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YouTube has announced that they’re going to audit views and crack down on view spam. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been marketing online with videos for any time.

As with any type of online marketing, it is very important that advertisers be able to trust the stats. It’s also important that other YouTube users be able to trust the metrics. If no one can trust the data, then the ultimate price to be paid is lower CTRs and lower advertising rates. That will cut into legitimate video marketing revenues.

But what constitutes a “legitimate” view on YouTube?

Here’s what’s not legitimate: Buying views.

We’ve seen it with paid advertising, with social media of all kinds, and now with video marketing. Eventually, some people are going to get the idea that they can buy short-term success which will translate into long-term profits. It rarely happens, but when it does, there is almost always a backlash and what is gained is quickly lost.

If you are considering buying YouTube views, don’t. You are much better building an audience slowly that will come to appreciate your videos and like and share them, maybe even comment on them.

Don’t get sucked into bad video marketing practices. Do it the right way.

Every now and then an idea comes along that seems hokie on the surface but actually turns into a big deal. Twitter comes to mind.

Flipagram promises to be to video as Twitter is to blogging. Call it microvideo production, but it could catch on.

The name makes you think instantly of Instagram. That’s understandable. It is integrated with Instagram. But it’s also integrated with Facebook and Twitter, which means that it could see a lot of users checking it out.

It’s actually a smartphone app – with downloads for iOS and Android.

The essence is Flipagram allows users to create short videos (15 to 30 seconds) using their own photos and music dubbed over them. One question that comes to mind is this, Can users use their own music? If so, then it could catch on with independent music artists, and the marketing value for small businesses will go up immediately, as well.

That’s not to say that you can’t use Flipagram for marketing if you are forced to use music from a pre-established library, but my guess is there will be commercial restrictions on copyrighted material.

I can’t wait to see how users put Flipagram to use and begin to share their videos across their social networks.

All Facebook says it won’t have the same marketing usability as Vine, but I do wonder. What do you think? Will Flipagram become useful to social media marketers?

Is your video marketing plan written out or does it consist mainly of you throwing paint against the wall?

This is not a question in a vacuum. It’s a question that deserves an answer. With all the video marketing options available to online marketers today, there’s no reason not to write out your plan and follow your plan as you implement it.

That doesn’t mean your plan won’t ever change. Businesses go through evolutions. That’s expected.

Think of it as like a business plan for your video production team. Your goal is to drive traffic and increase conversions through video distribution. Your plan should address, at a minimum, the following methods and strategies.

  • How often you will produce videos and what quality they will be (include your budget for production)
  • Where you will distribute your video
  • Will your videos be used on your own website?
  • How will you promote your videos?
  • What purpose will your videos serve for each marketing demographic you target?
  • How do your videos fit into your sales funnel cycle?

Video marketing is not a marketing strategy so much as it is a piece of your overall marketing portfolio. It should work together with other marketing efforts to drive traffic and engagement. If it isn’t doing that, it is likely ineffective.

You’ve got a great video marketing plan and have started working it to your advantage. Good for you. Does it include YouTube? It should, and to make the most of your YouTube video marketing, be sure to include these three easy-to-implement tactics.

  1. Enable video embedding – If you want your videos to get maximum exposure, you’ve got to allow embedding. I’ve seen a lot of businesses shoot themselves in the foot by disabling video embedding. Embedding allows bloggers and other business owners to showcase your videos on their websites, which gives you great exposure and opens you up to more potential customers.
  2. Keep your videos short – Few people want to watch an hour-long video, even on a topic that interests them. Keep your videos under three minutes, if possible. Shorter videos get more views, and they’re more likely to be embedded.
  3. Share your videos – Don’t just upload your video on YouTube and forget about them. Share them. Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to give your videos maximum exposure all around. Yes, even Pinterest allows you to pin videos, so put it out there.

These three simple and easy-to-implement video marketing tactics will give you greater impact and exposure beyond the interface of YouTube.

When it comes to video marketing, there aren’t many hard and fast rules. But there is one rule that you should always keep in mind. Before I tell you what that is, here are five principles you should strive for in your video marketing efforts.

  1. Optimize your videos and video channels – Video optimization is all about ensuring that your videos are found by the very people you want to find them. Video optimization means giving your videos the right titles, tags, and descriptions.
  2. Quality doesn’t mean HD with SurroundSound – Make sure your videos have a basic level quality to them, but they don’t have to be professional Hollywood grade. They just have to hold your audience’s attention.
  3. Make your videos engaging – Engage your audience with videos that inform and entertain.
  4. Increase your content – You don’t need to start a new video channel every time you get a bright idea. You can add more video content to the channel you already have.
  5. Give your videos a branding element – Branded videos don’t necessarily mean you add your logo to the beginning and end of your videos. You can brand them with the content, but do brand them.

All of these are important principles for video marketing, but the most important thing to keep in mind is consistency. Produce consistent high quality content that engages your audience and brands your company.

If you publish your videos to YouTube, you should tie those videos to your Google Analytics account. Doing so will allow you to track important metrics for your videos and see what’s working and what’s not with regard to your video marketing efforts.

To add YouTube to your Google Analytics account, all you have to do is go to YouTube and click on My Channel in your profile settings area (HINT: Click the down arrow in the upper right corner near your avatar). Next, click on one of your videos. Under the video title you’ll see a small box labeled “Channel settings.” Click on that button. Scroll down to where you see “Google Analytics account ID.” There should be a text box next to that label. Copy and paste your Google Analytics account ID into that box and click the blue Save button.

Adding your YouTube videos to your Google Analytics account allows you to see how many visitors, unique visitors, and page views each of your videos gets on a regular basis. If you perform any marketing campaigns to drive traffic to your YouTube videos, that will be a very important metric for you.

Video marketing is getting better all the time. YouTube and Google Analytics are two reasons why.

We’ve talked about Google+ Hangouts before, and we’ve talked about YouTube marketing too. But did you know you can integrate these two features to make them both more powerful?

Google+ Hangouts is like Skype. You can host a web conference with up to 10 people (with Skype, it’s 25). However, Google+ Hangouts has some additional features that Skype can’t touch.

For instance, you can share documents with the other webinar participants in real time for free. You can share your computer screen and use Google Drive to share your documents. You can also click the “ON-AIR” button once your Google+ Hangout is underway and record your Hangout live. Let’s see you do that with Skype!

But it doesn’t stop there. You can easily share your Google+ Hangout with all your friends on YouTube. That makes your webinar available to your YouTube channel’s followers and the billions of YouTube users who search for videos on a daily basis.

Once your web conference on Google+ Hangouts is shared on YouTube, you can then share it on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media site you are a member of.

Google+ Hangouts is a free feature that is a part of Google+. It’s a powerful business tool for video marketing.

Marketing your brand through YouTube is one of the most powerful media for marketing on the Internet, but what is the true value? Is it traffic? Rankings? Brand reputation?

The truth is, most of the benefit you get from marketing your videos through YouTube is with brand management, not traffic or rankings.

The Truth About YouTube Traffic

In the FAQ section of this lengthy blog post, the author gives an example of a YouTube video marketer who showed over 400,000 views on their YouTube videos in December 2012 but received only 19 referrals to their website as a result of those videos.

If that doesn’t shock you, it should.

The amount of traffic you can expect from your YouTube videos is relatively low. Why? Because people don’t go to YouTube to find videos that promote websites. They go there to find a video to watch for entertainment or informational purposes.

YouTube And Search Rankings

If you upload videos to YouTube hoping to increase your website’s search engine rankings, you’ll be disappointed. You could see a rise in your brand’s search rankings, but it will likely be your YouTube channel – especially if you upload a lot of videos and if you share them on your social media accounts or embed them on your website.

Video embeds from YouTube help YouTube’s rankings, not the site on which videos are embedded.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you want more rankings for your brand name, YouTube could be a place for you to make that happen. Just know that you’ll be ranking your YouTube channel, not your website.

YouTube And Branding

Your best bet for using YouTube for marketing purposes is to upload videos that have a strong branding message to them. Try to make your videos informative and entertaining. If you can do both and still get your brand in front of your audience, then you’ll be golden. That’s what YouTube is all about.

YouTube has opened up One Channel to the entire world. So what is it?

In a word, One Channel is YouTube’s new design platform that allows you to make your YouTube channel more accessible to more people. The prime feature of One Channel is that it makes your YouTube channel easier to experience on any digital device. No matter what kind of screen your video viewers are using, they can experience your videos.

That includes desktop machines, laptops, tablets, smartphones, TVs, or any type of device with a digital display.

Check out this example of a YouTube One Channel design.

YouTube Is More Accessible Than Ever Before

YouTube One Channel isn’t just for independent movie makers. It’s for anyone who has a YouTube channel and makes videos for an audience. That includes online marketers.

No matter what niche you serve, if you have your own YouTube channel, then you should switch to the new YouTube One Channel design. If you aren’t producing your own videos on YouTube but you’ve considered it, then you should definitely put your eye on this new product because this is the future of video marketing.

I’m proud to see video marketing improving, especially on YouTube. This is one area where technology just keeps improving. It’s good to see it.

We haven’t heard much from Yahoo! in recent months, but new CEO Marissa Mayer, who had lived at Google for a long time before moving to take over Yahoo!, has high hopes:

Mayer said that the biggest opportunities for Yahoo lie in “search, display, mobile and video,” and, in search, especially, Mayer still sees “a lot of headroom.” On top of that, Yahoo’s focus going forward will be to improve engagement, with the key being personalization.

The interesting thing about this is, I believe Yahoo! could actually pull it off. Acquisitions in these areas in the last few months gives Yahoo! at least a fighting chance. Two of those acquisitions include OnTheAir and Stamped.

Mobile And Video: Will They Save Yahoo!?

OnTheAir is a video app that allows users to set up their own webinar. If Yahoo! can capitalize on this technology, they could give Google a run for their money in competition with Google Hangouts.

Stamped is a mobile app, and I think this is where the real opportunity lies for Yahoo! Nobody dominates mobile search, but if Yahoo! can take Stamped and turn it into a competitive product or service, along with decent revenues, then they can establish a big foot in the door. All they need is a profitable service to give them enough financial clout to carry on with other endeavors – like video.

In order to compete well with Google Hangouts, Yahoo! will need to integrate its video live streaming with a video sharing component. Most likely, that will be Flickr, who already has a huge base of users in the photo sharing space.

It will be interesting to see if Yahoo! can build a search product that competes with Google. I’m rooting for them.

Google+ Hangouts just keeps getting better. Did you know you can livestream your hangouts over YouTube, and even on your own website?

It’s true. All you need is a computer, a Google+ account, and a webcam. Then you can plan, schedule, and broadcast your very own Hangout. You can use your Hangout for anything you want. Here are a few ways you can use Google+ Hangouts:

  • Hold a series of classes or workshops
  • Host a webinar
  • Answer customer service questions in realtime
  • Take care of customer service issues with multiple people having the same problem at the same time
  • Make an important announcement about your business
  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Conduct private business meetings
  • Present awards, promotions or other honors across great distances

I’m sure you can think of other uses for Google+ Hangouts. The cool thing about Hangouts is that they are free. Instead of paying for meeting or webinar meetings, you can have them on Google+ for free. And you can livestream them over YouTube or your own website – again, for free.

Innovative online marketers are always trying something new and always testing the latest technology available to them. Google+ Hangouts is still new enough that you can be on the ground floor.

Video marketing is becoming more and more powerful, and competitive. It’s also one of the best ways to SEO your website. And I mean beyond building inbound links.

Here are 5 SE0 tactics to ensure you employ when conducting your ongoing video marketing:

  1. Submit to more than just YouTube – There are at least 50 video sharing websites online. You should upload every video to YouTube and at least 10 of the more popular video sites in addition to YouTube.
  2. Optimize your video titles – Make sure the title on each video you upload to the various sites mentioned above is unique. If you share one video to ten sites, then you should have ten unique titles. Each of them should use your primary keyword. Also, optimize your description and tags for each video on each site.
  3. Embed your video on your website and/or blog – Google is now indexing embedded videos on websites and sending traffic directly to those sites.
  4. Add a niche-related video section on your website – This will encourage other people in your niche to share their videos on your website. More content equals more SEO.
  5. Create a video sitemap – Sitemaps help search engines find pages to index. If you have a lot of videos on your website, then you should create a video sitemap.

Video optimization is one of the most important activities you can perform if you use videos in your marketing – and you should!

If you’re looking for a new opportunity in video marketing, YouTube has it. But this opportunity requires that you put an educational twist on your videos, not a self-promotional angle.

I hope you don’t see that as a bad thing.

The Internet has always been a place where people have gone to search for information. Therefore, informational-driven content typically does well. In times past, that has existed primarily in text-based content such as articles and blogs. But today, it is just as likely to be in the format of videos, infographics, or multimedia presentations.

Khan Academy is a YouTube channel that is education-focused. If you have a topic that is easily digested and perfect as an educational venue, and you believe you are the right person to deliver educational content on that topic, then here’s your opportunity.

Educational videos are very popular right now – on YouTube and elsewhere. So this opportunity comes at just the right time.

The YouTube opportunity – termed EDU Gurus – will only be open to 10 people, each of whom will receive $1,000 to allow them to purchase educational equipment. But you have to apply for the program. If you’re accepted, then you could be the next YouTube sensation. Here’s your opportunity, all of you who are interested in being video superstars.

It’s getting harder and harder to convert video viewers to customers. It could be because videos are a lot more popular online right now than they’ve ever been, but it’s also because there are so many ways to view videos. People aren’t necessarily watching them on your website. And not necessarily on YouTube either.

People watch videos on social networks and on their mobile phones and tablets too. They may be at home, at work, or standing in line at the movie theater. You have to grab their attention fast and close them.

Here are 4 ways to ensure you get closer to converting video viewers to customers the first time they watch your video:

  1. Keep it short – Few people have time to watch a ten minute video, especially if they feel like they will be sold to. Make it short and hold their interest.
  2. Entertain them – Be entertaining even as you inform. People will sit through two minutes of entertainment more than a 30-second infomercial that is nothing more than a conduit for information.
  3. Add calls to action – If you want people to respond, give them a call to action. Tell them what to do because it may not be obvious.
  4. Close them on the spot – Put your call to action in the video itself rather than having your viewer go to your website and fill out a form. If you can get the click right in the video, then you put your customer one step closer to the conversion. That means you are more likely to get the sale.

Video marketing is becoming more sophisticated every day. Leave nothing to chance.

I like this post at Constant Contact that shares ways you can make a video without it costing you money. One common misconception about video marketing is that it must cost a fortune. It doesn’t have to.

What typically costs the most in video marketinga is the production. It’s especially expensive if you use paid actors in your videos. But you don’t have to do that. You can often make great videos using your staff.

Constant Contact shared 6 ways to make no-cost or low-cost videos. I’m going to talk about 3 ways that are no-cost and super-powerful:

  1. Showcase your work – If you run a business where the product is some sort of creativity, or even if there is a final visible outcome such as fixing a car, then you can videotape that process. All you need is someone to control the video while you do your work.
  2. Interview an expert – One way to get the word out about yourself is to conduct an interview on video. Either have someone ask you questions as if you are the expert (because you are), or you can interview an expert on camera. Since you are the producer of the video, you get the credit and it’s powerful marketing.
  3. Make an announcement – Another way to make a great low-cost video is to announce a fundraiser or an event. If you pick a great charity to support and you hold a fundraiser for that event, you can announce it through video and drive traffic to your event. Plus, it’s great marketing.

In each of these cases, your staff can be the on-camera talent. That will save you a bundle in video production.

If you are doing any amount of video marketing, then you’ve got to pay attention to YouTube. It is THE place to upload and share your videos online. But you have to optimize your videos for search and that takes a little thinking ahead.

Here are 5 elements of YouTube video optimization that every video marketer should implement:

  • Title – YouTube videos, like web pages, have titles. And they are just as important. It’s not clear just how much titles affect the rank of videos, but the title is sure to affect video rankings. Make sure your video titles tell viewers what your video is about and use your primary keyword (the one you want the video to rank for).
  • Description – Just like meta descriptions, video descriptions are important on YouTube. Take the time to write a description using one or two keywords. Tell viewers what your video is about. How is it different than other videos on YouTube?
  • Tags – YouTube allows you to write tags for each of your videos. This is where you will use keywords that are relevant to your video. List as many as you can think of, but make sure they are relevant. Don’t engage in keyword spam.
  • Transcription – This is one that many YouTube video marketers don’t think about. YouTube actually uses your transcription to rank videos. What you want to do is type out a word-for-word video transcription of your video and upload it to YouTube.
  • Authority – You should create a channel, and post videos often. As you post videos and they are liked by other YouTube users you will develop a channel authority. That’s very important. Manage your channel authority and you’ll do well.

It’s no secret that video marketing is picking up speed. More and more companies are figuring out that online videos drive traffic and increase engagement. Surprisingly, the Fortune 100 companies have figured it out too.

Remember, just a couple of years ago marketers were asking, “Where are the global corporations? Why aren’t they making inroads into Internet marketing?” It turns out, now they are, and they’re doing it with video.

In 2010, only 50% of the Fortune 100 companies had YouTube channels. Last year, that number was 57%. This year, it’s 79%. What changed?

I think they’ve figured out that people will actually watch their videos. They’ve been told that no one wants to watch a boring commercial if they don’t have to. After all, when the commercials come on TV, we go to the fridge. Evidently, that isn’t necessarily true. Some people DO like the commercials.

In fact, 2 million viewers subscribe to the Fortune 100 channels, and these companies are keeping their viewers engaged.

That’s good news for the small business. If the global companies can do it, then you can too. The key to effective video marketing is to entertain first. Keep your audience engaged by giving them some reason to return to your channel over and over gain. Feature real people doing spectacular feats, or entertain them with your skills. Tell them a story. Do something that will get their attention. Don’t be a salesman.

This is just what you’ve been looking for. Well, that is, if you are a small business video maker.

We all know how expensive video production can be. Especially if you have to find and pay for talent to be in your videos. And if you want professional grade videos – not those home made throw togethers that are popular in certain circles – then you should expect a somewhat big production budget.

But I think YouTube is about to change all of that, and for the better.

AdAge is reporting that YouTube will soon launch a marketplace where video producers can hook up with talent for their videos. This is a great idea and I’m surprised it’s taken so long to get there. But I like what Baljeet Singh, group project manager at YouTube, had to say about the talent on the world’s largest video sharing site.

“The creativity coming out of YouTube rivals that coming out of creative agencies any day of the week,” he added. “And we already know that their content performs really well on YouTube.”

In other words, if you are a small business making a video to promote your brand, why pay thousands of dollars to an ad agency to get you a celebrity spokesperson when you can be just as effective with a fraction of that cost by hiring direct from the marketplace a YouTube celebrity? There are thousands of people on YouTube now making six figures by producing their own video channels. One of them could be your short video on-screen talent saving you a bundle while you get a professional quality video that promotes your brand.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Video marketing has been hot for at least three years now. YouTube is still less than a decade old, but the opportunities for small and medium businesses to take advantage of the video marketing benefits are growing more and more every day.

In fact, a recent article at Marketing Pilgrim illustrates this truth very well. Here’s a little snippet from the article.

Whether your business is large or small people want to know what you do in the quickest and easiest format for them. So what if you feel that video is too expensive? So is losing business to lesser competitors because you are counting the wrong things as important in your business.

I couldn’t agree more.

YouTube’s video channels are becoming more and more popular all the time. I’m not saying you necessarily need a video channel, but if it is feasible for your industry, why not start a channel that depicts an entertaining and informative news format for your niche?

Online marketing in general is becoming more and more competitive. Video marketing is just one piece of the pie. But it’s a piece that does not deserve to be ignored. It’s becoming more important every day.

Have you thought about how you can incorporate video marketing into your marketing plan? What have you come up with?

A few days ago we discussed tablets and how they’ve grown into one huge market on their own. Well, a new study confirms that finding and enhances it.

Tablet users now make up 31% of the market. That’s huge penetration and phenomenal growth since last year. What’s more, they are huge content consumers.

In fact, tablet users will pay for content and they will respond favorably to ads within that content. That might be a first.

How The Tablet Could Revolutionize Video Content

As previously mentioned, tablet owners can do all sorts of things on their devices including:

  • Read blogs, magazines, and newspapers,
  • Browse the web
  • Read e-books
  • Watch videos
  • Listen to the radio
  • Download apps
  • Play games

But what are they doing the most? Accessing content and watching videos.

94% of tablet users access content through their tablet weekly while 54% watch videos. When it comes to watching videos, the most popular types of videos accessed are short-form news and entertainment (92%). After that, it’s user generated content such as what you’d find on YouTube (64%).

So does this spell opportunity for video content producers? You bet it does. In fact, it spells sterling opportunity.

With tablet usage expected to grow beyond the current numbers, you could consider this moment in history an awesome opportunity for content creators of all kinds. If you are a content producer and you want to know where to capitalize next, consider the tablet. It’s got open arms.