A video blog by Roger Stix, Executive Producer of Atlanta Business Video
Google said it has seen a noticeable increase in activity on its vaunted Web-search in the two weeks since the company began one of the biggest search transformations in its history.
People doing Web searches now see a big box of information and photos related to search queries such as sports teams (try typing “San Francisco Giants”), geography (try “Matterhorn”), attractions (try “Matterhorn Bobsleds”), celebrities (try “Pink”), and science (try “Jupiter” or “Einstein”) located prominently on the right of the search results page. Before the change, Google users might have seen relevant search ads, content boxes with information from Google+, the company’s social network, or nothing at all.
The new feature currently draws upon information from sites like Wikipedia, as well as music and movie catalogs that Google has licensed, among other things.
“Early indications are that people are interacting with it more, learning about more things…and doing more [search] queries,” said Amit Singhal, a top Google search executive, in an interview Friday. “It’s stoking people’s curiosity.”
On Tuesday Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds said the company’s internal data continues to show people are “doing more searches as a result” of the revamp, though he and Singhal declined to share specific figures.
Perhaps more importantly, Singhal said that an increase in searches means there also will be an increase in visits to non-Google sites whose links appear in search results and in the new boxes of information that are appearing as part of the change.
Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs online encyclopedia Wikipedia, said Google’s use of Wikipedia information for the new feature was “suitable” and “ultimately we believe that this increases the visibility of free knowledge to more users.” He didn’t have data on whether the site had seen an increase of usage since the Google change went into effect.
Singhal declined to say what percentage of searches were affected by the change, though one person briefed on Google’s plans previously said the shift could directly impact the search results for 10% to 20% of all search queries, or tens of billions per month.
Currently the feature is only available in the English-language version of Google search. Google isn’t sharing its timetable for rollouts to other languages, the company spokesman said.
The change relies on technology called “semantic search” in which the search engine begins to understand the actual meaning of words and shows the key attributes of people, places and things that Google users are searching for. To do this, the company is drawing upon an ever-expanding database of information of about 500 million people, places and things and how they’re connected to one another, also known as a “knowledge graph.”
“For the first time, the search engine understands real-world things,” Singhal said.
Interestingly, the knowledge graph displays data that Google users have generally searched for in the past, Singhal said. For example, a search for “Michael Bloomberg,” the New York City mayor who also is a billionaire, will bring up a box of data including his estimated net worth—something many Google users have searched for previously. By contrast, a search for the less-wealthy former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, does not include a net-worth statistic.
In other words, the search engine can show the “topical zeitgeist” of a particular query, Singhal said. “That’s something that’s never been available to Google users before.”
Singhal said the new feature has had some miscues, such as not being completely up-to-date. For example, initially a Google search for “New York Knicks” gave an incorrect information about the team’s coach, who had been replaced in recent months. And he said Google’s knowledge graph is still “weak in many areas”—namely products.
He said the revamp was a “baby step” toward building the “search system of tomorrow.”
When asked how the new feature was affecting advertisements that also appear on the right side of search results, Singhal said that first and foremost, his team launches new features for the benefit of Google users, not advertisers. But he said the company is “experimenting as to what would be the right page design for cases in which there are numerous ads” that were sold for a particular query.
For example, a search for “Lake Tahoe” brings up many ads on the right side of search results. But users can push down those ads and see an information box about the lake by clicking an arrow button located below a partial map of the lake.
A Wall Street Journal Article: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/05/29/google-search-engine-surging-following-revamp/
Google is introducing a new tool designed to make its search engine smarter. The new feature is called the “Knowledge Graph.” It draws from a Google-built database of more than 500 million people, places and other commonly requested things to provide a summary of vital information alongside the main search results. Google Inc. created the Knowledge Graph in an attempt to provide answers as quickly and concisely as possible so users don’t have to sift through a hodgepodge of Web links displayed on the main results page.
Check out the video from Google for more information:
Video Production Rates: Video Production Costs for Marketers
Many marketers are now eager to use web video for business, but when it come to the video production process, they don’t quite know where to start. I’ll outline the main corporate video production cost factors below. This is intended to demonstrate how to make a basic interview much more engaging than just a talking head.
To look closer at what’s involved, lets go over some of the main video production cost factors:
Market price: Lets face it, Atlanta is more expensive than Arkansas! You might be able to hire a cameraman in a small town for a sandwich but in Atlanta and other major markets, you can expect to pay somewhere between $600-$2,000 a day depending on experience, talent, etc.
Quality level: There are wide variations in quality and competence. I see three levels of quality that can be applied to each of the below aspects of video production costs. To illustrate, here are the 3 levels of manpower quality:
- Basic: The most basic fulfillment: a warm body that shows up.
- Pro: Competence: someone who can do the job to industry standards
- Premium: (AKA: Experienced and Talented): These people are actually really good at their job. If you want to make stand out content, you probably need this level of resources.
Manpower costs: Depending on the basic, pro and premium considerations can be anywhere between minimum wage all the way to thousands per day for a well known actor/director, etc. You can save money by finding part-time freelancers who can do some of these themselves, but beware, if they are doing too much, quality will always suffer and since it’s a part-time job, their priorities may not e the same a yours. For example, I hear stories all the time of part-timers that offer a low price then fail to finish a project and disappear when they realize they under quoted.
Here are a few of the roles involved in the video production process:
- Concept Creator/Writer
- Camera Operator (Director of Photography – or D.P.)
- Sound Operator
- Wardrobe and MUP (Make Up Person)
- Production/Set Designer, etc.
- Production Assistant (P.A)
- Graphic Designer
- Motion Graphics Animator
Video Production Equipment: Cameras, lights, sound equipment, monitors, tripods, dolly, etc. There are wide ranges in quality but even a decent basic camera kit costs thousands of dollars.
Video Production (shooting): How many days and where/what are you shooting? Customer testimonials shot all around the world or a CEO interview in a conference room? The video production costs are going to vary widely!
Video Post-Production (editing): Need just need a quick 1-day edit? Or a 10-day marathon? That could be the difference between boring and amazing! I firmly believe that the more you put into editing, the more you get out. Give me boring footage and some editing time and I’ll give you amazing!
Graphics and Animation: One of the biggest misconceptions is the talent, time and cost that is required to make many of the stand out graphics and animation examples that clients send along as a reference for what they want to produce. That animated video you love? There’s a reason you love it: it was made by talented pros ad takes time to create.
The wild cards: Of course there are other factors at work that will be specific to each project like the complexity of the material, the speed at which the team can work due to weather, location, crowds, field noise, etc.
Approvals: Don’t forget your time cost! On many occasions I’ve sent a review video to a client and they don’t have time to get me feedback for days. With a deadline looming, even if an editor works round the clock to make up last time, the final product quality ends up suffering.
Distribution: Once you have a video, how are you planning on getting people to watch it?! The art of promotion via social networks is a fast changing and complex craft, taking far more time that most professionals have available. I estimate that one must spend 20% of their time to be successful with social networking; can you spare 2 days a week? Or maybe I should ask: can you afford not to?
The key take-aways: The key point I’d hope you’d take away is that quality matters and it applies to all the parameters mentioned above. In any complex sale, it’s only natural to want to ‘commoditize’ the solution, but not all video production is equal. If you want to earn views, you have to give your audience something worth their time, worth sharing and commenting on. Respect your audience and you may earn their respect too.
Feel smarter? Please do me a big favor and share this post! I encourage comments, and please re-Tweet away!
I’m also available for free consultations so contact me with any questions regarding video production costs, video production process or corporate video production projects.
Good luck out there in video production land!
Courtesy of Dane Frederiksen
Finding new customers is the greatest business challenge for small businesses, according to a February 2011 survey by Bredin Business Information, and small businesses are turning to a wide variety of online marketing channels to do so and doing a great amount of experimentation as they decide which digital marketing techniques work best for them.
85% of small-business owners say they used websites to find new customers, followed by email and search marketing, each used by about 75% of respondents. Reflecting the increased competition for business, every online marketing channel showed a dramatic increase in usage between 2010 and 2011.
But at the same time as small businesses have expanded their use of online marketing. Survey respondents in 2011 indicated they were much less satisfied with the effectiveness of these channels. Experts attribute this to the rush of small businesses to new marketing channels not using the tools correctly. Website, email and search were rated most effective for customer acquisition, but even these had dropped since the prior year.
“There is a fair amount of learning that has to happen for each small-business owner to know how to use and how to measure online marketing tactics,” Stu Richards, CEO of Bredin Business Information, told eMarketer. “In many cases, businesses are struggling, and there’s an opportunity to educate SMBs.”
Ed Davis wanted to have a word with his customers.
He was shepherding his small California manufacturing company, Ceilume, through a transition from a custom job shop to a maker of vinyl ceiling tiles, and he needed to begin selling directly to consumers. That raised a perception problem: many people associate ceiling tiles with the ugly, dusty and stained mineral-fiber tiles that have loomed over offices for generations. Mr. Davis, Ceilume’s president, wanted to tell consumers his company’s vinyl products were different. He decided to try online video.
Over the last several years, Ceilume has produced dozens of YouTube videos for product demonstrations, advertisements and how-to instruction. These videos are embedded in the company Web site or show up in results when customers search for keywords. As a result, Ceilume has reached tens of thousands of customers at a very low cost.
Online video is becoming a first stop for many customers. It is akin to what the Web page was a decade ago — something that can give early adopters an edge over competitors. It gives them a channel to talk directly to customers in ways previously accessible only to large companies that could afford TV advertisements.
This guide to using online video focuses on YouTube, which is by far the dominant player with two billion views per day — but many of the principles also apply to the other hosting services, including Vimeo, MetaCafe, Facebook, Viddler, Brightcove and Blip.tv.
SHOW YOUR PRODUCTS Short of getting a customer in the door or sending a salesperson on the road, online video may be the best way to demonstrate a product. According to Mr. Davis, more Ceilume customers place orders without requesting samples because video helps them find what they want.
At Ceilume, video helps customers choose among 30 different styles of ceiling tiles. Ceilume, a 40-person company that has about $5 million a year in sales, produces its “Ask the Ceiling Tile Guy” videos for little expense with internal tech staff and Mr. Davis as narrator. The videos have attracted more than 500,000 views, and Mr. Davis says he believes that video has been a crucial factor in increasing sales 15 percent a year.
CREATE A DESTINATION It is easier to win customers if you give them a reason to tune in. For BBQguys.com, the reason is food sizzling on the grill.
BBQguys.com began as a traditional brick-and-mortar store (The Grill Store and More) in Baton Rouge, La. In 2001, the company went online, which allowed it to reach legions of new customers but also reduced its ability to provide personalized service. Online video has helped the company recover its human touch virtually.
In 2006, it started posting informal YouTube videos featuring new grills, narrated by its customer service manager and chief executive. The channel grew so much that the company recruited a local chef, Tony Matassa, to be its on-camera personality.
It now has nearly 400 videos on YouTube, which have collectively been viewed 1.4 million times. Video has become so essential that the company has built a small studio in one of its warehouses. “We see the video almost like a TV commercial,” said Troy Olson, digital advertising manager for ShoppersChoice.com, the parent company of BBQguys.com. “We’re planting our brand name in their minds.”
The company does not just pitch products. Rather, the goal is to establish its people as customer-friendly experts and provide a channel full of useful information about how to fry a turkey, grill a pizza or smoke a beef brisket. The hope is that the information will draw viewers — many of whom will become customers — and increase the site’s conversion rate. According to Mr. Olson, a person who comes to the site and watches a video is twice as likely to make a purchase as a visitor who does not watch a video.
USE ANALYTICS AND TOOLS YouTube offers tools that allow you to measure the effect of your videos. BBQguys has used this data to make its videos more compelling — shortening them, for example, to two or three minutes after discovering that customers tend to stop watching the longer ones. The company also discovered “hot spots” that viewers rewind to and rewatch — particularly images of food sizzling on the grill — and it now makes sure to include more such scenes.
“Video has to be evolving,” Mr. Olson said. “You have to always be willing to change everything you’re doing.”
BUILD A BRAND CHANNEL One way to get the attention of customers is invite them to become your video producers — especially if they jump off cliffs, ski down steep powder ridges or do somersaults on BMX bikes.
GoPro.com, a maker of small high-definition cameras that can be worn during adventure sports, has built a thriving YouTube presence with customer videos. YouTube allows businesses to establish channels, or a home page that lists videos, playlists and contact information. The GoPro channel features more than 100 videos — including surfing, skiing, motocross, auto sports and flight — which have been viewed more than 24 million times.
“It is the No. 1 most convenient way for us to validate our product to customers,” said Nick Woodman, founder and chief executive. He said business was growing 300 percent a year. “Viral word-of-mouth marketing for GoPro is massive. Video is really the conduit.”
ADVERTISE WITH VIDEO YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google(which owns YouTube) and represents a huge audience of potential customers. It offers a dozen advertising options, including banner ads, promoted videos that appear on top and beside search results, and “preroll ads” that appear during other YouTube videos much like a conventional TV commercial. YouTube recently announced that it was displaying more than three billion ads per week.
Like Google, YouTube generally follows a cost-per-click or cost-per-view model so advertisers pay only when users click on ads or watch ad videos. Advertisers can view metrics such as number of impressions, conversions and viewer demographics via theirGoogle AdWords or YouTube Insights accounts.
Ads can be aimed at customers based on demographics, keywords or interests. For example, a person who searches for “ceiling tiles” might see a Ceilume video titled “make an ugly ceiling elegant” highlighted as a promoted video atop the YouTube page. Ceilume devotes about 10 percent of its advertising budget to YouTube.
OFFER INSTRUCTION Online video makes it easy to follow the adage “Show, don’t tell.” Many businesses have turned to video for instruction manuals and how-to guides.
Directfix.com sells replacement parts and accessories for smartphones and other electronics. The business faces a constant customer service challenge: showing lay people how to take apart electronic gadgets and install fragile components.
In the early days, the company used pictures and text, said Robert Stanley, founder and chief executive. Inevitably, those instructions left customers with questions that placed a burden on the company’s customer service department. In 2007, the company began posting how-to videos on YouTube. That summer, it released one of the first videos showing how to take apart an iPhone, a video that has been viewed more than two million times.
The company has compiled a library of instructional videos that have reduced customer questions by half, allowed the company to eliminate phone support and cut its customer service budget about 40 percent. Without video, Mr. Stanley said, he would have to hire four or five additional employees.
“You can tell somebody over the phone to turn the screw in the top right corner,” he said, “and they might understand what you mean and they might not. If you show them on a video, they get the point.”
Digital Book Distribution
I just read about a great new service for self-published authors.
We all know the Digital Literature Revolution is radically changing the way we interact with the “written” word. Not since Gutenberg and the introduction of mass printed books have we redefined our relationship with literature in such a profound way.
“BookBaby” digitally distributes the works of independent authors, poets, memoirists, and publishers, making their eBooks available to digital retailers (like Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble.com, Sony’s Reader Store, and Amazon.com) in all available regions and territories. We’re part of the CD Baby family (the world’s largest online distributor of independent music), which has paid out over 160 million dollars to artists just like you.
BookBaby provides a simple, comprehensive solution to their digital distribution needs. With BookBaby:
You get 100% of your net sales revenue!
Distribute your eBook worldwide, to all of the major platforms (iPad, Kindle, • Nook, Sony Reader) and online retail stores!
They pay out within one week of receiving payments!
Consolidated sales reporting.
You can enhance your eBook with video, graphics and more. BookBaby also specializes in conversion of more complex documents, including tables, graphs, multiple of images, and embedded multimedia files including video and audio clips.
For more information go to http://links.mkt1524.com/servlet/SignUpForm?f=731947&source=BC11DM2 and sign up for the free report.
Even busy executives want to do more than just read on the web
Executives with no time for fun and games do have time for the sound and motion of video, according to findings from Forbes Insights. In some cases, they may actually prefer it to text for learning about products and services.
A majority of businesspeople surveyed by Forbes in October 2010 said they watched more online video than a year earlier. Nearly 60% of all respondents said they would watch video before reading text on the same webpage, and 22% said they generally liked watching video more than reading text for reviewing business information. Three-quarters of all executives said they watched work-related videos on business websites at least once a week, and more than half did the same on YouTube.
Video can be highly effective for merchants. The executives surveyed reported taking a wide variety of actions after watching online videos, with about two-thirds visiting vendor websites subsequent to viewing and more than half searching for more information. Especially among younger executives, likelihood of making a purchase was high.
Generational differences ran throughout the Forbes research, with a split in behavior at age 50. While the youngest executives were most interested in video across the board, baby boomers in their 40s had comparable participation levels. It was older executives who had not yet gotten on board with video, and business-to-business marketers must continue to reach them through other means.
But video has only become more important for the younger set, and marketers can depend on them to watch, pass along, recommend—and often, enter the purchase funnel.
An E-Marketer Article
What if I told you that there was a surefire way to make your website standout and POP… would that be of interest to you? And what if I further told you that this method is inexpensive, easily accomplished, and has a 50 times greater chance of landing you on Page 1 of a search result?
I thought that would grab your attention.
What is the secret ingredient, that magic potion, you ask? The answer is, not surprisingly — video.
It turns out that of all the things you can do on your website to engage viewers, create more page views and get higher search engine rankings, adding video just may be the best.
Forrester Research did a test and found that when search results are blended (that is, they include text, video and images) videos that are search engine optimized give you a 50 times greater chance of ending up on the all-important first page of a search result.
But here’s the catch: You can’t just add a video to your site and expect a great search engine result for that page. The video must be search engine optimized, that is, it must contain key words in the file names, captions, and so on. That same Forrester blog indicated that less than 20% of all online marketers search engine optimize their video.
If you want your video to be picked up and analyzed properly by Google and the other search engines, you must not only add SEO keywords to it, but you must actually submit the video to Google using XML tools.
Putting your video on YouTube and embedding the YouTube player and URL into your site is insufficient. The traffic and the rankings will be applied to YouTube and not your site.
Obviously properly SEOing a video offers a tremendous opportunity.
1. It helps attract new customers by virtue of the SEO factor
2. It engages them, reducing the “bounce rate” and
3. It can help increase your conversion rate – that is, the number of people who visit and then end up buying something or calling for more information
ABV produces professional videos that are affordable for a company as small as one person and distributes them, properly titled and tagged for SEO purposes to all the major video sharing sites.
Roger Stix, Producer
In case you didn’t notice- video is the future of the internet. If you want your business to be found on Google, video marketing is an extremely effective tool. But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out these results!
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