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Increase Sales, Reduce Returns

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 20 February 2012

No One Leaves a Good Movie…Not Even A Company Movie

We now have two generations that have grown up with the internet and online content.

It’s no wonder that this past June, 158.1 million people (68.2 percent of the U.S. internet users) sat through 6.26 billion viewing sessions.

Online Viewing – The number of individuals watching video content online has grown dramatically in recent years; and younger generations are making mobile content a part of their daily lives. Today’s smartphones and tablets are becoming popular educational, informational, entertainment tools. 

According to eMarketer, the average internet user watches about 16.8 hours of online video a month. This was up from last year’s 14.5 hours of video for the same month.

comScore’s research results are even higher. They recently reported that a total of 178 million Americans watched a record 6.26 billion video sessions in a year. Part of that acceleration is attributed to more people using their mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – for viewing.

The growing number of online viewers has the cable industry concerned that people will “cut the cord” and move online to watch their movies and TV shows.

Teens, tweens and millennials find it perfectly natural to watch news/current events, TV shows, sports and TV shows on-the-go when it is convenient for them, not when the station or network airs them.

The internet/web is also the first place people go when they’re looking for information on a product, service, problem resolution, sales outlets, product/application reviews and more. As a result, videos provide manufacturers and retailers an excellent opportunity for capturing and holding eyeballs on the web when they’re looking for specific information.

Viewing Outlets – In addition to posting company videos on the organization’s website, firms can add them to their company’s Facebook page, Google+ and a wide range of video posting sites for added traffic. One of the keys is to ensure good SEOed copy accompanies them to optimize viewer opportunities.

In addition to your own website, there is a growing list of video placement locations that allow people to share personal and business videos on specific topics that blend with today’s social shopping activities. These video sites are being swamped with content being uploaded and viewed around the globe. For example, YouTube reports that every minute, 48 hours of video is uploaded to their site.

Today, the bulk of video viewed online is snackable —bite-sized information/entertainment, rather than a complete meal of full TV episodes or full-length movies.

The most popular online video content, watched by 40 percent or more of the US online video audience, are short pieces of five minutes or less.

An industry analyst recently explained the reason for the short sessions, “People are online and bombarded so much that they have the attention span of a minnow. A minnow never gets bored swimming around his small bowl because every time he comes back around…it’s all new!”

Short is Best – While people get their video content online, most of it is not full- length TV shows or movies. The majority of viewers prefer fast, informational messages. Slow opening scenes will make it easier for people to click away from the video.

We won’t publicly agree or disagree with the statement, but we do know that the average video session was only 5.4 minutes this year, up very slightly from the prior year.

Just in case you think all of those folks suddenly had a sudden need to watch ads they previously skipped over when watching shows on their TV set, the average online video ad remained the same for the past two years – 0.4 minutes.

Sorry…it isn’t the ads.

Adding online video to the company site is a way for the organization’s communications and marketing staff to provide an up-close and personal look at products explain how they work and help people make the best purchase decision.

Research shows video increases sales conversion and reduces returns.

Increasingly, people visit websites and expect informative product pages that include:
- Alternative views
- Ratings, reviews, customer feedback
- How-tos, user guides, applications
- And in recent years, videos
Video is the most creative, most effective marketing tool in nearly every area.

Beyond the Photo – Organizations that include informative but casual videos on their products, services and capabilities not only get more traffic, they keep people on their website three times longer according to researchers. The range of video content that can be included goes well beyond a straight product “feature” to include how-tos, installation, applications, troubleshooting and increasingly, third-party endorsements.

Inform, Educate, Sell
Video has become such a powerful educational/informational tool that firms are providing video links on releases. In addition to improving sales and reducing returns, video can boost search engine optimization efforts.

Sites and pages with video also rank higher, especially when they aren’t embedded or in pop-up windows.
Microblogs such as Twitter have become important tools to help good educational, informational videos go viral.

While they understand the power and reach of video, marketing/ communications people have been slow to implement it in both their internal and external programs because they believe:
- It’s too time-consuming to do
- it’s too expensive
- It’s too difficult to do
- It’s too expensive

It is true that some of the videos you’ve read about and seen that have gone viral -- seen by millions -- have been done by very good video production crews. But the ideas came from the company’s marketing, communications teams and you’re just as smart as they are…right?

While it’s nice to have a lot of really cool camera/post production tools, it isn’t the hardware and/or software that make good videos.

People do.

Your Best Camera
Even seasoned videographers agree that the best camera is the one you have.
Even if you don’t have all of the expensive gear, you always have a camera with you…on your smartphone.


Most smartphones today have 4-6 megapixel camera lenses (don’t worry about what megapixels mean; or, if you really want to know, look it up in Wikipedia).

Our smartphone has an added 16GB SD card which can store roughly three hours of HD video.

Shoot enough raw footage and somewhere in the content you’ll have three to five minutes of good video.

If not, give the smartphone to one of the younger people in the office and he/she will show you how to get some great content.

Once you have the raw video the real creative – and pretty simple – work takes place.

If you’re a Mac user, you have a very good piece of video production software, iMovie.

If you’re a Windows PC user, you have more choices – Corel, Cyberlink, Adobe, Arcsoft, Avid Pinnacle and muvee to name a few.

We really like Avid’s Studio software because it’s economical and has the tools, capabilities you’d want/need to make an award-winning indie film.

Easy Post Work

Our (current) favorite though is muvee Reveal.

It doesn’t have all of the multiple tracks, special effects and transitions; but most of the time, people get dazzled by all the special tools and try to use them all in their company video.

All the wow factor gets in the way of the message.

Look at any Hollywood movie.

Lots of cool stuff in the first and the last few minutes of the movie. The rest of the movie is produced using fades, cuts, dissolves.

Post production doesn’t get in between the actor/story and the viewer.

That’s precisely what you want to achieve, which is why muvee Reveal not only does the job but does it almost automatically.

Muvee and similar products analyze photos and video, style and choice of music and automatically create a video synced to the beat of the music with transitions and effects built in.

If you want to do a little more with your content the best product we know of is Avid Studio which quickly, easily lets you produce theater quality videos.

Interesting, informational, short videos – even with minor mistakes -- are more believable than polished ads. The software helps you explain products and visually assist customers in efficiently, effectively buying/using your products/services.

Don’t go pro on them…your job is to just take viewers through the product/service story. It adds credibility and encourages people to share the videos and links with others.

Videos are finding their way into special interest blogs where folks want to share an idea or answer an application/support question.

Since the digital environment is changing rapidly, there are no “best practice” social media models you can follow.

But by now, you should know that pushing messages at the consumer doesn’t work.

Keep Shooting
The key point is one is never enough.

Add videos on a regular basis.

What types:
- How it works demonstrations – show how neat, fun, versatile, profitable it can be
- Installation/ troubleshooting videos – we all have problems, help customers
- Expert interviews at tradeshows – let these people talk about trends, news, market future
- Interesting, enthusiastic employees – help people identify with people
- Product champion customers – who doesn’t love a happy customer?
- Invite customers to send in their best, most unusual videos

Ask your customers, followers what types of videos they’d like to see…they’ll tell you.

Just keep them visual and add human interest.

Monitor the feedback on the videos and the information presented.

Give credit to individuals for their inputs/ideas.

It’s all part of building sound reputation equity.

There are a million stories on the web; and every company would love to create a video that goes viral, drawing hundreds of thousands of eyeballs.


The best way to do it is…get started now!!!

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