When he’s not blogging, Ryan works as a writer, producer and
director at Wheelhouse Communications supporting clients like PepsiCo, AT&T and Random House.
The stated purpose of the blog is to talk about producing
video in a 2.0 world, but rather than talk philosophically about his subject,
Ryan focuses on the pragmatic with post after post delivering usable tips and
This post is one of the more lightweight entries, but it
covers such great ground that I want to give it another airing.
Using links to one great article and four YouTube videos,
Ryan presents a list of five key factors in creating a video for marketing.
Make sure it’s memorable – Clear images and language
Use sound to hook your viewers and keep them watching
Surprise the viewer or at least give him/her a reason to
watch to the end
Give the viewer a choice – every click means greater
Leave them wanting more
Much of this ground has been covered elsewhere, so it’s
nice to see it presented in such a succinct way with great links to back it up.
It’s been a hectic couple of days here in San Jose. The inaugural
Conversion Conference, set up by Tim Ash from SiteTuners,
is generally agreed by both attendees and presenters to have been an
From my perspective it was gratifying to spend time with so
many conversion professionals. Everywhere I went people were talking about
testing methodologies and the comparative advantages of A/B and multivariate
testing. It was conversion geek heaven.
The speaking tracks were broken up into four groups:
Persuasion, Best Practices, Hands On and Testing. Having sampled at least
one presentation of each group I found them to be relevant and useful.
The conference kicked off Tuesday morning with a keynote
address from Tim Ash himself. Tim is one of the pioneers of Landing
Page Optimization and he delivered an entertaining introduction breaking
down the basics into easily digestible and practicable suggestions.
Straight after Tim, two presenters tag-teamed a session
called The Power of Split Testing. Both Brooks
Bell and Lance Loveday delivered
valuable insights into the basis of this vital art. Brooks, in particular
suggested the 5 Ts that must be considered when it comes to A/B testing:
Throughout this and every other session I was in, people
were tweeting furiously to get the word out to their networks. By tuning in to
the conference hashcode, #ConvCon, I was able to get real-time updates from the
parallel track. It was a sign of the conference’s quality that there was always
something interesting going in each of the two meeting rooms and seating space
was almost always at a premium with listeners sometimes spilling out into the corridor.
Day two started in fine fashion with a presentation from
Bryan Eisenberg delivered at breakneck speed. Bryan’s energy, undiminished by
his impressive weight loss, woke everyone up and led into another day of
All in all, I feel that the conference more than justified
its existence. There was a clear need for a dedicated conversion conference and
I’m thrilled to note that the next
one is already scheduled for October. I have the feeling that most of this
week’s attendees will come back and that, once word gets out, there will be
more people lining up to visit the show.
For now we will have to rely on the presentations from this
show which Tim Ash has promised to make available to everyone who attended. In
addition, all the sessions were filmed. I’m not sure what Tim intends to do
with all this footage, but, if you want to see it, you had better contact him
yourself and request it.
Do you know
the way to San Jose? I do and I’m heading there early next week. I was
thrilled when Tim Ash contacted us and
asked EyeView to deliver a session on the impact of video on site performance
at the first Conversion Conference.
It’s not like we haven’t had other speaking engagements. It’s just this is the
first ever conference aimed directly at conversion professionals.
The conference runs concurrently with the latest eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and
positions video squarely as part of the scientific search for superior site
performance (I’m practicing my alliteration to prepare for my presentation!).
By positioning the conference alongside eMetrics, Tim has smartly
staked the claim for moving conversion rate optimization away from the softer
consultancy side of things and into the realm of measurable science. That’s
exactly where we believe that EyeView sits and I’m keen to connect with others who are involved daily with the iterative cycle of testing and analysis that lies
behind all our optimization efforts.
If you’re going to be at the conference, please find me and
say hello. I think it’s going to be a very productive few days.
First of all I want to thank Nalts and his excellent blog for bringing this video to my
attention. It’s another epic mini-movie from OK Go that showcases the band’s
innovative use of short-form video to market themselves and their music.
It’s very entertaining. It’s also fairly useless.
Let’s take a look at their last huge viral success. The video for Here It Goes Again
rode the first wave of YouTube’s explosion into global consciousness. You’ve
seen it. Four indie nerds doing a synchronized routine on treadmills. It’s very
entertaining. According to YouTube’s figures it has been viewed almost 50
million times. That’s just from OK Go’s own channel. The same video on EMI’s
channel has added another 1.5 million and there are probably a few hundred
thousand more views with other unauthorized duplicates.
So the band have produced a video that’s been seen around 50
million times. What did they do with that? Not very much. There seems to have
been very little strategy behind the whole thing. If you watch the video on YouTube
there are no live links allowing you to purchase either the video itself or
anything else by the band. The video serves no purpose other than to entertain.
Even if you were to ascribe every purchase of the song’s parent album Oh No to a viewing of the video,
you would still end up with a dreadful conversion rate. Fifty million videos
viewed has translated, to date, into less than 250,000 albums sold. That’s an
embarrassing conversion rate of less than half a percent.
It makes me want to scream. If only their YouTube page was
linked to iTunes. If only there was a link to purchase a video ringtone of the
video for ten cents. If only the page was designed to drive 50 million viewers
towards some kind of action. Any kind of action. If only 99.5 percent of those
views weren’t totally wasted.
Damian Kulash, lead singer with OK Go sees it differently.
He believes that the video’s huge viral success helped the band to sell out
concerts on five continents and win a Grammy. I don’t doubt any of that, I just
wish he’d tried the video ringtone idea as well (and cut me in for a
Which brings us back to now. This new video from OK is very
entertaining. Before it even went live on YouTube, Kulash was complaining in
the New York
Times, no less, about his record company’s refusal to allow video
embedding. Kulash was concerned that without the possibility of his video going
viral, the band would be unlikely to replicate the success they have achieved.
Fortunately for us, EMI caved in and we can now embed the video.
In the two
days since it launched, it has been viewed almost 2.5 million times. The video
page still carries no advertising or identifiable call to action. Sales of the new album
are, as yet, unknown.
I think the video is very entertaining. It still makes me
want to scream.
I know this report came out a week or so ago, but it's essential reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in the interwebs.
There is so much analysis produced these days that you need a report detailing the best reports to read. With all this noise, comScore continue to produce clear and informative statistics that always seem to answer the question someone in your office just asked you.
Some of the highlights from this report are the first-ever decline in annual growth rates for ecommerce as well as the unstoppable expansion of online video.
The report also captures the birth of Bing and the rise and rise of Facebook as it became the thrid largest display ad publisher in the US after Yahoo! and Fox Interactive Media (which includes MySpace).
You can download the entire report here, but you will have to give comScore some details first. It's well worth filling in the form to get to the report.
Online Video’s Jim O’Neill
satisfied continued demand for iPad stories with a piece on Hulu’s rush to
become iPad-friendly in time for the tablet’s launch or soon thereafter. There’s
no doubt this story will run and run and the implications for the future of
online video have yet to be fully determined.
Mark Robertson was
delighted to report on the efforts of many of the online video platforms to
support SEO as part of their offering. YouTube has been the de facto search
engine for video until now, so it’s great to see these platforms supporting the
indexing of video across all search engines.
Finally, today, no review of online video this week would be
complete without mentioning the Superbowl. In what was a fairly lackluster year,
the stand out commercial for me was this one for Snickers featuring Betty White
(now with added Abe Vigoda). Geriatric genius!
The announcement this week of the iPad brings with it some
mouthwatering possibilities for the further advancement of online video and video advertising in traditional print media.
The iPad is more portable than even the simplest notepad
computer. It's a leisure device first and foremost, not a work tool. I think we will finally see streaming video move out of the home
office and into the leisure experience. Browsing on the couch or in bed means
that users coming across video will relate to it in a different way.
The iPad might introduce video advertising into leisure time
as early adopters flick through apps while sipping on their coffee and eating
breakfast. It just looks like a more accessible tool than a formal laptop.
Part of the iPad’s strategy is to take on Amazon’s Kindle
and other ereaders. With a comprehensive range of books and periodicals for
sale from iTunes, there is a perfect opportunity to subsidize the cost to the
reader of a magazine or newspaper subscription with the insertion of targeted
video ads or at the very least video sidebars with extra information about a
story and links to other upselling opportunities.
It’s not that these possibilities don’t already exist, it’s
that the iPad is the first device in a long time with a good shot at changing
the way we consume print media.
I’ve never been an Apple evangelist, but the thought of
having all my magazine and newspaper subscriptions waiting for me in easy to
browse apps makes this a very tempting proposition.
Am I overstating the fact? I’d love to hear what you think.
Here’s a little gem that I missed at the end of last year.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has updated its guidelines regarding online
The IAB comprises more than 375 leading media and technology
companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the
United States. According to their site, “the IAB educates marketers, agencies,
media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive
advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and
recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive
The IAB is concerned with standardizing the measurement of
ad impressions so that publishers and advertisers are always talking the same
language. Faced with the rapid growth of video ads, the IAB was compelled to
update its “Video Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines” from 2006 with a new
addendum dealing with Auto-play.
The IAB defines “Auto-play” as follows: A video ad or a video ad linked with video content that initiates
‘‘play’’ without user interaction or without a user actively starting the video
(essentially automatically starting without a ‘‘play’’ button being clicked by
The new IAB guidelines require approved web publishers to disclose
the fact that they using videos with auto-play to prevent unscrupulous
advertisers running such ads well below the fold and recording “impressions” that
may never be seen by visitors.
In a world where there is still much confusion over online
advertising, this attempt to introduce standards into the wild, wild web is
welcome, or at least it would be if it weren’t for two fundamental flaws in its
The first comes from the IAB’s continued definition. There
is no requirement to disclose the use of autoplay “if the user has a reasonable
expectation that they are entering a video environment.” Even today any user
should have a reasonable expectation that the commercial site they are visiting
is a “video environment”. In the next 12 months this will become even more
apparent as video achieves online ubiquity.
The second problem is even more basic. Using impressions to
value video ads will not remain the standard for much longer. Apart from a handful of big-name,
brand advertisers, companies will soon expect their video campaigns to provide ROI based on performance and how successfully they drive users through the sales funnel. As online advertising swings towards performance advertising, the
effectiveness of video will be judged by increased conversion, not by
impressions. There will no need for a standard definition of an impression once everybody has abandoned the world of impressions for performance.
The motivation for disclosure is becoming obsolete. Performance
advertisers demand measurement by performance, not impressions.
The end of the year is always a time for reflection. This year I left behind my life with a major online video sharing site and started working for a company that is just as enamored with online video but approaches the medium with higher expectations. If video sharing sites represent the youthful excesses in the life of online video, then the next iteration is all about online video growing up, taking responsibility and earning its way.
Here are my predictions for the coming year in Online Video. I hope you enjoy my perspective.
Sharing sites will continue to grow in size but diminish in importance. In
other words YouTube will be huger than ever but the story will be even more
fragmented than it was this year. Apart from unpredictable viral hits like
Susan Boyle, no YouTuber will ever again achieve the prominence that
subscription grinders like Fred, Hot For Words and Michael Buckley have. YouTube
has taken over from MTV as the number one place to watch music videos. YouTube
is already more relevant as a search engine than as an entertainment
destination site. It’s almost like Google could see into the future when they
Some small and
medium businesses (SMBs) will embrace video more than ever before. The cost of
entry for online video has been so reduced that every commercial site will experiment
with the medium. Most will do so with no way of measuring whether the experiment
businesses will continue to invest large sums in telling their stories with
video. They will continue to be happy to do so despite not knowing how
effective these videos are because however large the budget they are still
cheaper than creating and buying airtime for TV ads.
and some large businesses will demand that their investment in online video
brings a measurable return. They will operate under the assumption that
marketing spend needs to be justified and they will seek out video solutions
that combine analytics with video creation and implementation. They will find such solutions and they will be very happy.
Video will become
a more important weapon in the affiliate marketer’s arsenal. As affiliates acknowledge
the persuasive power of video over less dynamic media, they will push
advertisers towards supplying video versions of banners and other collateral.
Affiliates will be a major force driving video to becoming more accountable in
the sales funnel.
reading this blog will appear in at least one video posted on the internet
between now and this time next year. Happy New Year.
to be some debate about who said it first, but whether it was Oscar Wilde or
George Bernard Shaw the quip still holds true that England and America are “two
countries separated by a common language.”
when the language is the same, the accent used to express it can vary widely,
and our response to that variation may impact our willingness to listen to the
message being delivered.
We have long been interested
in testing the impact of different accents. We usually do not change the content
of a video for British or American audiences, but the accent in the voiceover
is a different matter entirely.
Software markets a product aimed at improving your written English. It identifies
spelling and grammar errors and is particularly useful for students, people
with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, and business people for whom English
is a second language. Once we had proven that the inclusion of video on Ginger’s
site increased their conversion rate, we decided to test whether there was a
difference in conversion when the audience heard an American or a British
accent delivering the voiceover. Given that the product is tied so closely to
people’s perception of correct English, we thought this would be real grudge
match between two great nations. And the results didn’t disappoint.
We ran an
A/B test where 50% of the global audience saw the video with a
voiceover in a British accent and 50% saw it with the voiceover performed with an American accent. The conversion goal for each version of the video was to get
visitors to download Ginger’s software.
the global population, we saw that the British voiceover was 4% more effective
at converting visitors into downloaders. On its own, that would be interesting enough,
but we wanted to look further into what was happening in each country.
that the often-heard comment by Americans that things sound smarter with a
British accent actually translates into action. For US audiences, the
conversion rate for the British accent was 5.5% higher than the American one – above the global average. In Canada, the British accent still outperformed
the American, but by a mere 1.5%.
viewers watching the British version converted 12% more often than those
hearing an American voice while the response of the Australians was even more
extreme. Viewers “down under” converted 32% more often when pitched with Pommie
tones than with an American twang.
didn’t have it all their own way. In India, the American accent was 12% more
effective at converting visitors. But the most surprising statistic of all came
when we looked at the comparative performance of the two accents in the UK. For
audiences watching the video in the UK, the voiceover with the American accent
was 8% more effective at making visitors download Ginger’s software than the
British accent, representing a significant swing away from the global trend. This was a wonderfully counter-intuitive response to the test that really drives home the importance of knowing your
audience and optimizing your video geographically to ensure you get the best
nothing to say that the results obtained here would be replicated for other
videos on other sites, but there is no denying the value of testing to ensure
you get the maximum revenue from your traffic wherever it comes from.