May 30

Out of the Box Content Marketing

By Heather Timmerman Digital Media Trends Comments Off

To see this branded content marketing piece by GoPayment, click on the image.

A theme of several recent articles regarding how to create a great content marketing strategy all have one thing in common. They center around using digital platforms like social media to incorporate brand marketing initiatives utilizing video content to create engagement, all of which require both creativity and risk. The overall message to executives and online marketers via multiple sources, is to not be afraid to try something new. A recent ReelSEO Tweet from a post written over a year ago still had some very valuable information worth sharing. The main points were:

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Embrace Online Video and Social Media Marketing
  3. Commit Budget to Promote Video and Social Media Initiatives
  4. Develop Creative that is Relevant and Shareable
  5. Establish Clear Expectations and Goals – Learn to Predict ROI
  6. Integrate Video and Social Media into Traditional Marketing Initiatives
  7. Allow and Encourage Experimentation
  8. Be Responsive
  9. Don’t Play Follow the Leader
  10. Don’t Assume Video and Social are B2C Only
  11. Be Prepared to Fall on Your Butt Now and Then

All of the points above are important but perhaps the one that is needed to get the creative juices flowing is allowing and encouraging experimentation. This reminds me of the infamous 20% rule which Google applies internally in order to keep innovation alive and well within the organization.  The philosophy is simple. One day a week engineers are allowed to work on a project that isn’t necessarily related to their job descriptions. The idea being that creativity and innovation can’t be forced. Only by loosening the reigns and encouraging freedom of thought can new ideas come to the surface.

Experimenting with video can be daunting, especially for those who haven’t the faintest clue how to get started. That’s where the network and education comes in, which another post labeled ‘Why CMOs Need to Experiment‘ indicates is highly relevant (Source: Digiday). Attending conferences, reading up on the topic, reaching out to colleagues and most importantly securing some budget to play with is critical to get started. According to Steven Cook, the hunt for ROI in social is besides the point. Brands that worry about this too much don’t get social, which is a risky route to take. If you need some reasons why social is here to stay, check out this previous Preview post.

Not assuming that video and social is only for B2C companies is another good piece of advice mentioned in the first article above. GoPayment, a B2B mobile payment service recently released a series of great content marketing videos about their clients (Source: ReelSEO). The focus of the video series was centered around their customer’s stories and how the use of pop-up store initiatives in various cities in the US allowed them to reach their audience and provide a convenient service. This in the end created engaging and entertaining content, while subtly allowing GoPayment’s brand and value proposition to come through. The moral of the story and message of this blog? Never underestimate the power of creativity and collaboration.

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is a platform for brands and content aggregation and syndication platform for publishers. We provide the tools for brands to centrally distribute and manage marketing and PR content across media destinations, devices, and commerce platforms; allowing media partners to automate content acquisition delivering audience and advertising revenue growth.

Feb 29

While most marketers are trying to understand how to increase brand exposure outside their owned destinations, some marketers have discovered how online video deployment can generate high exposure and engagement rates within paid and earned media. Well knowing that the increase in video frequency squeezes the already limited attention span, marketers need to add the contextual element in which their video assets are deployed in the video program equation.

In the latest online video rankings report indicating unique views from comScore, Facebook ranks as number 5, in front of companies such as Microsoft, AOL, Amazon, Hulu and NBC Universal. It is thus evident that online video content is flowing onto the online social sphere at a rapid rate. As a result of this, pushing branded video content to Facebook without any contextual bundling will result in minimum engagement without any organic distribution. According to recent academic research, brands active on Facebook had on average, over a period of 4-6 weeks, an increased brand engagement with 14%, growth in fan base by 10%, and an improved organic reach by 24%, after incorporating the following measures in their online video activities:

  • Added video campaign within the context of e.g. competition or seasonal promotions
  • Only released videos as part of an already running or newly established campaign
  • Mixed a range of high-end and low-end produced videos
  • Included a minimum of two CTA’s in every video
  • Nurtured engagement with give-aways or financial incentives
  • Treated video as social currency

In relation to paid media, marketers have to start buying solutions that deploy their online video content within the right context. This is crucial as placing video in the ad-space undermines and undervalues the branded value of rich media compared to video deployment in the editorial-space. According to a study performed by Yahoo!, 57% of online video viewers say they enjoy watching a video next to an article as shown in the chart above. Moreover, the study also found that in cases where a video is played within the article, viewers are more likely to watch the video to get more information or to receive extended entertainment on the topic. Contextual placement thereby increases the likeliness of viewer engagement via rich media exposure.

The results of integrating, deploying and distributing online video assets can be improved if the context of where the assets will operate is considered. To learn how to incorporate contextual video into your online marketing strategy read more at previewnetworks.com or send me an e-mail (ed@previewnetworks.com) to find out how we can help you with context empowered video deployment.

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is a platform for brands and content aggregation and syndication platform for publishers. We provide the tools for brands to centrally distribute and manage marketing and PR content across media destinations, devices, and commerce platforms; allowing media partners to automate content acquisition delivering audience and advertising revenue growth.

Jan 06

It’s YouTube – Not YourTube

By Ervin Draganovic Digital Media Trends Comments Off

The moving picture appeal of versus still graphics or written content is progressively influencing consumer behaviours and preferences. While marketers and retailers are becoming aware they need to be scalable when it comes to , most of them are left confused when deciding which video strategy to use. “Let’s just upload everything to , or wait! Should we host it ourselves?” should be an extension of the video strategy, not the strategy itself.

Image courtesy of zeroone.com

With more than 48 hours of content aggregated every minute and over 3 billion video views delivered a day, there is no doubt that YouTube is the most popular . Moreover, while these numbers are most often used in pitches arguing for using YouTube as the primary video destination and distribution platform, the numbers should be put into context for corporate video.

On a philosophical level, placing corporate videos primarily on YouTube is like placing a product on the lowest shelf somewhere in the corner of WalMart, while hoping that your product will get some consumer attention. The total amount of content shared on YouTube creates a high level of disturbance, which removes any hope of creating a controlled content consumption environment.

Additional arguments for not using YouTube as the primary platform are as follows:

  • YouTube is a entertainment platform – not a commerce channel
  • YouTube’s biggest interest is to get people to YouTube.com – not to a company domain
  • Uploading content to YouTube improves YouTube stickiness – not company domain stickiness
  • YouTube is about playlists – not call to action (CTA) opportunities
  • YouTube powered videos are likely to improve organic search results, however the video is linked to YouTube – not company domains where the product can be purchased

Instead of focusing only on YouTube, companies should invest in platforms that will bring exclusive video content propositions to its domain. With the right solution and execution, the video empowered domain can easily boost search engine results, increase stickiness, and improve conversion rates. As consumers continue to increase engagement levels on YouTube, companies should aim at utilizing the platform as a secondary vehicle for its corporate videos, not the focal strategy.

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is a platform for brands and content aggregation and syndication platform for publishers. We provide the tools for brands to centrally distribute and manage marketing and PR content across media destinations, devices, and commerce platforms; allowing media partners to automate content acquisition delivering audience and advertising revenue growth.

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Dec 29

Video Prediction Mashup for 2012

By Heather Timmerman Digital Media Trends Comments Off

At the end of each year various analysts, experts, journalists, media and technology junkies alike, take to the wires with their predictions for the new year. The industry is no different. is exploding and not everyone is yet accustomed to why it is so popular, how to use it, or where to put it. One might say the industry has even more predictions than most due to its volatile nature. So in the spirit of collaboration and aggregation, I have developed a mashup of various predictions that we, here at Preview Networks, have found to be relevant in our research and discussions with customers and fellow junkies.

1. Video Context will become as important as . This prediction comes from Tom Wilde, CEO of Ramp via VideoNuze.com and is not so much a prediction as it is a rule of thumb for how to use video most effectively. Placing a video into a relevant editorial section to enhance its appeal, or using a media platform in line with the video content, is just as important as creating the engaging content itself. Creating an “a-ha!” moment is the point at which comprehension and emotion come together, which pulls consumers deeper into the sales cycle.

2. Increased Branded-Content Production. According to Alphabird, more marketers will begin producing original-content for brands, and increasingly playing the role of media company. With advertising on the rise, these assets become easier for brands to manage and distribute themselves, saving costs on various agencies that are currently being used. We saw this trend happening in 2011 among luxury brands like Burberry and Ralph Lauren as we have blogged about in the past. Accordingly, the focus has become more and more about the media-content as it has been on the design.

3. Cross-Platform and Cross-Device Campaign Planning will become the Norm for Most Brands. This is an increasing consumer trend that will be solidified in 2012, as more brands offer these services, as noted by YuMe’s Jayant Kadambi among others. The increase of usage enables video mobility, and the popularity of and expansion of device manufacturers, gives consumers more ways to consume video. is the final piece of the emerging platform puzzle, and according to AOL’s Ran Harnevo, Cross Platform will be the new King. This trend is about the ability to view video on any platform, at anytime, and providers who are able to offer a comprehensive video solution will be able to take advantage of this growing market share.

4. Reallocation of Traditional Budgets towards Digital Budgets. As AdoTube’s Steven Jones has noted, this is a prediction that many in the advertising and technology community have talked about for years, but 2011 is the first time the effect of advertisers extending TV buys by using digital video online could be felt. Marketers are becoming aware of the complementary nature of combining TV and online video, and as economic concerns increase across the globe, so does the shift in advertising from offline to online, according to an eMarketer recent report.

5. 90% of ’s Channels will Fail. Perhaps a bold statement, but as companies wake up to the fact that they can easily manage and distribute digital assets themselves, it could hold some validity. According to Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision 3, YouTube’s program is a classic venture model where they expect to lose 90% of the investment, but for the ones that will succeed it serves as a pipeline for TV ad money to funnel into the online space. This supports the argument made above and is also a nice teaser for next week’s blog post. Stay tuned for more!

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is a content marketing platform for brands and content aggregation and syndication platform for publishers. We provide the tools for brands to centrally distribute and manage marketing and PR content across media destinations, devices, and commerce platforms; allowing media partners to automate content acquisition delivering audience and advertising revenue growth.

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Nov 15

According to 400 marketing professionals is the preferred marketing method for B2B marketers (entrepreneur.com). This was based on a study by HiveFire that indicated traditional marketing strategies such as print advertising, search engine marketing, and PR were not nearly used as often as content marketing.

“In fact, 82 percent of respondents now use content marketing in their programs, which makes it more popular than search marketing (70 percent), events (68 percent) and public relations (64 percent) and over two times more popular than print, TV or radio advertising (32 percent)”  (getcurata.com).

Content marketing defined as “the creation and publication of original content — including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos — for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and putting the company’s subject matter expertise on display” (entrepreneur.com).

Marketers aiming to engage customers and prospects, increase website traffic, or even sales are focusing more on content curation efforts. This means finding, organizing, and ultimately sharing content. As mentioned in “The Secret Ingredient for Enaging Content” the content marketing process begins with creating content worth sharing.

B2C marketers are ahead of the curve when it comes to incorporating into marketing plans as video enhances the tangible product experience . It draws the consumer into the message they are trying to communicate. Touch and feel is replaced by entertaining or informative content.

The same logic can be used for B2B marketing, as the same appeal for moving images and graphics versus text applies. Only a shift in the content creative strategy remains. At the end of the day, businesses are made up of people who are consumers. Curating content worth sharing should involve both informative as well as engaging content.

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is Europe’s largest preview distribution network. We serve websites, apps and . Our content is available on MSN,, , The Times, MySpace, The Guardian, El Pais, El Mundo, Le Monde and more than 2,300 other online . We work with more than 300 brand and companies. Learn more on previewnetworks.com

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Sep 20

Video is quickly becoming one of the most effective communication tools online and according to Google, rich media ads with video not only drive better business results, but are expected to grow by 38% in 2011.  As we have discussed in prior posts, it begins with creating engaging video content. This process is no longer as complicated nor as expensive as it once was, with affordable agencies and online community options becoming available everywhere. In fact, a recent case study done by Getty suggested that Microsoft may be building an even easier option yet.

Image courtesy of publishing2.com.

However, once that engaging content has been built the secret ingredient lies in structured distribution into trusted and relevant editorial content spaces. A video placed in this media space encourages readers to become viewers and enhances the relevancy and experience of the content piece for the consumer creating a happy matrimony between text and video, not to mention an increase in audience and participation.

So how does that happen? It starts with brand owners who create the video content either themselves or through the use of a creative agency. How much exposure the video content receives depends on distribution relationships which can go from one to many when media and PR agencies are involved. According to The Growth of Branded Content, the breakdown in exposure can be largely logistical. “Lack of co-ordination and fragmented budgets in compressed delivery schedules create confusion all too easily” (Marc Heal, fourthsource.com).

Therefore, it’s best to keep it simple. Since brands are beginning to create content themselves, they also have it within their power to become their own publishers in full control of how and where content is syndicated. Which leads to the concept of The Content Graph. According to Scott Karp, “The Content Graph is about leveraging the brand equity and consumer trust that is the greatest asset of every traditional media company. It’s about building a content brand’s reputation through distribution” and using the power of networks to make it happen (publishing2.com).

So how do brands begin to work as media companies? By developing distribution relationships with platforms and channels (like Preview Networks) that already have over 2,000 trusted medias throughout Europe integrated into our network. This eliminates the one to many relationship and logistical nightmare that can prevent quality content from going where it needs to go. In relevant editorial content spaces that consumers trust.

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is Europe’s largest preview distribution network. We serve websites, apps and . Our content is available on MSN,, IMDB, , The Times, MySpace, The Guardian, El Pais, El Mundo, Le Monde and more than 2,300 other online . We work with more than 300 companies including Sony, Fox, Disney, Warner, Universal, and Paramount. Learn more on previewnetworks.com

Jan 24

The connected world continues to evolve in the way of video content channels, including one we have been blogging and tweeting a lot about recently, connected or internet TV.  Which brings us to our latest media partner out of the UK, Miniweb.

Miniweb doesn’t include a browser in their connected device like Google TV does.  Instead, Miniweb works with content providers (like Preview Networks) to integrate the content onto devices like gaming consoles and blu-ray players with an app called Woomi.

Video Nuze breaks it down in an article nicely by describing it this way: “Woomi is not trying to bring an online experience to the TV, but rather to create a better TV experience by seamlessly incorporating online content into it.

Woomi is live on Samsung’s 2010 Internet@TV and blu-ray players in the UK and they are planning to launch on the same devices in the US in January, 2011.  France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland are scheduled to be launched in 2011 as well.   Check out their website for more info: http://www.woomi.tv/what.htm

For more information about Miniweb, take a look here.

About Preview Networks

Preview Networks is Europe’s largest preview distribution network. We serve websites, apps and internet TV. Our content is available on MSN,, IMDB, , The Times, MySpace, The Guardian, El Pais, El Mundo, Le Monde and more than 1,500 other online media. We work with more than 300 companies including Sony, Fox, Disney, Warner, Universal, and Paramount. Learn more on previewnetworks.com

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