Key facts about online video
When a client tells me “we want to make a viral video” I always start by showing them this Ted Talk from Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager.
1: A picture is worth a 1000 words (and a video has 24 pictures per second and sound!)
Your message will be carried across more efficiently with moving images than any other medium (bar talking in person!). Online videos carry a huge amount of data that our brain can process easily. Videos can also be combined with text and traditional advertising.
2: The search engine crawlers like videos!
Have you noticed how videos are search engine friendly and how often they appear in the first page of Google? Actually videos are 50xmore likely to appear in the first page of Google. YouTube although linked to Google, is by itself the second biggest search engine.
3: Videos can go “viral”
A homemade video can spread like wildfire on the web, it is discussed that shared videos are 3 times more likely to be watched than online advertising,. Although the recipe for that success is still elusive, videos offer the opportunity to spread your brand faster than ever and if it strikes a chord and gains recognition online it results in immediate success. .
4: Videos can now be accessible and cost effective for small businesses
The cinema world discovered long ago that new technologies and techniques allowed for low budget movies to contend with successful high budget productions. Sometimes referred to as “guerilla filmmaking” this technique can now be applied to business communication, delivering high quality content for low budgets!
5: The impact of a video is measurable
Online analytical tools allow you to know a lot about your viewers, their profile, age and what they like or dislike, you can also acquire invaluable comments that they are likely to post online to help you transform those viewers into customers.
6: Videos enhance the customer’s experience
People may not be coming to your business to be entertained, but it cannot harm if you made them smile or even laugh. What better way than an entertaining (can be funny, touching, etc…) video to do that?
7: Great for social networking
Videos can be shared effortlessly, and since they are more appealing to users, they are most likely to be posted or shared among social networks. Also if a friend has posted an advert it can be deemed more acceptable and approachable to watch as a friend is trusted and would appear that there viewing would be similar to your own viewing.
9: Videos are non-intrusive
Unlike traditional advertising a video on your office screen or website is not intrusive, people can choose to view it, leave it for later, and while they are watching it they can pause, rewind or watch it as many times as they want.
10: The big guys do it
As online ad spending is booming, leading marketers like Nike and Unilever are increasing their activity and the use of online videos whilst reducing their reliance on traditional media. YouTube doesn’t have to be just for whacky videos even Cartier is doing it.
11: Tackle the viewer’s attention deficit
“In a world where everything is a click away, and in a world where everyone can have their own YouTube channel, ten blogs and a thousand email accounts… the only thing that’s scarce is attention.”
“Web 2.0 is more about entertainment, not just “boring” info. Videos are a great way to generate emotional connection with companies & brands.”
12: YouTube is reaching new heights
2012 has been marked by Psy’s Gangnam Style, as the first video to break the 1bn view barrier. Online video is growing faster than most other fast-growing online media and should keep growing by over 50% again this year, while YouTube keeps offering new tools for brands and marketers.
They can be fun for your viewers but for you as well, you can participate, even act in them or collaborate with the filmmakers to ensure great success!
Note: This is a blog entry originally written in March 2012, days after the launch of the Kony video, I re-post it here on its anniversary as an interesting example of video marketing. Aside from the controversy, the video was undoubtedly a success, however it’s call to action on the 20th April was a flop which makes an interesting case study of how difficult it can be to translate online success in the “real world”.
The video ‘Kony 2012’ has exploded since its upload on Monday, 5th of March, raking in views of over 80 million and becoming a massive internet phenomenon, making itself a perfect example to convey the power of viral videos.
The video has left social media sites buzzing with the story of a Ugandan war criminal and leader of cult-like militia ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ (LRA), calling for a huge campaign to make Joseph Kony ‘famous’ and thus complete his arrest. Certainly the subject is shocking and viewers will want to help the cause, but the representation and editing of the video plays a huge role in the videos popularity.
Beginning with text straight out of a thriller/end of the world-esque film, you feel like you are being given a mission, you feel important. The shot then pans out to a clip of the earth, spinning on its axis complete with dark and ominous music, followed by the narration, ‘There are more people on Facebook now than there were on the planet 200 years ago.’ Clearly we are not the only ones who recognise the power of social networking for viral videos.
The video continues, displaying examples of how the internet enables us to connect, through email and video conferencing, and share, through YouTube and social networking. ‘The game has new rules’- incredibly true, and we are here to exploit that change too.
So why has this video been so successful? There is a host of techniques which make it worth a watch. The narrator introduces his very cute but very irrelevant son into the video, resulting in the melting of audience’s hearts across the globe. The narrator’s image is also instantly transformed into ‘caring father’ meaning audiences trust and believe his story much more.. the support for him sky rockets. The video then uses emotional images and interviews with Ugandan child and friend Jacob, on the run from the SLR, who argues intelligent points regardless of his poor education. The audience can’t help but become sympathetically absorbed by his on-going struggle and story.
The cinematic video uses dark, powerful music throughout. It’s booming synths and long drones not only build up a sensation of tension and worry, but add to the influential nature of the viral – it reminds the audience that this is a serious video. Images and shots of the globe emphasises this further, reflecting the huge scale of the project. The narrator also uses lots of commands, similar to mission statements. Voiced with a clear and enjoyable voice-over, the narrator addresses the viewer directly ‘for it to work, you must pay attention’ which makes the audience involved without even acting, and reiterates the importance of their participation.
Although there has been some backlash with regards to ‘Kony 2012’ with critics claiming, amongst other things, that Kony is the sole problem, the video has been massively successful and represents a whole new way of campaigning. The video, described as an ‘experiment’, reflects how quickly something can spread and how powerful internet videos can be: can we change history/law/society through a YouTube video? ‘Kony 2012’ creates a momentous feeling, a feeling of togetherness and is really quite powerful. Using techniques from television and cinema, ‘Kony’ could be the beginning of a new market. Come 20th April, will we see our streets covered in images of Kony’s face? Can a YouTube video save the lives of thousands of children? Or will it blow over and be forgotten about like every other internet craze? Only time will tell.
AirBnbis a booming global network of accommodation offered by local people all over the world. The company has recently registered its 5,000,000th bookings since it began in 2008, and uses photos and reviews to build a page inspired by social networking sites and ebay.
The steady growth of the company has also lead to its video ‘How to Air Bnb’ raking in over 3 million views in different languages, making it one of the most successful start-up videos and undeniably contributing to the company’s success.
The video created by Sandwich Video (one of our inspirations here at Think Tall Films) is a very slick, smooth and easy to watch 2 minutes. It is very fast paced (with around 20 different locations on display), with the friendly narrator hopping to a new city almost every second. However, it’s not a video I would go rushing home to show my friends. So how has the video become so successful?
Thankfully the analytics tool from YouTube (removed since) allow us to give a precise answer. The company’s overall success is a small part of it. The video is easy to find on their website and as the traffic soared while they were approaching the 5 million guest reservation milestone, so have the clicks on the “How to” Video. However, referrals from the company website account for less than 3% of total views.
The largest chunk (86.50%) of views comes from YouTube ads. In this novel marketing approach, the company used TrueView ads to target viewers and thoroughly explain its unique service. These two-minute videos appealed to a many casual YouTubers, and Airbnb only paid for the ads when viewers reached a certain point in the video.
This online video strategy has been so successful that it has since become their main corporate marketing tool. AirBnB has since launched 122 videos online in different languages!
How many views in total for the channel of a business with 5,000,000 bookings? Just about 5,000,000 (March 2013)
To follow up on my previous post about the Dollar Shave Club video that I love, here is the script.
DollarShaveClub.com –Their Blades Are F***ing Great
[Mike is sat at office table. Close-up shot of head and shoulders. Suspicious amount of children toys are hung up all over the background wall. Camera slowly zooms out as Mike begins to speak.]
Mike: ‘Hi. I’m mike - founder of dollarshave.com. What is dollarshave.com? Well, for a dollar month we send high quality razors right to your door. [Mike stands up and begins moving around the desk towards the door.] Yeah. A dollar. Are the bladed any good? No. [Stops in doorway and points at the poster to the right] Our blades are fucking great.
[New shot of wall in factory. Mike bursts through tissue paper wall holding razor example and cont. walking through factory floor]
Mike: ‘Each razor has stainless steel blades and Aloe Vera lubrication strip and a pivot head. [Passes a toddler sat with shaving a man’s head as he reads calmly.] It’s so gentle a toddler could use it.’
[Mike cont. walking along factory floor, towards camera as camera moves away.]
Mike: ‘And do you like spending 20 dollars a month on brand named razors – 19 go to roger Federer – [A tennis racket is thrown in from the side.]
Mike: I’m good at tennis…[Tennis ball is also thrown in. Mike misses the ball with racket.]
Mike[jumping on a pickup reversing to the right of the screen]: ‘And do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle, a flash light, a backscratcher and 10 blades? [Passes an old photo of grandfather on wall behind] Your handsome-ass grandfather had one blade and polio.
[Camera zooms and remains on portrait]
Mike: Looking goooood poppop!
[Back on factory floor, Mike moves towards table displaying a box of razors about to packaged.]
Mike: ‘Stop paying for shave tech you don’t need and stop forgetting to pay for your blades every month - Alejandro and I are gonna’ ship them right to ya’. [Worker Alejandro pulls tape across box, which Mike then cuts with ridiculously oversized sword, before throwing the package to a man dressed in a bear suit. Camera swings round to the bear-man who misses the box before putting his thumb up to address the camera in a friendly and cheerful manner.]
[Cuts to shot of Mike and Alejandro working together in a wheel barrow. Mike sits back, wrapping his legs around Alejandro as they move along.]
Mike: ‘We’re not just selling razors, we’re also making new jobs. [Addressing Alejandro] Alejandro, what were you doing last month?’
Alejandro[grinning]: ‘Not working’
Mike: ‘And what you doing now?’
Alejandro [still grinning]: ‘Working.’
Mike: ‘I’m no Vanderbulit but this train makes hay’ [Mike motions tooting a trains horn in time to sound] *beepbeep*
Mike [moving across factory tables this time]: ‘So stop forgetting to buy your blades every month and start deciding where you’re gonna’ stack all those dollar bills am saving you.
[Mike moves into background consisting of the man-bear, who reveals an American flag and who holds stacks of dollars.]
Mike: We’re Dollarshave.coma and the party, is on.
[Cuts to music “Karate” by Kennedy (real funky) …And Mike blowing money around with a leaf blower.]
This viral vid boasts nearly 10 million views (March 2013), 2 million of which were collected in its first 4 days and more importantly; it drew in customers – over 5,000 subscribers in its 1st day alone. There is also of course a man in a bear suit, clearly a winning formula. Dollar Shave offers quality razors in exchange for a low monthly cost and you get the razors ‘right to your front door.’ So let’s begin with the business.
Hatched by Michael Dubin and partner Mark Levine through a shared frustration with expensive blades, Dollar Shave is a product of Dubin’s background in digital marketing and Levine’s knowledge of overseas distributors.
It’s the 5th company born out of out of ‘Science Inc’ and is subscription based. Consumers and producers share a kindred love for it. For the audience, subscribing saves time and money and it is one less thing to worry about for the shopping list. And for the corporation, it ensures a steady, flowing income. Dubin himself says that Dollar Shave Club was inspired by all sorts of subscription-based businesses, ShoeDazzle especially.
However, the impact of Dollar Shave is really down to the video. Created by ‘Paulilu’ and staring CEO Michael Dubin, it’s a perfect example of getting comedy right. This LA-based comedy duo have experience in slick, fun videos, but despite boasting a range of celebrity collaborators such as Jessica Alba and Vanessa Williams, Dollar Shave is by far their most successful videos in terms of views. It’s an interesting point that great videos don’t necessarily mean big budgets! After all, the Dollar Shave ad only cost $4500 to produce.
Dubin shines in his starring role, ‘Are the blades any good? No. Our blades are f***ing great’ he swaggers, explaining the greatness of the blades. With his background in acting and comedy (he studied sketch comedy and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade for ten years) Dubin is charming, smooth and funny. He claims it’s ‘the first time I’ve integrated my comedic training into a brand that I’ve built.’ Although funny, Dubin also presents himself as ‘one of us’ – a guy who is angry at costs, who has taken matters into his own hands - whose office is very messy – and who is ultimately, pitching on an ‘American Dream’ theme – reflected most clearly at the end, when the American Flag is rolled down. It’s fast and sharply cut with the background always changing, meaning viewers aren’t distracted or bored. Our main focus also remains for the most part on one main, relatable narrator, which is created not only through a good actor, but also through the simplicity and amateurish feel of the video. Perhaps we should take note – the ‘AirBnb’ video we looked at last month had very similar traits.
Still it’s difficult to try and bottle what this refreshing, creative video possesses, deepening the mystery of viral success. However, this article suggests some very interesting concepts.
We also wrote out a transcript of the video. It’s interesting to see everything broken down and reflects the random nature of the viral. Take a look here.
It’s easy to claim that the combination of a quality idea and product along with clever advertising makes success undeniable, yet is has to be asked: would people be clamouring for these shavers if the video wasn’t so hilarious? Make your own decision:
Écrit par Donia Hachem Think Tall Films est une société de production de vidéos web pour entreprises. Sa vocation : créer des liens entre différentes compagnies et des milliers de créateurs de vidéos de haute qualité, accessibles à tous. LePetitJournal.com a rencontré Georges Aliferis, producteur et fondateur. Think Tall Films, un modèle unique sur le web Le concept est simple : mettre en relation des fabricants de vidéos avec des entreprises. A Londres, il existe un vivier de jeunes créateurs talentueux qui espèrent percer dans le cinéma. Avant que les sirènes de Hollywood ne les appellent, ils sont prêts à mettre leurs compétences professionnelles au profit de sociétés qui veulent créer des vidéos promotionnelles sur internet. La méthode fonctionne. D’une part, les entreprises ont accès à des vidéos avec des contenus intéressants, sans passer par les coûts habituels et les processus compliqués. D’autre part, les jeunes créateurs possèdent un moyen d’exprimer leurs talents, de créer leurs propres portfolios, et de gagner leur vie. Le rôle de Think Tall Films ne se résume cependant pas à de la mise en relation : “Nous conseillons pour finaliser le projet. Nous soumettons les projets des entreprises à un réseau de créateurs. Dès lors, nous aidons à filtrer le grand nombre de réponses reçues. Ensuite, l’entreprise a la liberté de choisir son partenaire. Nous effectuons ainsi un rôle de supervision” explique le fondateur. Vidéos Corporate et internet font bon ménage Quand il a démarré l’aventure, le CEO de Think Tall Films n’avait pas de background dans le domaine de la production vidéos. Il vient de la finance, milieu dans lequel il a évolué pendant dix ans, à Singapour, Genève ou encore à Londres. Toutes ces années, il se fasciné pour l’aspect production de vidéos qu’il définit comme “un mélange de deux mondes : la culture et le business ». L’entrepreneur se rend finalement compte que ses compétences représentent un atout. “Un film est une entreprise purement créative. Pourtant, on a tendance à oublier l’aspect financier, marketing sans lequel l’œuvre ne pourrait exister”. George Aliferis décide alors de surfer sur la tendance du web, un secteur en pleine expansion. Le public passe, en effet, un temps considérable à visionner des vidéos via YouTube. Think Tall Films y a d’ailleurs récemment passé le cap des un million de vues. Selon l’entrepreneur, le potentiel est énorme : “primo, le budget n’est pas primordial sur YouTube, quasi nul parfois. Il peut suffir d’une bonne idée pour rencontrer le succès. Secundo, l’offre pour les Corporate n’y est pas adaptée. Elle provient généralement du monde du cinéma ou de la télévision. Il est différent de s’exprimer à une audience internet. L’attention est moindre lorsqu’on regarde une vidéo du coin de l’œil au bureau, plutôt que d’être assis devant un grand écran après avoir payé sa place”. Et, le temps représente un facteur clé dans un projet. “Auparavant, il y avait de réelles difficultés à valider le modèle auprès de clients. Il fallait constamment s’expliquer, les éduquer et les convaincre du pourquoi de la vidéo. Heureusement, c’est de plus en plus facile, suite à l’augmentation du nombre de vues de vidéos sur internet”. Le réseau, une notion essentielle Think Tall Films croît à vitesse grand V. Pour ce faire, impossible de passer outre l’utilisation des médias sociaux et des techniques de ventes traditionnelles. Le networking tient une place considérable. George Aliferis participe ainsi régulièrement aux Apéros Entrepreneurs organisés par Frog Valley, tous les premiers jeudis de chaque mois, dans la capitale londonienne. “Plus on augmente notre portfolio, plus les échanges sont naturels. Les entreprises viennent nous trouver”. Dix projets sont actuellement en cours. Ils couvrent des secteurs diversifiés, des startups aux commerces locaux, en passant par des clips musicaux, ou encore des sociétés de gestion privée. La capitale devient ainsi un lieu incontournable et stratégique. “Londres est une ville essentielle dans nos activités, de par sa taille, son dynamisme au niveau des startups. Elle constitue un vivier de fournisseurs et de clients potentiels. J’aurai du mal à m’imaginer ailleurs” confie l’entrepreneur. Aujourd’hui, l’entreprise fonctionne bien avec des clients et fournisseurs réguliers. C’est une affaire qui marche pour Georges Aliferis, dont la société récupère un pourcentage sur le budget global. Ainsi, plus il y a de tournages, plus il y a d’argent. Un entrepreneur accepte ses multiples facettes Être agrégateur à la fois pour les entreprises et les fabriquants de vidéos, telle est l’ambition affichée par le fondateur. L’entreprise s’exporte bien et s’adapte à toutes les clientèles : “il suffit de trouver les contacts, les réseaux ou d’aller sur place, et nous pouvons tout créer”. D’ailleurs, Think Tall Films a collaboré avec Jogabo, à Santiago au Chili ou avec des clients basés à New-York ou Singapour. Nul besoin d’être basé dans tel ou tel pays pour se développer avec les clients. Et pour satisfaire ses clients, le fondateur a plus d’une corde à son arc. Il peut passer une journée sur un shoot, dont il sera producteur “ça signifie beaucoup de choses, entre autre que tout se passe bien sur le tournage. Et comme on travaille également sur les petits budgets, cela veut dire : aider, diriger, contrôler”. Son rôle ne se résume pas seulement à chapeauter les scènes de tournages. Il a une grande part dans le processus créatif, avec la lecture des scripts par exemple. “Notre valeur ajoutée est d’aider à la sélection, la gestion de projet, et à l’optimisation de vidéos sur le net” insiste-t-il. Paroles et conseils d’entrepreneur Etre entrepreneur, c’est apprécier le goût du challenge, pouvoir exprimer ses idées, sa vision des choses. George Aliferis l’exprime avec ses propres mots : “Je ne vis pas le rêve d’une autre personne”. Pourtant, la peur empêche bien des entrepreneurs en devenir de se lancer. Ses conseils : ” N’hésitez pas à vous mettre dans l’action le plus tôt possible. Même si vous commencez très petit, vous pouvez valider, modifier, tester votre projet. Sautez le pas car tant que votre idée n’est pas mise en œuvre, elle ne vaut pas grand chose”. Si vous faites les choses à 100%, beaucoup de possibilités s’offrent à vous, et des portes que vous n’imaginiez même pas peuvent s’ouvrir. Alors, oui crise il y a. Mais comme le répète le fondateur de Think Tall Films ” Il existe tellement d’outils, internet… qu’il devient envisageable de faire de grandes choses, avec de petits budgets”.
It is a well known fact that the choice of titles and thumbnails can make a big difference on YouTube, but how big a difference? Below you will see some the actual views per day on our own videos showing clearly what the impact can be.
How a change of thumbnail compares to active promotion via social media
One week we decided to use twitter to promote the video, with some decent success, in particular SingleGirlsProblems loved the video and re-twitted to over 200,000 people. There was a bit of a spike, but it didn’t last and those results compare poorly with a simple change of thumbnail (a better lighted picture of the same actress) which had bigger and more lasting effect. The conclusion seems to be that it is a good idea to promote your videos on social media but updating Youtube and making sure your content is optimized there should always be a priority to get more views.
Changing Title and Thumbnail
The views had been steadily hovering around 20-30 per day and jumped to around 200 with lasting effect when the changes were made. The video has even become featured on YouTube! The title was changed from “Bref. Je me suis preparee a un rendez-vous”, to its English translation “Bref I am getting ready for a date” (the video is in English but it is a parody of the French series “Bref”, but in English). It is hard to tell what had more impact, between the tile and the thumbnail, but it is sure worth to play around with both if your video doesn’t get views!
Just to remind that sometimes you can’t control it or expect it. Here is how one little video which ended up being one of our most popular ones started inconspicuously and picked up without any particular reason… It still consistently gets over 1,000 views per day.
Changing something that works: DON’T!
On the other hand, on this video we tried to play it too smart and optimise the title: the result? Views dropped from over a thousand a day to just a handful, and never came back. We later changed back the title but it had no effect! If it ain’t broken don’t fix it!