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Archive for YouTube

GC_Med As the online video market matures, like any technology, it becomes more segmented. Online video platforms (OVPs) are like a full set of tools. Whereas as recently as five years ago, the question businesses were asking themselves was whether to use on-line video, now the question is about choosing the right combination of tools to achieve the desired business objective.

The best-known OVPs are those that command huge audiences, first and foremost being YouTube, of course with over a billion visitors a month. Platforms like YouTube have opened the floodgates to creative talent that used to be tightly controlled by tv or newspaper and magazine commissioning editors. They also bring audience sizes bigger than anything previously conceived of in publishing or broadcasting. But, as Mark Suster at Upfront Capital warns us all, these are challenging businesses to succeed in, not just because so much of the income has to be shared with the platform, but because they require a daunting combination of top creative, technical and commercial skills (Both Sides Of The Table).

Most businesses are using video to market something, not producing creative content to captivate large audiences. For most of us, platforms like YouTube are incredibly cost-effective lead generation channels. Suster observes, “YouTube is a distribution and marketing channel like any other.” Except that it delivers vaster audiences, more cost-effectively than any in history, and for some content, it even shares revenue while it does it. However, YouTube is optimised to make money for YouTube. As Suster concludes, “YouTube is simply the top end of your profit funnel.”

YouTube Sits At The Top Of The Funnel

Many of us have read with interest the story that the fashion eCommerce business Bottica posted about their Christmas campaign. They published a brand-building video on YouTube combined with targeted remarketing to those who watched the video but didn’t click through to their site. The original click-through was pretty standard for YouTube, about 0.7% of viewers clicked through to the Bottica site. But combined with the remarketing, the click-through rate was above 10%. For less than $5,000 direct marketing cost, Bottica attracted almost half a million views, and the campaign was undoubtedly profitable and a success on its own terms. This is YouTube doing its job as a phenomenal lead generation tool. So far so good.

But this is not the whole business story, what about further down “the profit funnel”? Because, as Bottica themselves observe, the conversion rate to sales was lower on this campaign than they normally get from their website. In fact, less than 1% of those who viewed the video went on to purchase. This could be in part because the video itself was a beautiful, high-level branding video; visitors were not moved on to more specific sales or product content. And it is also probably because even on the website, the video is hosted on YouTube, so the audience is always being drawn back into the YouTube world optimised to make money for YouTube. If you come to the webpage or video via Google search, you are back on the YouTube video with 0.7% click-through.

Brilliant lead generation is just a cost until and unless it leads to the acquisition of customers.

The Right Tool For The Right Job

The video platform tools needed to convert and retain leads, or to sell and deliver products and services are as different as is a hammer from a chisel. Businesses with specialised and tightly targeted audiences, of which the world of video publishing and online tv is full, need tools to market tightly to a known audience.

MoneyWeek, the UK’s best selling financial publication, are a good example of a company that recognised that “a lot of YouTube views go to waste. After watching our videos a huge chunk of people head off into the rest of YouTube. As our viewing figures mounted we weren’t seeing a difference in our bottom line.”

They want to draw interested parties to their website, keep them there, share valuable informational or educational content with them securely and convert as many as possible to paying customers who they retain. MoneyWeek’s Andrew Williams explains, “We still post a lot of our videos to YouTube. But we annotate those videos, advertising one exclusive video on MoneyWeek each week. Because we have secure video hosting at vzaar, we ensure that the videos we embed on our site cannot be made available anywhere else.”

The “narrow neck” of the marketing funnel needs video platforms that are integral parts of the the business’s website, over which they have much more control over branding and playback, and greater security over their proprietary content.

Categories Video Marketing, Wider World
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Think Strategically When Video Marketing

I heard something this week. Something that got me more than a little frustrated. A friend asked me for some video hosting advice, “Our agency told us the best way to get video on our website was to use YouTube”

Hmm, well, maybe. But I dived a little deeper.

My first question was to ask what the business was aiming to achieve with the video. The response? Lead generation. Cue the frustration. Not at my friend. At the agency. It just bamboozles me to hear advice like this. Stick with me, I’ll explain why…

A lot of people hear the words “online video” and immediately jump to YouTube. This is a knee jerk reaction. It isn’t a video marketing strategy. And your video marketing efforts will amount to nothing if you haven’t gotten your strategy straight first.

I want to make this very clear: every decision you make when you’re creating a video is determined by your goal. The content, the distribution, the various different tools your use. Everything.

Goal 1: Leads/ Conversions

Video Content: You need to create a video that matches the content on your page. Are you trying to sell a product? Include a product review video. Are you pushing a new online course? Show how amazing your subject matter experts are with a teaser trailer.

Video Hosting Platform: Embed on your website using a secure video hosting platform.

Why not just upload to YouTube and embed that video on site? Well, a few reasons.

  • Traffic. Embedding video on site is good for your search rankings. Google likes quality content, and video is an important ranking factor here (SearchMetrics). But, if you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube you’ll actually find that the video drives traffic to YouTube, instead of your site. And once your customer hits YouTube you’ve basically lost them to the black hole that is cute cat videos. In fact, click through rates from YouTube are just 0.72% ( Optimizing Videos For Engines)

  • Control. In order to convert a viewer you need them to visit your site, and stay on it. You need to reduce the leaking points on your page, that is links that take visitors away from you. And the youTube player has a very big one – just hit the logo and off you go back to those cat videos.

Video Tools:

  • Video Sitemap: Yes, there’s been some changes recently to how Google shows videos in the search results. Gone are the heydays of beautiful rich snippet content (sob). But video SEO is still important. Be sure to tell Google there’s a video on your page, and what it’s about, so that your pages start to rank for a given search query.

  • Speechpad: Including a video transcript on your page will mean you’ve got lots of keyword rich copy. Hello search results :) Speechpad is an inexpensive way to do this.

  • End Screen Text: Use a call to action and link to a page of your choice (could be an add to basket, for example) and you could increase conversions by 144% (Quick Sprout)

Goal 2: Links & Social Shares

Video Content: For people to share something they need to feel something. Emotions that work particularly well here are hilarity, exhilaration and personal triumph (The Science of Video Sharing)

Video Hosting Platform: Embed on your website using a secure video hosting platform.

When someone shares your video you want them to be sharing the link to your specific site – not YouTube. You’ve put time and effort into creating shareable content so make sure it’s your site that’s getting the lovely linky goodness.

Video Tools:

  • Social Sharing: Make sure you’ve got social sharing buttons within the video player itself. This will act as a prompt for your viewers to share, and also just makes it super easy for them to do so.

  • Branded Video: It’s also a good idea to overlay a brand logo or text onto your video. This means that every time the content gets shared everyone knows which business lies behind that fantastic content.

Goal 3: Brand Awareness

Video Content: Think about the business videos that have gotten the most views in recent years. Dollar Shave Club and BlendTec’s “Will It Blend” Series instantly jump to mind. They were humorous, they took an interesting angle. They weren’t your regular corporate videos. Entertainment is key here.

Video Hosting Platform: YouTube really comes into its own here.

YouTube has a huge global audience. If the aim of your business game is to get as many eyeballs on your video as possible, it’s a great choice. Just make sure you’ve produced the aforementioned entertaining content, of course. Uploading a very dry client testimonial (for instance) isn’t likely to get you the huge viewing figures that YouTube is capable of.

Video Tools:

Optimize for YouTube. Make sure your video gets found among the countless others. Using keywords in titles and tags is key.

In Summary…

Stop thinking of YouTube as the one stop shop for business video marketing. Instead use your video content intelligently. Create content suitable for different stages of the funnel, and then host it in the place that makes sense for your goals:

  • Top of funnel content aimed at raising awareness of your brand – YouTube.

  • Bottom of the funnel content aimed at conversion – secure video hosting platform.

Happy video-ing :)


Categories Video Marketing
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Only YouTube videos show up in Google right?

One of the most common misconceptions in the world of video SEO is that if you want your video to be shown in Google, you need to upload it to YouTube.

This just isn’t the case. And this result from our friends at MoneyWeek proves it.


Here we have a video which has been embedded on the MoneyWeek website. Not only is this video coming up in the search results, it’s actually out ranking its YouTube equivalent.

By making sure it’s your own web page that appears, rather than YouTube, you’ll see a lot more targeted traffic heading your way:

  • Videos have 41% higher click through rate than plain text results (Econsultancy)
  • Using videos on site can increase search engine traffic by 157% (Attivio)

How did MoneyWeek do it?

They used a video sitemap.

Video Sitemap ExampleA video sitemap is an XML feed which provides Google with information about the videos on your site. By providing Google with things like your video’s title and description it can better understand whether it is an appropriate result for a given search query.

The reason we often see YouTube videos in the search results is simply because Google automatically gets all the information it needs from YouTube meaning it can easily determine whether to show a particular video result.

SEO expert Phil Nottingham of Distilled told us, “YouTube is obviously the biggest video platform on earth. It’s a Google property so Google automatically get all the information from YouTube so YouTube videos will get indexed very very quickly. But, that doesn’t mean that they inherently have preference.”

But, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t provide Google with information about videos embedded on your own site – that’s exactly what a video sitemap is for.

Google then uses the information in your video sitemap to display the information and thumbnail whenever potential clients perform a search relevant to your content.

Does YouTube have a place in business video marketing?

Well, as Harriet Cummings, Copy Editor at Distilled puts it, “YouTube is like the Hotel California of websites – people never leave. It’s too easy to get distracted by all the great pieces of related content, going from one thing to the next until you forget what the heck you were after in the first place.”

If your aim is to increase sales of a particular product YouTube probably isn’t the best environment to put your video in. There’s just too many distractions – ads for other products, related video links – which reduce the likelihood of the viewer clicking through to buy your product.

On the other hand, the YouTube audience is vast. You can use it to raise brand awareness. But, remember that YouTube is a place people go to be entertained – often by hilarious cats – you need to bear this in mind when you post your vide content.

Phil’s advice?

“Rather than thinking is (my video) going to rank better if I put it on YouTube or on my own website you should really think about the users themselves and work out what do you want the users to do.

If its the kind of video that’s there to improve your brand and raise awareness it might be OK for them to go to YouTube and view the video there. But if your video is tied to a specific action like a product video that’s going to help people purchase things on a page then putting it on YouTube is probably not the best option.

The question is do you want users on your site or do you want them on YouTube?”

Next Steps

Ready to create your video sitemap? Sign up to a 30 day free trial of vzaar to get started.

Want a little more info? Check out:

Distilled: Killer Video SEO Tips
How To Create A Video Sitemap
vzaar: Devs Explain Video Sitemaps
Distilled: Optimizing Videos For SEO
Video SEO Help Document

Categories Video Marketing
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Harriet_Cummings_-_Copy_EditorHarriet Cummings is Copy Editor at creative online marketing company Distilled where she does all sorts of nice things with copy and what-not. When feeling particularly energetic, she goes head first into big projects such as tone of voice and content strategy makeovers. She does need a cup of tea afterwards, mind.

Here she explains some of the common myths surrounding YouTube and video SEO…

Given that YouTube is owned by Google, there’s a common misconception that to optimize videos for SEO you should feature YouTube embeds on your site. However, if you’re trying to increase the traffic to your own site, this really isn’t the best thing to do. The first priority of YouTube is to drive traffic to its own site where it can ring up the dollars selling ad space. Meanwhile yours is left with as many visitors as a lido at Christmas.

In this blog, we’re going to set the story straight, debunking some of the myths that surround this topic.

Myth: Only YouTube videos will show up in Google search results.

You can, in fact, use almost any platform for your videos, allowing you to choose one that will direct results to your own site.

Myth: A YouTube embed on a page helps it to rank better.

Most SEO research suggests that this is a load of old codswallop. The best way to increase the rankings of a page is by ensuring it has plenty of lovely inbound links.

Myth: Getting my content seen is all that matters.

YouTube is like the Hotel California of websites – people never leave. It’s too easy to get distracted by all the great pieces of related content, going from one thing to the next until you forget what the heck you were after in the first place.

People don’t visit YouTube to find products and services to buy. They want to be entertained, made to laugh, and possibly shown a kitten wearing a bow tie. This means they won’t search for your content. And to make matters worse, using YouTube to host means that the version of your video on youtube.com will be competing against you in the site rankings.

The golden rule? Remember that most of us humans have the attention span of a puppy on its birthday and need as much help as possible to find your site. And, of course, if we never make it that far, we can’t buy your stuff, crank up those conversion rates, or do any of the things you want us to.

So, how do I get a video ranking in the Google search results for my website?

Host with a secure platform

You’ll need to use a paid platform (such as vzaar) which allows you to ensure that the only visible version of the video is the one embedded on your site.

Video Sitemaps

In case you didn’t already know, it’s essential to create a video sitemap entry for each video. Confused? A sitemap is a kind of XML feed which details metadata that allows search engines to find and index your videos. vzaar have just launched their new Video Sitemaps feature which will allow you to fully automate the process without having to worry about the specific technical wizardry, but if you’d like to learn more, check out this easy to follow blog on the subject.

Are you saying you should never put videos on YouTube?

Not at all. One of the largest search engines in the world, YouTube runs second place after Google. YouTube is, then, a mightily powerful marketing tool and can be used to achieve wonderful things. But before enthusiastically uploading all video content, wrap your head around the following:

  • Any content you upload to YouTube needs to be relevant to a YouTube audience

Bearing in mind that the main reason people visit YouTube is to be entertained or informed by a video, often unconcerned about specific brands, you need to ask yourself, “does my video help solve a specific problem for a set of web users?”. If you’ve created product explainer videos, or something very sales focused, then the likelihood is that this content won’t be useful for people searching on YouTube.com.

  • To provide value, videos need to help build your brand identity

As YouTube typically doesn’t drive much traffic back to other websites (YouTube users normally stay on YouTube to watch more videos rather than clicking away to another site) the main value businesses will get from a presence on YouTube is brand awareness. This means, to achieve tangible marketing benefit from the platform, videos need to aid in cementing brand positioning in some way. For more details, check out this post on the marketing value of YouTube.

Want to get your hands on more advanced info? Watch Phil’s presentation from SearchLove 2012.

Additional Resources

Distilled: Killer Video SEO Tips

vzaar: Devs Explain Video Sitemaps

How To Create A Video Sitemap

Video SEO Help Document

Categories Community, Video Marketing, Wider World
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