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Archive for Video Management

Video Management! It may not sound like the most exciting of topics, but a little care in setting up your video hosting account can go a long way in the future. If you don’t have your video management down then you could be wasting a lot of time and effort trying to keep your account in order. And it’s my job to stop that happening.

Before I dive into some of the cool (well, you know if you’re a video nerd…) tricks that will get your vzaar account in tip top condition, first a quick recap of how the vzaar settings work.

Global Settings vs. Individual Settings

Global settings can be found in that big green bar at the top of your page. These are account wide settings. Any changes you make in this section will apply to every video in your account. Getting your global settings how you want ‘em saves you time in the long run, because you won’t have to make changes for each individual video – all the presets are in place.

Global Settings In vzaar Account

It’s a good idea to take a scan through the various tabs on the left and make sure you’re happy with all of these default settings, because the vast majority of the videos in your account are going to use them.

Account Settings Tabs in vzaar

Of course, there will be times when you will want a certain video to behave differently than the rest of the videos in your account. Perhaps you’ve got a particular campaign or course that needs to use a different color player (or whatever). This is where individual settings come in. You can go into the individual video and make a change – safe in the knowledge that the rest of the videos in your account remain unaffected.

By splitting out global and individual settings we allow you to save time by setting up a default ‘template’ for all your videos, whilst still giving you the flexibility to make changes on the fly. This helps should a particular video require a slight tweak.

Of course global settings assume that you’re mainly using videos in one way. It assumes that videos that don’t fit your default setup are few and far between; that it’s rare for you to need to change individual video settings.

But, as video becomes more and more prevalent throughout businesses it starts to be used in various different ways.

Let’s imagine you’re an eLearning company. You’ve got some videos which are for students eyes only. They contain the course content that you spent time and money developing . Your business is built upon charging those students to access your expertise. In this case you need to keep your videos private and secure.

At the same time, however, you’re also using videos to market your business. Here, you want as many people as possible watching them. It doesn’t make sense to restrict views. Instead, you want them public, downloadable and shareable.

Now let’s say you’ve got roughly equal numbers of these two very different types of video. For which do you choose to set up your global default settings? Either way, you’re going to spend a lot of time making individual changes to the other set of videos.

Now, remember those cool tricks I mentioned? Let coolness commence…

Use Multi User Accounts To Manage Different Global Settings

Multi User Accounts is a feature which allows you to set up different user logins under the same account. Whilst it’s primarily designed for easy team collaboration, it’s pretty flexible and you can make it work in different ways….

1. Per User Global Settings

Let’s go back to our example. If you’ve got some videos which you need to keep secure, and some you want to share as widely as possible, all you need to do is set up two different “users”.

One is your “security user” the other is your “marketing user”. Each of these users can then have their own global settings. All videos you upload to your secure profile will remain just that – secure. All videos you upload to your marketing profile will include social sharing, downloading, end screen text and all the other powerful video marketing features we put at your finger tips.

The video here shows you how to set up these users – be sure to enable “custom user settings” (this is the part that allows different global settings per user).

2. Create Test User Profiles To Try New Settings

OK. Now let’s say you’ve just embarked on an entirely different video project. You’ve got a developer (or two) working on implementing a new library of videos. And you want these videos to behave in an entirely different way to the rest of your account videos.

In this case, it’s useful to set up a dev or test user profile (under that same Multi User Accounts feature). This way your devs can experiment away to their hearts content. All of your existing videos remain protected in your main account, meanwhile the devs can test out various settings to see how they work in practice.

3. Allow Different Videos To Play On Different Domains

And finally, for my last trick, a bit of manipulation of our domain control feature.

Domain control is a great security feature. It means that your video embed code is locked down to only the domain(s) you specify. If someone tries to embed the video elsewhere, it won’t play and their viewers will be met with an error message.

Sometimes, businesses have a few different domains on which they want different videos to play. A publisher for instance, with lots of different brand websites. In this case, you could set up a different user profile per domain.

All videos uploaded to your “domain x” user profile will only play on x.com, all videos uploaded to your “domain y” user profile will only play on y.com, all videos uploaded to your “domain z” user profile will only play on… well, you get the picture.

In Summary

So there we have it, hopefully these tips will help you to create the account structure of your dreams (well, you know, if your dreams tend to be about well organised, well maintained video hosting accounts – just me?).

Here’s your video management checklist. Follow these steps and you’ll have one great looking vzaar account :)

  • Set up your global account settings and they’ll apply to all videos uploaded into your account. Every now and then, if you need to change these settings you can, using the individual video settings.

  • If you find that you’re changing more and more individual video settings, consider setting up a second user profile, and using its global settings to create a secondary template for different types of videos (internal vs. external videos for example).

  • Whenever you embark on a new video project, create a test user profile. Any changes you make to your test user’s global settings will not impact your main video content, so you don’t need to worry about making any mistakes.

  • Finally, if you want some videos to play on one domain, while other videos to play on another, use Multi User Accounts in conjunction with Domain Control. Create a user profile for each of your domains and that should do the trick!

Our Essential Feature Set – available on all plans – comes with 5 users. This means you can create up to 5 different user profiles, which should be enough for you to play around with if you’re just starting out.

As your video content grows you may find you need a few more users to help you manage the load. Our Advanced Feature Set comes with 25 users, while the Premium Feature set has 50. This should be plenty for most clients – but if you do find yourself needing more, you can always get in touch to discuss with one of your video experts.

You can find out more about what’s included in each Feature Set here.

Happy video managing :)

Categories Video Management, vzaar FAQ
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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 mid 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.

Features___Content_Delivery_Network

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

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?

Wrong!

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 :)

Whenever content is delivered online; be it a video, a picture, a blog or something else entirely, you’ll always need to consider how that material is secured. Security allows you to manage who can access your content, providing a potential means of keeping sensitive information out of the public domain, monetising your content, or ensuring that it isn’t distributed elsewhere.

However, whenever something is made more secure, it also becomes less accessible. Imagine you have a simple login system, which controls who accesses your page. The benefit is you can now sell subscriptions, but you’re undoubtedly going to encounter a situation where a member of your audience cannot login.

This trade-off also carries over into the world of video delivery, where video piracy and playback performance are hot issues. The trick is to make things as secure as possible, without hindering your audience….but how?

Well, at vzaar we give you as much control and choice as possible – it’s up to you which you prefer; greater security, or more accessible content. The decision often depends on how you are using video within your business.

Video Delivery Options

RTMPe video streaming

Our secure video delivery method is called RTMPe. It is an encrypted variant of Adobe’s RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) protocol. RTMPe works by breaking your video up into many smaller fragments, each of which is only sent to the viewer as playback requires it. This is commonly referred to as video streaming.

The advantage of streaming is that your viewers never have that whole video file. This makes it much harder for the video to be copied, because the whole file’s never present on the viewer’s computer.

Here’s a quick video from Terry, which illustrates

Now, remember that trade-off I mentioned earlier? By making the video more secure, we have made it less accessible. As the file is secured by fragmenting it and delivering it at the point of use, the viewer’s connection needs to maintain a constant reliable speed. Most of the time that won’t be much of an issue but (just like some people forget passwords) some viewer’s connections will be more problematic than others.

HTTP Progressive Download

The more accessible alternative, which vzaar offers, is delivering video content via HTTP. HTTP is the standard delivery method for the majority of content on the web. Whenever you view a picture, open an article, or view your Facebook feed, it’s delivered via HTTP.

What HTTP does really well is downloading as much information, as quickly as possible. That can be really great for online video because the video downloads ahead of playback, so the content’s ready before you are. If your connection slows down, or drops entirely, the next few minutes of your video are already ready and waiting.

Also, because HTTP is the standard protocol for web content, it operates over a port which is almost always open (port 80). If you’re working on a secure network, you may find your company has blocked off some ports for security purpose (yet another instance of our trade-off). However, because port 80 is so universally required, it is very rarely closed.

So Which Video Delivery Method Should You Choose?

Horses for courses: the right tools for the right job

Let’s imagine for a second that you’re a marketer, whose prime objective is getting your content out to as many people as possible. In this situation your principal concern will be ensuring that everyone hears your message. There’s nothing worse than a willing viewer with technical difficulties.

Accessibility is key here and HTTP delivery is the perfect tool for the job.

By contrast, let’s say you’re running a course of lectures and charging students a fee to sign up. The last thing you want is someone downloading the video and sending it to all their friends. After all, those people are your potential customers.

In this scenario, use RTMPe streaming. It ensures that your content cannot be downloaded and is only accessible from one source. You.

Wrapping Up…

These two scenarios highlight something important. Whilst there is, and will always be, a trade-off between security and accessibility, there’s no correct balance. You’ll always find some methods more secure and others more open.

The solution is dependant upon your own objective. Our goal here is to be flexible and give you two of the best tools. One that’s very secure and another, which is open as things get.

Thanks for reading and a happy new year!

Download How To Secure Video Content

Categories Video Management, vzaar FAQ
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Help With Video ConversionDid you ever launch your video only not to see the same conversion rates that you were expecting? You may conclude “well, video just doesn’t work for us” but it may be that you haven’t implemented it properly. Sometimes when something isn’t working, it’s hard to understand why. Online video is still something a lot of businesses are grappling with; best practices are still emerging and it can be tough to do video well.

As a video hosting company we see all sorts of companies doing all sorts of things with their videos. So we’ve got a pretty good understanding of what works, and what doesn’t.

One of the most common video goals is conversion. And in general there’s 3 traps that can catch people out. If you’re finding your video isn’t converting, don’t immediately write it off. Spending time working at video, researching and experiementing can pay dividends. When done right, video can really pack a punch (all the stats here).

To help you troubleshoot what’s going wrong with your video strategy, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Where is your video hosted?

First things first, since your goal here is conversions, do not upload your video to YouTube. YouTube is great if you want to raise brand awareness, but it’s not great at sending traffic to your site. Phil Nottingham of Distilled actually did some research into this and found that the average CTR from YouTube is a measly 0.72% (check out his deck on optimizing video for search engines for more.)

Think about it: the YouTube audience is there to be entertained. As soon as a viewer is done watching your video they’re much more likely to click on to the next video, and the next and so on and so forth. Uploading your video to YouTube and you’ll lose your viewers to cute cats.

Instead, embed your video on your site. Only then will you have complete control over the viewer experience.

2. How long is your video?

You need people to stick around long enough to process your message and get excited about buying your product or signing up to your course. Take another look at your video content. Or, ask a friend or two who won’t mind giving you an honest, critical appraisal. To maximise your video conversions, make sure that you:

Get the the point.

Most people switch off after the first 8 seconds (National Center for Biotechnology Information) you really only have a short time frame to hook your viewer.

Tell a story.

The good news is that once you have successfully hooked your viewer, it is possible to maintain their interest. Simply by telling them a story. We as humans are hard wired to appreciate stories – they were central to our evolution. In fact, telling a good story can increase levels of Oxytocin in the brain. And it’s this chemical that makes people motivated to cooperate (Harvard Business Review). Hello extra video conversions!

Keep it snappy.

Our research shows that the average length of a promotional video is less than 60 seconds. Of course, for different types of videos different lengths may be more appropriate. But as a general rule of thumb make sure you convey your key message within that 60 second window.

Average Video Length

3. Have you used a call to action?

What happens at the end of your video? If your answer here is “nothing”, you need to fix that. It’s important to tell your viewer what they should do next. If your content has been successful at motivating them to buy, provide the “add to cart button” there and then – don’t make them hunt for it.

In fact, using a call to action can increase conversions by 144% (Quick Sprout)

It’s such a simple trick to add some end screen text to your video (check out the demo below), and yet it’s one that is very often overlooked.

Of course there’s TONS more you can do with your videos. And loads more tools you have at your disposal. To find out how vzaar can help your videos meet their business goals, sign up to a free trial or get in touch – always happy to help.

Until next time, bye for now :)