What Negative Videos are Worth Stopping?

One issue we haven’t talked about much on this blog is reputation management, especially in terms of video marketing. While a bad review on a blog may get hundreds or thousands of views, a popular video can get millions or tens of millions of views and cause long-term damage to a company’s brand and reputation. These types of videos are well worth trying to stop, or at least mitigate.

video marketing blog iconNo company wants to get hits to their website or even be talked about offline due to some infamy. The negative reaction of consumers to the BP oil spill is just one example of this, and the fallout over the NSA’s wiretapping program has just begun. The government certainly does not want its name dragged through the mud unnecessarily.

A couple ways to prevent videos with a poor image of the company from ever appearing on the web are to restrict access to the official YouTube account to only a select few employees, and not to ignore bad videos when they are uploaded. The open nature of YouTube forces corporations of all types, public and private, to be more transparent and accountable.

YouTube has only a few ways to remove a video, as well. In most cases, a video that is affecting a company’s image will have to be responded to, rather than removed entirely. However, YouTube may remove a video that infringes on a copyright, such as including background music without permission. Privacy rights can also be claimed for private individuals, although public officials and widely-known celebrities will usually not have the same level of privacy rights. Also, any type of satire will usually be allowed to remain on YouTube.

With the more transparent nature of online sharing of videos, there is less room for error or outrage for companies. The bigger they are, the more backlash they can expect from an issue in which the company appears negatively. Thus, any sort of wrongdoing, whether it be entirely inadvertent or simply an unexpected result of an otherwise sound policy, needs to be responded to as quickly as possible. Sitting on such issues will not make them go away.

And this is the key point: hiding does not make a problem go away, it only gives it more time to spread online without a defense also able to spread. People may hear about the issue offline and then search for it on the internet, which leads to an increase of negative search terms related to a business. Without any competing video explaining the company’s side, only the negative will show up in search engine results.

The image created by any video, whether it be good or bad, is not easily forgotten in the minds of many people. Search engines that display content from websites, video sites, and social media accounts have radically changed reputation management in the last few years. Especially because search results that include images (such as video preview thumbnails) are more likely to draw attention to themselves, any negative videos regarding a company need at least an official response.

One final tip to removing or responding to a negative video about a company is to involve the social media team in any response. Creating and uploading an official video response is one step, but the video must also be shared with opinion leaders to ensure that it is spread further into the online world. Social media marketing will help with this, and will give consumers at least the option of exploring both sides of any given issue. Again, ignoring the problem will give them only one side.

Alternatives to YouTube Extremely Limited

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that you just hate YouTube and don’t want to market on it. Ignore the fact that this would make little, if any, sense from a video marketing perspective, and that you should just get on YouTube. But are there any alternatives to YouTube as a video sharing and marketing platform? Or any viable alternatives?

video marketing blog iconThe short answer is no. YouTube is the “be all and end all” of video marketing on the web right now. There are some sixty other video sharing sites, but all have much smaller audiences. Vimeo is a decent alternative for very artistic videos that offers some pro hosting options, while DailyMotion, a French site, has several dozen localized versions of their site. Metacafe gave up trying to compete with YouTube and is now an entertainment network that targets the younger male audience.

In terms of other video properties, Google’s websites, including YouTube, are the top video property on the globe right now. With YouTube blocked in China, Youku is the main alternative there. VEVO is an alternative for the music industry and enjoys a revenue sharing agreement with YouTube. It was built for the music industry for music video sharing. Facebook has a video platform, but most people still share YouTube videos on Facebook, although more FB videos have begun showing up in feeds recently. In Japan, Nico Nico Douga is somewhat popular, and features comments overlaid on individual videos, a feature that may one day gain widespread use.

There are really only a couple of other video platforms, which allow videos to be integrated into a website or blog. One is Brightcove, which is the leading provider of cloud content services on the internet. The other is Ooyala, an industry leader in online video technology and analytics services for companies. Interestingly, these two advertise on each other’s name on Google’s search engine results.

One part of the industry where YouTube is not the far and away leader is in ad properties, at least in terms of streaming advertisements. Hulu is the biggest video ad company, showing users an average of 44.4 ads per month. The site has a smaller reach, but has the highest frequency of streaming ads. Tremor Video is another in-stream video and platform, which works with Fortune 1000 advertisers and owns a network of websites. Adap.tv is a third streaming ad option, with over a billion video ad views to its credit. Blip is another company that focuses on original web series.

Unfortunately for companies that would like to minimize their exposure to YouTube, there are few real alternative sites on which to share their videos and receive a large number of views and shares. YouTube videos are widely recognized and trusted by consumers, where other video players may have less credibility or more risk. The only area where YouTube currently lacks is in streaming ad views, with Hulu being the current king of in-stream ads.

Audience Involvement, Blog Outreach, and Social Media for Video Marketing

Getting started on YouTube is relatively easy: just sign up for a Google account, sign in to YouTube, and get started on the website. Of course, getting a video marketing campaign off the ground is not so simple, but there are a number of resources and methods that can be utilized by any business to jump start their presence on the world’s largest video sharing website.

video marketing blog iconThe YouTube Creator Playbook Version 3 was released in April 2013, and comes with an additional five Playbook Guides for niche-specific channels in the education, media, music, nonprofit, and sports industries. The Creator Playbook offers tips for new and existing content creators, outlines best practices for the website, and details strategies for getting videos shared.

These involve engaging the audience, reaching out to relevant popular bloggers, and getting involved in social media. Every company that wants to start sharing videos on YouTube should download and read the Creator Playbook, and businesses engaged in one of the five niches listed above should check out the relevant Playbook Guide.

Involving the audience is perhaps the most important strategy for any business on YouTube. Without an audience, there is no one watching or sharing videos. Building fan loyalty to a brand’s conent will crease their engagement with the channel and company overall. Creating viewer-centric content is key, as is using the social sharing features of the website. Once a new video is uploaded, companies should dedicate further time to interacting with viewers, asking for feedback and looking at what their fans like and dislike about their video production.

Blog outreach efforts should also not be minimized, as there are more conversations taking place outside of YouTube than on it. Blogs can also display a higher level of intellectual engagement than the average YouTube comments thread. Companies should share their latest videos with relevant blogs and targeted websites, and create a blogroll on their channel pointing to these influential supporters. Videos can also be sent to relevant channels with targeted audiences for more engagement with opinion leaders.

In terms of using other social media sites to get a video viewed and shared, it should be remembered that over 17 million YouTube accounts are directly connected to some other social network. Businesses should set up official presences on these other websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and create a social media strategy for sharing their YouTube content. This obviously includes posting and sharing videos from their own channels, as well as asking fans for input on their videos and other interesting resources.

On YouTube, creating and uploading content is perhaps the easiest part of the whole process. Engaging an audience enough to entice them to watch a video, and then share it with their social circles is much more difficult. However, YouTube has put together a fantastic primer on the whole process with its latest version of the Creator Playbook, which should be read by every marketer attempting to promote a business through video sharing.

Opinion Leaders Can Make Your Video Go Viral

In an earlier article, we looked at the demographics and characteristics of who watches videos online, and who shares them. That article revealed that huge numbers of people are watching YouTube and other video sharing sites’ videos on a daily basis, and about half of all online users have shared a video at one time or another.

video marketing blog iconIs there any way to tap into that enormous power, though, and get a viral video marketing campaign off the ground? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Through the power of opinion leaders sharing videos in their social circles, a single video can be seen by millions and millions of people over time. The problem is identifying who is and is not an opinion leader.

But first, what is an opinion leader? Knowing something about them will help us track down a few who are interested in a particular video topic and entice them to start sharing. Put simply, a person is an opinion leader to the degree to which he or she is able to informally influence other people’s attitudes and behaviors. This obviously includes influencing people to watch and share a video further.

Remember that the S-shaped diffusion curve for a viral video (or any type of innovation) takes off somewhere between the 10-20% adoption rate, with 16% being a fair estimate of a video crossing over and becoming viral. With that said, let’s take a look at opinion leaders in more depth, because they are the ones who can share a video on their social media account or on their influential blog.

In general, opinion leaders have a greater exposure to mass media than the average internet user, and are more cosmopolitan. They have more contact with other change agents, and participate in social events at a higher level. They typically have a higher socioeconomic status than others around them, and are more innovative when a social system’s norms favor a change in that social system.

It is important to keep in mind that opinion leaders, in their role, must demonstrate prudent judgment when being exposed to a new idea. Should they share it or sit on it or simply ignore it? According to Emanuel Rosen’s book The Anatomy of Buzz, they are ahead in the adoption of new ideas if they are seen as good ones, and are more connected socially to others. They are more likely to be travelers, and are hungry for information. They are often more vocal than others around them, and expose themselves to media at a higher rate.

In any given industry or niche market, there are bound to be a handful of opinion leaders who can take a new idea and spread it. These might be Twitter users with tens of thousands of followers, the publisher of a high-quality, influential blog, or a popular YouTube video marketer. Opinion leaders come in all shapes and sizes, but knowing some of their personality traits will make it much easier to identify and contact them.

YouTube Brand Channels Cost and Qualification

Getting a Brand Channel is the gold standard of making money on YouTube, but is nearly impossible to do for most small- and medium-sized businesses. Although most content creators will not quality for a Brand Channel, larger businesses that do a lot of advertising on the video sharing site should seriously consider creating one, as there are some nice benefits that come along with it.

video marketing blog iconYouTube advertises a Brand Channel as being free for managed customers, but this is really not true. Advertisers that spend $200,000 or more on YouTube ads get a “free” Brand Channel, but that would hardly be considered free for smaller businesses that do not have that kind of video advertising budget. For larger companies already spending a lot of YouTube, however, being able to create a Brand Channel may be one more incentive for getting to this $200,000 level of advertising.

YouTube does not explicitly state how much a brand channel costs, but expect to spend, or at least dedicate to spend, around $200,000 in advertising on the site. Other internet sources suggest somewhere between $200 and $250,000. The official word from YouTube is to contact a representative for more information.

A Brand Channel gives companies additional branding elements (surprise, surprise) that are unavailable to other users, as well as impression tags they can use for rebranding purposes. The Custom Brand Channel itself also has additional customization options and gadgets, along with interactive applications that can display additional content in colorful ways. A larger header image is also a unique feature of the Brand Channel. Accessibility can also be limited to specific demographics.

Mobile Brand Channels are also available, if a company is doing a lot of advertising on YouTube’s mobile site, m.youtube.com. If you are spending a lot of money to reach users on mobile devices, asking about a Mobile Brand Channel is a good idea, as well as learning how to optimize it. The Mobile Brand Channel is optional, but well worth looking into for companies that operate in local markets.

The best way to use a Brand Channel (PDF) is to tackle specific issues or to generate user interest from niche markets. How-To videos are an obvious idea for this, including demonstrating how to use a product that your company sells. The other useful features of the Brand Channel can be used to increase interest that users have in the company.

If you don’t quality for a Brand Channel, don’t worry. There are still a large number of options for putting your content on a regular user channel and customizing that channel in any number of ways. Start with the YouTube Partner program, and then build up to a Brand Channel if you really feel the need to do that much advertising on the site to spread your message.

YouTube Partner Program – Criteria and Benefits

Becoming a YouTube Partner is a goal for many video producers that would love to monetize the videos that they spend so much time and effort brainstorming, recording, producing, and editing. However, getting into the partner program is no easy feat, as YouTube has some strict guidelines for making the cut. The rewards, though, can be very lucrative for content creators.

video marketing blog iconAcceptance Criteria

But first, how do you get into the partner program? YouTube has a number of criteria that must be met to become a Partner. These include the size of the channel’s audience, to begin with. If you are only getting a handful of viewers on each of your videos, you will have to spend time engaging enough viewers to create a firm base.

Another criteria is the quality of the content. This should also go without saying, as only high-quality video producers will be able to utilize YouTube for selling advertising on their content.

YouTube also requires compliance with their Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, and violations can prevent being accepted as a YT Partner. The country of residence is also a factor, as not all countries are included in the program.

YouTube has a number of considerations that content creators should take into account when they are not a good fit. For instance, uploading any copyrighted music or video content without the copyright holder’s permission is not allowed. This includes using any music, images, or film and television visuals without permission. Also included is using content from video games or other software, or reproducing live performances, such as NBA games, without permission

Benefits of Being a YT Partner

Thus, content creators will need a large enough audience, high quality and consistent content, and no violations of the site’s terms of use to quality for the YouTube Partner program. However, with acceptance comes the ability to earn a six figure income, as well as some unique tools.

For example, Partners can rent their videos out to make additional income, and are able to use live streaming directly to their channel. They can also protect their own copyrights and block infringing content that they find on the site. Finally, YT Partners can opt in to site redesigns a little later than regular users, giving them more time to make their channel ready for any new features.

Depending on your goals, current level of popularity, and the type of content you are creating, attempting to become a YouTube Partner should be seriously considered. If video marketing of some sort is your calling, you should attempt to join the numbers of people already producing quality YouTube content and sell advertising on your videos.

How to Find the Early Adopters of YouTube Videos

In our previous article on YouTube marketing, we discussed early adopters of new videos, promising to look further into how to find them. This article will look at how videos are discovered, and some tricks for researching this information. First, though, we’ll start by looking at the demographics of YouTube users.

video marketing blog iconWith all of the videos of teenagers and young adults doing something stupid and/or dangerous, it may seem like YouTube is made up mostly of teens and people in their twenties. However, that’s not the case at all, as the popular video sharing site has completely broken into the mainstream, and is popular among 18-54 year olds. That is an enormous age range, and your customer base will almost always fall somewhere in that age range, unless you are marketing to the very young or elderly customers.

Seventy percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside of the United States, as well, so companies that sell internationally have an even greater incentive to use the site. Establishing a brand’s personality through video can immensely help when doing cross-border business, and YouTube is a great way to introduce a company to the wider world.

YouTube used to get about 8 million views per day in 2005. While that is still a huge number, one that almost every site in the world would envy, it is nothing compared to how many people visit YouTube on a daily basis now. These days, the site attracts over 1 billion views per day, and over 400 million mobile views per day.

So out of all of these viewers, how do the popular videos become popular? While that is never an easy question to answer, and it is very difficult to generate immense popularity before a video is uploaded, we can take a look at how some viral videos have spread over time. YouTube has a Statistics tab on every one of its videos, and many can be viewed (others have it disabled).

In the Statistics tab, there is a bar graph showing the adoption rate of the video in question, and most videos gain popularity over time, rather than all at once. The Statistics also show when a video is first referred from a related video on YouTube, and its first referral from other websites, such as Facebook. You can also view a video’s number of comments, favorites, likes, and dislikes, as well as its demographics information.

These key discovery events are important for determining how a popular video is spread and how quickly it gets shared. Subscribers to video channels can also be seen in the About tab on the Channel page of the content creator. Not all channels seem to display this now, and not all subscribers are shown, but this can give an indication of people who are looking for new videos and who keep up on new ones.

By checking out popular videos in your industry, looking at their demographics and events history, and seeking out subscribers of similar channels, it is much easier to get a new video off the ground. Of course, the video needs to be of similar quality and be interesting and unique enough to stand on its own as more than a clone of a popular video. But the early adopters of certain videos can be discovered with a little research.

YouTube Video Optimization Best Practices

While many businesses want a presence on YouTube of some sort, it can still be challenging to get those videos to show up in Google’s search results for their company’s name or the products and services they offer. This makes optimizing YouTube videos for search so important, but the video sharing site does offer several ways to maximize a video’s chance of being seen.

video marketing blog iconNot only do YouTube videos show in Google’s universal search, YouTube is itself a powerful search engine. It ranks as the second most popular search engine in the world, ranking ahead of even Yahoo and Bing, and second only to Google itself, which owns YouTube. Optimization helps a video get discovered higher in the search results on both sites.

Metadata Optimization

The first place to start with optimizing a video is with the metadata, which is entered when a video is first uploaded. Key terms related to the business and the video itself should be included in the title, description, and tags fields.

In terms of the title, YouTube give a 100-character limit, and the most important key terms should go first. The brand name should be included last, if at all.

YouTube allows 5000 characters in the description of every video, and it is important to use as much as possible. Descriptions should be detailed, and links should be included back to the company’s website and presence on social media websites. URLs should also be included to playlists the company has made, and to the company’s YouTube channel itself.

With the tags, YouTube gives a 120 character limit, and these should also be used to the fullest extent possible. The tags should be detailed and relevant, and include the company’s brand name, topics covered in the video, and even geolocation data, if appropriate.

It should also be noted that a YouTube channel can also be optimized through its own metadata.

Preview Images and Annotations

Those are the best ways to optimize a video for being discovered by search engines, but there are also a few tips for optimizing the video’s chance of being clicked on and viewed. After all, videos do not (usually) start playing on their own; users have to hit the Play button to get it started. One of the best ways to entice more clicks is to use the best possible thumbnail preview image.

YouTube typically picks three different still shots from the video, and uploaders choose which one will be used as the preview image. Pick the one that is clear and most in focus, and one that is bright with a high contrast. Close ups of peoples’ faces work well, as does visually compelling imagery. In any event, the preview image should be well framed with good composition, with the foreground standing out from the background. Of course, the preview image should also accurately represent the content of the video.

Using annotations during a video is another way to keep people watching. Many times, people will leave a video after a certain amount of time, never to return. However, including a few annotations overlaid directly on the video can even out these rough patches which might otherwise lose views.

Playlists and Video Responses

Finally, one more way to optimize videos is to create playlists and do an occasional video response. This will allow relevant videos to be grouped together more often, and both individual videos and playlists can show up in YouTube search results.

By optimizing videos, businesses will have a much better chance of appearing on the popular video sharing website, and may even increase their presence on Google itself. Pay attention to detailed metadata to begin with, then focus on picking the highest quality preview image. Evaluate when people click away from a video, and entice them to stay with annotations and teasers of content located further along in the video. Also, optimize the channel page and playlists.

Who Watches Videos Online? Who Shares Them?

So you’ve produced a video marketing your new product, introducing your company to the world, or just joining in the overall conversation in your industry. And you’ve uploaded the video to YouTube. But what happens next? Who is going to share your video, and how are they supposed to find out about it to begin with?

video marketing blog iconLet’s take a look at who shares videos on YouTube. With over 800 million unique visitors per month, about 16% of that number can be considered early adopters of new videos. That means there are roughly 128 million people looking for new intriguing videos who are the most likely to share ones that they enjoy. They are the first to check out new videos and the ones who will shares yours first.

The trick is to figure out what some of these early adopters are looking for, and figuring out how they can be enticed to view your content, rather than one of the thousands of other videos uploaded each day. Putting interesting ideas in a video is the most obvious way to get these to spread the video, but there are a number of characteristics of early viewers that should be considered.

First of all, early adopters usually have more years of formal education than average viewers. They also have a higher degree of upward social mobility, and are hold a more favorable attitude towards change. They generally have higher aspirations in terms of education, social status, and job occupation, and a greater knowledge of innovations. In all, early adopters differ from the average viewer in about two dozen ways, as Everett M. Rogers describes in his book Diffusion of Innovations.

Also, young adults are more likely to share, comment on, and either like or dislike videos. On the whole, ten percent of online users have posted video links on websites or blogs, and twenty percent have rated or commented on a YouTube video after watching it. In aggregate, these are gigantic numbers, but there is also a lot of competition for viewers’ attention.

The first step in the process of making a video take off is to innovate and do something different with your video. This can be done in any number of ways, from using humor to issuing a challenge to another competitor, or raising an issue that scares consumers. Getting in touch with industry-leading voices, who are usually the early adopters, will help the video gain views and get shared. The final step is when enough people have seen the video that it crosses over from an early adopter phenomena to something embraced by the early majority.

Video watching online is become ubiquitous. Seventy-one percent of online adults watch videos on video sharing websites, and, of that 71%, 28% go online on a daily basis. Again, huge numbers of potential viewers of your videos. The challenge is to get the attention of early adopters, who can then share your video and increase its reach far beyond the confines of just a few random views. In a future article, we’ll look at how to find these early adopters and discoverers of new videos.

Getting Started with YouTube Marketing

YouTube isn’t all just cats, people falling off of random objects, and music videos. It is also a powerful tool that individuals and businesses can use to make money and increase sales. You do not need a video that gets ten million views to increase sales, either. However, it should be noted that there are a number of best practices for utilizing YouTube for business.

video marketing blog iconThere are three different types of entities that can benefit from using YouTube: small businesses, national advertisers, and YouTube Partners. It has been found that simply having a YouTube channel with some videos can increase in-store sales by an average of six percent for small and local businesses. YouTube also has several tens of thousands of Partners that sell advertising next to their videos, and 99% of large national companies have an official presence on the video sharing site.

Of course, there are a lot of stumbling blocks to having an effective video marketing strategy. First of all, only a very small number of videos really go viral in any way. Only four-tenths of one percent of all videos will get over one million views, with 56% getting fewer than 500 views. While anyone can upload a video, it is more difficult to get people to watch the video, and then get those same people to share the video and expand its reach.

Another difficulty with YouTube marketing is that there is so much competition. There are literally hundreds of millions of videos competing for people’s time, with more than 48 hours worth of video uploaded to the site each and every single minute. Simply getting a couple of views from the huge YouTube audience is not enough to break though; businesses must also have a strategy to get viewers to like, favorite, share, and comment on videos.

Thankfully, we are experiencing a new phase of marketing due to the information revolution of the internet. The same technology that allows users to upload 48 hours of video per minute also allows marketers to reach out to opinion leaders and early adopters of new ideas to help spread their videos. The effect of sharing is the other side of the coin from the effect of marketing itself, and both must be done today for an effective advertising strategy.

Another great thing is that it is so easy to get started sharing videos now. Signing up for a YouTube account is 100% free, and you or your company can have an official presence on the site in a manner of minutes. There are also a number of free or cheap video-creating programs that can be utilized to begin creating content and learning how the system works.