Companies Take Advantage of new Options & Platforms to Drive Awareness
If industry experts are right about online video being the future of marketing and advertising, then that future may be already smack dab in the middle of today’s corporate reality.
While industry professionals will continue to debate over exactly what is needed to run an effective promotional campaign, one key they all agree is needed to unlock the doors to success is finding a creative and unique way to utilize social media.
Just 15 years ago, most had no idea what the Internet was and those who did called it by such nascent names as the “World Wide Web” and the “Information Superhighway.” Well, times have certainly changed as the “Net” has caught the attention of a global audience.
Today, more than 2.5 billion people use the Internet and an astounding 70% of them on a daily basis. It is estimated that one out of three people living on this planet spend at least part of their time in what has also become known as “cyberspace.”
Whether it’s to check the weather, send an email, shop, or simply search for more information, the once desolate superhighway is suddenly clogged with traffic. It has become an everyday rush-hour commute that has advertisers rushing to find ways to take advantage of this incredible online viewership.
Thus far, the answer seems to be social media.
In this digital world, social media has become the number one marketing tool to launch and market a company’s brand. The idea of pushing a message out to millions upon millions of eyeballs in an instant is quickly becoming more appealing than most traditional media methods, such as advertising in a regional newspaper or on a national television show.
The number one watched television show in history was this year’s Super Bowl, which garnered an estimated 108 million viewers. Of course it is a captured audience, but the question that immediately comes up in every corporate boardroom and advertising agency is: “Why focus all the company’s resources on popular publications and TV shows with the hopes of getting in front of millions of viewers when there are creative, less expensive ways to get in front of ten times as many?”
This is exactly why advertising executives and marketing professionals across the globe are talking more and more about this thing called the World Wide Web.
Still, while there may be more people using the Internet these days than were alive 100 years ago, the same basic sales question from the dawn of civilized time remains: “How to I get my brand smack dab in front of all these people?”
It is the million-dollar question with perhaps a million different answers, yet, more and more are turning to social media to not only attract viewers, but also engage them. And they are doing so in the form of online videos.
One of the leading global technology research firms recently concluded that online video marketing is starting to play a huge role, if not the biggest role, in reaching new audiences and garnering higher levels of engagement.
“We have found that top-performing companies outpace others in the use of rich media content, especially video and web-based events,” said Trip Kucera, a senior research analyst for marketing effectiveness and strategy at the Aberdeen Group.
In a report on the best ways to optimize customer engagement, well-known digital strategist and advisor Allen Bonde echoed Kucera’s sentiments when it comes to the importance of online video marketing. He added, however, it is vital to stand out in this “rich media world.”
“Cutting through the digital clutter is one part art, a great lead or clever concept, and one part science, which can be the right format, platform, or syndication strategy,” he stated.
A revolutionary new video-streaming platform that allows companies to broadcast high-definition (HD) video on the number one networking website in the world – Facebook – “SmackDab” is an ideal example of the combination of art and science that advertisers are looking for to drive their brand name forward through all the superhighway gridlock.
With video being created by Ridgeline Entertainment, which is led by Emmy Award-winner and producer Doug Stanley, companies have an edge when it comes to quality. They also have one in the creative sense since Stanley’s focus is on creating engaging live events and what has become known as a “branded web series.”
Most known for his work as an original producer of the incredibly successful television show “The Deadliest Catch,” Stanley is all about finding and telling the exciting, emotional history behind each brand.
“Every company has a unique, compelling story to tell,” said Stanley. “You don’t just create a useful product or service and boom you’re suddenly a household name. A path was followed; one that included bumps, pitfalls, and rocky terrain before it ultimately led to the paved road of success. I enjoy telling these amazing stories as they pass through the lens so the world can share them in profound ways.”
Instead of just providing a video piece for a sponsor to upload and post to its Facebook news feed, the SmackDab platform takes it to a whole new level. Not only does it allow videos to go full screen, but it also provides a multi-tiered chat system that lets users talk with all other viewers, just their friends, and even directly with live event participants if available.
Appropriately titled a “Brand Channel,” sponsors have many choices when it comes to their content. While video-on-demand (VOD), formatted in either linear or playlist mode (aka YouTube), is the most popular – live events are also available, something not offered on other video-sharing websites.
Several companies are already making good use of this technology, broadcasting live from places inaccessible to the general public, such as backstage at a concert, from the pits of the Daytona 500, and from the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Despite the ever-growing benefits associated with the online art behind SmackDab, it is the science that is turning advertisers’ heads.
Of the more than 2 billion people who use the Internet at least once a month, an astounding 1.6 billion have created a user profile on Facebook. While some are most likely duplicate or even false accounts, an amazing 665 million global users (150 million in the U.S.) visit Facebook on a daily basis.
Because of this, brands are now craving for ways to tap into and harness this incredible audience. SmackDab’s back-end technology more than satisfies these cravings.
As a select API developer for Facebook, sponsors can utilize all the user data that comes with this groundbreaking platform. With complete analytics of all viewers, including name, age, gender, location, discussions, and activity, companies can target specific individuals who are most receptive to their brand and effectively increase awareness, reach, and ultimately sales.
“For the first time in history, brands can actually see the names of the people watching their video content,” said Glenn Carnahan, Chief Financial Officer at SmackDab. “They can then reach out into the Facebook world to find and attract users with similar interests and demographics to come watch their videos or visit their website. It’s really quite amazing. The broadcasting landscape is certainly changing.”
Another use of online video in the social media space that is growing in popularity is the “branded web series,” which is a short television-style show that airs exclusively on the Internet. Brands such as Ford, Subway, Sperion, Schick, Adidas, and Target are just a few companies that are aiming to grow business through this creative new approach.
And, for most, it seems to be working.
In an effort to get away from a reputation of serving mostly an elderly clientele, the restaurant chain Denny’s started Always Open, a chat-style show where a well-known comedian and actor (David Koechner) interviews famous stars as they sit in a booth munching on the restaurant’s specialty dishes.
In just a few months since its airing, Denny’s “impression score,” a score from -100 to +100 that measures the overall feeling toward a brand, skyrocketed from near zero (neutral) to almost 30 (positive).
Hiscox, an insurance company in the United Kingdom, launched its own web series, Leap Year, in an effort to get its name known in the United States prior to expanding operations to North America. With more than 40,000 active followers online and awareness growing in the US, management is calling the series a huge success.
“It’s clear from the research that web series fans are beginning to watch less television, while at the same time increasing the amount of content consumed on the web,” said Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.tv. “It’s also significant that our viewers are more accepting of advertisements on web series, perhaps because fans are grateful to the advertiser for making the show possible. That’s a very different mindset, for a viewer, than seeing an ad on a show that was originally created for television.”
The popular Hollywood publication Variety echoed these sentiments, stating in a recent article that: “2013 may very well be remembered as the year that the Internet established itself as a bona fide alternative to TV for original programming.”
Considering eMarketer, a leading independent market research firm, reported that the number of U.S. digital TV viewers has grown to 120.7 million this year (up from 106.2 million in 2012) and is expected to climb to nearly 150 million by 2017, only means “social TV” is about to get even more social.
In the article “Making Social Central,” Dave Chaffey, a researcher and author with the digital marketing firm Smart Insights stated the number one most important “ingredient” to any social marketing campaign is creating brand “buzz.” That is done through offering content that is “engaging, participative, and shareable,” he emphasized.
With quality content being broadcast in many different creative forms all across the World Wide Web, including live events and branded web series on Facebook, the use of video to promote a brand is creating quite the online buzz.
Many industry experts say online video marketing is the future of advertising. While that may very well be the case, that future seems to be already smack dab in the middle of most corporations’ reality.