Social Video and Brand Engagement 2014

Social Video vs Brand Engagement 2014

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Tips for making great smartphone video content


Where to Start with Making Video

You might have heard mutterings over the last few years that online video is the next big thing. In 2014 that’s no longer the case. Online video (or social video) is now very much the CURRENT big thing, with brands both big and small exploiting its benefits in their marketing activities – and you don’t have to have deep pockets to produce great looking video that will engage your audience.

Professional video production is now more affordable than ever, but in many cases you can create great looking video content with nothing more than a smartphone and a few inexpensive accessories.

Six tips to help create a great looking smartphone video:

Pick the right smartphone and editing software
Most smartphones manufactured after mid-2010 will record good quality HD video and there are simple editing apps available in app stores to help you put your production together. Equally, you could download free editing software such as iMovie for Macs or Windows Movie Maker for PCs – these are easy to use and can produce great results with a bit of practice.

Use the available lighting to make your subject look their best
The most important element of creating a good-looking video is, of course, to make sure your subject is well-lit. If you’re filming an outdoor event during the day, this won’t be a problem, but for any videos filmed inside (for example: an interview with your company spokesperson) you’ll need to a good light source to ensure they look great on the screen.

Positioning your subject next to a window with plenty of natural light is the easiest way to achieve this, but make sure to film them from the side of the window rather than looking towards it, otherwise your subject will appear darker and less defined than the brightly lit background outside. Or if you wish to show more of your office itself, film looking inwards from beside the window while making sure that your own shadow doesn’t appear in frame.

For situations where you don’t have much natural light or none at all, there’s no need to have expensive lighting equipment for your production, although office lighting on its own will often not be sufficient to create a good-looking result. A cheap alternative to studio lighting could be found at any DIY store, where you can purchase a 500W halogen work lamp that will produce the same bright light source for just a few pounds. These usually come with clamps or a stand to help fix them on site, so try to position them higher up, looking down on the subject.

For extra effect you could position backlighting on the floor directed at the back of the subject (but not in direct sight of the camera) to provide a glow around the edge of the subject and more definition.

Keep audio crisp and clear
Audio is just as important as lighting for your video, and since your smartphone will pick up all the sounds going on around you it’s worth finding a quiet place to film any interviews, or at least keep everyone quiet and ask them not to stomp down the corridor. Perhaps print out an A4 sheet explaining to co-workers: ‘filming in progress’ and let them know to avoid talking loudly in the background while you’re filming.

A more reliable means of recording great audio for your smartphone video would be to purchase a “lavalier” (or lapel) microphone which can be clipped on the subjects clothing, producing a crisp and clear recording of what they’re saying while picking up less background noise (whether in a noisy office or on a busy street). You can pick one up that plugs directly into your smartphone for less than £10:

Keep your camera steady
To avoid wobbly or shaky video footage, it’s essential to mount your smartphone on a tripod (which also means that you can film yourself without requiring someone to hold the camera). There are plenty of simple pocket-sized tripods that you could position on a filing cabinet or similar, making sure that you keep the camera around head-height with your subject for best results. They’re inexpensive but crucial to making your production look as professional as possible. Something like this would be suitable for any smartphone:

Most importantly when setting up your smartphone tripod, always, ALWAYS film in LANDSCAPE mode not PORTRAIT mode

Make sure you’re focused on the subject
It seems obvious, but make sure to tap on your smartphone screen to focus correctly on your subject. This will also improve the internal lighting settings of your smartphone video app, ensuring that the subject is both the main focus of your film and exposed correctly.

Use the rule of thirds
Once you’re ready to film, you should try framing your shot to be as creatively interesting as possible. The rule of thirds is a good place to start, dividing up your screen with imaginary lines like a noughts and crosses game. Your production will look better if you keep your subject in the left or right third of the screen, with their eyeline in the top third. This is visually more interesting and allows you to include more background activity, whether it’s a branded logo, the buzz of your workplace, or the outdoor location where you’re filming.

With a bit of planning and a few basic accessories, smartphone video is simple to produce anytime, anywhere. You can then upload your production to a free video platform like YouTube or Vimeo and send out links to your video via email, social media, or your blog. It’s just as easy to embed video on your website, giving your visitors something informative to watch about your brand or company.

Naturally, if you want to spend a little more budget on your production to give it a truly professional feel, just give us a call at contented and we’ll be happy to run you through the options –

Jools Moore

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Beautifully filmed mini-doc for Audi – “Quattro Experience”


Audi and art? Those two worlds aren’t ones we’d necessarily lump together. But the luxury car-maker’s done just that, collaborating with Slot Mods USA to create the “quattro experience,” an installation replete with remote controllable A4replicas and a custom track. Let’s be clear, though, this is no mere hobbyist recreation. As the accompanying mini-documentary shows, the team behind this project not only put great care into constructing the 20ft x 7ft custom track with the right bends, it also faithfully crafted the slot cars so as to mimic the Audi quattro’s all wheel drive mechanic.

So, how’d they do that? Through a combo of 3D printing, a four-wheel drive chassis and, most importantly, a calculated arrangement of traction magnets, the crew was able to get the cars up and running, and even outfitted with in-dash cams. And, in an appropriate modernist twist, there’s an app for all of that — a custom one designed by Audi that runs on the iPad and lets “drivers” steer via a POV feed and onscreen controls. Unfortunately, the whole shebang’s only on display in Toronto for the time being. So, unless you’re planning a trip to the Great White North anytime soon, the mini-doc after the break’s about as close as you’re going to get to the real thing.

Full story sourced from Engadget:

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How Vimeo Built the Interactive Old Spice ‘Muscle Music’ Video

With over 1.5 million views, Wieden and Kennedy’s latest video for Old Spice is a smashing success — and it’s only a day old. It’s easy to see why; former NFL player and action movie star Terry Crews is literally playing cacophonous “music” with his bulging muscles, yelling entertaining non sequiturs like “GIMME A HAT!” and “SAUSAGES!” The spot fits the vibe of Wieden’s game-changing 2010 campaign for Old Spice, which generated dozens of hilarious YouTube videos in real time, winning the Internet’s heart for a day and making every other creative agency super jealous. Muscle Music taps the same Internet-friendly principles of absurdity, interactivity, and iteration — at end of the performance, the video becomes interactive and viewers are invited to bang out their own ridiculous track on their QWERTY keyboards.

continue reading from source:

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Social and Video Marketing Trends (July 2012)

US Social Media peeps have released their latest quarterly Social Media Trend Report, looking at Digital Strategy, Pinterest Marketing, Video Marketing. Here’s a little section from the report, looking at shared, owned, earned, and paid media marketing.  Find the full report here:

Paid media
Paid advertising is a great way to kick-start activity in Google’s search engine rank algorithm factors: video views, engagement and sharing. It’s not about proving the worth of a video by paying to increase views. The goal is to earn views from the right audience which lead to engagement and earned media such as likes, shares, mentions and embeds.

Owned media
Perform an audit of your owned channels and determine how they can be utilized to drive visibility for your video. Here are some of the top owned media channels to leverage:
– Facebook: Post the video on Facebook with copy that asks questions or encourages actions. We recommend you embed YouTube videos versus upload videos directly to Facebook.
– Twitter, Linkedin, tumblr: Post a link to the video multiple times from other social networks.
– Blog: Create a blog post and embed your video.
– Email: Embed or link to the video in an email blast to customers and employees. Include a link to the video in employee email signatures.
– Optimized Press Release: Write an optimized press release which announces the video or related campaign activities with the video embedded.

Shared media (social)
As viewers like, comment, and share your video content, these actions become shared media. It is “shared” media because these actions create visibility within your brand-owned social profiles and in the profiles of engaged fans. For example, if someone comments on your brand’s Facebook status update, that comment lives on your wall and the user’s Timeline.

Earned media
Earned media is the desired outcome from many of the above- mentioned activities. Influencer engagement is an additional activity to drive earned media.
– Leverage any existing relationships and pitch influential bloggers with your new video content.
– Provide incentives such as video exclusivity to the influencer’s audience before releasing to everyone.

Final thoughts
As more brands recognize the benefits of video content, the more competitive it will be to get views in front of the right audience. An integrated video marketing and distribution approach will ensure well-produced videos reach viewers at relevant touch points, and ultimately drive intended business goals.

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3DS release hour-long online documentary The Iceberg Project

The Iceberg Project

3DS (the successful French 3d software company Dassault Systemes) has released an ambitious online video project documenting the inception and execution of a plan to transport an iceberg from Greenland to the Canary Islands to deliver fresh Arctic drinking water!

While most online brand content is wisely limited to a short timeframe, usually 2 minutes, (and seldom more than 5 minutes), 3DS has made an engaging documentary running to just under an hour.

The Iceberg Project, directed by Jean-Michel Corillion, shows that online video can still be engaging even with longer running times.  It’s the sort of documentary entertainment for which you’d happily give up an hour of your evening.

With online video charts increasingly including longer video views (the Joseph Kony documentary was half an hour long and has received more than 110 million views online since Febraury 2012), it looks like brands are now investing in more engaging online video content which they can control more directly.  Indeed, to view the full hour long Iceberg Project film, 3DS ask you for a few details gathering potential user data for their own marketing, though they’re unlikely to end up cold-calling you unless you’re a big engineering firm!

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Eight Online Video Metrics That Really Matter


Video: You’re doing it right. You have product showcases on YouTube, funny videos on your blog, Flash animations on social networks, webinars on your website, so you put the time in to create and publish videos. They help customers understand what you do and they raise interest from the people you want to reach. They add value.

At least that’s the theory.

Video is certainly more interesting than text, and you can be very creative with it. But sometimes you have to wonder, “Does video really add anything to my business?” Here’s how to know.

Analytics is really important for your long-term video strategy, whether you are in e-commerce, B2B marketing, sales, e-learning, or public relations. You know all about online tracking. You track unique visits, referring URLs, entry and exit pages, bounce rate, clickthroughs, form fills, and of course a lot of other metrics. Depending on your organization’s needs, certain stats are more important to you than others.

With video, it’s a little different. You can track the raw data of video in much the same way: views, referring sites, length of time spent watching, etc., but you can also track engagement metrics such as shares, ratings, likes, and other actions taken after viewing. These are known as active and passive video metrics that give you two different ways to see how well your videos perform.

Some video metrics are fairly obvious. You track these just like you track any other piece of content: total views, unique views, average time viewed, time of day, and so on. But while these are great short-term metrics for video, they aren’t the metrics that best relate to the uniqueness of video, no matter your business focus. Video is different, because it is meant to help viewers retain information in a way that text cannot. That’s why some metrics are more important.

The 8 Metrics That Really Matter:

Play Rate
This is a measure of whether the video was actually viewed once it loaded. This helps you determine how prominently your videos are presented on a hosting platform, and whether the still images appear inviting. It can tell you whether or not the platform is optimized for viewing videos and whether your choice of preview image is working.

Player Load Times
If your play rate is low, it may be because the player takes forever to load once the viewer clicks on it. This may not be available depending on the hosting platform but some platforms allow you to include a script that tracks load times per view. If platforms are consistently slower than others, it will negatively affect your total views.

Playthrough Rate
This is the pulse of your video strategy. Views alone don’t tell you how well video performs, though they do tell you how well your videos are found by search engines. Once people find your videos, the percentage of time they spend watching them tells you whether you’ve given them what they were looking for. For thought leadership videos such as webinars, interviews, and video blogging, it’s important to track how long people last.

This is critical, especially in conjunction with Playthrough Rate. This helps you know if viewers are quitting your videos early to make a purchase, or if something about the videos is boring them to tears. In e-commerce, the point of the video is to nudge buyers, so higher drop-off rates are probably okay if they lead to a sale. REI’s product demos are a really good example of using video to improve conversion rates.

Video SEO
You should know which keywords are driving video views. The reason video SEO is so powerful is that video itself does not include keywords, but you get to choose keywords in your titles and tags. It’s almost as if you were back in 1998 again. The best part of this is that you can test video SEO to a granular level, and you can even A/B test a video using different approaches.

How many people share your videos, and what influence do they have? Most video hosting platforms such as YouTube, and your own WordPress blog with various sharing plug-ins can give your videos share-ability to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social networks. They can also provide tracking for the reach of a share on each network and whether those shares drove more views. This helps you understand not only how well your video is received, but how well it inspires action.

This is about which video networks are driving the most views and visits back to your site. Because you can host your videos on many platforms or link to them, you can easily determine which web properties bring in more total viewers or more likely customers. For instance, Ooyala’s Custom Analytics for video gives you highly detailed feedback on videos hosted on its platform. The point of distribution is to make your video part of a smooth experience.

Content Detail
You have many types of videos, but which ones deliver the best results? The granular level of tracking available lets you track whether your shorter or longer videos perform best according to your goals. You can also track the performance of videos that show your product or not, that feature a man or a woman presenting, that are set in a use case environment or a neutral setting, and a lot of other varying details.

As you may have noticed, some of the metrics above are not going to be easy without a dedicated video hosting platform. Whether you host your videos on YouTube or Vimeo and/or have your own accounts with BrightCove, Kaltura or Ooyala, these 8 metrics will go beyond the very limited Total Views and help you understand how video impacts your organization and your efforts.

By Tom Bishop (source:

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