Fast Forward On Television

"The Hottest Homes on the Central Coast with Naomi." 

Congrats to Naomi Westgard, real estate agent and TV producer/talent!  Naomi launched Episode 1 of her program on Jan 2nd:

"The Hottest Homes on the Central Coast with Naomi. A brand new show highlighting the most beautiful homes and the hottest spots to visit on the Central Coast of California. Your host Naomi will profile these amazing locations along with tips and interviews from local experts on homes and lifestyles. Shows will be airing on NBC and the CW. Check for local listings in your area."

Naomi kindly included a Fast Forward example in her "Real Estate 101" section for peers. 

A BIG shout-out (and thanks) to Naomi for including us - and congratulations.  If you haven't ever produced film or video content, it's easy to underestimate the work involved by about 100-fold!  Naomi's Episode 1, at nearly 30 minutes, would have required many, many days of planning, writing, filming, editing and more.

Watch for upcoming episodes here:

facebook.com/TheHottestHomesOnTheCentralCoast/timeline

Chief Marketing Officers - Content Spend Is Top Budget Priority

Big Blue (IBM) released this big blue infographic covering marketing, summarizing interview results from 100 top CMOs.

"...content for use across the buyer journey is currently king, grabbing the top program budget spot.   Traditional and digital media spend is almost in parity...."

Content is getting budget, and budgets are increasing.  I do find myself wondering about technology expenditures in that mix. Meanwhile, Gartner has content marketing on the down-slope to their 'trough of disillusionment.'  (Ironic thing for Gartner to state - they've been content marketing driven for a VERY long time.)

What makes some good old horse sense to me about this survey summary is the notion that content bridges both the stages of the customer journey, and the channels through which content is delivered/encountered.  It's an implicit acknowledgement that the customer is in charge - give 'em what they're looking for, where they're looking for it, when they need it.

While it's not an earth-shaking use of visual communication, it's a quick digestible piece worth a glance.

2015 Realtors® Conference & Expo - In Fast Forward

NAR 2015 - San Diego

Fast Forward Stories was an exhibitor at the NAR conference.  About 20,000 attendees, according to our NAR contact.  Almost 400 exhibitors, and nearly 1/3rd of them were new to NAR.  Hmmm - think there's some innovation and capital coming into the real estate sector?

Here's the high-speed tour:

San Diego's downtown was pretty vibrant - I hadn't been there in well over a decade. The convention center is across the trolley tracks from the Gaslamp District.  (Deft urban design to ensure that a healthy % of conference budgets remain in San Diego.)

Word of advice if you go to a conference there:  if you have a car, leave it in the convention center and walk across the trolley tracks.  I didn't - fortunately - because that lead to a wonderful restaurant, the Farmers Bottega in the Mission Hills district.  Terrific farm-to-table fare - they cook almost as well as my wife, which is VERY high praise.

--md

 

 

A Nearly Hour-Long Webinar About Fast Forward...

Our marketing partners at the California Association of REALTORS® gave us the chance to put on a webinar for several hundred of their members on Nov 18, 2015.  We covered video strategy, a few important tech points, and a ton of "here's what you can do with Fast Forward videos."

True confessions - I'm one of those annoying people who think public speaking is fun. Give me a couple hundred people and a wireless mic, yeehah.

Webinars?  Meh.  You can't see or hear people - it's film, and I far prefer theatre.  (It's also hard to realize how incredibly FAST a webinar can turn into a BORE. I'll do the live webcam from here on out, promise...)

So all of that aside...we kept >80% of the audience riveted (or multitasking) for an hour. If you're wondering what FFWD is all about - or how to make use of your videos - this may answer a bunch of those questions for you.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7923546253828432898



Mac El Capitan - Not Climbing That Mountain...

WARNING:  Blog Post Only Relevant To Mac Geeks.

Reading a ton of news feeds every morning pays off occasionally.  This morning, I ran across an editorial rant about Apple's new OS X version, "El Capitan."  Boy oh boy am I glad I read it.  IF you use RAID on a Mac, read on.

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.

You knew that, sorry.

In English - that means "hey, see those hard disks?  Let's treat them as one big fat drive."

There's a range of RAID standards - from RAID0, which basically spreads data evenly like so much peanut butter across the disks, to RAID5, which keeps track of everything down to how the peanuts were raised (ethically, free-range grazing, parity, striping, etc.)

The only computer I've ever had that didn't eventually piss me off for being too slow - my Mac Pro.  The one I'm typing on now. Love ya big guy.  It's not the gorgeous Darth Vader's Coffee Cup new Mac Pro.  It's the big silver yeah who you lookin' at tower.

Why so good?

Because a number of years ago, when they cost more than Kleenex, I slapped a matching pair of SSDs in and set them to run in RAID 0 config. That's my system drive - two SSDs. It's just STUPID fast.  Yeah, it's risky - if one drive pukes, the whole thing is dead.  Meh, that's why I back up about 4 different ways all the time.  Give me second-to-second speed over hour-to-hour safety any day, at least for getting things done. This machine smokes. If Santa brings me the new Mac Pro, I'd do the same thing - OOPS, wait, no, now I couldn't because El Capitan DOESN'T SUPPORT RAID.

So El Capitan = falling off one big ugly cliff.  If I hadn't read that article, I might have tried it. Disaster - system drive not recognizable.  

This is a bad decision on Apple's part, I think.  Yeah, most consumers think RAID kills bugs daid.  But seriously, they also NEVER touch Disk Utility.  Those of us that do...those of us that have paid Apple a LOT of dough over a lot of years, not just the last 5...do not appreciate high-handed simplification.  Final Cut Pro X. Pages and Keynote.  Quicktime "Pro" vs Quicktime 7.  Stop mistaking stripping for simplification, especially when it comes to technical standards. 

I'm pretty sure there will be a point in the future where I'm faced with upgrading the OS, or NOT being able to use some app.  Until then, with some regret, I'm going to hang back and not jump off the El Capitan cliff. I suspect many of my compadres in the media world - especially if they're aware of this RAID on their disk utility - will follow suit.  Bah. 

--md

see http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2015/20151008_1222-SoftRAID-vs-DiskUtility.html

Realtor.com Explains With Video

Elizabeth Banks?  Cool!

Realtor.com engaged the one-of-a-kind Elizabeth Banks to create a new video series - "the HOME-BUYING PROCESS in PLAIN ENGLISH with ELIZABETH BANKS".  Click the visual to see the series.

One of our customers wrote in - "Oh, gee, isn't this competition for you?"

Nope.  More education is good, not competition.

All 6 of these are sharp, professional, engaging - and branded for Realtor.com.  The more they're distributed and used, the better for Realtor.com.  If your business objective is to increase the traffic to Realtor.com, by all means grab the embed codes and put them on your web site, use them in social media posts, email campaigns and so on.  

There's a different design philosophy in these 6 videos than the one guiding our 150+ videos.  Visuals in these videos serve to engage, but not necessarily to inform. Elizabeth Banks is fun to watch, but her face and gestures don't provide visual representations of the terms, concepts and relationships she's talking about.  Plain English - yes.  Plain Visuals - no. (The banner graphic above has visuals - the videos don't.  Interesting...)

Hats off to Realtor.com for moving to video, for sure.  And it's definitely worth your time to check these out. They're reasonably short and very polished. Good content marketing. If you want to try that yourself, and can't afford Elizabeth or her house...give us a call :-)

313 Billion Reasons To conTENT Your Market

Say this word out loud:   "content"

Did you accent the first syllable?  Most people do these days. 

Say it again, but accent the second sylllable:  "content"

The first one - CONtent - is about subject matter...the content of this article, the content of that video.  The second - conTENT - is about feeling satisfied, pleased, happy(ish).

There's a not-so-quiet little gold rush going on in content marketing.

PQ Media's recent Global Content Marketing Forecast says the content marketing industry will generate $313 billion in revenue by 2019. (The "Content Moves to the Middle" article that gave me that little nugget says that VCs have invested over a billion in content-marketing technology startups in the last 9 years. See link at the bottom.)

Here's my question...is that gold rush about CONtent marketing or conTENT marketing, or both?

If you really think it through for your business, the answer should be "both."  

Jeff Pundyk puts it this way:  

"What’s harder for companies to embrace is an approach that puts their readers’ needs ahead of their own, to engage with each reader not as a consumer but as somebody who is grappling with a complex problem. "

I think he's saying that CONtent marketing is the means, but conTENT customers (relationships) are the goal. It's logical - it's even obvious - but it's way too easy to be seduced by the complexity of the means.  Put more succinctly - SEO-chasing is pretty darn distracting.

Run this scenario. Your biggest competitor puts out an excellent white paper on the most current hot topic in your shared industry.  You get the scary feeling they're becoming the 'thought leader' (abysmal phrase.)  Do you:

A) drop everything to generate a white paper on the same topic, trying to say the same thing with different words to keep up with the JoneSEOs?

B) ignore it and say what YOU have to say

C) read it, comment on it intelligently where you agree and disagree, and pass it along to your customers/prospects?

CONtent marketers chase A.  ConTENT marketers will go with B and C. If you (or your company) have a substantively better position on the topic that's going to conTENT your customers, then stop reading random blogs like this and write your own white paper (Option B). 

I understand, Option C is a bit of a mental challenge because we're so accustomed to thinking of traffic (CONtent) over customers (conTENT). Look at it this way.  Your customers have the same access to that white paper that you do - probably more. Do you add more to the relationship with them by hiding it, or by Option-C sharing it?  What's more important - your CONtent or their conTENT?

You'll be grappling with content marketing - it's just inevitable.  As you do, put decisions to the caps-lock test. Is this CONtent or conTENT?  

– md


"Credibility comes from a selflessness that often has no short-term ROI. "

Jeff Pundyk's article is well worth reading - here 'tis:

Content Moves to the Middle (CMO.com)

 

A More Visual World

I got a chance to hear Jeff Lobb from SparkTank Media speak at the recent Inman Connect '15 conference.  He's way smart and knows his stuff. If you're looking for consulting expertise on your media strategy, give them a call.

This short Inman interview with Jeff hits a bunch of key points.

"Consumers want to see more visually arresting concepts and marketing (think video) — and the real estate industry doesn’t think enough about how customers are affected by the biggest transaction in their lives."

Yep.  Agreed!

The one place, perhaps, where I'd extend Jeff's comments is "visually arresting."  The average consumer is hit with about 5,000 'messages' a day now. Many of them are written text, but an ever-increasing number are visual. It's logical - visuals take precedence, they're processed faster, and they can convey more in less time. 

However....

"Visually arresting" is a means, not an end.  An ad for pantyhose may be visually arresting - but it's completely meaningless to me, thus a waste of my attention.  I don't want to see more visually arresting BUT irrelevant content.  Relevance is the end goal; 'visually arresting' is an improvement of the means.  

Look, we're way past being overwhelmed by crappy language.  When the A.P. has programs writing financial articles...when "spinning" written text to produce something that's different enough to avoid copyright infringement, without actually saying anything new, is as easy as copy-paste...there's more text than anyone will ever read in even the narrowest of topics.

Query "nematode worms" on Google.  As of a minute ago, the official tally was "About 637,000 results (0.39 seconds)."  You may be the most passionate nematode-worm rancher in Texas, but you're not going to read 637K pages on the subject.

Google's rise is based on better relevance; arguably, so is Facebook's.  Don't seek 'visually arresting' over 'relevant and meaningful.' We're not actually looking for that. 

By the way - one tech tip.  In the interview above, Jeff suggests standing behind someone and watching them use your web site.  Good idea.  You can also get a 5-minute narrated video of a random user on your web site free here:  https://www.usertesting.com/ We use this service frequently (along with heat maps from AppSumo) to improve our web site.  

--md

PS embedding the Inman video on this blog - good example of the power of video to jump channels!

"Video Is Becoming The Best Way To Communicate A Message In Real Estate"

So says Kevin Hawkins, CEO of WAV Group Consulting from Inman.  Inman plays an interesting role in real estate - one of our vertical markets.  They're journalism in its new-ish form - news and opinions in a mix of free and paywall.  I pay for the Inman Select (paywall) news, and probably read something there at least every day.  (I'm a particular fan of Craig Rowe, who writes great technology reviews with pragmatic eloquence.)

Inman also puts on a conference - called Inman Connect.  We've paid to be "sponsors" - those eager-looking folks at vendor booths - at two Inman Connect events. Those events have been integral to learning about the real estate industry in its current form.

If you're interested in video - which I am - it's worth studying what the Inman Group does.  They've very good at turning conversation into content. Every event at their conferences is shot for video. They're well-lit and well-miked. They even grab people from the Connect hallways (more or less) and put them on-camera for a quick @1-minute interview.  Kevin's interview is one of 'em. They use and re-use and re-re-use the resulting video content.

Two guys in a well-equipped room can bang through a lot of 1-minute interviews.  Lots of companies bleat about how hard it is to get video content - Inman has done a very clever job of turning conversation into content.  (Granted, it's all talking-head content and hence mainly language, not visuals, but it's still effective.)

If you want to take a page from their book, notice a couple of things.

  • Well-lit and well-miked. 
  • Structured (the 1-minute interviewees all answered the same 3 questions.)
  • Edit, edit, edit.

(Did you consciously notice that this video is grayscale, not color?)

The value of all this footage goes up at least two-fold if the audio is transcribed. (I don't know if it is or not btw.)  It becomes searchable, translatable, SEO-unique and manageable in many new ways. Transcription isn't free, of course, but since computers can't quite yet make sense of video, transcription turns video/audio into digital information (language) that they can manipulate.

Good stuff, Inman. 

--md

You're In The Publishing Business...

I ran across this hallway interview from 2010, when I had the chance to keynote one of the earliest conferences on social media - the Social Media Conference NW.  (We "got it" early - the first one was in 2009.)

On a quick re-watch - yeah, what was true then is true now.

You're in the publishing business, whatever business you're in.  Content is the currency of relationship-building and a web site alone isn't enough.

If you don't understand the question about "weak links" - the math area called 'network theory', which is critical to the social-media system (and many others.)  I read this book years ago - there are quite a few more now, but it's a good one if you're interested.

In that speech, I "published" a new video with the audience's help.  The video was already done, but we made it public and had the audience post/tweet about it during the keynote.  Then we watched the network traffic (geographic) in real-time.  Remember that this was 2010 - smartphones weren't ubiquitous, more than half of the folks posting were using notebooks!  Great fun.

This is the video we published at the time:

On the whole, I think it's still a pretty good conceptual framework for social media (in less than 4 minutes!).  I think the style undercuts the subject a bit. That was a deliberate experiment - you learn from those and move on, right?

--md

Is That A Big Screen In Your Pocket?

Or are you just happy to view my content?

Twenty-odd years ago, at a corporate job far far away, we'd 'borrow' the big-screen TV from the meeting room over long weekends and Thanksgiving breaks.  Remember the scene in Animal House where Belushi & co are sneaking in to the dean's office?  That was us - but burdened with a monstrous 32" CRT going out, instead of a horse going in.

The movie-watchers appetite for pixels was strong even then, but we had to lug about 60 pounds of glass to get about 1/4 the pixels you've got in your pocket.  (Actually, that beast was interleaved - look it up - so it was even worse than the bottom-right corner of your smartphone.)

Ooyala just released their Q4 Video Index, with the lead-line "Mobile Video Looks Better Than Ever." Here are the stat-snacks.

  • Mobile video plays jumped 15% IN DECEMBER ALONE
  • 34% of all video plays in Q4 were on tablets and smartphones. 38% in December.
  • Tablet and smartphone video plays grew 2X (200%, Doubled, Twice As Much, etc) in the past year.  5X since 2012.  16X since 2011.
  • Tablet users go long - 70% watched video >10 minutes. (Netflix I'm looking at YOU...)

PCs lead all devices in the number of ad impressions.  Funny, I don't remember seeing any ads on my monitor. Oh, wait, but you paid for those? Bummer.

"Consumers engage in “content mining” on all devices. They search for that next piece of content to watch, preview content they’ve discovered and, of course, view selected content of all lengths."

go.ooyala.com_rs_OOYALA_images_Ooyala-Global-Video-Index-Q4-2014.pdf.png

Ooyala's market is "long-form" video publishers. The report "reflects that anonymized online video metrics of the vast majority of Ooyala's 500+ customers...collective audience...220 million viewers."  You paid us, thanks for the data. There are a ton of additional factlets about advertising and even more view-time comparisons.

Meanwhile, for those of us NOT in the long-form video business...

That mobile-viewing share is a mighty steep ramp, and if anything it looks like it's going up even faster.  The balance between those individual views (smartphones), tablet views (couples, at most) and the lean-back big screens will keep shifting. Do you think they'll eventually stabilize?

Those happy innocent days of 'borrowing' the big screen and watching 3-4 movies in a day aren't just a distant blurry memory because of NTSC.  Rather, it was the lack of interruption that's startling in retrospect.  I'm sure people still engage in uber-long-form video viewing, but while they're watching the big screen together, they're watching their mobile screens individually as well.  (My boys and I have watched LOTR in a day at least twice, but we're putting a donation basket for smartphones at the door next time because, really, texting during Helm's Deep?!)

Fascinating stuff. 

--md

2015 Will Be The Year Of Video Marketing

So says Tyler Lessard, CMO of video-hosting platform Vidyard.
(Full disclosure - I know Tyler.  Past client - way smart guy!)

The change trends he calls out:

  • Video will become an integrated part of marketing. 
  • Analytics and attribution will become a new, key source of customer insight
  • Video will become a strategic lead-generation tool
  • YouTube will be a complement, not the focus
  • Analytics will integrate

Read Tyler's article - he goes into more depth, that's just my re-summary.

I'm particularly glad to see someone knowledgeable call out YouTube as a complementary strategy.  Not only do I agree - I've got the data to prove it.  We're prepping an in-depth, metrics-driven case study that shows conclusively that YouTube is a destination, not a channel. I'd say more, but that time should really go into writing the case study!

We've armed enough clients with video content to call a few trends ourselves.  What I see - and I think this syncs with Tyler's observations - is that video is moving from novelty marketing asset to mainstream content form. The customers who are getting incredible value from a ▶▶ video library are the ones who use that content.  They don't just park it somewhere (cough web site cough) and assume the job is done. They use it as a content asset, and put it to contextually-appropriate use in every possible channel - social, email, web - NOT just one web page - and more.

Stay tuned for that case study. I was truly surprised by what happened (and didn't happen). 

--md

NAR Convention - Nov 2014, New Orleans

We just exhibited at our first-ever NAR convention. It was great (I usually kick and scream at booth duty and conferences.)  The main reason - people in the real estate industry are almost universally "people people."  They were pleasant and interested, and made time to understand what we could bring to their business.  Nice to meet so many folks! 

Here's a 30-second-ish lightning tour of the expo floor.

Get A New iPhone 6 For $50

I just went through the process of "upgrading" to a new iPhone 6.  The checkout process involved a barrage of warranty options to cover the hardware.

ALERT:  YOU DON'T NEED THAT COVERAGE!

That shiny new iPhone comes with 1 year of Applecare coverage.

"Every iPhone comes with one year of hardware repair coverage through its limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary support. AppleCare+ for iPhone extends your coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone1 and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a $79 service fee plus applicable tax." --https://www.apple.com/support/products/iphone.html

I understand the fear-factor of a broken iPhone, really.  But throwing another ten bucks a month at my carrier is a waste of $120 year.  Applecare can also be extended for a 2nd year - for $99.  So, in round numbers, that's $140 saved in the course of two years.

(Apple say that the iPhone costs $199. Baloney - we all pay more than that, over time.  So I'm using the same number-distortion vortex to arrive at a $50 net price.)

It's pretty telling that my carrier didn't bother to say "THIS COVERAGE IS REDUNDANT."  There's probably some little additional wrinkle to it, but let's be rational.  Covered is covered.

So do yourself a favor. Check that wireless bill. If you're paying for a warranty, and you've got a less-than-2-year-old iDevice, you may not need to do it.

(Heck, you can put the difference into a Solo video subscription with us :-)

--Matthew

 

 

What’s iPhone 6 Got To Do With Mortgages?

Guest Editorial for Mortgage Professional Network - Oct 2014

PDF

PDF

Gadget-buzzed lines wrapped every Apple store last month made it clear; the computer in your pocket is the one you care about.  The size, particularly the 6 Plus, make it equally clear that being a “phone” isn’t that important anymore.  Screen size, CPU, graphics and network speed have no bearing on voice calls, but they’re what matter to consumers.

Between Apples, Androids and others - also terrific computers -  consumers have also passed a little invisible line. They now have a bigger, better, faster computer in their pocket than the PCs corporations put on most desks.  If you’re at work peering at a crappy 800x600 VGA monitor, hooked up to an archaic PC, nod your head. You know it’s true.

Does that mean anything for the mortgage industry? Yup. None of the excuses about not having a mobile strategy and a media strategy hold up any more.  Here’s why.

The iPhone 6 Plus has as many pixels as your big-screen TV - 1920 x 1080. Its little brother isn’t far behind. Your web site, documents, loan-processing screens are now legible on-the-go, and hiding behind “we haven’t finished our responsive design” doesn’t hold up.  Those folks with pocket-sized big-screens want to see what’s happening, in pretty close to real-time.

I can order a $50 iPhone case from the iPhone itself.  I receive the confirmation text, check the transaction status, and track the shipping, including “Package left at 8AM, out for delivery”, on the iPhone. 

But a $500K mortgage drops me through the wormhole back to the 80s.  Long gaps of silence.  Voice calls that amount to “we’ll let you know when we know.”  The occasional digital surprise - oh, look, honey, it’s an EMAIL - followed by the search for a working fax machine.

Uh...dude.  That iPhone in your hands?  You can scan and fax with that.  No, really.

Yes, there are regulatory complexities. Consumers don’t care.

Yes, there are budget constraints. Consumers don’t care.

They’re too busy watching their $50 iPhone case delivery from a satellite (well, maybe in about 3 years) and wondering why their $500K mortgage is handled so jerkily by comparison. 

And media?

Shopping for a new case is mainly a media experience; high-res pictures, zoom-in details, official videos, even fanboy video reviews.  They look great on that big screen.

Shopping for a mortgage is mainly an eye test. The big screen helps, but seeing a scan of a photocopy of a fax on it does ring of the absurd.  Images? Video?  Not much, yet.

Some smart entrepreneur(s) will seize the opportunity and turn the mortgage process into an actual consumer-friendly cooperative process. They’ll find that involving those big-screened consumers actually lowers costs and speeds up results. They’ll invest in helping consumers understand (probably with video) and find that informed customers are happier customers. People might even wait in line for that kind of service.

It's About The Writing

A 1-minute voiceover script is about 150 words. 

Not much, is it?

Out of the million or so words in English (yes, that's the number now), writing a short script requires picking the few meaningful terms.  

Worse, since it's going to be spoken rather than read with the eyes, voiceover requires more repetition, and attention to cadence, assonance and all those other terms you heard once in an English class.

It's a tricky, fun and interesting challenge.  

Writing quite a few of them has made me appreciative of the skill involved.  So I pretty much HAVE to share this little gem.  Trust me, it's worth the <2 minutes.

I don't have an opinion on Scotland's referendum - or no qualifications to have one.  So posting this doesn't constitute support for either position - just a hat-tip to some very deft writing.

Enjoy.

Run A Social Business

Dang, this is great.  Really great.

HubSpot, for those of you who don't know, is probably the dominant platform in "inbound marketing."  They seem to think they invented inbound marketing, although I think there are seed catalogs from the 19th century that were there first.  Leaving that aside..

Ms. Fitton is a smart, energetic and no-BS speaker.  (I particularly enjoy the fact that she uses real-world terms like BS - I'm prone to do that on stage myself.)

At 3:18 she has a slide that says

"Solve problems or share resources, don't shill.  What marketing content will your customers THANK you for?"

Fantastic.  Yes. 

I think there's an insidious notion about marketing content, fostered by search and SEO - namely, that people are interested in originality.  

They're not.

They're interested in solving problems or understanding things.  

IF you have an original solution - not just re-statement of an existing solution - by all means share it.  

If you can share an existing solution and save your energy for solving something else - instead of restating so Google will like you - then please do that. 

 

 

 

 

Video Marketing: Data, Data, Data

Guest Editorial - National Mortgage Professional Magazine

September, 2014

Have you watched a video on a web page, LinkedIn or some other site lately?  If so, a knowledgeable marketer with business-grade video hosting now knows this about you:

  • How much of the video you watched or re-watched, and when you clicked away.
  • Where you were, down to at least the city.
  • Which device, browser and screen you were using.
  • What other videos you’ve watched, on what other sites.
  • The URL of the page(s) where you watched.
Click For Article PDF

Click For Article PDF

If they sent you the video link, they may also have tied your name and email to your viewing activity.  It’s just a short step from there to behavior-pattern marketing - “Looks like the Smith family is considering a qualified mortgage.” Wow.

Video yields more data, better insights and broader correlation than other forms.  That’s a result of two things - the nature of video content, and the attributes of video-delivery technology. 

Video content is chronological and sequential; images and sound, over time.  Web video generally runs between 15 and 30 frames per second.  So, for data purposes, a 60-second video has 900-1800 measurable entry/exit points.  When you rewatch a video, a business-grade video platform records the start, stop and rewind points. 

Some video-marketing platforms use the term “engagement” to describe viewing patterns on one or more videos.  Do people usually start at the beginning?  Do they exit early, or do they watch nearly to the end?  This is boiled down to a % measure. In our service, if every single viewer watched every second of a video, it would get a 100% engagement measure.  (Generally, engagement above 60% is considered good.)

The technology attributes that power all this data-gathering are - frankly - somewhat accidental, because online video is a relative latecomer format.  Images and text are usually copied; video, in general, is usually embedded.

That seems like a tiny difference, but it’s profound.  If you’ve got a marketing infographic, and I want to put it on my blog, I can just right-click and download the file.  That new copy is disconnected from its source; you don’t get any data from that copy. 

By contrast, if your company has a video, and someone clicks the LinkedIn “Share” button to pass it along to their contacts, they’re actually putting your hosted video on LinkedIn.  (Technically, they’re actually putting a bit of software - your video player - and a specific piece of content for that player - your video.  That’s what “embedding” means.)

Because of that, the player and video content are coming from your video hosting platform.  So you get all that rich data, which your video platform should correlate and summarize for you.  

Properly managed and deployed, a video library (custom video or content-as-a-service) can give you unmatched customer insight. If you’re just starting to grapple with video content, download our free white paper.  Video Strategy:  Content Meets Technology at http://fastforwardstories.com/video-strategy

Mortgage Marketing: Video Can’t Wait

Guest Editorial - National Mortgage Professional Magazine

August, 2014

If video content keeps getting pushed to next month in your mortgage marketing strategy, you may want to consider this. 17.78 hours - nearly a full day - of the average online viewer’s month was spent watching online video this May, according to comScore data. Viewers only watched 1.09 hours of video ads in the same month - in other words, 94% content, 6% ads.

Still think video content can wait?

Mortgage is a ripe space for video content marketing because of its complexity and volatility; the terms, ratios and policy language that challenge pros to keep up are overwhelming to consumers. But there’s a solid data-driven point that you have to consider, right there in the first paragraph.  The numbers say “We want content, not ads.”  (I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that the ad number would be even lower than 6% without all the technological tricks used to insert video ads in our collective faces.)

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Why video, and what kind of video?

Last month I touched on the key advantages of visual media (including video). They boil down to time, really; visual media convey more information more quickly.  Visual media also fit the way people focus and engage now; short moments of concentration, multitasking and interruptions are becoming the norm, like it or not. Skimming is the new reading (admit it, you’re just skimming this column!) and really getting our attention for a minute or two is tough.

What kind of material does get our attention for a minute or two - more specifically, what kind of video? The answer may surprise you. 

My company had the opportunity to analyze years of data on two comparable sets of video assets for a client. They’d created a library of standard “executive studio interview videos” and commissioned a set of animated “explainer” videos at about the same time.  Both sets were handled the same way - posted without any fanfare or promotion.

The animated explainer videos outperformed the live interviews 100-to-1 on view counts.  The least-effective explainer bested the best-performing studio interview, and the explainer videos continue to gain viewers years later, where the live interviews flatlined relatively quickly. 

The lesson here, I think, is less about style than substance.  Intent drives content.  If your aim is to help, explain or inform, viewers will know.  If your intent is to sell or persuade in the guise of helping, viewers will go away and (by the numbers) refuse to do you the favor of sharing your ad.

If you’re considering video content versus articles or blogging, divide video costs by at least 10 to compare. Video is viewed more, shared more and ranked better in search results.  It’s also (unlike articles or blog posts) relatively protectable.  Copying an article takes about two clicks; copying a video takes time and knowledge.  Video also yields far more valuable marketing data - or at least it can - but we’ll take that up in detail next month.