Jen Grogono is the founder and CEO of Austin, TX-based uStudio, a company which does pretty much everything in the video space on a cloud-based platform. uStudio is one of our sponsors for the ReelSEO Marketing Summit, where Jen will be on the panel “Reel Case Studies: The Anatomy of Successful Video Marketing.” Jen wrote an article for us as we head into the Summit, and it covers the wide spectrum of every stage in a video’s life, dividing it into the 5 “P’s.”
The Fundamental 5 “P’s”of Online Video
Much like the classic “P”s of marketing – product, price, place, promotion (and now the fifth “P” people) – there are 5 P’s of Online Video emerging. Here are the 5 P’s explained as well as a set of ten associated questions to ask yourself as you invest in implementing a successful strategy.
Question #1: What is the purpose of my video?
Do you want to inform, educate, or entertain? What is the intended outcome from your audience? Maybe you want them to buy something, give you information, or share your video with their social networks. Answers here drive a number of decisions about length, talent, location, quality and cost of your video.
Question #2: How long should my video be?
Story determines length, not vice-versa. Pacing, tempo and story arc are farmore important to audience engagement than arbitrary length. Thankfully, in today’s anywhere/everywhere “on demand” video world, we don’t have to adhere to standard time blocks like 30- or 60-second spots, 22-minute TV episodes, or two-minute news features. Take advantage of this freedom!
Question #3: How professional should my video look?
Talent and location will vary with the type of video you’re producing. For example, if you’re using video to educate or train, your audience is already motivated to engage. Information is the star. But if your goal is to entertain or to sell product, then unique talent, location, and professional writing can make all the difference with the aim of increasing audience growth, viral distribution or conversion.
Question #4: How much should I spend?
There is a wide range of production quality and cost in video production. Given the relatively immature state of online video, balancing your budget with the expected return is challenging right out of the gate. Do you need to spend a lot on product support or training videos? Conversely, do you want to skimp when production values are key to meeting objectives? You can spend as little as $100 per video – particularly when producing several short videos in a single day – or anywhere between $1,000 to $100,000+ for longer and more highly produced stories. For perspective, in 2011, the average production cost of a single thirty second television commercial was just over $350,000.
Question #5: How do I maintain efficient workflows across my team?
In any production, the bulk of your expense is people’s time — both your creative resources as well as your business or marketing team. This cost can easily escalate with poor video asset management or insufficient collaboration among team members. Video’s large file size adds to the challenge since it is harder to store and share through standard business tools like email. Be crisp about your workflows and accountability, and be smart about implementing the right tools to manage important functions like rough cut reviews and final approvals.
Question #6: Which video format should I use?
To understand the best video format – codec, bitrate and container – you’ll need to consider where your video is going, which devices will access it, and how you will future-proof it against changing player technologies.
Videos must work adaptively across every screen today and in the future – TV, computers, mobile devices, and what’s next. Lack of industry standards has made this a daunting process. Even if you have video encoding expertise in house, it’s hard to justify the computing or human capital required to create the various versions you’ll need and to stay on top of advances in video tech. Think about using a cloud-provider whose mission is to handle this heavylifting for you.
Question #7: What kind of metadata do I need?
Metadata is the industry term for information you’ll want to associate with your video file. This can include the thumbnail cover image, title, description and keywords. You want to get this right because it ensures smart video asset management and storage. You’ve spent money on your video. Make sure you and your team can easily catalog, find and reuse it. Plus, rich and well-organized metadata is an important element of good SEO, key to your video’s discovery.
Question #8: Where is my video going and how do I get it there?
Publishing today is all about putting the right video in front of the intended audience at the right time. Once you understand your target persona(e), organize your distribution plan around Owned, Earned and Paid audiences and media.
Your Owned audience refers to your site visitors, your marketing database as well as your internal and private audiences like employees, partners and customers. Naturally, these audiences will engage with your video through destinations that you own and operate – your website, your products, your mobile application, your online catalog, your intranets and extranets, or even internal vertical applications such as Salesforce.com, Sharepoint, and Blackboard, etc.
Earned audiences engage with your video across various platforms and social destinations like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Earned audiences are authentic and can be powerful assets in driving new audiences.
Paid audiences are those who find you through ads and links you may purchase through a multitude of advertiser and publisher networks.
Your investment in of these categories will differ depending on your video type. For example, training and education videos may only target Owned audiences, while your marketing videos may target Owned, Earned and Paid audiences. Once you organize your audience this way, it’s easy to understand required destinations for your video. Make sure you have the technology capability to meet your audience where they are. Then dare to go there. Leveraging a “huband-spoke” publishing model will ensure that you are always driving audiences back to media you own. This removes any data or engagement limitations fromthird-party video or social platforms.
Question #9: How do I ensure audience discovery?
If a video plays in a forest and no one’s there to view it … Clearly, every video strategy must incorporate the concept of promotion – telling your audience about your video and directing them to it. In today’s hyper-frenzied world of bombarding sights and sounds, audience discovery can stand in the way of success.
For video targeting owned or private audiences, this is often best achieved through using video email campaigns, embedding videos on websites and withinapps, or even integrating videos with existing business applications your audience uses. In some cases, you may want to simply use a short promotional version of your video and direct folks to the full-length file elsewhere.
To bolster broad audience discovery in an organic fashion, there are few better ways than optimizing for search engine and YouTube SEO, while simultaneously sprinkling videos and links across as many relevant social and video networks as available: think Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, and more. Vine and Instagram Video are two recent additions but require you to create new video assets.
Like any other type of promotion, paying for attention is always an option given today’s seemingly endless choices in display and pay-per-click advertising networks.
Question #10 – How am I measuring the return on my video?
We produce video to move people into taking an action. Increasingly, the currency with which we define the value of these actions is no longer just money earned as a result of video, but also audience time and data. Many video strategies are designed to simply increase an audience’s time spent with a video or brand for the purpose of informing, teaching or sharing. Other strategies use video as a more effective means of gathering audience data explicitly and implicitly – demographic information, interests and intentions, viewing habits, social graphs. Broadly-speaking, these last two are often referred to as audience engagement.
Know your measurement criteria ahead of investing in video. If you are not measuring discrete dollars spent as a result of your video(s), be certain that you have the tools in place to elicit, capture and understand audience engagement.
Remember that part of your Profit equation is also your cost – time and money spent to create, store, host and distribute your videos. Taken together, we call this your Total Cost of Video Ownership (TCVO).
In the end, video leaders carefully measure their video Profit by minimizing TCVO and maximizing the actions the audience takes.
The 5 Ps, together with our ten strategy-guiding questions, are meant to give you some order in what often feels like the chaos of online video. As the industry shifts, rely on your business principles and this framework to negotiate the changing landscape and you’ll do well.