It’s hard to search for anything these days and not see video results in the SERPs. So how can you leverage the heightened interest in videos to help increase traffic and engagement for your business?
First we need to understand HOW people find videos:
Search Engines – Google has placed more weight on video results than ever before, making it easier to find relevant videos without changing your searching habits. YouTube is owned by Google, making video results integration a natural process.
In addition to video results showing up organically, Google has also implemented a video specific search page that will provide video only SERPS.
Bing and Yahoo are also integrating video results into their algorythms but it does not appear that they are placing as much weight on them as Google, and, not surprisingly, the primary results are not coming from YouTube. On the same “Cute Cat” search, the Bing video results were positioned lower on the page and the videos themselves were sourced from sites like MSN Video and Metacafe. Yahoo showed minimal video results, and integrated them differently.
YouTube – Youtube has quickly become the most popular way to search for video content on the web. While hard data is hard to come by, if YouTube were a search engine, it would only be behind Google in terms of search queries, which have been estimated between 3-4 billion a month.
Social Media – Social can be the fastest way to spread a video. While people are generally not “searching” for videos via their social sites, you can’t help but see them constantly posted on your wall. My co-worker Rob did a quick scan of his Facebook wall and got 6 videos that have been posted by his friends in the past 17 hours.
And let’s not forget about the ease of sharing video links through twitter!
Other Video Sites (not YouTube)
If you’re familiar at all with video, you will have heard about viral videos. There’s the classic rapping Southwest airlines flight attendant, and who can forget that adorable smelly monkey from way back when videos were first being spread around (you more than likely got this in an email!)?
So, what is a viral video?
A viral video is a video that gets shared via email, video sharing websites, social media, etc. When creating a video, if your hope is that it will go viral, you should consider the fact that they are often non-commercial and humorous, so applying these traits to your video will certainly enhance your chances of creating a viral video. So how do you think outside the box, and create a video that is a good use of your company’s time, but make it non-commercial?
Here are some slightly risky concepts:
- Dark Humour
- Shocking Material
And here are some more “tame” options:
- Tools, Services & Information
- Artistic Content
- Top Ten Lists
- Patriotism (again)
Think you have that great idea that will surely go viral? That’s great! Bu you need to keep in mind that there are some best practices that should be followed to create buzz around your video:
- Don’t just make a video that seems good to YOU. Identify an audience with a high social networking potential and create messaging that appeals to them
- Make it easy to share/spread via a wide variety of media (and again consider the audience that you want to have spread it – where are they? Prioritize ease of sharing for them)
- If people become engaged with your video, engage them back to the extent that you can. For marketers, viral videos aren’t an accident, so you can make a plan in advance to handle feedback.
- Use your relationships and reputation to initiate the process (send it to people you know and who trust you to have good content)- make sure that you expose your content to influencers in the intended audience. If you don’t have relationships with well-networked influencers in your audience, you should work on networking and relationship building in addition to your viral content creation. Blogs, forums, email, social media sites are all places where you can find someone you’ve built a relationship with to view (and the possibly spread) your content.
- Don’t just send out a video. Take the extra step and integrate the video into a video landing page. This way, when your video goes viral, secondary and tertiary viewers are able to engage with your organization. Surround the video with branding, messaging and key calls to action. http://blog.flimp.net/2010/03/video-cant-be-viral-video-at-launch.html
The other thing to consider is the impact that increased mobile traffic will have on mobile consumption. The biggest change that could have happened to mobile video was the implementation of near-broadband speeds on most modern mobile phones. Bandwidth has always been an issue when it comes to streaming video but with 3g and recently launched 4g networks, the gap has been shortened considerably. Here are the primary factors to the increase in mobile video consumption:
- Modern Video Enabled Phones and Mobile Devices
- 3g and 4g network speeds
- Network and wifi integrated tablet PC’s
- Cost reduction for entry level smart phones
- Cost reduction in unlimited and high volume data plans
- Increased competition among mobile OS manufacturers (Apple iOS, Rim/Blackberry, Windows Mobile 7, Google Android)
All of these factors have contributed to a near doubling of smart phone usage over the past year. With all of those mobile video devices in the market place, consumption of videos has evolved.
The main challenge in harnessing all of this technology is that there is no standard video format for mobile viewing and the options for consumption are wide spread. The most obvious example being Apple’s snub to support Flash – making that a token differentiator between them and their competitors. Websites and companies who want to take advantage of Apple’s nearly 30% market share in Smartphones need to deliver their videos in a format other than Flash video.
Mobile devices also have app capability to make it easier for their users to find and consume videos. Many phones come with major apps, like YouTube, pre-installed. The advantages to using an app is that the technology is integrated so they should only produce results that are able to be viewed from your device. The disadvantage is that you are limited to the content contained within that particular service.
Because of the number of options out there, mobile video is only going to grow. The biggest take-away for creating advertising related videos is that you want to make them as accessible as possible. Use video hosting sites that are as focused as possible to your demographic but make sure they support all of the major mobile devices. If they have an app, even better. YouTube is the most universal at this time so that will always be a good place to start.
So now that you know where people find videos, and have some tips on how to make them viral worthy, have fun creating, and remember if you wouldn’t watch it, your target audience probably won’t either! Be sure to check in tomorrow when Jessica R gives us advice on how to optimize your videos for maximum results.