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Making Online Video Magic

In this afternoon’s video session “Online Video: How Brands Find Audiences and How Customers Find Brands,” Traction CEO Adam Kleinberg moderated a panel aimed at helping attendees discover how online video can help engage customers, build brand loyalty and drive conversion. Panelists included Giant Media CEO David Segura, Photobucket’s marketing VP David Toner, Zoosk’s director of marketing Jane Barrett, and Poptent president Neil Perry.

Kleinberg kicked off the session by proudly showing a photo of his BBQ rig, which has gas and charcoal. Last year his kids bought him a smoker add-on so he could make brisket. Kleinberg was bummed that the manufacturer missed an opportunity to teach him how to make a great brisket with video.

Today, we can lean back while we lean forward. “Does anyone remember advertising before digital?” Kleinberg asked. “Advertising used to be about persuasion, motivation, and desire.” Kleinberg maintains that digital allows us to bring those things back online with video. The continuum between preroll and branded content is filled with lots of other opportunities—social, mobile, native, consumer-generated options.

Segura showed a chart showing the incredible explosion of online video ad spend. With more online video, online video ad opportunities abound. This year, online video traffic is poised to have 26% yoy growth. Segura is excited about native video. Video that doesn’t run in ad rails and doesn’t run against content (not spot buys).

Mobile video is also exciting to Segura because it’s immersive and people share these videos. Segura focuses on native and mobile. Video is a world where content is branded and at least 30-seconds long but can be 10 minutes to as long as 45 minutes. He cited a Dollar Shave Club campaign which garnered 9.8 million video views and Old Spice, which enjoyed more than 231 million video views. He reminded the audience is that the only constant is change, as the industry is ever evolving.

Zoosk’s Barrett talked about pre-roll and what she’s learned while helping the 5-year-old online dating site. When she started, her bosses said that they wanted fame. “TV is the fastest but most hideously expensive way to get fame,” quipped Barrett.

She said that Zoosk was investing hundreds of millions of dollars and so they changed their strategy to find more efficient ways to increase unaided awareness. Youtube viewers are young, the majority under 35, so they gave that a try. The Youtube videos worked and were more cost-effective. You only pay if people watch beyond the first 5 seconds.

Zoosk tried various formats (30-seond, one-minute, two-minute) but quickly decided that they shouldn’t bother with the 30 second spots. “People bounced immediately,” lamented Barrett. They took the same ad and cut it to 15 seconds and that enjoyed a 22% viewing rate. The 60-second video ad did well, too. But viewers didn’t like the 2-minute video. So 15-seconds and 60-seconds are the magic numbers for Zoosk. “You need to know your audience and test them to see what they respond to,” said Barrett. “Then study the numbers and delve into them.” She ended by showing a funny 60-second spot that has enjoyed, to date, 6 million views.

Photobucket’s Toner talked about video storytelling. He reflected on the changes over the decade from the days of paid search to the current days of content marketing, mobile, and video. TV ads weren’t engaging nor were they measurable. Brands are now expected to be content creators, to be storytellers.

When Photobucket last fall re-launched their brand and site, they worked with Poptent, posting their creative brief on Poptent.net, along with their low budget (less than $100K). Poptent.net accesses more than 60K filmmakers in 140 countries. One month later, they had a ton of great content from which to choose, including 15 fully produced spots. Three spots were chosen as finalists, which were shown on the Photobucket site, encouraging users to engage with their videos. Effectively they activated users to generate their own video content and use the Photobucket community as a platform. Perry joined Toner to talk about a campaign the two did together and how crowdsourcing helped them succeed.

Next, Photobucket users created more than 2,700 of their own stories to share with the Photobucket community. Time spent was off the charts too - nearly three minutes per storytelling unit. Effectively, Photobucket used crowdsourcing and social video to relanch their brand and site while re-engaging with their core audience. Fox’s “Parental Guidance” movie campaign was also offered as a case study that demonstrates how video really increases engagement.

Diane knows media. She's worked at numerous high-profile magazines and her byline has appeared in business and technology titles like Forbes, Fortune, and Business 2.0. Prior to joining WIT Strategy, she helped launch and produce Bloomberg...

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