This is a question that was recently asked by Feed Company in a survey of 40 executives at top U.S. creative ad agencies and media buying firms. Almost 28% considered it a success if a viral video got more than 1 million views followed closely by about 22% each evenly saying it was successful if it was viewed 100,000, 250,000, or 500,000 times. A meager 2.8% each considered it successful if it was viewed 25,000 or 50,000 each. I’m telling you that of all these numbers the 2.8% were the closest to being correct. It’s not about the cumulative total of those views, it’s about getting that video in front of the right eyeballs.
“The benchmark of success for viral video depends on the campaign creative and brand goals. Of course everyone wants more views and reach, but the quality of engagement and conversation matter too.” – Josh Rose, Senior Vice President, Creative Director, Deutsch
Here’s an example that we utilized for ourselves using word of mouth or viral marketing as a self-promotional piece in a B2B environment with measurable results. Last September I was named by the Worcester Business Journal to their 40 Under Forty list. So to celebrate this we created a funny movie poking fun at myself. We set very clear goals to:
Increase our brand recognition within the Central Massachusetts region served by Worcester Business Journal.
To open a discussion which would hopefully lead to a working relationship with Worcester Business Journal.
First, we sent it to our contact at Worcester Business Journal to get their “blessing” before sending it out to our e-newsletter subscribers. The Business Journal’s editor-in-chief called us within 15 minutes to say that it had already been forwarded around their entire office and they wanted to show it at the awards banquet the next night with over 500 attendees. At the event the owner of the Business Journal (and several other regional business newspapers) came up to me and asked if they could send it out on their e-newsletter to their list of over 5,000 subscribers.
Within about two weeks after the event our e-newsletter subscriber list doubled and from that event we have created videos for two of the event attendees, we produced videos for all three business journals owned by the parent company of Worcester Business Journal and have all three business journals set up to resell our online marketing video product. As with any word of mouth marketing campaign, it needs to grab people’s attention and be easily passed on.
Based upon our website views of this video and the video views on sharing sites such as YouTube, we had a little over 12,000 total views. That’s it. But we were able to target our demographic specifically to decision makers in businesses in a select region. So all the right people were viewing the video that we wanted to engage with it.
So what’s the moral to this story? You can have 50 million views of a video but if it ultimately doesn’t lead to the desired brand interaction you were looking for how effective was it really? Be more targeted in your distribution and don’t worry about cumulative views if it is engaging the right people.
One of the greatest and worst things about Twitter is the constant stream of conversation. It’s constantly changing. Yeah you can search to find posts you are interested in but I always thought there should be an easier way to connect with people who have like-minded interests and to follow a conversation that was threaded rather than searching for hashtags to follow the conversation. Hashtags are so MS-DOS, they’re like the mullet haircut – completely out of style and outdated even while it was popular. Which is why I was SO happy to find Tweetworks. I think Tweetworks will bring Twitter to the mass audience of internet users in a way that they can understand.
This 5 Question Interview is with Mike Langford who is the CEO, Founder and Funder of Tweetworks LLC. Mike is a serial entrepreneur with passion for making a difference in peoples lives. Something many people don’t know about Mike is he LOVES to talk. He claims it’s genetic and that if you meet his Grandmother, parents or his young son you’ll be left with no doubt that he’s a born talker. One on one or in front of a crowd, he thrives on conversation. (Tweetworks seems a natural fit now doesn’t it?)
Eric Guerin: Because Tweetworks is a new user interface for Twitter which uses 140 characters or less per update…can you describe what Tweetworks is in 140 characters or less?
Mike Langford: Tweetworks helps you talk with people who like to talk about the things you like to talk about.
EG: Threaded conversations on Tweetworks really make following conversations much easier. On Twitter you used to have to use a hashtag and then search for the conversation on a separate site which seemed like such an archaic way of having a conversation in this day and age. Can you explain how threaded conversations work on Tweetworks and how you came up with the concept for it?
ML: We capture, store and associate all posts made on Tweetworks in a relational database prior to passing them on to Twitter. What makes Tweetworks different than Twitter is the way we approach conversations. The way posts are presented on Twitter is as if each tweet were an independent and unrelated thought. In reality, a great deal of what is posted on Twitter is a reply to a previous statement. And in many cases you’ll find several different people replying to a single post made by one person.
I noticed early on that people like to crowd source on Twitter. It seems logical, you’ve got hundreds or in some cases thousands of people as a resource pool why not ask them stuff? The problem, as I found out, is that a Twitter user needs to be a social media celebrity like Chris Brogan or Guy Kawasaki to have a reasonable expectation of receiving a significant number of responses. Why? Think of it for a minute, Twitter only displays 20 posts at a time. And while you can click older, or use a desktop app like Tweetdeck or Twhirl which allow for easier scrolling the challenge remains, your followers are only seeing 10 to 20 tweets at a time. What this means for the average Twitter user is that he needs to hope that his followers just happen to be looking at the screen when his tweet hits. And with many people following hundreds of people that list of 20 tweets is refreshing pretty quickly. In short, the odds aren’t in your favor for a robust and inclusive discussion with Twitter’s current format.
So I thought, what if we created a way for people to start a discussion or ask a question and have the stream stay together? Then I thought, what if anyone, not just followers, could participate in the discussion? I mean, the only reason I have this weird follower/following thing going on is so I can have a reasonable prospect of having a conversation when I’m on Twitter right? So, we decided to remove the follower contingency and open it up. On Tweetworks conversation is king.
EG: One of the coolest features you have on Tweetworks are public and private “Groups”. Can you explain what the groups are and how they work?
ML: The randomness of Twitter is fun and super cool but it has it’s limitations. As human beings we tend to group things. Believe it or not it is this tendency that leads most people to follow the people they follow. You go to a conference on a certain topic like say a Pod Camp and you meet a bunch of new friends who like to talk about social media. So, you follow them because you had fun talking about social media. But, now your timeline is filled with tweets from these people on a whole bunch of other crap you have no interest in. At Tweetworks we thought a better approach would be to allow people to talk about what they like to talk about when they want to talk about it with other people who like to talk about the same stuff. To accomplish this we allow users to form or join whatever public group they’d like.
The private groups are a little different in that we add the ability to control the “who” part of the conversations that take place inside the group. Private groups are very useful for businesses, clubs, fantasy sports leagues, and sensitive topics.
EG: Unlike many social media tools I was impressed that you already have a plan & outline for eventual monetization, can you briefly discuss this?
ML: The point of starting a business is to earn money isn’t it? I’m not a software engineer with crazy coding skills that sat down one day and thought Tweetworks would be a cool mashup project. I found myself seeing a real problem that if solved would create real value. If Tweetworks is successful in creating value then we should put in place mechanisms to be compensated so we can continue to provide value to our users. I think it is a shame that people create these amazing tools and they eventually have to shut down because they simply could not afford to support the large number of users that adopted their creation. Look no further that Quotably, it was very popular but it is no more. While Ben Tucker cites Twitter’s pipe access as a reason for the shut down, I assume he would have found a work around if the venture were profitable.
Okay, enough pontificating on the why we have a revenue model let’s get to it. Tweetworks has two revenue sources, Pro Accounts and Group Sponsorship.
Pro Account: We rolled out unlimited private group access as our first Pro Account offering. For $24.95/yr a user will be able to have as many private Tweetworks groups as he would like.
Group Sponsorship: Tweetworks groups are available for sponsorship by businesses or individuals. We use the term sponsor because it carries a different weight and expectation than advertiser. On Tweetworks a sponsor will have its profile, or custom copy, displayed prominently in the Group Information Bar and their tweets will be highlighted when displayed in the group. This allows the sponsor to stand out in the crowd of tweets that are relevant to its business. It is our expectation that sponsors will be active and responsible participants in the community (group) in which they sponsor. For the other participants in the community having an active sponsor should feel much less intrusive than straight advertising. To start Sponsorship packages will be priced at 3 days for $45, 7 days at $84, and $150 for 15 days. The flat package pricing will make it simple and easy for a sponsor to jump in and get started.
EG: I know Tweetworks is only in its initial launch phase, what cool new features can we expect next?
ML: One of our next steps is to create and open up our API so that desktop, mobile and other third party applications can port into Tweetworks. We are walking that weird line of needing to include the early adopters of Twitter and staying true to our value proposition. Some people REALLY want us to bring the all of their followers’ activity into Tweetworks and we aren’t planning to do that. But, if we either partnered with an existing desktop application such as Twhirl or Tweetdeck, or develop our own we could make these people happy and still provide the robust Tweetworks experience. It is important to remember that there are millions of registered user names on Twitter but the majority of the population has no idea what it is and why they should consider using it. In the end, it is these new users that will make up the bulk of our customers.
Some other cool things we are working on are RSS feeds for groups and activity notification. We’ve had several requests from people who would like to post their group’s activity on an external website and we think that is a great idea. We’ve also noticed that some users come to the site, participate in a group and then we don’t see them for a while. The challenge with a new community is that it takes some time for the party to heat up. We need to work hard to get people to come to Tweetworks and revisit frequently enough so we build up momentum. We are getting there, I am very pleased with the success we are having so far.
EG: Thanks Mike!
To those of you reading who have been hesitant to check out Twitter or been intimidated by it, go check out Tweetworks. I highly recommend it.
One of the frustrating things about online video view counting is YouTube and most other video sites count a “view” regardless of how much of a video is actually watched. So that got the research staff at TubeMogul thinking…how much are people actually watching before they click away?
The results from their study are pretty amazing: most online video viewers watch mere seconds, rather than minutes, of a video. All going back to the point I try to stress with every one of my clients that brevity is key. Click the image to see an enlarged graph of TubeMogul’s study findings.
For the full report from TubeMogul Industry Analysis, continue reading here. Here are some of the highlighted statistics that I found truly interesting:
Most videos steadily lose viewers once “play” is clicked, with an average 10.39% of viewers clicking away after ten seconds and 53.56% leaving after one minute.
I found this one surprising but not a complete shock. Most of our online marketing videos fall under 1½ minutes. The fact that over half of all viewers they sampled drop off after the first minute is interesting. How many were because the videos were incorrectly described or tagged and how many were just “casual browsers” checking out videos randomly. Properly titling, describing and tagging your video is one of the most important steps to getting found by the right people who are more likely part of that 46.44%. If they were looking for your content, they are far more likely to watch it to completion…as long as you keep it short.
A three minute video that has a post-roll ad in the final seconds, for example, will only be viewed by 16.62% of the initial audience, on average.Another takeaway is that overlay ads should be displayed as early as possible in a video, preferably within the first few seconds. On YouTube, where most overlay ads appear at about 10 seconds in, 10.39% of a video’s initial viewers are not likely seeing the ad.
Alright I’m going to go off on a little tangent here – I am not a fan of pre-roll or post-roll ads on video content. Personally I just think it is too much of an interruption to the viewer who clicked on a particular video to watch…NOT the advertisement tacked onto the video. I wonder how many viewers are clicking away because they are annoyed by the interruption of overlay ads on the video they are trying to watch? Especially if it is interfering with the content. Social networking on video sharing sites is all about inbound marketing or letting the community find the resources they are looking for by properly tagging videos with the keywords they will be searching for. Overlay ads to me are more of the old school of outbound marketing like television commercials, print ads, etc. a shotgun approach to hit as many people as possible with their sales pitch without regard as to whether it is hitting their target market or not. Sorry…my diatribe is over now. Anyway if you are going to engage on overlay advertising, this is a staggering reason why you shouldn’t even consider post-roll overlay advertising.
TubeMogul has once again impressed me with their industry leading research and produced some impressive results from their study. What about your own viewing habits? How long do you typically watch a video? How do you feel about overlay ads?
Back in August 2008, I was invited to write a short post which was published on HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog. Here’s a short snippet of the article with a link to the full post on the HubSpot Blog:
5 Tips To Creating An Effective
Viral Video Marketing Campaign
Viral marketing sounds like something you may be stuck in bed with for a few days maybe with a stuffy nose, and a fever…but it doesn’t have to be. Did you know that every minute over 10 HOURS of video are uploaded to YouTube. Think about it…10 HOURS…while you were just thinking about this…another 10 hours just got uploaded to YouTube! So how do you make your viral marketing video stand out? How do you get it passed on to others without you asking (hence the going “viral”)?
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when creating a viral marketing campaign for your online video: >>> continue reading >>>
I had the pleasant opportunity to be interviewed for a blog post by Danny Brown, the owner of Press Release PR, providing search engine optimized press releases and SEO-friendly content for the Web 2.0 world, and a vocal advocate of social media PR. Below is a snippet from his blog post with a link to the full interview on his blog. Enjoy!
Discussing Social Media with…Eric Guerin
A little while back, I sent out a request via Twitter asking if anyone would be interested in being interviewed for a discussion on social media. With the medium meaning so many different things to so many people, as well as how it can be used, I was interested to hear the views of the people I connect with.
As many of my blog readers and customers know, I am a big proponent of utilizing email marketing as part of your mix to distribute an online video created to market or promote your business, service or product. It is a great tool to touch base with your existing customer base and if that video is done creatively, is a simple and easy way for your customers to pass your message on to friends.
I have been giving regular seminars with Zak Barron of Constant Contact about how best to integrate email marketing with online video. One of the statistics I use is one I got from the Email Standards Project where their research showed that a “…screen grab was clicked on more than 5 times as often as the text link.” Of course being a video production company I latched onto these stats and used them to my benefit. I’ve seen these statistics used as part of Email Marketing Reports and also in a discussion I had on the Constant Contact User Community Forum…but then I wondered…what would my own research find? We already knew from our own monthly newsletters that we were getting really high click-throughs compared to industry standards and most were going to the new video that we sent out every month. Most of those click-throughs on our e-newsletters were also clicking on the screen-grab JPEG image (see “screen-grab sample image above) which “looks” like it will play but actually links to the video on our website rather than using the text link to that same video. Here were our cumulative statistics for our open rate and for our click through rates for 12 e-newsletters which amounts to several thousand emails going out:
Cumulative Open Rate: 48%
Cumulative Click Through Rate: 44%
So then on two occasions we decided NOT to include a video with a screen-grab link in our e-newsletter and instead sent out informative articles, upcoming events or blog posts. All good content…just no video. Our statistics for these two e-newsletters were:
Cumulative Open Rate: 47%
Cumulative Click Through Rate: 16%
It wasn’t a full 5x as often but including video in our campaigns was a very significant 175% increase in click-throughs when video content was included. Another really interesting fact is that our open rate remained virtually the same which basically means there is a 64% decrease in the number of click-throughs on our e-newsletter when we do not include video.
I hope you find these statistics as interesting and useful as I did. Now my head hurts from all that math so I’m going to have to get back to doing something creative but with these statistics in mind…have you included video in your email marketing campaign? What have your results been? Please share your own results by commenting below or pinging this blog post.
One of the people I follow on Twitter is Marc Lougee (or @luge if you are a Twitter user) who is a director and film producer based in Toronto. I am a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe AND stop motion animation so when I saw that he had created a short film of The Pit and the Pendulum I was intrigued. When it came out on DVD I ordered it immediately and was completely blown away. The stop motion animated short feature itself was completely amazing and the addition of the interviews and the many special features really made this DVD special. I asked Marc on Twitter if I could interview him for my blog and he kindly obliged:
EG: Can you give a brief synopsis of The Pit & the Pendulum (for those who aren’t familiar with the work by Poe) and what inspired you about this story to interpret it into a short film?
ML: In the film, as in the original story, a lone prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition is tried and condemned to a horrible fate, which he can only imagine based on the rumors of the Inquisitor’s particular brand of awful. While he’s locked up in the dark, he wrestles with hope and faith as his captors ratchet up their efforts to unhinge him.
I was inspired to do the film, initially, with a phone call from Ray Harryhausen’s agent! I was literally just wrapping up a series gig, and looking at a break of a few months (over the summer!) so making a short wasn’t really on the plan. Until I got “The Call”.
Ray was keen to see a small-scale production of The Fall of the House of Usher (a classic Poe story well worth a film, surely), but Susan Ma (Producer on the Pit & Pendulum, and my lovely wife) and I worked out some numbers and had to break the news to Ray this was just too massive a thing to wrangle with the time and available resources. So, I pitched The Pit and the Pendulum, thinking it’s only a few walls, rats, a large Pit and some flaming fireboxes…what could go wrong? Two plus years later, we finally wrestled the beast onto a DVD with a lot of extras.
EG: That’s amazing that Ray Harryhausen was involved in the production of the film! I grew up loving his movies and being a huge fan of his work. What was it like having him as the producer of The Pit & The Pendulum and how much involvement did he have in your process?
ML: Working with Ray Harryhausen on The Pit and the Pendulum was literally a dream come true. If someone had told me with a degree of seriousness this might be coming down the road, I’d have fallen off my chair laughing. It’s like winning the lottery, for me; and considering I haven’t bought tickets, it’s that much more astounding.
Ray’s involvement was very much on the creative side; he had approval on everything, as one might imagine. If the stuff was lacking, in his eyes, we didn’t move forward until we got his blessing. Susan and I wouldn’t have it any other way, really. Ray cleared the designs, script, even the crew; we sent him bios and demo reels of the folks we were planning to work with on the project, a lot of the folks I’d been working on other series and films with in the past. It was a pretty amazing bunch of folks hooked up for this, so I was totally confident this thing would look and sound great, regardless of how badly I did my job! Ray was definitely hands on, in the sense he had final say over everything we did on the production end.
EG: The animation used in the piece is traditional stop motion animation and your style, set design and color scheme perfectly captured the impending doom that Poe so accurately describes in his story. Why did you choose to utilize this method to tell the story rather than computer animation?
ML: I’m a huge fan of stop motion animation, and the illusion of the human eye that’s inherent in the process- visual trickery is a blast to pull off when done well. I thought the medium, theme; story and style would all play nicely together on this particular project. Thankfully, there are lots of folks that agree (Ray included), and it worked out. As much as I like working on CG projects (and I’ve done a few- series, films, commercial spots, etc, as both animator and director), I see the various techniques as tools, as a method of getting the most important part told, the story. Without a strong story, and strong characters, there really isn’t much that will save the project. Of course one can polish a brick to high degree of shine, but it’ll always be a brick. So, the way we wanted to tell the story and Ray’s involvement, really dictated how we approached the film and the use of stop motion animation. Truth be told, my angle, and part of my pitch to Ray, was to add certain CG elements and cutting-edge digital visual effects techniques to the film, adding a level of mystery, or ‘how did they do that?” to the mix. There are a few elements in the film that are completely CG animated, but produced to be seamless, so to tell the story and not bring attention to technique itself. I feel various techniques and tools, used properly, will enable viewers to forget about the fact they’re watching an animated film and allow them to become invested in the characters and story. Stop motion animation and CG visual effects can work brilliantly together, giving us a huge range of possibilities. Mixing the traditional, old school with the new; that’s where some very cool stuff happens.
EG: I know that the musical score was done almost completely virtually over the internet. How much of the film collaboration was done on site at your studio in Toronto and how much was done virtually using the internet? What was that process like?
ML: Thankfully, we had the great fortune of having an excellent composer, Philip Stanger, who is the bomb. He’s extremely talented, has many years of experience and is the most amazing musician. When I had first met with Philip, I showed him the rough cut of the film, and almost instantly, he had the basic tune. This was before I had even got my coffee cup to my lips! Amazing. He was attuned to what we were looking for, and is a huge fan of Poe and Gothic music already, that it was literally instantaneous for him. Really, the process couldn’t have been easier, from that point on.
Philip, aside from being a brilliant composer, is also extremely tech savvy; so as he was in London scoring The Pit and the Pendulum music sending digital files to Toronto for work by our mixer, John, who then would resend them back to Philip for further work. With the time delay between London & Toronto, they were essentially flip-flopping day to night, so there was no real ‘down time’ in the process. Things went very smoothly with the system, so we had the music quite quickly.
I didn’t get the final files until I was in the final mix session for the film, where I heard everything layered in properly. I was totally blown away. The entire score was produced using digital technology, sampling, etc, as we had a very limited budget, so there was no ‘live performance’ recording. All digital, all the time. Philip just worked magic.
EG: One of the unique things you did for marketing and promoting the film was you were very active on social media networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. How did you utilize some of these social media networking sites for the promotion of The Pit & the Pendulum?
ML: My experience with promoting stuff I’ve worked on was primarily the festival route, or sending a lot of emails to friends and colleagues. This being fairly limited in scope and breadth, I got very interested in seeing what all that I might be able to do with social networking, Web 2.0, etc. I looked around for resources and eventually found filmmakers using the latest online gadgets, tools and techniques to promote their projects. Some of these folks were doing brilliant things, really thinking outside of the box, and I was totally intrigued. I looked at their approaches, modified and adapted them for my own ideas, and went bananas teaching myself how this worked. Dealing with the various tools, sites, gadgets, widgets, etc, I managed to see what was working or not working, and re-prioritized to using just what I thought was getting the most response. Hence, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, et al. Of course these are like saying social networking is ice cream, and the above mentioned venues are like flavors, so I choose to use what I liked, found easy to work with, etc. By focusing on the various sites I can handle technically (and with the shallowest learning curve), I spent more time learning the ins and outs, and how to maximize the potential of each. This might sound abstract, but it really comes down to my finding tools I liked to use, learning how to use them to maximum benefit, and going bananas working them to promote the film. One of the best aspects is they are all free, have huge audience potential, and allow a back & forth between the filmmaker and audience. Sharing, forums, feedback, it’s all there, so it’s quite a cool way to push your film project along to a global audience. One great resource has been Lance Weiler’s workbookproject.com. Lance is a genius with this stuff, and has a track record to prove it. Once he started up the ‘Project, he’s also been attracting other like-minded folks from all over the indie film sphere, all of whom have been using social networking to benefit the promotion of their films. If Web 2.0 is on your mind as a filmmaker: run…don’t walk over there- you’ll be happy you did.
Many people think that YouTube is the only online video sharing site on the market and that is far from the truth. One of the best video sharing sites I highly recommend and use frequently is Metacafe. Metacafe is one of the world’s largest video sites, attracting more than 25 million unique viewers each month and it specializes in short-form original content – from small independent artists to large established Hollywood production studios alike.
For this month’s interview feature I spoke with Michelle Cox who is the communications director for Metacafe. When she’s not busy watching videos, talking about videos or thinking of videos… well, she’s probably asleep (and dreaming about videos). After chatting about our favorite videos…we got the interview started:
EG: Alright Michelle, I’m starting out with a tough one…what makes Metacafe unique when compared to other video sharing sites like YouTube?
MC: YouTube created the online video industry. We at Metacafe are creating the short-form video entertainment industry. We aren’t interested in providing a platform for any and every video. We’re focused solely on made-for-the-web content that is entertaining to a large and diverse audience. We think short-form is poised to take its place as the third pillar of the video entertainment industry, alongside TV and movies. There are so many talented producers out there making some really creative, innovative, entertaining short videos – from individual independent filmmakers to boutique production houses to major media companies. Metacafe is the premier destination for distribution of this content, and our unique approach to people-powered programming ensures that the videos our audience finds most entertaining receive maximum exposure on the site.
EG: What do you mean by “people-powered programming”?
MC: We engage our 30 million monthly viewers every step of the way in creating the Metacafe entertainment experience. First, our community review panel – made up of 80,000 volunteers around the world – takes a first look at every video uploaded to the site. They help us eliminate any videos that are inappropriate, and they help identify the videos that are most likely to prove entertaining to the larger audience. Second, once a video is on the site, our VideoRankTM technology is constantly looking at how viewers react to it – telling us how entertaining it is based on factors such as how many people watch it to the end, watch it more than once, send it to a friend, mark it as a favorite, and more. The higher a video’s VideoRankTM, the more likely it is to be featured on our home page, in our recommendation engine and other key areas around the site. Third, our viewers determine which videos earn money through our Producer Rewards® program – we pay $5 for every 1,000 views of an original video accepted into the program.
EG: One of your new features that recently made its debut on Metacafe is PLYfx, do you want to say a few words about this cool new feature?
MC: It is a really cool new feature! PLYfx is a creativity toolkit that enables Metacafe viewers to personalize their entertainment experiences by adding dialog bubbles, photos, webcam video, clip art, subtitles and more to videos. Once you’ve personalized a video, you can save it with a unique URL and even send it to your friends directly from the Metacafe video player. PLYfx is currently in beta testing, but anyone can check it out by clicking the “Enable PLYfx” button embedded in this Metacafe blog post.
EG: The opportunities to monetize online video are rapidly increasing across many of the top video sharing sites, how does Metacafe allow the video producer to monetize their video?
MC: Our Producer Rewards® program was one of the first to pay independent video creators for their work, and we’ve paid well over $1 million to hundreds of creators since the program launched in October of 2006. Any creator can submit a video for consideration, and the basic requirements are simply that it be an original work that is appropriate for and proves entertaining to our large and diverse audience. We pay $5 for every 1,000 views, and the creator gets the first payment for $100 after the video crosses the 20,000 views threshold. We’ve also recently established partnerships with a number of boutique production firms creating short-form content for the web – companies such as 60 Frames, Howcast, Next New Networks, Aniboom and others. These are revenue-sharing based relationships in which we share a percentage of advertising revenue with content creators.
EG: What is the one hint or tip you could share that most people creating videos fail to realize or include in the production or launching of their video on Metacafe? What makes the difference between a good video with a handful of views and a great video with thousands of views?
MC: There’s no magic formula, but a few tips for success:
Capture the viewer’s attention immediately – In short-form entertainment, you need to get into the action right away. Lead with the punch line and keep it punchy throughout.
Do something original – Viewers are always looking for something new. Amaze us!
Keep it short – The average video on Metacafe is 90 seconds long. We don’t accept anything longer than 10 minutes, and we find that viewers start dropping off after 3 minutes or so.
Make a high-quality production – You don’t need expensive equipment, but you should spend the time to ensure your video looks and sounds good. Write a script. Use a microphone. Light your set.
Package your video well – A video’s title, tags, description and thumbnail make the difference between a video that stands out from the crowd and one that gets lost in a sea of content. Be thorough and accurate in creating the metadata for your video to ensure it reaches the right viewers and meets their expectations.
EG: What is coming down the pipe from Metacafe to stay ahead of the game or enhance the user experience?
MC: One of the big things we’re focused on right now is rolling out Wikicafe – a mass collaboration platform that empowers our community to edit video metadata. The feature is currently in beta testing with our registered users, and we’ll be officially launching the feature later this summer. I really can’t emphasize enough how critical thorough and accurate titles, tags, descriptions and other information about a video are. The challenges of video search are well documented, and we think Wikicafe will help address many of these problems. Ultimately, it’s about matching the right videos with the right viewers – and the right advertisers with those viewers. We’re serious about engaging our community every step of the way, and Wikicafe is a natural next step in our people-powered programming approach.