LineMarketing

Remixing the routes

Line Marketing Blog Has Moved To Video Voo

Posted by annplugged on August 26, 2007

Hello everyone,

thanks for the interest. The blog has moved to videovoo.com so I deleted some recent posts here to avoid having duplicate content.

See you there.

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Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Online, Personal, Video | Leave a Comment »

Vintage online marketing video 1994: first internet marketing conference with OHP

Posted by annplugged on May 20, 2007

This video film is an example for the long tail use of historical videos reappearing ready for recycling (for fun, for illustration, for ever, what).picture-4.png It is claimed to have been shot at “the first conference ever held that focused exclusively on the commercial potential of the web,” organized by Ken McCarthy and held in November 1994, in San Francisco.

“After introductory remarks by Ken, Marc Andreessen, the 23 year old co-founder of Netscape, describes how the first web browser came into being and shares his vision of the future of the network which was destined to change the world forever.”

Ken – wearing a vintage suit, with a matching tie, a post-hippi beard, and two different paper badges – says: “You produce it, you distribute it… One of the tragedies our media system has been set up so far is that we all have to go through movie companies, film studios, or recording companies, or publishers to get our work done. And they don’t make their decisions based on quality… So let’s get rid of this idea that we are trying to create some alternate world that’s gonna be completely independent from the other media that exist. What we are really trying to do is find a place for the internet amongst all these other existing media. To integrate, and let the different media coordinate and support each other.”

At the beginning Ken’s presentation is exclusively speaking, although there is a slide shown in the background promising to let the talk grow into a keynote presentation aided by visual elements. And it does grow into one by using an overhead projector.

At about half of the recording comes Marc Andreessen VP Tech at Mosaic Communications Corp. (I wonder if he still uses his email address marca@mcom.com): “Technically, Mosaic (and Netscape) today are graphical front ends to distributed interactive information resources over TCP/IP networks.” etc. etc.

Not much surprisingly, in light of today’s internet marketing conferences, the two OHP presentations do not resemble an internet marketing conference with buzz, light and year at all. More techy, more texty. I simply did not have the patience to go through them (more than an hour), but the vintage atmosphere was worth 20 minutes.

Posted in Marketing, Online, Presentation, Talks, Video | 1 Comment »

News events that involve user-generated video attract more traffic?

Posted by annplugged on May 18, 2007

Obviously, we cannot assume that all sorts of news that are supplemented by users’ self-submitted video films (or vica versa) attract more visitors, but based on the latest Hitwise data, we may fairly assume that really shocking or outstanding events generate a, keener attention in general b, more urge for users to put up their precious videos if they have witnessed such an event c, more urge for news sites to seek users’ video shots in the hope of getting more eyeballs for their in-depth coverage.

Likewise, in all probability, news sites wish to keep users inside their domain, so it is a somewhat unwanted side effect that they are referring more traffic from their own news sites to video sharing sites where readers can check what their fellows actually took part in (even though this independence may earn more credibility for the video snippets). So why aren’t they expanding their own online services with video sharing features with a foolproof uploading procedure – or even a human editorial team? Or are they? Do you know an example for this? (I don’t think that only independently, out-of-news-site uploaded videos can be authentic enough for readers, while if they are uploaded to some mainstream news sites that would decrease the value of conveying personal experiences.) If social networking is just a common feature, video sharing option should be a default feature for news sites for their own benefits (maybe for readers too, if they get their fair share from the revenue).

I cannot imagine that huge news sites would not benefit from hosting UGC video content in connection with specific articles, news bits etc.

As Hitwise writes:

“The share of traffic leaving News and Media websites and going directly to Entertainment – Multimedia websites increased by 196% from April 2006 to March 2007. Events which involved user-generated video,
such as the death of Steve Irwin and the execution of Saddam Hussein, served to drive the increase in traffic between News and Media and Multimedia websites. ”

With News and Media sites receiving more than one fifth of their traffic from search engines (see LeeAnn Prescott’s comment), search engines appear to be now increasingly the first step for users when they search for info about breaking events. “Relevant results from video sites and blogs now appear high in search results, thus exposing new users to these non-traditional sources of news and spurring the growth in online video consumption. ”

All in all, video sites offering news coverage – whether UGC or official – attract more and more visitors both directly from search results pages and indirectly through news sites.

I got to the Hitwise blog through Amanda Watlington.

Update on 24 May:

CNN is advertising its News To Me as “the first cable news program comprised of user-generated video.” It debuted on Headline News on Saturday, May 19. But that’s not at all what I thought of as UGC getting into the news. News To Me is rather a somewhat weak attempt to make users send in the current or even stale viral videos to an isolated test program of mainstream CNN – whereas I thought of UGC video recordings actually getting into serious and entertaining news, preferably uploaded by users themselves on the news channel’s video sharing site, and then highlighted by editors, for which users get paid on a CPM basis.

Posted in Online, Statistics, UGC, Video, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Video Search Engine Blinkx Gives Video Search Results on ChaCha

Posted by annplugged on May 16, 2007

Strategic partnership: ChaCha, which uses human guides to improve its search results, will show video search results from blinkx‘s index.

Blended model: offering either search algorithm or user’s picks: “Users of ChaCha can either rely on the engine algorithm for results or seek assistance from one of ChaCha’s guides who provide real time search assistance,” reports Search Engine Watch. ChaCha uses the combination of search technology and “hand-picked” sites from the ChaCha community of 30,000 skilled search experts

Revenue: Both companies will get its share from revenues generated through search results.

Search philosophy: search as a remote control. “We are thrilled to be partnering with ChaCha,” said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of blinkx. “As the Web becomes more interactive and TV-like, search becomes the remote control. We believe the combination of blinkx’s patented speech and pattern recognition technologies with ChaCha’s use of human intelligence will shake the search market.”

Competitive advantage: “blinkx uses advanced speech recognition technology to deliver results that are more accurate and reliable than standard metadata- based keyword searches… as TV and Garage Video on the Web explode, keyword-based search technologies only scratch the surface” (from the press release) – needless to say, that’s why I am very excited about what blinkx can and will do in the future – especially rivalling with so popular video social networking sites like youtube and metacafé

Posted in Online, Search, Video | 1 Comment »

Top Three Europe-specific challenges for Google Inc.

Posted by annplugged on May 15, 2007

So what does Nikesh Arora, who manages and develops Google’s operations in the European market, consider as the top 3 challenges for Google in Europe (vs. Google US). Nikesh Arora Google Europe VP at Budapest press conference

This morning started with a press event in the Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest (great place, great food, no wifi).

The intended focus of the press event was to officially announce the strategic co-operation between Google and the Hungarian market leader T-Mobile and T-Online (using Google search results as part of Google syndicate, content network expansion through the search page called ok.hu).
As the news got around the blogosphere days before the official announcement, I was more interested in what Nikesh thinks about the major differences between Google US and Google EU. The top three should not come as a surprise:

No. 1 Europe is multicultural, multilingual so there is no general solution for the EU as a unit.
No. 2 In the last two years businesses have become more internet savvy. Yet, European businesses do not value the internet as much as their American counterparts. Mind you, it is not the users who would undervalue the power of the web, but rather enterprises in Europe.
No. 3 In Europe it is more challenging to find good people who have a high capital of risk tolerance.

I definitely agree with all three, although my general impression is that enterprises, sadly many times with excellent ideas, simply lack entrepreneurial skills, including calculating the value of web presence and the money available for risks. Moreover, they may not go and look for professionals who possess such skills. Nevertheless, I do hope that things are changing faster than expected, especially regarding the latter two challenges as they can be improved, unlike EU multilingua (multilingualism is a hard nut to crack, harte Nusse, kemény dió etc.).

To test risk tolerance, i.e. how much risk your investment can handle, here are two main questions to ask yourself (from investopedia through forbes) if you have not done so far:

  • How much time do I have? “Before you make any investment, you should always determine the amount of time you have to keep your money invested. With a longer time horizon (young), investors have more time to recoup any possible losses and are therefore theoretically be more tolerant of higher risks” So, it seems that the old continent is old in this respect. European businesses with a longer time horizon are less willing to tolerate risks at higher levels for higher potential yields. Playing safe.
  • How much can I lose? “Determining the amount of money you can stand to lose – i.e. risk capital – is another important factor of figuring out your risk tolerance. By investing only money that you can afford to lose or afford to have tied up for some period of time, you won’t be pressured to sell off any investments because of panic or liquidity issues. The more money you have, the more risk you are able to take and vice versa.” Again, European companies appear to draw the line tighter – saying they cannot afford to lose ‘that much’ – in all probability, due to lack of experience, in general, but especially in diversifying risk programs (which prevents you losing money and/ or face all too sudden)

There are, of course, more questions to be answered, according to Chad Butler “What is my risk tolerance?” The answer will vary based on your age, experience, net worth, risk capital and the actual investment or trade being considered.” However, he also points out that “with today’s growing life expectancies and advancing medical science, the 65-year-old investor may still have a 20-year (or more) time horizon.”

ps: yes, the Google mirror effect is intentional in the pic

Posted in Google, Marketing, Online, Search marketing | 5 Comments »

A Few Tips on SEO: Choosing Relevant (.edu) Inbound Links and Testing in Paid Search

Posted by annplugged on May 15, 2007

By these days, it has become common knowledge that your placement in search results pages can be better if you do something with your keywords on the site, and pay attention to whom are linking to your site (inbound links), and who you are linking to (outbound).

A recent article on CNN Money, has three hot SEO tips for newbies:

1, hunt for relevant (.edu) links to point at your site: “find academics and hit them up for links. But remember that for lasting credibility with Google, the links need to be relevant. Villanueva, [kitchen furniture retailer] for instance, e-mailed dozens of college instructors who teach woodworking and courses about the lumber industry and snagged two .edu links.” Relevance on furntiture – woodwork suffices, as you see.

2, learn from rivals: “figure out who’s linking to your competition and cut deals with them. Yahoo’s Site Explorer (siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com) will show you a site’s inbound links. Joining Web directories is also worthwhile. Lesser-known ones like BOTW.org and JoeAnt.com can be helpful, but be careful: If your site is about phone services and you don’t see Sprint or Verizon, you might be right to assume that they won’t provide much of a boost on Google.” (registering in Yahoo catalogs and that of Business.com is also said to be working)

3.  need good search phrases? “You can use tools such as Wordtracker to find the phrases that people tend to type when looking for a specific product. But this has its shortcomings. Curiously, popular phrases aren’t always the best. One way to find the most effective phrases is to buy ads on Google’s paid search side. You bid on keywords – related phrases, such as “discount kitchen cabinets” – to ensure that your ad ranks high. Then, using Google Analytics or another system, track which phrases best convert into sales. The terms that work for paid search typically work in organic search. ”

Although the article does not mention it, but I find it especially important: make videos on your products, services, PR events, make interviews with your stakeholders, locally with the citizens you are concerned about etc. or sponsor videos whose content you agree with. Then use SEO optimizing techniques to make your video clips rank better in video search engines like the one running under YouTube (i.e. Google Video Search). Make careful your filename of the video reflects the content and the business intention.

You can start with the key search phrases both in texts accompanying the videofilms, and especially in tags (but do not cram them). Don’t forget to give your website url at the end/ beginning of the film (post, or pre-reel, as you like it) and again, also in the text (on the left side on youtube). Make sure you get a nice and relevant bunch of links (both in and out). If you are satisfied with the results, test the video on a microsite through paid search strategy. Track results, and make even better video content – this time experiment with the a version optimized for cell phone screen resolution, browser, and cell phone use too.

ps: according to Paul Goode from M:Metrics, cell phone is still a white spot regarding frequency, duration, session time etc. but there is a fair amount of data on demographics, genres, types of sites visited. John Baker from Ogilvy One says that a lot of the enterprises are showing strong interest in mobile ads, and soem of them have completed tests. (Advertisers are keen to learn the Web browsing patterns of mobile phone users. CNN’s Jim Boulden reports)

Posted in Google, Marketing, Mobile/Cell, Online, Paid search, Search marketing, SEO, Video, Yahoo | 2 Comments »

How much does a viral video clip cost on average?

Posted by annplugged on May 13, 2007

“Some 43% of experienced marketers said they spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on video clips in their viral campaigns, while 49% of less-experienced marketers said they get the job done with $2,500 to $5,000 in spending,” according to the “2007 Viral Marketing Survey” made by Marketing Sherpa (via emarketer).

Viral Video clips costs

However, in another graph of the survey, it also turns out that while 29% of the video clips yield great results, 13% os them show dismal results. Compared to audio clips, viral video clips are more efficient: audio clips were said to be 21% great, and 21% dismal. So there you go: video is a must.

Posted in Marketing, Online, Statistics, Video, Web 2.0, Word-of-mouth | 10 Comments »

Viral Campaigns Work Better with Microsites, Games, Video clips

Posted by annplugged on May 13, 2007

Marketing Sherpa’s survey shows that “Experienced viral marketers recognize that creating a separate presence for viral campaigns can have a huge impact. “Creating cool microsites” topped all other tactics, with 37% of very experienced marketers saying they produced great results. One-third thought that online games brought great results. (quotes emarketer in Viral Marketing’s Video Love Affair). And video clips? Right on the third place with 29%.

Viral marketing solutions

It is undeniably logical that microsites work so well, but not because viral marketing is a different kind of communication. Of course, a viral package travels faster if it is smaller: that’s what a compact microsite can ensure (i.e. a separate, easy to navigate site with light content). That’s what a 1-3 minute well-done video clip can ensure. But just like any other successful online communication, a viral video works better on microsites as they are a lot more targeted and easily discernible.

What makes microsites work better?

  • The navigation of microsites requires minimal efforts (most of them has a simplified navigation, short menu, yet transparent link to the corporate network consistting of other sites – like a family tree with some pioneering relatives)
  • The content of microsites is highly restricted, concentrating on one action, one task, one offer etc.: keeps visitors focused and interested – in theory they are informative and entertaining
  • Microsites are short: visitors have less time, less patience, brevity is key to success
  • Microsites are meant to be cooler than the average official homepages (where you cannot be cool on each and every page, can you?): easier to make separate entities harmonize with the preferences, style, values, attitudes of target groups. True. But microsites also tend to be braver in their communication. My assumption is that they are not necessarily cooler in a sense that they are more teenager like, more ‘dude-ish.’ Rather, they are coller in a sense one can be cooler in a micro-community. Wine-makers can know how to be cool in winery, lawyers have their own slang on which microsites can build upon.
  • There is more room for experimenting on microsites with different marketing strategies, and communication stlyes etc. as they are separate from an enterprise’s/ organization’s main, all-inclusive website
  • The visitors of microsites are coming through more convincing channels (viral by nature ensures this), and from deeper points of the funnel
  • The efficiency of microsites is a lot more reliably measurable and analysable (no extra pages to play in the results, less distraction to further web pages etc.), you can more easily track sales, orders, subsciptions, registrations, downloads, calls, etc.
  • The separate URL of a microsite enhances the SEO value: usually contains valuable keywords that immediately contribute to better placement on search results pages in Google, Yahoo, Live.com, Ask.com, in all the search engines, basically. Mind you, if that single microsite is commentable (works as a one-page blog), you can build a community around the niche topic of the microsite, and comments will bring more valuable content, including important keywords to that very site. We could also dicuss the link strategy, inbound links, etc.
  • Microsites can be quickly made: no need for months of consultation, and hard thinking of the menu structure, content, harmonizing the mission statement or mantra etc. – oh, by the way, they are also cheaper than full websites.
  • Microsites can be more flexibly improved: primarily for two reasons: a, you get sharper statistics to base your tests upon, b, just like in the previous point: no need to re-structure the whole site (it takes 5 min to change the background color, the font, the placement of a widget etc.) and to convince everybody in every department. Further thoughts on this on Microsite.
  • Depending on your business, and marketing campaign, ad revenues from text links at the bottom of the microsites are easier to implement (just think of the Google AdSense program and the rules that are getting stricter – it is more simple to comply with the AdSense expectations on a single page), so you can turn your site into a source of revenue.

If you come to think of it, a good microsite is like a good landing page – way ahead the funnel, exploiting the pulling effect of viral marketing, right to the target, call to action sites.

But if you really come to think of it, a good video clip is like a good microsite: short, sharp, entertaining, focused, separately working from the main site, easily measurable (downloads, click-throughs to another site etc., number of comments, inbound links, experimental etc.

So is it worth making microsites, especially with video clips? Definitely yes. Is there a proliferation of microsites (esp. with clips)? Definitely no. Why not? Well, it still takes extra time, investment, understanding, risk taking on behalf of the businesses that wish to advertise, so they may think it is more simple and cost-efficient to use their traditional, established business website, many times linking the video ad to their front pages. If you look at the ROI, however, it may easily turn out that sticking to the more complex homepage as a (viral) video landing page may backfire, and bring less exploitable data, fewer leads than a well-structured microsite with an entertaining video clip. Also, agencies may make less profit from cheaper, more simple microsites than full-suite homepages, web presence so they may not be really motivated to learn making efficient microsites, and to offer them among their services.

But back to the survey carried out by Marketing Sherpa: it sounds as if the most efficient solution would be to combine microsites with games and video clips. I do not claim that they are easy to combine well, but they are surely well worth experimenting with. And once you experiment with one or the other, why not with both?

Posted in Marketing, Online, Statistics, Video, Web 2.0, Word-of-mouth | Leave a Comment »

Seth Godin: All Marketers are Liars (Google Talk in the Author series)

Posted by annplugged on May 11, 2007

Here is another great presentation by Seth Godin from February 2006. It is based on his book, All Marketers are Liars subtitled The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low Trust World. But the focus is not on this somehow (it only comes up in the discussion phase how the ‘360 degrees web presence’ makes any fraud the worst thing to risk for businesses, or for anyone).

The first half of the presentation is instead where Seth tries to outline why he thinks Google has succeeded to date and how repeating that could really help Google moving forward. He says: “there’s a belief among a lot of companies, especially in the valley, especially on this road, Amphitheater Road (Google’s HQ address) is that technology wins. And what I want to sell you really hard on is, not that technology wins, because I don’t think it does. I think what technology does, is it gives a you a shot at marketing. And if you don’t buy into that the company sooner rather than later is going to smash into a wall. Sun Microsystems said technology is going to solve every problem, then marketing will take care of itself…. I believe that the underpinnings and what made Google work were some brilliant, maybe not intentional, but brilliant marketing decisions.”

The story that Google sells is that ‘I am your friend,’ with the right tool at the right time. And it is very much in line with Google’s personalized search project, the next big phase in Google’s (I wanted to say ‘life’ suddenly), in Goolge’s focus. What does Seth suggest for Google? To start to build their permission asset, to build the ability to have people want Google as a closer partner. He is totally convinced that people want it.

Challenge: according to Seth, Google Mini‘s challenge is that small and medium-sized businesses rarely tell each other about their successes (his remark is related to a Googler called Patsy’s question on Google Mini), discovered new tools, solutions. They don’t tell it to a friend. So it’s not entering a marketplace that’s geared to have these evangelizing, word-of-mouth conversations. Consequently, Google as an organization needs to bring small enterprises together to have these conversations (see Google Groups, and also Google AdWords seminar series, and also Google Academy for Educators for such events). “what you can do is share a couple of case studies, and then get out of the way (!), and let them tell each other the truth. And as you build these communities of people who talk to each other, things happen.”

Seth refers to the TV Industrial Complex, his notion on how traditional marketing works through mass media: buying ads, interrupting people and thus getting more distribution, then more profit, which in turn is recycled into more ads to interrupt more people. He suggests that that’s why web 1.0 was not successful, that’s why many of the old-school advertisers still think merely in CPM (cost per thousand impressions), and buy keywords, yet keep sticking to the old design and funnels of the already stale website. They do not adapt.

As a solution he recommends the so called Fashion Permission Complex (again as a buyer- prospect communciation process):

  1. step 1: make sth worth talking about (or womm) (the important footnote he adds is that “If you can’t do that, start over.”)
  2. step 2: tell it to people who want to hear from you
  3. step 3: they do what other people used to think others would do, i.e. marketing
  4. step 4: (the hardest part) get permission from these people to tell them about your next fashion (so as your asset base grows think about the iPod, and the 60.000 people tuned into Steve Job’s keynote…) And you end up not trying to find customers for your products but products for your customers.

Some of his examples, jokes overlap with ones used in the TED Talks, but again he has very entertaining new illustrations (e.g. the socks for 11 year old girls – I would surely go for it if I was still 11 years old.

Posted in Google, Marketing, Online, Presentation, Subtitles, Talks, Video, Web 2.0, Word-of-mouth | 5 Comments »

Seth Godin: Sliced Bread, Ideas that Spread are Bizarre by Nature

Posted by annplugged on May 11, 2007

The success of sliced bread is whether you can spread the idea or not. Nowadays, we could say, the success of sliced books, mags etc. (selling chapters, or even pages separately, besides full books) depends on idea spreading too.

“In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones. And early adopters, not the mainstream’s bell curve, are the new sweet spot of the market. Seth’s presentation at TED Talks is from 2003, yet it is still worth watching.” (from TED Talks)

The title of his keynote speech comes from Otto Frederick Rohwedder‘s 1917’s ‘invention,’ selling pre-sliced bread by means of using loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. About ten years later the idea became widespread: after a longish time focusing on the patent and technology of the machine, the idea struck Rohwedder that the idea of pre-sliced loaves needs to be spread. What is its relevance today?

First, choose a presentation title that is bizarre, and yet show its relevance (even rhyme?) to your talk. 🙂 Ok, there is something more to it than this.

Seth Godin claims that we live in an era of idea diffusion, at the heart of which is TV and stuff like TV. It makes me think of Joost (the online peer to peer TV streaming technology by Skype inventor Niklas Zenströmm and Janus Friis, now still in the testing and program-database grabbing phase), and the buzz surrounding it, including advertisors, publishers, marketers, and yes, very much early adopters who are now either in the beta test already or pleading for an invitation. It makes me believe that this presentation has not lost from its freshness and validity. Especially that watching together a TV program and sharing ideas real time is part and parcel of Joost: letting people go for the fringes, spreading idea. Is Joost bizarre yet? I very much think so (but not for a long time).

The TV Industrial Complex simplified process is described by Seth Godin as follows:

  • buy ads
  • get more distribution
  • sell more products
  • make a profit
  • buy ads
  • get more distribution
  • etc., on and on

What makes the process outdated is that users have a lot more choices, but a lot less time (and let’s add: and a lot-lot less patience in the age of attention deficit).

Seth states that if you drive a car and see a cow next to the road, you will not pay attention, as you have seen hundreds of cows (now, my own experience is that almost anyone I know likes to shout out ‘cows’ ‘horses’ ‘sheep – your family, dude’ ‘hey, look, some kind of prey bird’ and stuff like that. So personally, we are not bored with normal cow-spotting from moving cars). Seth goes on to point out that you need a purple cow to come out of invisibility and ignorance: a purple cow is bizarre wnough to draw your attention (luckily, I have not see one, not even one for a Milka ad filming: it would have been eye-catching but somehow repulsive, too). So a purple cow is remarkable (in a sense that it is also worth ‘making a remark about’ – i.e. blogging about, or me-mailing about it).

The top-selling DVD in America changes every week, and not because there is a new top film, but because it is fresh, new, just heard about, “because people notice it.”

“Mass marketing is about marketing average products for average people, smooth out the edges: they would ignore the geeks, and God forbid, the laggards” (i.e. the two flatter parts of the bell curve: the early adopters and the late-comers). It is only for the central, the majority.

“But in a world where the TV Industrial Complex is broken, I don’t think that’s a strategy we wanna use any more,’ says Godin. He suggests targeting the early adopters, geeks, those who are obsessed with something. Simply, the central majority is very good at ignoring advertising. Products need constituencies with an otaku (obsessive fan). So it is of utmost importance to talk to the early adopters who really listen and make it easier for them to spread the word, to make it go thorugh the bell curve.

And his recap in light of the above:

  • Design
  • Don’t play safe, stay on the fringes by being remarkable

Posted in Joost, Marketing, Online, Presentation, TED Talks, Video, Word-of-mouth | 3 Comments »