NomX3 Podcast Discussion

There is a new podcast called NomX3 – a brilliant idea where two guys (Mike Lankford and Jeff Cutler) go to lunch and discuss interesting topics as well as the great food they are eating at different restaurants. NomX3 (or nom, nom, nom best pronounced as if you were a Muppet) i’s a great way to spend your lunch as a viewer at your desk (if you eat lunch like I do) and have a good laugh. It also reminds you that lunch is a great opportunity to get out there and meet some new people or reconnect with old friends.

Recently I created an intro for the podcast and they invited me on to the show to talk briefly about short form online video versus podcasting. Then they profiled the Telly Award winning video we created through JCSI for OpenPages as an example of what we do. The lunch at Burton’s Grill was absolutely amazing and the conversation was great. Enjoy this while you eat your lunch…I know I did.

Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Quiksilver – The Spot

Sorry this wasn’t posted earlier…minor problem with my WordPress install delayed me.

Typically I select a video from YouTube or some other video sharing site to profile here, but this is a site that is taking video and thinking outside the box…literally.

Quiksilver, which specializes in surf, snow and skateboarding clothing and gear put together a website focused on their skateboarding side which utilizes the skateboarding talents of Tony Hawk, Alex Olson, Danny Garcia, Reese Forbes and Kyle Leeper set to The Heartaches music. It comes up looking like a standard website with navigation but quickly degenerates from there – utilizing the entire browser frame as their skate park. I have no coordination and it even made me want to skateboard. All ending with easy ways for you to share it on your favorite social media site. So check it out by clicking the screenshot below.

On a rant here but isn’t it amazing that Tony Hawk is 41 and is still seen as the epitome of cool going on 20+ years as a skateboarding phenom? I’m just saying – that’s pretty awesome.


Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Johnnie Walker

This week’s video comes from Johnnie Walker who released this brilliant six-minute video shot in a single continuous take and stars Robert Carlyle as the narrator taking us on the journey through the progression of Johnnie Walker whiskey from the shopkeeper experimenting with blending malts to the powerhouse it is today. It is well written and sequenced with entertaining narration perfectly matched to well-timed visual cues. Believe me…doing this in a single continuous take is not as easy as they make it look.

Interestingly enough, its not posted on YouTube by Johnnie Walker but by some random YouTube user in Brazil. I actually heard about it from the Creative Culture Weekly Top 5 podcast. This isn’t exactly a large audience podcast but still a mention on it would build buzz. In the US where’s the first place you’d go when searching for a video? Wouldn’t you want to at least have a branded YouTube channel with the video properly tagged including a description and links to your website or landing page? I know I would. At any rate, it’s had a few thousand views but is definitely worth the watch.

What social media site refers the best video viewer engagement?

Social networking and bookmarking sites are a critical part of any online marketing effort utilizing video because you need to get your video seen where your key demographic is spending time online.

TubeMogul recently completed a research case study to find exactly what the title of this post asks: what social media site refers the least fickle viewers? They sampled 6,763,690 video streams over three months referred by links from Digg, Facebook and Twitter to come up with the findings. I’m going to highlight a few of the real key points to talk about but here’s the link to read the full results from their research report.

Results from TubeMogul

The results (below) are surprising: on average, viewers referred by Twitter tend to watch a video the longest (one minute, 58 seconds), compared to Facebook (one minute, 14 seconds) and Digg (58 seconds).

On average, audiences clicking on video links from Twitter watch a video 36.91% longer than viewers referred by Facebook and 49.98% longer than viewers referred by Digg.

My Analysis

This is an interesting study and the numbers are intriguing but there are a few things that the study doesn’t take into account.

Separation of social media sites & social bookmarking sites

I would have liked to have seen Twitter and Facebook (possibly even MySpace and LinkedIn too) go head to head and Digg go up against other bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, etc. My reason for this is that typically you are more connected with people on social media sites than on social bookmarking sites. Social bookmarking sites are cluttered with millions of links people are sharing with others they may not even know. So it’s a less direct form of sharing than say Twitter or Facebook where you (usually) have a more established relationship with the possible viewer clicking your link. Most bookmarking sites have a lot of users who are lightly “browsing” content and clicking on something that may sound interesting but then quickly clicking away if their interest isn’t peaked. On Facebook for instance if I share a video, only people who have some sort of relationship with me are going to see it and are therefore more likely to watch more of the video. So it would have been nice to see a comparison of apples to apples.

Yes its video…but what is the content?

This may seem like a stupid question but if 75% of the videos profiled were of a cat playing the piano…what does that actually tell you? It would have been great to cull out the user generated content and just focus on videos that have some sort of at least a vague marketing purpose, whether its a direct sell on down to the nebulous but humorous branding video. I realize this is nearly impossible to achieve, however including all that user generated content as part of the research definitely skews the numbers. Let’s face it…if you upload a video of your dog barking at the TV – you don’t really care how many people watch it to completion but if you put a branding video online with a call to action – that’s information you want to know.

Time of day comparisons

Just like email marketing where you have better days of the week or times of day to send your email to get ideal open rates or click through rates, social media works much the same way. It would have been interesting to see over a three month period what days of the week and hours of the day had higher engagement rates.

What the numbers tell me

Ultimately the numbers don’t matter. Well…they matter but its a giant brush stroke of the entire social media space, not necessarily YOUR demographic and how THEY are engaging in social media. So you have to keep this in mind when you delve into these numbers. If the key demographic you market to is predominantly on MySpace but you are just sharing your video link on Twitter because this research report told you to – you could be missing your mark.

Personally over the past 3 months, SmartMarket Media has had better engagement rates from LinkedIn (2 minutes 35 seconds) followed by Twitter (2 minutes 32 seconds),  Facebook (1 minute, 40 seconds), (StumbleUpon (0 minutes, 45 seconds) and Digg (0 minutes, 37 seconds). Obviously we have a much smaller sampling (hundreds of visitors rather than millions) but it just goes to show you need to know your customer base and engage where they are engaging.

What do you think? What do these numbers tell you?

Case Study: Direct Mail vs. Email Marketing with Video

Originally posted on the SmartMarket Media Blog

mail-vs-videoHere are some amazing statistics from a client of ours that recently did both a direct mail post card and an online marketing video sent out via email to the exact same client base. They did both methods because they wanted to make sure all of their customers were touched and also because they didn’t have all of their customers email addresses. Due to client confidentiality limitations, we cannot disclose our client’s name.

Business Needs

The business is a service oriented operation with predominantly a business-to-consumer base. They also have a reputation as an environmentally responsible company and try to do what they can to diminish the amount of waste they create. This business was beta testing a new service which would streamline how their customer base would interact with their services. To clarify these changes, answer any questions their customers may have, etc. they needed to reach out to their entire regional customer base of about 16,000 customers. Their objective wasn’t a direct call to action for their customers – but simply to notify and educate them of the new service and to make sure their customers knew who to contact if they had any questions about the service.


Their internal marketing department had already planned to send out a postcard with a follow up brochure to their entire base of 16,000 customers. They did have over 6400 email addresses for a portion of their client base, so we suggested incorporating an email marketing e-newsletter linking to a short interactive video explaining the changes to the service and including helpful links for more information, download a PDF of the brochure or to contact someone at the company. The postcard was sent out first and the email newsletter with links to the video was sent out two weeks later.


Postcards sent: 16,000

Direct replies & requests for further information: 12 or 0.075%
(responses were entirely phone calls about the program)

Costs: includes design & printing of postcard, ink jet printing of addresses and postage = $5,470*

*if you include the design & printing, ink jet printing of addresses and postage for the brochure as part of this campaign  – the overall cost was $12010.

Emails Sent: 6406


  • Open Rate (OR) – 43.8% or 2804
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) – 44.7% or 1254

Direct replies & requests for further information: 146 or 2.28%
(responses were entirely email responses about the program).

The email responses varied – many were requesting further information, others were thanking the company for how clearly the email, PDF and video explained the upcoming changes to their services and a handful expressed gratitude for the company keeping their message environmentally friendly by using email with the video.

One respondent when asked about the post card remarked that they “didn’t remember ever seeing it” and assumed that they had “thrown it with the rest of the junk mail in the recycling bin”.

Costs: includes email service provider subscription*, web hosting provider & domain for landing page*, design for email newsletter & landing page to host video, PDF and FAQs about program and the online video production = $4176

* Email Service Provider (ESP), domain registration and web hosting were all yearly billing costs included in the overall budget for this one campaign.

Final thoughts

From the perspective of action the clear winner was email marketing with video which garnered a response rate that was 11x higher than direct mail. While their varied customer demographic will never allow for a completely emailed list, the results from direct responses and the ability to track the emails effectiveness through the email service providers statistical tracking data are obvious.

From a cost perspective on the single campaign its also clear that email marketing with video was obviously not only more effective but far less expensive. This is especially noticeable when you factor in that the email service provider, domain registration and web hosting costs (in the amount of $901) were all for one full year, not just this single campaign.

This brings up another important issue, which is that this service was only launched to a fraction of their customer base as part of a beta test of the program. So if they choose to open the program to a wider selection of their customer base – with direct mail all of their production costs will repeat (with the exception of their initial post card design costs if there are no edits to the content) while with email and video they will absorb a fraction of those email service provider and web hosting yearly fees and they may need to tweak the email content but other than that the second blast of this information using email marketing and video is completely paid for and they have endless distribution.

The company’s program director expressed his thoughts on how the campaign worked out by sharing, “E-mail made it so much easier for our customers to respond because they could simply click to reply to get more information. They also loved the fact that the video so clearly illustrated how the new service would work.”

Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Nike SB

So this week was a little light in terms of newly released online marketing videos that I would consider buzzworthy. However my pick this week is for Nike SB to celebrate the release of professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez’s (aka P Rod) third shoe (the skateboarding son of the famous comedian). Set to the grooving tempo of the Ice Cube song “Today Was a Good Day”, the Nike video kind of parallels the original Ice Cube music video storyline just through the eyes of a skateboarder with one slight humorous difference at the end. It’s had over 370,000 views since being uploaded about 3 weeks ago.

Nothing earth shattering here. No crazy production. No trick camera skills. No dancing babies or flash mobs. While there are some very cool skateboarding tricks, I’m not a particularly big fan of skateboarding. So why did this video appeal to me? I probably just like it because the skateboarding tricks ARE cool, the tempo of them follow the music well and it’s set to one of my all time favorite rap songs. There I said it. Sometimes it’s all about the music and how it moves you or grabs you.

Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Kuroshio Sea – Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

This is the first time I’ve featured an “amateur” produced video on Buzzworthy Wednesday. I use the term “amateur” loosely…but its for a good reason. The video I selected this week is an amazing and beautiful single shot video of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. The “Kuroshio Sea” (as this aquarium is called) is the second largest in the world as evidenced by the huge whale sharks, manta rays and large schools of fish swimming.

The song featured, which really sets the tone for this video, is “Please don’t go” by Barcelona. Barcelona credits their song placement in this video with boosting their album and song sales on iTunes and concert attendance. The video is really awe inspiring which is why its recieved well over 1 million views in just a couple weeks.

I mentioned using the term “amateur” loosely because the producer wasn’t specifically paid by the aquarium to make this piece – however Jon Rawlinson the creator is a gifted professional cinematographer and filmmaker in his own right. Perfect song selection matched with the vast open “zen-like” beauty of the aquarium…could the marketing team at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium created a better online marketing video? I doubt it. Enjoy.