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Getting Scene in a World of Clips

Posted on 4.06.2009

:: By Michelle Wicmandy ::

Expect to see a large scale shift in the media industry as consumers continue to transition their media and information consumption habits from offline to online.

According to ABI Research’s “Broadband Video and Internet TV” report, nearly a billion consumers globally will watch Internet video by 2012, up from roughly 300 million today. As a result, traditional print media such as newspapers, magazines, and periodicals are scaling back on print offerings and increasing online media opportunities such as video. According to comScore, about 5.9 billion videos were watched on YouTube alone in December 2008.

Scene in Action
Downloading videos, an activity once dominated by younger generations, is now performed almost equally for all aged 73 and younger. During December 2008, comScore reported that nearly 150 million people in the United States viewed 14.3 billion online videos, up 13 percent from November 2008. And it shows no signs of slowing down. “This trend will progress as video continues to complement the media to ‘tell a story,’ ” explains Jennifer Juckett, VP of Marketing for VMIX.

Video is powerful for demonstrating instruction and for presenting emotional content. It also breathes life into otherwise static products and creates a powerful sales tool for online retailers; leading to fewer abandoned shopping carts, fewer return rates and higher sales. According to a 2009 eMarketer report, the number of online shoppers who watched retail videos grew 40 percent in one year, from 24,932 to 34,815 in 2007 and 2008, respectively. “Generally, the ideal uses for video are associated with engaging the viewer with short sequences of focused communication that allows a limited time for each slide,” remarks John Alexander, Director of Search Engine Academy.

Five minutes is a good length for the average Internet video. But the video and resources should be adapted to fit the audience’s needs. As the quality of videos transition from poor image detail to high definition streaming, video will populate the Web and audience size will grow in tandem. Online video services such as Hulu, YouTube and Vimeo are already experiencing success as audiences are watching more entertainment online and less TV.

With all this video out there, the real question becomes: how will your target audience find your video in a world of clips?

Getting Scene
Johnny Mathis, Jr., CEO of Livemercial notes the increasing visibility of video in search results. “Google loves fresh content, especially video. Since Google began putting videos directly in search results, people are now experiencing indexing within hours.”

From an SEO perspective, video is undervalued because many believe video cannot be SEO optimized. “But, adding in-format metadata can help,” proclaims Juckett. “The most important SEO practice to employ for video is extracting the metadata from the FLASH file and making it searchable.”

“Successful SEO depends on accurate keyword research, or keyword forensics,” adds Alexander. “Keyword forensics uncovers the latest market trends to discover hidden keyword phrases.” So, displaying the video as an element on an optimized page that uses the audience’s keyword phrases in domain names, page titles, headlines, internal links, metadata and supporting content that robots can easily crawl offers the best chance for SEO success. Also remember to include a sitemap that contains a list of URLs so search engines can find those pages.

Finally, RSS is essential for SEO because it describes the video to the video search engines and provides links. To feed media files into Yahoo! Video Search, content publishers use MRSS. This allows the subscriber to receive a better content description than that provided by the RSS standard.

Social Scene
The social networking audience is exploding. In 2008, 79.5 million people, or 41 percent of the US Internet population, visited social network sites at least once a month, an 11 percent increase over the previous year. By 2013, an estimated 52 percent of Internet users will also be regular social network visitors.

“The key to improving a video’s visibility requires distribution throughout the Web,” says Mathis. “This includes featuring the clip on video search engines such as Blinkx and Truveo, submitting the feed to blogs, and displaying the video on as many social sites as possible, such as Facebook, Myspace and YouTube.”

Social media is the 5,000 pound gorilla thrusting online video’s popularity ahead. The more popular the video is on all the social media sites, the more backlinks a site will acquire. “Web 2.0 allows more people to share and post videos in ways that help with page rankings and this is where the true SEO value lies,” claims Mathis. “To ensure success, videos should be targeted and relevant to the audience. In addition to following methodical and thorough practices, the general guideline is that videos should be short in duration, optimized for key phrases, easy to share and able to integrate RSS syndication.”

Shop Tools
SEO for video still requires performing keyword research, backlink checking, content creation, and social media campaigns. In addition, SEORecon.com measures SEO influences and provides a competitive landscape for keyword phrases using Competitive Intelligence. “Knowing the competition’s strengths and weaknesses for roughly the top 100 competing phrases is powerful,” asserts Alexander.

Other applications tailored for video include Tube Mogul and Vidmetrix that distribute video across multiple video sharing website networks. Another program, Camtasia, is used for creating desktop-type video. And, Adobe’s Visual Communicator literally supplies a complete video studio in a box.


Technology that listens
Blinkx, a video search engine, has technology that listens to the speech track of a video, identifying and extracting speech tags that represent key words and phrases spoken within the video. These tags complement text metadata tags, improving the description of the video and can also be used to navigate within the video. These tags will also help users find related videos. All of these factors work in tandem to make video easier to find and navigate for users. Blinkx offers publishers the option to upload their video RSS feed on their website at www.blinkx.com.



Projecting Growth
The Web, as we know it, evolved gradually. The first websites, which contained brochure type information, ignited interest among the masses but failed to develop new business. Once communication improved, messages were delivered effectively and e-commerce blossomed.

Next, the blogosphere developed, creating a bandwagon effect as an essential strategy for success. But blogs demand a well defined purpose to be effective, and many miss the mark. Today, high definition video is the latest advancement on the Web and breakthroughs in three dimensions are surfacing on televisions (Samsung 3D Plasma TV), in mobile phone screens, and on the big screen. Will 3D uses eventually hit the Internet and online video? With the offline world converting to 3D, it’s difficult to imagine the Internet not adopting the technology, but only time will tell.

“In the future, behavioral targeting will be based on the analysis of all media to include video watched, articles read and images viewed,” comments Juckett. “All content will be evaluated together to determine search results, recommendations, and advertising that collectively creates a synergistic effect to improve video’s visibility in a world of clips.”

About the Author: Michelle Wicmandy has over 12 years experience in traditional marketing and roughly five years in Internet marketing. She is currently the webmaster for the Alley Theatre and a freelancer for SEO, PPC, e-mail marketing and traditional marketing services. For 10 years, she taught marketing courses for the University of Houston Downtown.

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