Here at Kaltura we have been hard at work producing our next video summit. This year, our virtual conference will include two exciting days of video presentations, live Q&A and networking opportunities. Here is a sneak peek:
Kaltura Education Video Summit - Wednesday, June 12 2013
Kaltura Enterprise Video Summit - Thursday, June 13 2013
The presentations were shot in the US and across Europe with great speakers from Philips, Oracle, Zappos, Intercall, Cornell, Copenhagen Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University and many more. You can find the full agenda here. The conference will take place online and admission is completely free!
We have been following Alexander Reben and his robots since MIT’s Open Documentary Lab. After our previous blog post of Alex and his robots, we received a lot of great feedback which led us to visit Alex and talk to him about the future of human interaction. The idea is simple, can we emotionally connect to an extremely cute and adorable box? Apparently, the answer is yes and results in some pretty intense moments.
This week Alex and his gang of robots were busy at work – shooting all around Tribeca Festival. At the same time, Alex and his partner Brent Hoff launched a Kickstarter campaign to further develop the robots and bring them to the masses.
Zappos.com is famous for many reasons. The #1 reason may be the fact that it was one of the first online stores to offer free returns, making it easy for customers to overcome the limitation of not holding the product in their hands before committing to pay for it. The #2 reason for Zappos’ fame is its use of product videos that are focused on solving the exact same problem as the free returns – helping customers shift away from the brick-and-mortar store mentality.
The results were astonishing: an increase of 6%-30% in conversion. That is significant for a company that exceeds a billion dollars in annual sales. Thus far, Zappos has produced over 200,000 product videos and is well on its way to reaching the 250,000 videos goal.
Zappos considers video to be a vital part of its marketing efforts for two reasons. “Although we have seen an increase in conversion, what’s more important is the decrease in returns we’ve noticed. Regardless of conversion and free returns, if a customer receives a product they are unhappy with – they can become disenchanted,” said Laurie Williams, Senior Manager of Photo & Video for Zappos.
But the decision to produce videos is only one step in an organisation’s video strategy. No doubt it’s an important one, but, the way they are used to drive traffic, how they are presented on the page and the player’s performance could have a huge impact on video consumption on your website.
One of the best ways to make these decisions is by performing A/B testing: the same method that has become instrumental for UI designers and marketers in organisations such as Netflix, Google and Amazon to examine how design impacts user behaviour could also work well when examining the ROI for your video investment.
Surprisingly, when it comes to video usage, A/B testing is not as common as you might think. However, there are some good examples of tests that could help you understand what factors impact video consumption and engagement.
1. Promise Videos
Video is a great way to get the customer to stay on your site longer and ultimately drive conversion. A good way to do that is by clearly communicating to the user that there are video previews available. Sometimes another word or video icon can make a big difference. For example, the site SixPackAbsExercises.com did a split testing on a sales page. As part of the test, the site tested two different versions of the same button:
1. The control was: “Next Page Read Sample of Book”;
2. Variation 1 was: “Watch Video Preview”;
3. Variation 2 was: “Watch my #1 Abs Exercise On Video”.
The best-performing variation (variation 1, see above) increased conversion by 14.18%, which clearly shows how “watching a video” is so much more attractive than reading a “sample of book”.
2. Use Narration
We usually hear that an image is worth 1,000 words, but the combination of images and words is much more powerful. As proof, take a look at an A/B test that was done for Biotone body crème videos. In this test, two videos were used:
Version 1 – no voice over;
Version 2 – with voice over.
Version 2 (with voice over):
The video with the VO over increased conversion by 50% – from 3% to 4.5%. This goes to show that converting an image gallery to a video wouldn’t necessary have a great impact, unless you invest in adding narration.
3. Optimise Your Thumbnails
Although we are often being told not to judge a book by its cover, we tend to do exactly that. Especially when it comes to videos and their thumbnails. A thumbnail should always represent the most exciting part of the video. Thumbnails should be sharp, high-quality images. We at Kaltura also usually find that people’s faces are more attractive than generic wide shots or computer screenshots.
One more factor is the size of the thumbnail/player in your website. This is especially important today, since much of our traffic comes from mobile devices where screen real-estate is scarce. Some interesting research done in the Netherlands examined thumbnails ranging from 60px to 110px; the bigger thumbnails performed slightly better. The main conclusion, however, was that dynamic thumbnails (a set of consecutive, moving, reduced-size images) worked far better than static thumbnails (a reduced-size version of a single static image). This was especially noticeable when the viewer was accessing the video via a mobile device.
4. Optimise Your Video Performance
When thinking of video, it is also important to keep in mind the startup time and video quality. These are performance factors that leading video providers like Kaltura continuously try to improve, no matter how fast the player loads.
Some research done by the University of Massachusetts and Akamai (which provides CDN services) showed that “a 1 second increase in (startup) delay increases the (video) abandonment rate by 5.8%”. Buffering issues have the same effect.
Interestingly, video quality didn’t have much impact on video consumption and abandonment rate. However, it did hurt repeated viewing, showing that websites with low quality video have fewer chances of being visited again by the same viewer: “the probability of returning within 1 week after a failed visit is 25% versus 27% after a normal one.”
5. Measure Wisely
Finally, if you find these conclusions interesting and you are ready to do some video-related A/B testing – you should also keep in mind what not to do. Most importantly, remember that video is a unique piece of content. Since it usually requires the viewer to take an extra step to consume it (click the play button), you shouldn’t compare it to other UI elements like images (just like the Obama campaigners chose to do here). Also, it’s important to use a video platform that allows you to both modify the players as well as track individual videos.
If you do all of that, you will soon find that you are able to get a much higher ROI on your video investment.
Many companies wish that their videos would go viral. There’s no doubt that you know you’ve created the ultimate marketing campaign, when your viewers do much of the distribution for you. However, most companies have a limited video production budget. So what is more important and how should they prioritize their video production queue?
Usually there are 3 options for videos:
Funny, viral videos that increase brand recognition and make your company look cool and exciting.
Slick product videos that help in sales pitches.
Engaging tutorials to support your current customer base and demo specific features for prospects.
But it doesn’t end there. Let’s say my company chose to produce a great viral video –
How do we market it?
Which metadata should we use?
Should we buy ads on YouTube or should we find other ways to increase views?
We asked Bettina Hein, Founder and CEO of Pixability, for her advice. Hein and her company have much experience in getting maximum views on YouTube by analyzing video analytics and other data.
During the first 5 days of SXSW the interactive and the film tracks are taking place concurrently. This is a unique opportunity for content creators, entrepreneurs and programmers to re-imagine the way we tell stories online. One of the most exciting technologies in this space is Zeega - an open-source HTML5 platform that aspires to “remake the Internet” by allowing creators to easily mash together text, video, animation and sound.
We chatted with Zeega’s CEO, Jesse Shapins about all of this. Watch the video to see some very original content being created on Zeega today. And of course stay tuned for the latest on video technology showcased here at SXSW 2013.
Brand journalism is one of the hottest trends for online marketers. With the proliferation of high-quality and inexpensive cameras and easy distribution platforms, every company can now be a media company.
However, when thinking about your marketing strategy it’s important not to focus solely on heavily branded materials like product overviews and PR collateral. Sure, it’s important to have content that explains what your products are all about, but these would most likely appeal to a small group of current and prospective customers. In order to reach a wider audience you need to zoom out from your company and create content that would interest others in your space. The goal here is not more qualified opportunities and leads. Forget about that. With brand journalism, the goal is to make people aware of your brand by creating engaging content. If done correctly, you could find new audiences and strengthen the brand’s relationship with exiting customers.
People love to learn. And people love ‘free’. Just look at the MOOCs revolution that allows anyone to get ivy-league education for nothing. You may wonder why Harvard is giving away its pricey classes for free. It’s simple. It reflects well on the brand and it establishes the university as a leader in education. It is also serves the classic mission of any university: teach, educate, inspire.
You can do the same. In any organisation there is a vast amount of knowledge that is extremely interesting to outsiders. If you share best practices, guides and useful case studies, you will soon find new readers and viewers (who might never have heard of your organisation before) to consume this content. It will most likely go viral and get picked up by other publications. It happened to us at Kaltura when our video was picked up by ReelSEO or when our HTML5 blog post got many hits via Google queries.
Useful tip: be specific. Use stats and link to useful sources. It will add credibility to your article.
Forget the Competition
If you are serious about doing good brand journalism, start thinking like a journalist. Focus on writing useful and balanced pieces that offer real insight. Don’t ignore other players in the space and be sure to give credit to them, when credit is due. You will soon find that the same players link to your content because they feel their customers could find it useful. And that’s exactly where you want to be.
Useful tip: don’t plug your product in every other sentence. Your readers are savvy and always look for “the catch” or secret motive. Don’t turn them off.
The Internet is full of great content, so how can you stand out? Video is a great way. If you are going to a conference, use your phone to capture parts of the presentation. If you have access to a professional camera, that’s even better. People love video and although video is now very easy to produce many of your competitors won’t make the effort. Video will also give you new outlets – like YouTube and Dailymotion -where your content can be indexed and found.
Useful tip: make a habit of carrying your point-and-shoot with you. Most of them are still better than smartphones since they offer physical zoom and better sound.
Once you have a great piece of content, the fun can begin. You need to be proactive about finding your audience. Post it in relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, tweet about it and encourage your colleagues to re-tweet. If it’s a video, upload it to video destinations, if it’s a presentation, share it on sites like Slideshare.
Useful tip: before publishing a good article on your site, send it to successful blogs and offer them the chance to publish the piece first, in return for a link to your website. Later you can publish the same article on your own site.
SEO is a major part of your distribution technique. If you do it right, Google and the market treads will do much of the distribution for you. First, make sure that your article’s title includes many popular key words (based on the Google AdWords tool). Also make sure to phrase the title similarly to how people would search for content (for example, in the form of a question). Here is a good example: Why You Should Start Learning HTML5 – A Beginners Guide.
Useful tip: use Google Webmaster Tools and have Google index your site periodically. This will make sure that new pieces (texts, images, videos) come up in search results.
Creating and distributing great content is time consuming, so you want to make sure that you can see the results and improve your strategy. Using your site analytics you can see the top referral sites so you can know where your visitors came from. You will also be able to see top search terms that generated traffic.
Useful tip: use a url shortener (like TinyURL or goo.gl) for links you post on external sites (for example, for each LinkedIn group use a different url). This way, you will be able to track which specific posts and groups drive the most traffic.
Brand journalism is a key way to promote your message to a wider audience and position yourself as a thought-leader in your market. Today, with the use of video, brand journalism becomes even more engaging and exciting – so go ahead and try it. Feel free to share your experiences and tips in the comments below.
This week Kaltura will have one of its most exciting events of the year – the first ever Education Video Summit. This will be a virtual event with video presentations by some of the most innovative professionals that are transforming education and knowledge sharing with video. Get a sneak peek at some of the presentations in this short video.
The agenda includes speakers from Yale, Cornell and UNH as well as leading enterprises as SAP, Oracle, Accenture and InterCall. All attendees will also have a chance to ask questions and network with others via chat. Registration is now open and completely free.
We look forward to (virtually) seeing you this Thursday!
We love going to conferences. First, it’s an opportunity to show people the power of the Kaltura platform. Second, it’s a great way to meet our partners and brainstorm on how we can make our integrations even more powerful.
There is no better place for that than Educause - the biggest annual gathering of IT professionals working in the education space. The conference took place last week in Denver, Colorado and video was one of the hottest trends. We decided to take our cameras and talk to some of the most interesting companies revolutionizing education through video: Blackborad, Echo360, Vidyo, Techsmith, Swivl and more.
Kaltura is happy to announce the deployment of a greatly enhanced video platform on the Wikimedia network of sites. Wikipedia has added support for enhanced video and audio capabilities using Kaltura’s player technology! Wikimedia sites include the English Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons media repository.
Wikipedia and its sister sites have enabled a new video player (using Kaltura’s HTML5 video player) with the promise of bringing free educational videos to everyone on any device in any language.
Video is an important form of information, and video based knowledge is rich and illustrative, and will add a lot to the already rich and amazing content that Wikipedia has. Kaltura is proud to have its open source technology and HTML5 video player deployed to bring video to hundreds of millions of Wikipedia users. Our mission has always been to enable any video to reach any user on any device. We have been doing this working with our educational, enterprise and media customers, transforming the way people learn, work and entertain with video.
How to post videos on Wikipedia and view them in the Kaltura player – Tutorial
After an extended beta, many infrastructure integration efforts, and review cycles, Wikimedia sites now feature the same Kaltura HTML5 player used within the Kaltura Open Source Platform. A critical feature for the foundation’s commitment to accessibility and support for many languages was multi-lingual timed text support. Leveraging the Kaltura technology, the shared media repository assets can easily be embedded into Wikimedia network of sites, while supporting captions per the local language of the wiki. This update also adds robust transcoding support, along with ingestion and delivery of Googles WebM encoded videos.
For more detailed coverage read the announcement on the Wikipedia blog.