A video blog by Roger Stix, Executive Producer at Atlanta Business Video
The Shifting Trend from “Apple White” to Motion Graphics in Business Video by Atlanta Business Video
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:
Have you seen YouTube lately, staying on the site for longer than the three minutes it takes to watch the video link that a friend emailed? Chances are the answer will be no.
Though YouTube calls itself the third most-visited site in the world (after Google and Facebook), it works like an efficient courier service, playing content for you wherever you are on the Web, including Facebook, Twitter and email instant messages. But while we’ve been busy watching YouTube videos elsewhere, the site itself grew up.
YouTube has things like personalized channels, more editing options for uploading clips and a full-screen mode for sitting back and watching videos. A lot of these extra features are buried on the site and difficult to find.
I took a deep dive into YouTube, compiling a list of handy shortcuts for navigating this video hub and getting more out of it.
Sharing videos with friends is one of the most popular uses for YouTube, but sometimes you want to share just the best part of a video. With two clicks, you can trim videos to begin exactly where you want and then share them. As a video is playing, right click at the point where you’d like your video clip to start and select “Copy video URL at current time” to get a URL for the trimmed video. When others open the link, it will start right at the spot in the video where you right-clicked. No longer will a video clip take too long to reach the best part, like waiting for a model to fall on the runway, and leave you hesitant to share it on Facebook or via emails with friends.
Real Deal Musicians
Searching for music on YouTube can be exasperating since so many people upload videos of themselves singing and tag the video with the name of a well-known musician. So while you’re looking for the latest Coldplay song, you find a high school band covering the song instead. To find artists who do publish on YouTube, look at youtube.com/disco, where users can type in artist names to get a playlist of videos by that artist. In regular YouTube search results, the official stamp from YouTube (and wording) signals that an artist is verified—much like the blue checkmark beside popular Twitter users who are truly who they claim to be.
With Video Editor, users can edit existing videos or upload new ones.
If you’ve ever recorded a video shot in portrait mode that you’d rather share in landscape or vice versa, the video can be switched to the correct viewing angle, saving viewers from tilting their heads to one side to watch. Do this with YouTube’s editor in the cloud, youtube.com/editor. Here, people can edit (including rotate) existing videos or upload new videos. Content can be mixed in with other video clips from the Creative Commons site, soundtracks can be added by choosing from a selection of music, and text slides can be dragged in to display between video clips.
If you’d rather use a third-party company for editing, multiple options are listed at youtube.com/create. A company called Vlix recently announced its integration with the YouTube site, bringing its editing features from the Vlix iPhone app—like artsy designs and text slides—to the site. Magisto automatically skims videos for the best footage and creates short clips with that content, and the Xtranormal Movie Maker lets people add text, such as a personal narration, to an animated video. (Never underestimate the entertainment value of hearing your words come out of an animated bear with a robotic voice.)
If you’re tired of hunting for videos to watch, take a look at clips that YouTube thinks you’ll like. Once signed into your YouTube account, if you’ve used the site to watch at least one video in the past, the homepage will show Suggestions below your username based on that past watching history. These suggestions appear as small thumbnail images of each video and include the reasoning behind why a clip was suggested, like “because you watched Lady Gaga and Sting.”
Videos From Afar
To see all of YouTube in a much more handsome layout, try Leanback, found at YouTube.com/leanback. This opens a page that’s meant to be viewed far from your computer, complete with a black background and white text written in large font.
Sign In, Sign In Again
Recently, it became possible to log into YouTube using your Google account username and password (Google has owned YouTube since 2006). Using their Google account, users may browse YouTube, rent a movie and “like” a video. To upload their own videos, subscribe to a channel, make comments on and “favorite” videos and get recommendations from YouTube on content they may like, people must create a YouTube account and use that in addition to a Google account.
A site called TestTube, found at youtube.com/testtube, holds many in-the-works projects from YouTube engineers. Here, users can kick the tires of some features that aren’t fully baked. One example is YouTube/slam, which pits one video against another and lets viewers vote on the best one.
It’s important to know the sharing settings in YouTube. There are three: public (anyone can search for and view); unlisted (anyone with the link can view); and private (only people who you choose can view). Any video can always be taken down from the site by its original publisher.
Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal
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.”
I have always tried to practice what I preach- In order to market effectively online you need: video, SEO, and social networking. I’d like to not only share where we are in our statistics, but also walk you through a few points that you should be looking for when evaluating the effectiveness of your own website. Are you having the same success?
TRAFFIC SOURCES: ￼
Where is the traffic to your website coming from? The more places you are on the internet, the more paths potential clients have to connect to your business.
These are our top traffic sources (in order):
- Organic Google
- Direct Traffic
- Online Video Multi-Players Referral
- SiteProWeb Referral
- LinkedIn Referral
- Youtube Referral
- Facebook Referral
- Yahoo Organic
- AOL Organic
- Bing Organic
It is also important to notice not only the different sources, but the type of source. When searching for Atlanta Business Video you get:
- Video results
- Website results
- Blog results
- Video Sharing Site Results
- Map results
After the traffic has arrived at your site, it is important to notice the bounce rate. This is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page). This can be caused for several reasons: your website is too cluttered, they didn’t find what they were looking for etc. It’s time to make some changes if this percentage is too high.
The online market is constantly evolving. Are you keeping track of your websites statistics for maximum effectiveness?
Hello from Atlanta Business Video! It has been a great week here at the new ABV studio. Producer Roger Stix returned from his family vacation in Maine and we immediately got back to business! This week brought us 4 days of in-studio shooting- including a commercial that we are shooting today, featuring 6 actors. We have been in our new studio at 690 Miami Circle for just over 3 months now- and are loving the new location! If you haven’t had the opportunity to come by and see the new studio- call us, and we’d be happy to give you a tour.
We have several exciting projects coming in the next few weeks, and samples of the new work should be appearing in different areas on our website.
Speaking of which- if you haven’t been to www.atlantabusinessvideo.com in awhile- you should check it out! Our new website was launched last week, and we are extremely pleased with it. Samples of our new work can be found on every page, and its easy navigation will help you find exactly what you are looking for. Whether it is On-Location Videography, In-Studio Production, HD Video Editing, or Video Marketing- you can find details on all of our featured products and samples of how others have used ABV to harness the power of video on the web!
Thanks for checking in with Atlanta Business Video… we look forward to seeing you soon!
Last Sunday, Erin, Megan and I videoed Victor Antoino, presenting the commencement address to 12,000 people at the University of Phoenix Graduation at Phillips Arena. Victor as hired us to produce a 15 minute documentary. This is our first time working together. The customers ability to communiacate what they want makes our job easier and Victor has been wonderful explaining what he wants.
On Tuesday we had the open house. The first guest arrived at 11:15. The last 8 of us left at 9:00. About 150 friends stopped by.
My close friend and client Daniel Grissom, spoke about how our products and services are being commoditized as buyers focus on price. “Selling is dead, value creation is alive”. Individually, we all need to create value for our customers in order for them to buy from us. This makes them buy you first, your product or service second and the brand third.
To create value for al my friends, prospects and clients, I’m trying to encourage Daniel to speak again about ways we can create value for our clients. If you enjoyed his presentation please let me know as I’m sure that will help me convince him that he is getting value from giving them as well.
We finished the initial edit of an excellent video for “Water for Life”, featuring our good friend Joyce Bone as talent. I’m very pleased with the messaging. Pete VanCleave, Ned Nimm and I went through several revisions before making every word just right.
Erin is on vacation all next week. Victor is coming in Monday morning to look at the initial edit. Megan is doing the editing. I reviewed the piece before leaving the studio Friday and it is fabulous. Megan got a wonder clip from one of the upper levels of the arena shooting down from behind the dais with Victor on Stage at the bottom, graduates in their gowns covering the floor and thousands of friends and families filling the stands and Victor’s image on the jumbotron at the top.
Roger Stix, Producer
Atlanta Business Video