’ve longed for more robust statistical reporting from Youtube and better engagement data or what Youtube currently calls Hotspots, as Andy explains is now being renamed as audience retention.

The Growth of Youtube

Since Google bought Youtube back in 2006, the growth and popularity of the video sharing site has been absolutely astonishing.  Today marks the sixth birthday from the first public beta launch.

To mark the anniversary Youtube released the infographic below on their Facebook page. 48 hours of video are being uploaded to the site every single minute of every single day, and people are watching on average 3 Billion videos a day!


Avoiding Common Youtube Marketing Mistakes

Mashable recently published a great article titled “Top 5 Youtube Marketing Mistakes Committed by Small Businesses“  I definitely see all of these from companies of all sizes all the time, fortunately all are easily avoidable.

1. Having Unrealistic Expectations

“No matter how good your content is, you can’t just upload a clip, sit back and wait for people to come to you — you need to have a promotion and distribution plan.”

I don’t know if this is really a mistake or agencies failure to communicate. Everyone’s definition of viral is different and as marketers we need to make it very clear just how difficult it is for content to get seen. Having a video go “viral” is extremely unlikely and gets more and more unlikely every single day. There’s over 35 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every single minute. You need to make your content stand out, every big marketing campaign you see out there usually have a significant amount of promotional dollars behind it.

2. Thinking Small

“There are plenty of small brands that think they need to be a Nike or an Adidas to be successful in social video,” says Wood. “This is simply not true! Any brand, large or small, can score a hit in social video.”

This may seem like the opposite of their first mistake, we spend a lot of time making sure our clients have realistic expectations but that’s not to say viral success is impossible. Shoot for the stars!

3. Treating a viral video as a commercial

“YouTube requires as much thought as any other social media channel and shouldn’t be looked at as a dumping ground for marketing videos,” says Gonzalez. “Everything you post should represent your brand’s personality and inspire some type of reaction from your viewers -– whether it’s provoking thought, laughing out loud or making a purchase.”

Get involved with the Youtube community, I see brands throwing their videos on Youtube and never bothering to log back in to respond to comments, post bulletins, subscribe to other channels and just generally treating Youtube like just another place to host videos and link back to them on their Facebook page. Brands and marketers need to treat Youtube like another viable social platform otherwise their not only missing the point but they are missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with consumers and beef up their views.

4. Putting All Your Eggs Into One Youtbe Basket

“It’s certainly the biggest, but don’t forget that YouTube isn’t the only online video platform, and it may not offer the best chance of success for your brand. Vimeo, for example, could be considered a more credible platform for creative professionals.”

If you’re spending the time and money to produce quality content, then why not get the most traction possible for said content.  I’m a big fan of syndicating and distributing it to as many places as possible. I use OneLoad from Tubemogul to upload my videos across multiple platforms. It doesn’t have to be as time consuming as you might imagine. I set up email alerts on secondary video sharing sites that notify me when someone comments on a video so I don’t have to constantly log in or out. It’s not that I get a ton of traction from these channels but often time when I do a Google Video search I see videos from Metacafe, Viddler, etc. routinely showing up at the top. Fish where the fish are. Don’t be confused though, Yotuube is still the go to site for online video.

5. Basing Success On View Counts Alone

“Too often, businesses produce videos and hope to get 1 million views. On today’s social web, success isn’t always counted with stats or measured in view counts — meaningful engagement is what matters.”

The beauty of digital marketing is the ever expanding things we can measure so much especially with online video. Although Youtube hasn’t caught up to some of the other video hosting solutions like the before mentioned Tubemogul as far as analytics go we’re still head and shoulders of where we we’re six months ago in being able to measure engagement and collateral views.

Not all views are created equal, the more targeted a view the more expensive that promoted view is going to be. Our CEO, wrote about this extensively in a four part blog series last October.

In addition to the 5 mistakes outline by Mashable, I would add a sixth.

Not optimizing videos for search

You’ve heard it all before, Youtube is the second largest search engine blah blah blah. But neglecting to do basic things like add metadata to your videos can be a costly mistake.  I’ve seen Fortune 500 companies putting videos up and not even bothering to add titles or tags. Youtube’s machine generated transcriptions have come along way in the last year but their still fairly inaccurate. I use these as a template and edit them to ensure accuracy. It’s important to understand the way search engines index video and do what you can to help your content stand out.

Most ‘Viral’ Views come from Promotion

Duncan Southgate is the Director of Global Innovation for Millward Brown.  In this iMedia report he discusses a recent report the firm did with YouTube to learn more about how viral video works.  Their conclusions follow.  A stunning total of 86% of all Youtube views are driven by home page ads.  29% of these views are “bonus” views that are driven by these promotions.

This 29% number closely follows our experience in ‘bonus’ or ‘collateral’ views that result from paid promotion.  Remember, the more a video is ‘liked’ and passed along, or other similar videos viewed, the more ROI you get from your video promotion.  Being ‘liked’ stretches your ad dollars dramatically.

Their findings:

“This research clearly demonstrates that paid online promotion generates a “free” incremental viral bonus over and above the paid views. The key findings were:

  • YouTube homepage ads are directly or indirectly responsible for 86 percent of all views.
  • 29 percent of total views from an ad are “bonus” viral views from advertising on the YouTube homepage, above what would have been expected from the creative.
  • Advertising a video on the YouTube homepage ensures that virtually all U.K. ads achieve more than 1,000 views per week, and most (those with higher creative strength scores) achieve many more views.
  • Creative strength remains an important factor in total views; there are some early indications that celebrities may be particularly key.

Getting Serious about Video View ROI (Part 1 of 4)

Remember back in 2000 when web Hits were the metric that was used to measure the success of a website?  In those early days of the web, the idea of someone simply requesting a file and therefore generating a Hit was the foundation of multi-million dollar valuations and IPOs.

Of course, Hits are now seen as a silly and discredited way to gauge the value of a web site, web page or anything else on the web. Now the metrics that matter are Page Views, Unique Visitors, Time on Site, Bounce Rates, etc.  Any marketer seriously talking about the huge amount of Hits they are generating through their work these days would be laughed out of the door, right?

This came to mind today when one of my staff suggested that perhaps we at AboutFace are presenting our video metrics in too much detail. “All anyone cares about is video Views. When you talk about engagement, total view times… it just gets so complicated they tune out.”

Unfortunately he is right. But that doesn’t change my opinion that Views are the 2010 equivalent of Hits and will look almost as naive ten years from now. How do we move beyond just talking about Views in order to talk about ROI in video metrics in a manner that actually reflects the value of content to a marketer?

Complicated or not — let’s look at what I don’t think will look naive ten years from now.

What is a “View”?

We’ve blogged before about different social metrics that you can measure in order to track the success of content. But of all the categories that we measure for clients none generate more interest than how many Views our work receives.

The common understanding is that when a video is clicked on a ‘view’ is recorded. But our first challenge is that the View metric isn’t so simple.  As reported succinctly by our friends at TubeMogul, some sites are said to under-count Views, some to over-count Views. Many sharing sites (notably YouTube) adjust View counts in order to address potential spam issues and more ‘accurately’ express a View. In short, a View is not necessarily a View.

But we need to start somewhere, so let’s start with the assumption that a View is defined as a person clicking on a video with the intention to watch it. It then loads up in the window and plays for some length of time.

TubeMogul publishes attention spans across video sharing sites in order to gauge how many people typically watch a video how far.

Did the viewer turn it off after ten seconds? Did they watch another video or take some action after watching the video? Did they have a positive opinion of the video? Who knows.

But this is nonetheless as close as we can get today to what most of us would consider a View.

I believe most marketers stop at video Views as a metric because it is a simple number to manipulate into success (more on this later).  Maybe this is too harsh, and the answer is just that they haven’t thought it through or they don’t realize that they can dig deeper and measure more accurately the effectiveness of content.

But whatever the reason, a View seems to be the 2010 version of a Hit.

Paid Auto-Plays

Even worse, most sites (with one notable exception being YouTube) count “Opportunities to See” (OTS) a video as a View. In other words, what if the video is an auto-play that runs beneath the fold? Is this a View or an impression? We would say it is an impression, like a banner ad. It certainly isn’t a View in the way most of us would understand.

So if you do a paid campaign based on ‘muted auto-play’ “views” remember that most sharing sites are counting these as actual Views. And you can get LOADS of these kinds of ‘views’ for pennies.  But we suggest that, if  you do this sort of promotion, you play fair and subtract these OTS’s out of your totals in order to much more accurately understand what your actual Views are.

And then compare these OTS’s to banner ads in any ROI analysis.  In other words, count them as (and compare them to) Impressions, not Views. We are assuming in this analysis that auto plays are not Views.

Now that those horrid auto-plays are off of the table…

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