The Secret Sauce of Video Advertising

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
Tim Goodell

If you’ve ever had to prepare a meal for a large group of people, then you might be familiar with the value of the most-holy ‘secret sauce’; that singular, crafty and reliable blend of spices, jellies or creams that can be added to virtually anything. The ‘secret sauce’ is the surefire way to save a bad dinner or push a good dinner into being a great dinner. It turns straw to gold and rags to riches. It makes your final product that much better for your audience; better still, it makes you look better to that audience. To improve your odds in product or content marketing, your ‘secret sauce’ is a functional, repeatable video advertising strategy.

Which Recipe is Best For You?

There are several different platforms that can assist you with a formal video advertising campaign, but the giants of these for the last few years (as well as the foreseeable future) have been Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Any/all of these are viable platforms on which to launch a video advertising campaign, but there are different audiences, reaches, and types of campaigns that are more effective for each. There are many factors that ought to be considered when planning a video advertising campaign, but for the sake of choosing between these three platforms, your campaign’s audience, your budget, and your expected duration are the deciding factors that should dictate which platform might be best for you.

YouTube is the world’s leading video platform and the world’s second largest search engine, so it makes sense that this platform has the widest reach of any video platform in the world. There are several types of YouTube ads, but in the context of a video advertising campaign, there is only one type of ad that should concern you: Trueview Ads.  These are ads that you only pay for if your target audience clicks on them. You can target your audience with very specific identifiers such as age, gender, interests, income level, and geographical location. Keep in mind, YouTube only presents the user with the option to interact after the first five seconds of video; so, if your content is not interesting enough to hold the user’s attention by that point, he or she will be to skip past to the next video and to leave your content behind. Using TrueView, you will not be charged for ads that aren’t seen, which allows you the financial bandwidth to review and adjust without investing substantial money.

Facebook also allows you to target your video ad audience precisely, perhaps even more precisely than YouTube’s TrueView. Facebook allows you to laser-focus your audience. Whereas TrueView ads might allow you to target audiences that like ‘restaurants’, Facebook ads will allow you to target audiences that ‘like the Chicken Madeira at the Cheesecake Factory at its Towson, MD location’ and market directly to that incredibly specific audience. The shortcomings of this advertising platform, in comparison to the earlier discussed ‘TrueView’ platform, are the cost and the reach. On the one hand, the targeting of the advertising is so precise that you can’t possibly miss. On the other, there’s no such thing as free advertising in this realm, and if your target audience doesn’t use facebook, this platform does nothing for you. In this scenario, your audience and your budget will determine whether or not Facebook is your ace in the hole. 

Lastly, we turn to LinkedIn, a new challenger in the video advertising market which has really shown some promise in the last year alone. LinkedIn’s audience type exists natively in the platform; while you can target your specific audience type by job position or interest, you always have a certain level of assurance that you are reaching out to professionals on the professional network. But LinkedIn’s ad process also comes with something of a twist. After selecting a post to promote on LinkedIn as an ad, you will then find yourself placing a bid for your ad’s placement. As a desirable place to market B2B content, LinkedIn has taken a page from Google Adwords’ book and formulated a system of bidding for ads in more favorable locations on a page. If your budget can take the suggested bids for the market you’re looking to sell in, then LinkedIn is an excellent audience for your B2B content.

Don’t Forget to Do a Taste Test!

Now you may begin to see your digital marketing ‘secret sauce’ take shape. Once you have taken the time to figure out which platform best fits your budget, your audience and your intended campaign duration, filling out the input fields for your preferred platform accordingly should be fairly straightforward. But launching your campaign is not a one-touch solution to all your problems! The most important part of running an advertising campaign is measuring the analytics and the effectiveness of your first attempt, revising/tweaking the campaign to enhance it or make it even more targeted, and then re-launching it to see how your adjustments affect the second attempt. Make small investments of money until you feel that your campaign is reaching exactly the audience you’re looking to reach with it; then, and only then, can you begin to put larger amounts of money into play, and launch your campaign into high gear.

Contents Will Be Hot!

This is your ‘secret sauce’ revealed to you; the repeatable list of settings that you can use over and over again to reach your existing audience with new video offers, new video developments and new video content. What’s more, using this method you can enable your audience to grow and change, and to become, ultimately, more qualified. Continue to measure your video advertising campaign as you add new content to it, and identify any tweaks that need to be made to improve the campaign as it runs. And, if it didn’t go without saying, focus on making quality video content. If you need help with that, I know of some qualified individuals who might be able to lend a hand….(hint: it’s us!) visit myrender.com to learn more!


5 Pro Tips for Using Video in Email

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Tim Goodell

Have you been checking your office email inbox lately? If you’re like me, you probably have a lot of emails from all kinds of online marketers, each of them trying to convince you that their latest service package is going to revolutionize your business strategy. Most of them communicate relatively the same thing in relatively the same way, but more importantly, most of them look exactly the same to the average recipient. Even if what you’re saying is mind-bogglingly important, human beings are quick to tire of the mundane and repetitive; so, after a quick glance, most of these emails go straight to the trash bin without so much as a second thought, and your important message is never read. If you want your audience to hear your message, retain your information, and respond to what you have to say, then you have to differentiate yourself to magnetize their attention. When it comes to email, this means being visual as well as informational. And the best way to communicate information visually is- you guessed it- using video.

Create a Magnetic Thumbnail Image

Video is on a steep rise in every category of marketing strategy, but email is a particularly simplistic and case-specific medium which demands forethought and creativity from the video marketer. Emails do not host or contain your video content, but they do host and contain images with no trouble at all. So, how do we connect our email recipients with our video content? Simple…we create a thumbnail image with a ‘play’ button. We can hyperlink this image to wherever the video content is hosted on the web, creating a simple bridge between email and video with a single click. Recipients are absolutely compelled to click on a ‘play’ button, in the same way that a big red button on a lit pedestal in the middle of a dark room just has to be pushed. Creating a thumbnail featuring an interesting image combined with a big, noticeable ‘play’ button communicates very quickly to the recipient that your message content is available as a video and that they can absorb it quickly and conveniently, and you’ll be amazed at how much of your audience is willing to commit to that proposition.

Keep it Short

Remember that your strategy hinges on the attention span of your audience, which means being informative without being tiresome. Video has been known to increase the duration of audience attention spans by as much as 2 minutes over written content, but that doesn’t mean that your audience will just as happily sit through a ten-minute video with no interesting visual content at all. Videos sent to broad audiences through email should be kept to a strict 3 minute maximum, and the shorter, the better. The shorter and clearer your message is, the better your audience will retain it.

Brand Your Content

What good is it to share a message using video if that video isn’t driving audiences back towards your organization or your brand? If you would brand the written content of your email, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t brand the video content of your email as well. Regardless of whether your video content is hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, or some other video platform that better suits your service offering, create a quick graphic opening (or at least a title card) that identifies you as the content creator. If your audience has spared you the time to watch your content, then it’s clear that they want to know more about who you are; make it easier for them, not harder!

Include “Video” in Your Subject Line

The word ‘video’ on an email’s subject line has been proven to boost email open rates by 19% and increase email click-through rates by 65%. Audiences have been trained to recognize certain email subject lines as containing messages or content that they don’t particularly care about, or that is not relevant to their needs. If you’re using video in your email strategy, and you aren’t seeing this rise in audience engagement, it’s probably because your audience doesn’t know that you’re using video in your email strategy. Be sure to title a message that includes video appropriately, using the word ‘video’, to attract more recipient opens and to make sure that your message is heard!

Measure Your Engagement

Video content is extremely high-value content, but it takes time to create and strong video content can sometimes be costly. In order to justify the use of video within your organization, you need to be able to track the value of video within your strategy. Your email’s open rate, clickthrough rate, subscriber rate and (most importantly) the rate of improvement are all metrics that mean nothing if you aren’t keeping track of how video enables each rate to rise. Keep track of the analytics for your email marketing, but also keep track of the analytics for your video on whatever platform hosts it. Video analytics can tell you about the moments in the video that caused audiences to drop off, where your audience is watching from, what time of day the audience is most likely to watch video content, and much more. Using these analytics, you can create stronger, more relevant content in the future and turn a simple A-B test into a full blown video marketing campaign using email. 

Wrapping Up

For the time being, email remains the most-used method of business communication. Video, meanwhile, remains a powerful tool for any marketing strategy, so it makes perfect sense to combine these assets. Using video as part of your email strategy is a net gain, and is also a simple way to expand your audience and to bring more potential clients under your brand’s umbrella. If you want to know more about how and why to use video in your emails, we’d like nothing more than to show you how it is that we do it ourselves. Subscribe to our email newsletter, and check out the many ways in which email can make a real difference in a video marketing strategy!


Using Video to Optimize Your Website

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
Tim Goodell

Google first acquired video giant YouTube on November 13th, 2006. If it wasn’t one before, video became an essential part of any digital strategy at this point in video marketing history. Where we once marketed cigarettes, milk, and butter through five to ten minutes of visual media (circa 1920), we can now market something as monumental as a luxury timeshare in as little as five seconds.

The power of video has now outright dominated as a marketing tool for going on a century, and shows no sign of losing steam anytime soon, but video also offers advantages beyond sales enablement. It’s no secret that a properly optimized video can reach an audience all on its own, but did you know that hosting videos and linking them to your company’s web presence can actually help index your company with Google and other search engines?

DOUBLING YOUR ODDS

As early as 2009, Forrester was able to measure the impacts of video on webpage search ranking. Content Marketer Shawn Forno of Shareaholic derived from that report that pages with video were 53% more likely to be listed on page one of the Google search results. That means you are more than doubling your likelihood of being found in the first 15-20 results by hosting video on your page.

In addition, video provides a strong backlink to your page and your domain when shared. Embedding a hosted video on social media or any other website, whether viewed or not, creates a network that builds trust with Google. The more videos you host and embed, the more backlinks you create; the more backlinks you create, the stronger the trust, and the better your ranking becomes.

PAGE ACTIVITY

Page stay duration and page activity are two more metrics that improve your Google search ranking, both of which are directly impacted by video. We don’t even have to go looking for statistics, here; we have our own!

The Render Perfect Newsletter is delivered between one and three times a month, depending on the month. This gives us up to three chances each month to measure the effects of video on user clicks. Typically our newsletters contain several clickable images; yet, over a period of 8 months in 2015, we saw a steady rise of 24% in clicks due to one thing, and one thing only…the addition of a play button. Embedding (or in our case, linking) a playable video magnetized the clicks of our audience, and it is guaranteed to do the same for yours. In addition to clicks, the implementation of video content extends the page stay of visitors who may want additional information, another metric that builds trust with Google. 

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

All of these video enhancements do not go unnoticed by Google. Although only Google execs know exactly what Google’s algorithm is, we do know that each and every metric- from number of clicks to length of stay on a page- will be tallied and used to calculate the ranking of that page. The wider and more attentive your audience is in relation to your content, the better your rank will be.

In addition, if more than one page has a high ranking, than the ranking of your web domain begins to grow, as well. The better your average page ranking, the better your domain ranking. Imagine if every page on your website had searchable, “rank-able” video to boost that overall number. The difference would be astronomical.

If you need help putting together strong video content to rank your pages and your domain higher, we’re here to help! Call our office at 410.853.7892 or send us an email via info@myrender.com, and let us help you get started on video marketing today!


The Anti-Viral Video Strategy

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
Tim Goodell

It’s Not as Simple as One-And-Done

When brands of any size first enter the video marketing arena, the golden phrase that the CEO’s tend to repeat most often is “viral video”

The good news is that, yes, if your brand is successful in creating a viral video, it will turn your organization into an unstoppable juggernaut with the momentum of a charging rhino.  But the bad news is that creating a viral video is about as likely as winning 26 billion dollars in the lottery. And if you can do that, then you don’t really even need to sell your brand. 

If your only plan is to devote your time and your resources to a viral video effort, you’re likely to fail. But, before you give up on video content, behold the alternative: Hero, Hub, and Hygiene Content. Each type of video performs well enough on its own, but when combined as an ongoing strategy and given the time to grow, these videos can outperform even the most infectious of all viral videos.

Hero

Hero content is loud and proud and builds brand awareness, like a signal light summoning a superhero. This is what you might call the “really good video” that channels momentum into awareness and effectively communicates your brand to the unaware audience. It may tug on the heartstrings or form a connection with the audience, or it may promote an event or celebrate a local success. This is how a viral video is born; content that falls under this category is the most likely to be shared. But don’t put all your eggs in the “viral” basket! Focus on creating great content, and let the audience decide if it deserves to be shared. 

Example: Will you ever forget who was responsible for the epic space jump of Felix Baumgartner? This is Red Bull’s “hero” video!

Hub

Hub content is the champion of the every day. Whether your hero content goes viral or not, hub content continues to lean on your existing audience. Hub content isn’t built to go viral, nor should it be. Instead, hub content is shared frequently and with reliable simplicity. Hub content is the most likely to solicit audience interaction and get new insight into how your audience thinks. Think of it a gentle and constant reminder that you are there and that your presence and service packages benefit them.

Example: GoPro is the master of Hub Content. Practically every week there is a new video featuring GoPro’s users and how they have put the GoPro cameras to new and creative uses. A gentle but constant reminder that you can do things with GoPros that you can’t do with any other cameras.

Hygiene

Hygiene content is content created to respond to a problem, question, concern or pain point. Similar to how you might reach out to a dentist if you have a toothache, your audience is unknowingly reaching for hygiene content when they offer their problems to the company ear. Seizing this opportunity to create hygiene content not only builds trust in your brand, but also prompts your satisfied customers to share your content and continue growing your audience.

Example: Can you think of people in your circle who have problems similar to the ones depicted in this commercial? Most of us can! This is a great way of addressing a pain point that multiple clients share; therefore, perfect hygiene content!

With these powerful types of content working in tandem, you can’t possibly be outdone by a viral video, and you needn’t risk the investment with an unnecessary gamble. If Hero, Hub, and Hygeine content is still in any way confusing to you, we’re here to help! Call our office at 410.853.7892 or send us an email via info@myrender.com, and let us help you get started on video marketing today!


Today’s Strategy is Tomorrow’s Victory

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Tim Goodell

When you market using video content, you have the opportunity to reach a wider audience, tell your story more fluently, and cultivate retention. These are the ultimate goals of the practice; or, in chess terms, the ‘checkmate’. But your opponents have the same goals in mind, and they are making similar movements across the board. So, how do you counter their efforts? The simple answer is this:

Make a Strategy, and Stick to It.

The game of chess is often used as a metaphor. On the one hand, one hates to beat a dead horse; but, on the other, there is a reason that the cliche stands strong after all these years. In the game of chess, the only way to achieve victory is to remain one move ahead of your opponent. Be it small or large, each action must be planned in advance to continue your movement toward the final objective. Ultimately, the player with the more extensive strategy becomes the victor.

Video Marketing is much the same.

In the last decade the usage of video elements in marketing campaigns has skyrocketed. And why not? brainshark.com reports that the mere use of the word ‘video’ in an email subject line increases the open rate of that email by 19%. Modern marketers are anxious to jump on the video bandwagon and turn this powerful medium into a conversion asset. However, there is more to a video marketing campaign than the video content itself. If you begin shooting video with no strategy in mind, you are essentially purchasing a car with no engine. It looks great in your driveway, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Creating video content takes time and persistence. Your content will not convert unless some thought goes into how that content will be used. Ask yourself just a few of the key questions, and you quickly begin to realize why these elements matter:

  • What platform will my video be hosted on?
  • What time of day is my audience most likely to see my video?
  • What is the next step if my audience responds to the video?
  • How many videos make a series?
  • What’s the best way to shoot videos, one at a time or in bulk?
  • How much money should I invest in advertising with my video?

…and the list goes on. If you are struggling to answer any of these questions off the top of your head, it’s a good indication that not enough thought has gone into your strategy.

If you are a B to C marketer, or even a B to B marketer, then you are probably already familiar with which types of ads best hold the interest of your target audience. While it’s true that audiences across the board are proven to consume video content more readily than any other type of content, that’s not to say that your specific audience will respond the way that you want them to. Consumption and conversion are two very different things. If you want to facilitate consumption, all you need is a youtube channel and a single video. But if you want to make content that really reaches your audience, resonates with that audience, addresses their needs and, finally, converts….Make a Strategy.

Checkmate.

If you need help forming a strategy that fits your company’s business model, we’re here to help! Call our office at 410.853.7892 or send us an email via info@myrender.com, and get started on video marketing today!


Go Pro, or Go Home?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Tim Goodell

Over the last few years we’ve seen video become an integral part of every marketing strategy. With ongoing advances in consumer video, its also become easier and easier to build a video marketing strategy from the comfort and privacy of one’s own home. There is a time and a place for all types of video marketing, large and small, but it’s tantamount to know and remember that not everything can be successfully accomplished from your living room. 

When Do You Call In the Pros?

YouTube Vlogger Casey Naistat (see above) captures almost all of his video using his personal iPhone and a GoPro. For his purposes, these methods work perfectly. The videos don’t look too shabby, and his audience is comprised almost entirely of his YouTube Subscribers. He strives to reach the dreamers and works hard to bring them daily (free) content, occasionally advertising for allied companies or organizations on the side. But it’s important to note that Naistat’s audience has this expectation for his content. Were he to suddenly start making product videos or corporate explainers, his audience might become disinterested and move away from his channel.

In the same way, your professional audience likely has professional expectations for your video content. There are certainly inexpensive ways to capture and share video from your home office, but are you representing your value proposition appropriately by cutting corners to keep things low-budget and in-house? 

Embrace the Studio Standard!

In a Studio Environment, you have absolute control of your presentation. The cameras are always high-grade, the picture is clean, the sound is crisp, and the lighting is always appropriately arranged to create a professional look and feel. Some locations, such as our own Render Studio, can even offer you supporting music and motion graphics to reinforce your message. The projects that you outsource to a professional studio create a noticeably higher standard for your businesses’ more qualified audience; and, as an added bonus, it also infuses the presenter with the confidence.

We live in an age where virtually anyone can create video. But not every type of video creates the same impact. Evaluate your business, and decide which types of content will best resonate with your clients. If you know that a more professional-grade video will be more impressive to your particular audience, then stop hesitating; get out there and start making video content that truly converts.

If you still have any questions or reservations about using video, we’d love to talk to you about it and help to develop a custom video marketing strategy that is perfect for you. Call our office at 410.853.7892 or send us an email via studio@myrender.com, and get started on video marketing today!


Video Marketing in Baltimore

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Ryan Spindler

We know that Video Marketing is hard. And we ought to; for the past decade, we have scripted, developed, captured and marketed thousands of video deliverables of varying lengths and scopes for our clients.

For 14 years we have lived in the trenches, helping to craft ideas and tell visual stories.  And we have been studying which kinds of video really work for businesses based on their goals, and which are the most efficient ways to produce and measure the effects of those videos.

We’ve discovered that the most difficult aspect of video marketing is not the development of ideas.  Rather, the difficulty lies in producing consistent, high-quality content over a sustained period of time. If you don’t have a workflow that is both relatively easy and affordable, you will find it too difficult to sustain an effort long enough to be truly successful.

The solution we have developed at Render Studio was designed with workflow and affordability as our main goal.  Our video marketing and content creation studio was created to make the process of capturing and developing video content easier and more affordable.

Render Studio is small, but-all inclusive.  It offers everything you need to quickly create, customize, deliver, and share your video content in as little as a single day.  And don’t let the size fool you.  The motion graphic capabilities we offer can deliver extremely high quality visual reinforcements and 3D animations that will leave your audiences engaged and impressed.

If video marketing isn’t part of your existing marketing effort; it needs to be! We invite you to contact us and learn more about what our studio has to offer. Our staff at Render Studio would love to work with you, and to support you as you get started and become successful with video marketing. From strategy through delivery, Render Studio is here to help.