Editor’s Note: This is part four in our special report on “Video for Ecommerce,” where we describe real stories of online merchants creatively using video to drive sales and grow their brands. Previous installments are linked in below.
What’s next once you’ve added product videos to your site? Get the word out.
“We know that [consumers] are looking for videos online,” said David Burch at video analytics company TubeMogul.com. “That’s why our goal, and the goal of our merchants, is to be everywhere where video content is consumed.”
In August 2008, Burch surveyed 1,114 users of TubeMogul’s free video distribution system. He found 51.6 percent of merchants drawing revenues from their videos online. “And since we published that study,” Burch said, “I’d say that the product placement/brand integration model for videos has become even more prominent.”
Because an emerchant’s video is only as effective as the qualified people who view it, it pays to stay current with where potential customers are searching.
Scores of sites lure video watchers, from the well-known YouTube to such social networking sites as American Public Media-financed Gather.com. Each has its own technical restrictions and optimal upload specifications, many cataloged here by TubeMogul.
Meanwhile, there are more than 30 search engines just for video seekers. In a 2008 study of 1,000 adults, Synovate reports these engines were used by 45 percent of males and 35 percent of females searching for specific video coverage online. Engines range from “agnostic” ones covering just their own video-sharing platform, like YouTube and Metacafe, to non-agnostics that scan the entire Internet, such as frontrunner AltaVista Video Search and Cambridge University-developed Blikx.com.
Once the video is up and running, what’s next? Syndication.
Multiple video submission tools
TubeMogul is one of many services taking single uploaded videos and spidering them out to other video hosting sites. “You do have to … register for the websites that you’re going to send it to,” said “The Online Video Guy” Lou Bortone, who uses TubeMogul. “But once you’re signed up to those sites, you hook up once to the main service, hit launch, and it sends it out to all of these other sites.” After nine months of use, Bortone says he’s seen a “good uptick in sales.”
TubeMogul’s free video syndication distributes to 23 sites, from MySpace to Veoh and Blip.TV. Other free video distribution systems are One True Media, which posts to TypePad, subscription TiVo Channels, YouTube and others, and BigContent, which also offers free video-viewer analytics.
Additionally, an emerchant can take video syndication in his or her own hands by producing RSS feeds exclusively for its onsite videos. Some search engines, such as Blikx.com, only accept videos submitted via RSS. Moreover, millions of consumers subscribe to RSS feed readers.
Driving clicks back to your site
To propel revenue, videos must drive traffic back to the product’s buying pages or, at least, the ecommerce homepage. Here are five click-driving strategies:
- Overlay videos with links directly to the product’s cart page. These clickable-link overlays can be programmed by integrated marketing firms such as New Jersey’s SGW or EyeWonder, or added for free through YouTube.com’s basic annotation service.
- Label videos with a “watermark” of your site’s name or logo. This way, anyone stumbling on the video anywhere will know exactly where to turn to make the purchase.
- “For videos on YouTube, I include my web address first in the description; no special coding is required,” said poker-report entrepreneur Marty Smith. “It’s a live link, so people can just click on it and end up at my website.”
- Use video forums for any promotional or marketing teasers. “I really believe in running teasers on YouTube based on the amount of people that are already searching the site for various topics,” Smith said.
- Encourage video sharing, easily accomplished with embeddable links provided by most video hosts. “I get a lot of traffic from sites and blogs that I never heard of,” Smith said. “There’s an inherent link-building reference in regards to those videos being up on their site. Thanks to these links, my sites are now in first position for [the] huge key words in this market.”
Video search engine optimization
Search engine rankings are a final step in the video distribution process. Video SEO specialist Perry Lawrence, publisher of AskMrVideo.com, has this advice: “Google seems to like videos with highly targeted keyword sets in the title, description and tags, and typically will rate that higher than a large article. By just adding these keywords, we’re able to blast our videos out to a number of video sharing sites, and in some pages actually road block the front page of Google.”
“When I promoted my ‘Web Cam Video’ series using these strategies, it returned 700,000 hits from Google,” said Lawrence. “By using these tools you can definitely get maximum reach to multiple audiences.”
Video can be search-optimized further by:
- Using keywords in the video’s name, such as Shoe-Leather-Pump-Aerosole.mov rather than 153893-lp.mov.
- Using those keywords in the content on the pages where the video plays, even going so far as to include a transcript of the video.
- Using the video RSS feeds [mentioned above]. Once RSS feeds are submitted to the major search engines, such as Yahoo!, Technorati and Google, the feeds are reportedly crawled several times per day.