Online Video: Here, There, and Everywhere

While the success of Tina Fey’s highly viral Sarah Palin skit on “Saturday Night Live” can be difficult to achieve, it’s an example of how online video can generate an awful lot of buzz. To date, the video clip has been viewed over 4.9 million times on, the network’s site. In addition, it has been posted, viewed, tagged, and commented on other media, social media, and video-sharing sites. Given the content, regardless of how short a snippet is seen, it retains its branding.

To put online video’s market growth in perspective, its related advertising is projected to be $505 million in 2008 and to grow more than tenfold to $5.8 billion in 2013, according to eMarketer. The question is how an online marketer can best take advantage of it. For most marketers, online video ultimately aims to drive revenues. This can be done directly by selling product, like a long-form DRTV commercial, or by providing advertising opportunities for established media companies. It can also be done indirectly, helping generate sales, by aiding branding, driving traffic to a site, or supporting product use.

Five Major Video Constituencies

Marketers must consider how online video fits into the marketing mix. To a certain extent, this depends on your product. Online video clips have five major groups of constituents; each interacts differently with the medium and has different expectations. Regardless of your marketing goals, you must consider how each group can influence your video’s distribution and effectiveness. These groups are:

  • Content producer. Is largely interested in expressing a creative vision.

  • Originating media entity. Uses content to attract an audience and provide a forum where advertisers can promote their products and services. It makes money by selling its advertising space while building its brand as a media entity.
  • Secondary media entity. Needs content to augment its offering and extend its audience reach. It also offers an advertising forum and builds its own brand.
  • Advertiser. Wants to present its offering in a media setting where appropriate prospects are and that supports its brand.
  • Viewer. Consumes video content based on its information and entertainment value relative to her current needs and on the device of her choosing. Depending on the type of content, she may want to share favored video with others. Her most scarce resources are her time, focus, and personal network.

Five Factors to Consider

When creating online video content, think broadly because different audiences may have different consumption habits. Bear the following factors in mind:

  • Integrate a brand into the video so it acts as a marketing vehicle to extend your reach. This is particularly important for content seen outside of its original context.

  • Make content portable. Make it easy for people to share your video with others. This encompasses a wide range of factors, such as permalinks, RSS feeds, bookmarking, forward-to-a-friend functionality, widgets, and other approaches so that it’s shared on relevant social media sites.
  • Protect intellectual property by incorporating relevant logos and attributions into the video so that they remain intact, regardless of how the content is chunked or viewed.
  • Aid searchability by associating appropriate search text and having the content point to your site.
  • Think about your online neighbors. Depending on your product and audience, you may or may not want your video to spread across the Internet. This can reduce the potential reach of your content.

Five Video Content-Related Metrics

As with any marketing campaign, your metrics should relate back to your goals. Here are the five dominant metrics to assess:

  • Views. Your primary measure is how many people have viewed your video. On a more granular basis, look at what sites the video was viewed on, the demographics of these sites, how much of the video was viewed, and whether viewers interacted with the video.

  • Pass-alongs. This shows how viral the video was. From an analytical perspective, depending on your goals, you can break this information out by type of referral as well as the average number of people each referral attracted.
  • Revenues. As with any marketing campaign, this is the bottom line. Did your video help improve revenues? This factor should be assessed broadly to include other factors, such increased traffic that contributes to sales and reduced customer service for product use. Other ways of looking at online video is in terms of increased media that can be used in lieu of paid promotion.
  • Branding. Traditional metrics can be used to assess the improvement in your brand association and intention-to-purchase metrics.
  • Media attention. Include both major outlets as well as social media discussions. Further, assess the impact on your search results. Because users may tag the video in different ways, this can mean you have to track your video in different places.

As with Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin skit, your online video must resonate with your customers to become viral. It’s important to have your brand well integrated into the content and provide the tools to help it go viral. You also need to understand what you want your video to achieve and track how well it accomplishes your goals.

Join us for a new Webcast, High-Touch Personalization, The Successful Marketer’s Secret Ingredient, September 29 at 2 p.m. EDT.

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