©2012 Corbin Ball Associates
Internet video is seeing unprecedented growth for communication and marketing. This paper will cover this impact of this growth for promoting and extending the life of events with examples and ideas for improvement.
Video in Society
The use of internet video is growing at an exponential rate. There are several intertwining contributing factors:
Growth of online video:
The number of videos watched in the US grew by 660%.from February 2011 to February 2012. At the same time, the number of hours of online video watched by an average user increased by 60% to 21.8 hours per month. US viewers watched nearly 38 billion videos during the month of February 2012 along with 7.5 billion video ads with Google’s YouTube generating the highest number of views at 16.7 billion1.
YouTube and other video sharing sites:
- Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute: 60 hours
- Number of videos viewed on YouTube everyday: 4 billion
- Number of unique visits to YouTube every month 800 million
- Hours of video watched on YouTube each month 3 billion hours
- Percent of YouTube visitors that come from outside the U.S. 70%
- Number of countries with localized versions of YouTube 42
- Total number of languages YouTube is broadcast in 54
- Total number of views YouTube had in 2011 1 trillion (140 views for every person on Earth)
As highly trafficked as YouTube is, it draws less than 40% of online video visits with many other video sites drawing significant traffic as well4.
Growth of internet connected television:
DisplaySearch forecasted in July, 2011 that 200 million connected TV devices will ship in 18 months5. This, combined with Internet-enabled devices connecting TVs including Xbox (23 million+ customers), PS3, Wii, Apple TV and Roku totals to about 300 million TVs connected to the Internet in the next 18 months6.
A top activity for mobile users is mobile video. For the first time, video accounted for over half of all mobile data traffic (52%). By 2016, video will be over 70% of traffic. The number of mobile devices will exceed world’s population in 20127.
Touch tablet computers are on track to become the fastest growing technology hardware in human history8. Market research firm IDC has raised its forecast for tablet sales in 2012 indicating that it saw greater than expected shipments in 2011. IDC now expects consumers will buy 106.1 million tablets in 2012 – a 54 percent increase from 20119. By 2016, mobile-connected tablets will generate almost as much traffic as the entire global mobile network does in 2012 and much of this will be video10.
Social media impact:
YouTube statistics indicate a very strong connection between video and other social media11:
- 500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute
- 100 million people take a social action on YouTube (likes, shares, comments, etc.) every week
- More than 50% of videos on YouTube have been rated or include comments from the community
- Clicks on the ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ button on YouTube have doubled since the start of 2011. For every ‘dislike,’ YouTube gets 10 ‘likes’- people like to tell other people about the stuff they love.
- People now watch over 2 billion videos per day – on YouTube alone! That is almost twice the prime time audience of the three major television networks put together12.
To conclude, internet video is heavily used in the U.S. and globally and it will continue to grow substantially in these next few years.
Benefits and Reasons for Internet Video Growth
Simply stated, video is more engaging and compelling than other media. It is an easy way to present information with no reading required! People are accustomed to television and like to watch video.
Video combines pictures, sound, text and movement to create an impact far greater than individual elements and far more than a web page of text could ever provide. People tend to watch more than they read or listen. Web videos allow viewers to sit back and absorb the message, just as presented to them. What could take many paragraphs or even pages of text to communicate can be presented in just a few engaging moments. Web videos captivate, engage and entertain site visitors.
Studies show that most people are visual learners13. Other adult learning studies show that we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and a huge 50% of what we hear AND see14! Video can make a typical website up to 300% more effective for audience retention15.
Internet videos are viewable on many sources including computers, phones, tablets and, increasingly, television.
With social media links and integration, videos are an ideal channel for sharing content to an audience. If done right, the multiplying impact of viral videos (those that are shared widely) can quickly spread a message. Videos are an ideal channel for sharing value added content to your audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
A 2010 Forrester Research study found that videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first-page ranking than traditional SEO techniques16. Google’s universal search showcases video content on the first page and, usually prominently above the fold (the top part of the webpage which you can see without scrolling). Video is a significant opportunity to drive traffic, leads, and, ultimately, business through your website by executing a basic video content strategy.
Higher click-through rates compared to traditional email:
Video email is more likely to be opened than traditional email. Video email marketers detail this. In one case, in first quarter of 2012 video mail had a 66% click-through rate, and a 21% unique click-through rate. This compares to an average of a little over 5% for traditional text email17.
Video email offers the recipient more information in a shorter time. The email message with the vdieo “play triangle” in a picture is visually more appealing than text, and is easy to access on most mobile devices as well. The email tools offer social media links for sharing and videos, if done well, are likely to get played multiple times.
Video views can be tracked, and, in some cases extensive details on view behavior can be obtained. Depending on the video distribution product, view receipts, viewing times, length of view, repeat views are just a few of the tracking behaviors available. With outbound marketing campaigns, personalized URL’s (PURL’s) can be used to create unique links per recipient with unique tracking codes to determine viewer identities without a guestbook or login requirement. Others viewers can be tracked can be done using a “guestbook” registration form. These data can be very helpful in marketing efforts.
From equipment to distribution channels, the cost of video production is a fraction of what it was just a few years ago. Video hardware continues to get smaller, better quality and cheaper each year. HD video cameras are in our mobile phones. A video production and streaming studio “in a 9-pound box” with switchers, special effects generator, multiple audio/video inputs/outputs is available for under US$5,000 from Roland Systems Group among others. This replaces what used to be hundreds of thousands of dollars and palates full of equipment.
Good basic video editing software is free from both Apple and Microsoft and the cost for very high-end editing software has plummeted over the years as well.
Distribution channels are also getting less expensive. Skype provides free HD video conferencing. Google Hangouts and Hangouts On Air provides free multi-point video conferencing and streaming tools. The cost for professional web streaming is also lower than in past years.
Although professional video production capabilities are often needed for events, the above trends are making it less expensive to provide these services thereby enabling video at many more events. When done correctly, video delivers extraordinary economies of scale and measurable results.
Simply stated, video is not a trend. It is an imperative. Attendees and viewers today demand engaging and interactive content. They expect that content to be highly functional, highly intuitive and highly intelligent. Video delivers all of that. It’s an innovative and non-intrusive way of marketing.
Video for Events
Events by their nature are visual and social. Events are content creators. Events are a natural for video to help engage attendees before, during and after meeting. There is a multiplicity of ways that this can take form:
Before the event:
Events are content generators. There are speakers, entertainers, exhibitors, gala dinners, and satisfied attendees from past events. All are natural to include in email and online promotions for an upcoming event.
Here are a few suggestions in making this happen:
- Create a video from the CEO, show organizers, and/or key volunteers about why viewers should attend this meeting. This promo clip can give a quick overview of the coming highlights of the event, speakers, performers, networking opportunities, topics, giveaways, how to register, “save the date” information and much more. Include a specific call to action (i.e. register by specific at a specific webpage) if possible.
- Post this video to YouTube, at your web site, and use embedded video links in promotional email regarding the event. Video links have demonstrated a much greater click-through and share rates compared to standard email increasing the impact.
- Most speakers, musicians, and other entertainers have YouTube clips. Post these on and aggregated “video page” at your event website.
- As part of the speaker contract, ask speakers to create and post to YouTube a short video promo about what they will be speaking at the event.
- Create a YouTube Channel to aggregate these video in one spot.
- Post these promotional videos on your Facebook Page, Facebook Event Page, LinkedIn Company Page, LinkedIn Event Page, and other social media channels.
- Create a Pinterest page to aggregate these YouTube videos as well.
- Post links to this video promotional content on Twitter.
- Create and promote an event twitter hashtag to promote as a search vehicle through all social media channels including video.
During the event:
Live events are replete with content opportunities to use video to extend the footprint of the meeting and for promotion of the next event. Consider some of the following:
- Webcast the keynote addresses and other key portions of the event extending the event far beyond the four walls of the meetings space. Video brings and extra dimension that is more impactful than other media channels. A video production crew should be used for high profile video production.
- Stream portions of your event to remote audiences in a hybrid meeting format or as a webcast to increase the footprint of your event.
- Use produced video to provide compelling introductions and content during general sessions.
- Video record your CEO or other executives discussing something cool, new or important about your company, association or a specific product.
- Encourage speakers to incorporate video in their presentations to provide compelling, time efficient and engaging ways of describing elements, product demonstrations.
- Bring in remote speakers (either by design or to fill in for missed flight connections) using streaming video.
- Content capture the video of the educational session for delivery on demand after the event either for a fee, for certification programs, or as promotion of next year’s event.
- Record the video for event press releases to increase the impact: Press releases that include video components have received a 500% increase in views17.
- Interview speakers at the event and use this video for additional web content.
- Interview satisfied attendees at the event to use to promote the next event. Ask them why they came, what they have learned, and what they liked. This will likely produce lots of great content for promotional videos. People love the attention and these videos will likely be shared with their friends and colleagues.
- Video record the galas and other special events to show viewer what they missed as promotion for the next event.
- Live stream an event channel from the exhibit hall with interviews, commentary and other content.
- Interview the “top 10” exhibitors or the ones with the most creative or innovative content to combine in a compelling video to provide content and increase exhibitor exposure.
- Exhibitors can use video in creative displays (3D video, interactive iPad video, video walls, etc.) to attract and engage exhibit attendees to their booths. Video can provide high-quality and focused messages about services/products that can be compelling to visitors. On-demand video can answer specific questions freeing staff up for other interactions.
- Exhibitors should create videos of demonstrations of their product to post on YouTube and have on demand at their boot.
- Encourage attendees to upload their event experiences videos to YouTube, Facebook and other social media channels using the event hashtag in the title and description.
- A video wrap-up at a closing session is often a great way to remind your audience of the event highlights and key topics and themes covered, saying thanks to the attendees, sponsors and those that made it possible.
After the event:
There are significant opportunities to use videos of the content generated during the event to extend the life of the meeting after the event and for promotion of future events.
Here are some of the ways that this is happening:
- An edited video of conference highlights to showcase the event can be posted at the association, corporate or event webs and the social media channels, reminding attendees of what a good time they had and showing non-attendees what an excellent meeting they missed. Videos allow you to show rather than tell how spectacular the event was: the venue, the décor, the food displays, the impressive turnout, the exiting entertainment, and the amazing speakers. This content makes excellent material for a variety of marketing vehicles including blogs, other social media channels, mobile channels, email campaigns, and web content such as next year’s event website for promotion. Include a “save the date” announcement within the video.
- This video often times should be posted to YouTube to reach potentially a larger audience as well. It is recommended that this video be in high definition, short (about 3 minutes or less), and with care taken for using key words in the title, description and tagging.
- Ask sponsors, participants, speakers and exhibitors to share event related videos on their social media channels, an easy way to greatly extend the impact of the video.
- Video recordings of the sessions (all or part of them) can be posted for on-demand viewing (for pay, for free, with restricted access to attendees only, for members only, or open to everyone). This can be used for review for those attending the session; to enable attendees going to other sessions to see what they have missed; to provide benefit for members unable to attendee the meeting; or open to the public to advance an idea or as promotion for future events. Ideally, the video and audio should be combined with the PowerPoint slides and other presentation graphics though services such as Brainshark providing capabilities for all video presentations to be shared on all video platforms, with every view tracked. Through a content delivery network and/or a customized event portal you can charge viewers to stream or download your conference videos. A portal acts as a one-stop-shop for all event content and presentations, ensuring maximum impact long after the event has ended. You can also use presentation “guest books” to capture viewer contact information, include survey questions to gather input, and track viewership to better forecast attendance and topics of interest for your next event.
- Videos of key sessions can be highlighted throughout the year providing continuous fresh website content on a regular basis improving your web site traffic.
- Videos are also great for testimonials. Let your speakers, exhibitors, attendees and others sing the praises of your event. There is nothing like a satisfied customer telling potential customers how well your event or product works. The more details, the more believable.
- A collection of exhibitor interviews of the best booths or most innovative products at a show can provide compelling content and is another vehicle for exhibitor visibility as well.
- Feature sponsors in the promotional videos. If done right, they may use this video as a marketing tool getting more views about your event.
Internet video is widely used in society, is growing rapidly and has great opportunities for use in the events industry. Videos can engage viewers, can increase retention of content, are accessible via many devices, and can be easily shared via social media channels. The use of videos can improve your search engine rankings and video email marketing has fully trackable and higher click-through rates compared to traditional marketing methods. The costs to produce and distribute video from point of inception to delivery have reduced dramatically.
As events are visual, the visual nature video is a natural alternative to help market and extend the reach of events. Videos can be used before, during and after the event to convey the message and to improve attendance at future events.