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Archive for Video Inspiration

There’s a lot to be said for video advertising, done successfully your videos can start to bring in a lot of extra revenue.

But, did you spot the key phrase? Done successfully. Our video advertising tool is a very simple way to get started with video advertising – but it’s not enough to just slap an ad tag into your video and expect the pennies to come rolling in.

The more views your video gets, the more you’ll earn. And there’s a few smart ways to maximise your video traffic…

1. Create A Calendar of Key Dates

Who are you targeting? Once you know this you can start to think about the dates that are relevant to them, and plan advertising campaigns around that.

Take Futbol Sites for instance, Latin America’s largest network of football websites. Pretty clear audience here: football fans. And what was one of the key dates in every football fans diary last year? The World Cup of course.

During the World Cup, Futbol Sites saw its traffic increase by a pretty humungous 300%. This huge growth, teamed with the team’s ability to add advertising tags to their videos, made them a very attractive option to advertisers like Ford, Gatorade, Pringles and more. The video adverts added an extra revenue stream for the business and meant that all of those extra views didn’t go to waste (full story).

2. Drive Traffic With Video SEO

Ok, ok not every industry will have massive global events that they can use to their advantage. But, you can still nudge up your video views with video SEO.

By submitting a video sitemap to Google you will ensure that your pages are returned whenever anyone types in a relevant search term. Try including the word “video” in your titles and descriptions. This will act as a sort of pre-qualifier of your traffic. People searching for videos should be actually interested in watching them. You’ll not only drive up traffic, you’ll also drive up view counts too.

3. Use An Attractive Poster Frame

Before your video adverts can start bringing in the advertising revenue, they first need to be seen. And for that to happen you have to get your audience to hit the play button. The poster frame image is crucial, it needs to be attractive and compelling.

  • Human faces or graphics?
  • Bright & colorful or black and white?
  • Lots of copy or none at all?

Our usual preference is to use a title so that the visitor has a rough idea of what the videos about. We team this with a…let’s say… “quirky” image. The familiar title with an unusual image piques the curiosity. For instance, in the video above. How does the poster frame relate to the title “Video Advertising”? It just tempts you to click play and find out how the two fit together.

Here’s some more examples so you can see what I mean.

Video Poster Frame Example 1

Video Poster Frame Example 2

Video Poster Frame Example 3

Typically, you should make sure your video play button is always visible, so that your visitor knows there’s some video goodness waiting to be unlocked (instead of just an image).

4. Hold Viewers Interest

This tip is more relevant if you’re using pre or post roll video advertising. The challenge here is to keep the viewer watching long enough for them to hit the ad.

I strongly recommend cutting down any “blank space” in your video. Keep introductions to a minimum and make sure your visual varies. What you don’t want is a long static shot while your presenter rambles: “hello I’m Jane and today I’m going to go into the various problems, but also look at the solutions, of the three types of ways you can use….yada yada yada”

See? I even got bored typing that.

5. Stream Video Reliably

The video hosting platform you use is really pretty critical to your success with video advertising. If the platform isn’t fit for purpose you’ll run into trouble. Here’s a checklist of things you should check:

Encoding Control

You need to make sure that your videos load quickly with minimal buffering. You can do this in one of two ways. Either, reduce your videos bitrate. This will keep the file size down. The lower the file size the faster it will load.

Or, you could use dual encoding. This basically gives you two versions of the same file. One in standard definition which is smaller and will load quickly for viewers on slow internet connections. One in HD which looks great and keeps viewers with high speed internet connections happy.

More on that here.


Global CDN

Your videos should be accessible to a global audience. For this, you need a global CDN with points of presence all over the world. This means that wherever your viewer is located, the video is streamed from the server which is closest to them.

Mobile Video

CISCO predict that nearly 3/4 of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2019.

Takeaway? If your videos don’t play on mobile you’re missing out on a massive audience. Your video hosting platform should be compatible with all devices; that’s desktop, mobile and tablet.

You should also check that the html5 player comes with video advertising – it’s not always a given. You’ll need to be sure that your ad tags are compatible.

In Summary

Making money from video advertising basically involves two things.

First, you need to have enough video views to generate significant revenues:

  • Key campaign dates
  • Video SEO
  • Attractive poster frames
  • Engaging videos

Second, you need to choose the right video hosting platform, to ensure your videos (and their adverts) play back reliably. Be sure that it gives you:

  • Mobile compatibility
  • Global CDN
  • Control over encoding

And, the number one thing you need: an easy way to add your ad tags.

We all have busy working lives, it really doesn’t need to take hours and hours to get started with this. Just grab your ad tag, paste it into the interface and adjust one or two settings. If it’s harder than that – you’re doing it wrong.

Video Advertising Tools For Publishers

Real People On VideoFor a long time now, we’ve been big fans of showing the real people behind our company. In fact, I think pretty much every member of our team has made some sort of appearance on camera. Not only in our videos, but right the way through our site. We want to show the personality behind our brand.

And in the January issue of Figaro Digital I was pleased to see that the experts agree…

“People still respond best to people” – Georgia Marshall-Brown, Origin.

“Nobody likes a faceless brand – employees have a vital role to play, whether in the physical retail environment or within your digital spaces.” – Alex Murray, Waitrose.

Hear hear.

If you’re looking to bring the personal touch to your own website, video makes the perfect medium. Why? Well, it’s very good for connecting on an emotional level with your consumer. And neuroscience can back me up on this. Dr. Susan Weinschenk gives 4 key reasons we’re programmed to respond to video on an emotional level:

    1. Our brains pay attention to faces
    2. Voices convey rich information
    3. Emotions are contagious
    4. Movement is attention grabbing

(I won’t go into all the science she mentions here, but if that kind of thing is your bag you can read (and watch!) more here.)

So I thought this week I’d take a page out of Figaro Digital’s book magazine, and discuss this whole “being human” thing. How can you maximise it’s potential?

What Do You Want To Say?

Before you rush into making your video stop and take a step back. It’s important to be sure that you’re making the video for the right reasons. Not just because it’s the latest buzzword. But because you’ve got a message for your audience and this is the best medium in which to tell it (which it probably is if you’re going for that emotional connection I mentioned above). Skip Fedura of Dotmailer has some sage advice,

“Imagine your customer was right there in the room and ask yourself, ‘What should I say to this customer?’”

You’re really looking to identify those situations where the online consumer would normally be helped along by someone on the shop floor.

Form Follows Function

It can be quite tempting to produce a very glossy, over produced video. And that’s fine – if it aligns with your video goals (I’m thinking for instance, if you’re going for raising brand awareness). If, however, your goal is to connect on that emotional level, you don’t have to spend mega bucks. The value of your video does not lie in how many special effects you cram in there.

Instead, a friendly face and a compelling message can pay dividends. Of course, it isn’t always easy for people who have never been on camera to relax and act natural. And it’s an issue we’ve faced ourselves. If this is something you’re also struggling with, here are a few tips that have really worked for us.

Get Video Delivery Right

The real area you have to invest in is making sure the streaming experience is smooth. Consumers may be forgiving if you haven’t got high production values. They won’t forgive long loading times and buffering. Be sure your videos will play anywhere in the world, on any device (and yes vzaar can help with this). Shameless plug over.

Seriously, though, the viewing experience is all important. A study by Conviva found that videos with long buffering times can have a catastrophic impact on engagement. In most cases viewers will abandon the video before the one minute mark (ReelSEO). So if you haven’t got a reliable video host you may find that the content you spent time and effort creating, just isn’t reaching its potential.

Final Thoughts…

“Humans are designed to have interpersonal relationships. In a socially connected world that values conversation over one-way marketing messages, bringing the personality of your brand to life through your people is increasingly important.” – Alex Murray, Waitrose.

Thanks Alex, couldn’t have said it better myself :)

vzaar connect video integrations and plugins

Are you using a whole host of different platforms to make your business work? Whether it’s a CMS to run your website, an LMS to manage your course materials, CRM software to keep track of your leads, email providers to reach out to your user base… the list goes on and on (and on and on and on).

Trying to make all those different platforms work together can be a real pain. You can wind up doing an awful lot of manual adminy type stuff to achieve your desired results. Wouldn’t you much rather be spending your time doing your actual job, rather than rushing around doing lots of leg work?

Implementing a joined up video strategy is no different. Whether it’s publishing your videos to different platforms, collecting payments for video views, adding viewers to mailing lists…you’ll likely have a few different systems in place. Imagine if, with just a handful of button clicks, you could banish those mind numbing copy & paste jobs?

That’s where vzaar Connect comes in. Our various video integrations and plugins mean that all those different platforms you’re using can communicate with one another. They turn all the various systems that you’re using into an end to end video solution. So you can spend less time doing the grunt work and more time getting s*** done. Let’s look at a few use cases so you can see what I mean…

You want to add video to your website, but you have zero time and a modest budget

You get that video has huuuuuge potential – it drives conversions, engages customers, builds brand loyalty…. You know you need to start using it on your site. The problem is how?

You need: Animoto & vzaar

Getting started with video can seem a little daunting. I get it, we’ve been there. The solution is Animoto.

Animoto have a really nice, easy to use platform which basically lets you create videos using your photos & video clips. You add a background track and voila – you just made your first video my friend.

One click export those videos to vzaar and you’ll then be able to take advantage of our secure & reliable video streaming. Plus lots of tools which will help you generate plenty of revenue from your new videos. Before you know it they’ll have paid for themselves!

You use video to generate leads. You need to capture viewers details so you can send them follow up emails

Sick of manually importing email addresses into your mailing list? It’s an unnecessary hassle and your time could be much better spent elsewhere.

You need: vzaar Mail Catcher

Mail Catcher adds an email capture form to your video. Sync this with either Aweber or MailChimp and all those viewer emails will go direct into your mailing list. Hurrah!

Of course, if you’re not using either Aweber or MailChimp as your email provider you’ll still need some place to push your viewer data to. Here, you can integrate your vzaar account with Google Drive. We’ll create a spreadsheet for your viewer’s email addresses and then you’ve got that bit of extra flexibility to do whatever you want to with that spreadsheet.

You use video right the way through your marketing funnel, from brand awareness to conversion

Different video platforms suit different business goals. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness you’ll need to get as many video views as you can. For this, YouTube is ideal. On the other hand, if you’ve got more informational content designed to encourage conversion, you’ll need vzaar to securely host and brand your videos.

The best video strategies do both. The problem is, once you start uploading x video to YouTube and y video to vzaar it can get pretty hairy. You need to keep track of which videos you’ve got hosted where, upload and re-upload to the different platforms and so on and so forth. Who has the time?

You need: YouTube Syndication

When you upload your videos to vzaar you can choose to automatically push them into your YouTube account. This means all your videos will now live in one place and you can use them as you see fit to reach your various business goals.

You sell video lectures online and want to charge people to access them

Welcome to the world of video pay per view. What you need is a video pay wall. And again this might seem like it’s going to be complicated to set up. Lots of coding required, right?


You need: vzaar & Tinypass integration

Before you add your video paywall it’s important to make sure that the video stream itself is secure. We recommend enabling domain control and RTMPe streaming on your videos. This will make sure that your videos only play on your domains, and encrypts the stream making it harder for people to download.

Then, you just need to add the video pay per view. Push your videos over to Tinypass and they’ll handle the paywall and payment collection. Sorted.

Plus loads more…

We’ve only really just tipped the iceberg in this blog post. These are just a few of the video plugins and integrations you have available when you sign up to vzaar. Hopefully we’ve shed a bit of light about how to get started creating your own end to end video solution. There’s plenty more integrations for you to try:

  • vzaar Magento Plugin: Automatically send vzaar videos to your Magento CMS to easily add them to your product pages. No fuss, no muss.

  • Google Analytics: Already using GA to measure your website data? By integrating with vzaar you’ll be able to see your video data in the same place. Handy.

  • Dropbox Uploader: This one’s particularly useful if you’re in a rush. Just add your videos into Dropbox and we’ll pull them into your vzaar account & email you when they’re ready.

And we’re looking forward to adding more!

Now go check out vzaar Connect and build the video strategy of your dreams :)

Autumn LeavesSeptember 22nd marked the official start of Fall. Yup, Summer is over folks. Time to pack away the sunscreen, find your most comfortable sweaters and dive headlong into a pile of crispy, golden leaves.

But before we do all that we thought we’d cast an eye back to those glorious summer months when the sun was shining and the weather was sweet. Here’s a few of the videos we were watching.

1. Timeless Beauty

Why we loved it: When it comes to video, the team at Illamasqua just get it. They provide valuable content that is perfectly pitched for their target audience. It resonates and engages because it adds value. We were pleased to see the team get the kudos they deserve in this post from The Guardian.

The Timeless Beauty videos are just one of an amazing collection of video tutorials that demonstrate the fact that Illamsqua know their audience. They understand the problems they face (e.g. how to apply a certain product) and provide the content to solve it. Amen to that.

2. Casual Films About Us

Why we loved it: People want to buy from people. This video does a great job of showing who Casual Films are, without being all “me, me, me”. It’s human and it’s humorous – two vital elements for any about us video. They’re not using buzzwords, they’re not blinding you with jargon, they’re saying hello, and it makes you want to work with them. Job done.

(On a side note we do actually get to work with them next month at our Video Marketing & Production meetup – yay!)

3. Free Flute Masterclass

Why we loved it: Free flute lessons from the world class musicians over at Principal Chairs. What’s not to love? We were also pretty pleased to see the use of our new Mail Catcher feature out there in the wild. It’s perfectly placed at the end of the video to capture the leads that the free content attracts – without being disruptive. The free content is still free. Everyone’s happy.

4. On Mailing Lists

Why we loved it: You can always rely on Derek Halpern over at Social Triggers to say it how it is. But he doesn’t just make wild claims without backing them up – this video details how mailing lists can drive extra traffic. And that’s pretty neat.

5. Search Marketing With BrightonSEO

Not one but TWO mentions for the team over at BrightonSEO whose marketing conferences contain some truly excellent advice.

Why we loved it: Creating fresh content is hard. Or rather, creating good fresh content is hard. Stacy Cavanagh’s talk taught us how to put process behind idea generation. Once you’ve got a bucket load of ideas you can then whittle these down and find the real stars of the bunch, rather than being forced to work with a concept that’s distinctly “meh”.

Why we loved it: Tim Grice’s talk was music to our ears – engaging content good for SEO? Huzzah! Video packs one heck of an engaging punch and the more people spreading the word the better :)

For more tasty video morsels follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll never miss a thing.

So that’s it for our Summer video round up. Time to batten down the hatches: Winter is coming.

Winter is coming

Categories Video Inspiration, Wider World
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“What are those things at the bottom of my video management page?”

Advanced Video Links

Beyond uploading & embedding it into your website there’s TONS more ways you can use your video throughout your business. There’s lots of really quite cool applications for it and the key to using many of these lies in your advanced video links.

You’ll find these links under each of your videos in your vzaar account. Let’s walk through what they are and what you can do with ‘em…

Animated Thumbnail
Poster Frame
HD Video
Download Video
Download Source File


1. Thumbnail

What is looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/thumb

What is does: Provides a teeny, tiny thumbnail image; 120px by 90px.

How to use it: Organising videos into a collection or gallery. Adding a large number of video players onto one page can mean it takes a long time to load. Instead, create a gallery of clickable thumbnails linking to the videos.

Why it’s useful: Well, aside from the benefit of shorter page loading times there links are particularly handy for two reasons…

    1. Saves time: you don’t need to wait for images to upload to your CMS, all you need to do is input the thumbnail link inside some image tags and hey presto, your video will appear.

    2. Dynamically updates: let’s say you decide to change your video’s poster frame, provided you’ve used this link in your CMS (as opposed to uploading a static image), your video gallery will update to match. No fuss, no muss.

The code: All you need to do is put this image link inside some some html image tags and then link this to your video. It’s that easy. For example, using this code:

<a href="http://vzaar.com/videos/1380051">
<img src="http://view.vzaar.com/1380051/thumb" alt="" /></a>

Will give you this result:


2. Animated Thumbnail

What is looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/athumb

What it does: Like the standard thumbnail but funkier. This is a link to a GIF image, which shows a collection of frames from your video.

How to use it: Pretty much like the regular thumbnail image. The difference is that this thumbnail also provides a little preview of the video itself.

Why it’s useful: As with the regular thumbnail you’ll again save time and your video gallery will dynamically update, but the real benefit of using the animation is that it will help to attract attention to your video and should result in lots of lovely video views.


3. Poster Frame

What is looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/image

What it does: Provides a larger image, either matched to the video’s frame size or 768px across (whichever is bigger). Unlike the thumbnail images, this asset matches the video’s aspect ratio.

How to use it: As a clickable image. Rather than embedding the video, just use the image to fill a decent space on your page. Then, when the image is clicked upon, you can either link to a separate video page, or use Javascript to open a lightbox.

Why it’s useful: There’s a few different benefits depending on how you are using the poster frame link. Two common use cases are:

  • For a video lightbox

    Since you’re only adding an image to your web page, instead of the entire video you can speed up loading times (and this is great both for your user experience and to aid your SEO endeavours). Many people also find lightboxed videos really help to focus the viewer’s attention so they come in handy if you’ve got a particularly important message and you need to make sure it isn’t missed!
  • Adding video to email

    Including a video in your email can increase click through rates by 96% (GetResponse). The problem is that many email providers don’t support video because they simply make the email file size too big. Adding the poster frame link into the email and linking to wherever your video is embedded means you can get the extra clicks without running into difficulties.


4. Video

What is looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/video

What it does: Links to the asset’s MP4 file, with an ‘inline’ content disposition.

How to use it: We’ve seen customers use this link for a lot of things in the past. These have included….

  • Playing a vzaar video in a third party player
  • Creating augmented reality applications
  • Media based applications in iOS and Android
  • To use within HTML5 video tags

Why it’s useful: Put simply, a lot of applications ask for it! To get them to work (and reap the benefits of each) this is the link to use. Let’s go through three of the most popular ones…

Layar: If you’re business that produces a lot of print materials you can add a “Layar” of interactivity (see what I did there :P). Customers scan the print on their mobile and up pops your video. Layar report that customers are 165% more likely to buy a product when it contains an augmented reality component of this kind.

Twitter Player Cards: Twitter have a nifty little feature that lets you add video to your tweets so that the content plays in your audience Twitter feeds (rather than having to click the link to view elsewhere). By enabling Twitter Player Cards your tweet will take up much more space, attracting attention and driving extra engagement. The blog post here will teach you how to enable this.

Slider Revolution: This is a WordPress plugin which lets you create a revolving banner for your website so you can display different messages. By selecting HTML5 from the video options and entering this link you can add your video to one of the banner slides.


5. HD Video

What is looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/video/hd

What it does: Added bonus! If you’re using dual-encoding, we’ll give you separate HD and SD video links. Giving you just that little bit of extra choice.

How to use it: This link can be used in the exact same way as the video link. You could even write a little JavaScript to switch between the two.


6. Download Video

What it looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/download

What it does: Links to the asset’s MP4 file, with an ‘attachment’ content disposition.

How to use it: This links to exactly the same file as the /video link. The difference is the content-disposition header we’ve given it. Opening this link will automatically download the video’s MP4 file.

Why it’s useful: It’s great for quickly sharing project files at work, or giving users the option to save a video for later.


7. Download Source File

What it looks like: http://view.vzaar.com/xxxxxxx/source

What it does: This is another MP4 file link, which becomes available if you’re using source storage. Like the other download links, it has the ‘attachment’ content disposition.

How to use it: These links will let you and your team access those original files quickly, whenever you need them.

Why it’s useful: Source storage let’s you keep a backup of all your video’s original files. If you can’t find your video file locally you don’t need to panic – so long as you’ve got Source Storage enabled you can just go to your vzaar account and download the source file.

Get Started

So there we go! A few ideas to whet your appetite. As always we’re on hand to walk you through any of this stuff so give us a call or drop us a line.

Login to your vzaar account or sign up for a 30 day free trial (no credit card needed!) to give it a go. Let us know how you get on :)