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Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

Video Optimisation: AutoPlay

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Video is great for capturing an audience and telling a story in a way which is entertainment and engaging; sure, you could do it with text, but putting it in video form makes it so much more shareable. If you’ve grappled with webvideo marketing before you’ll know that placement and optimisation of said video can be a nightmare.

You want your videos to be noticable and you want to encouage your website visitors to watch until the last second, but all of this has to happen without annoying the visitor. Sean Knapp, CTO of Ooyala, a video publishing platform offering advanced analytics and monetization, has a thing or two to say about the use of autoplay for web content.

His first tip is to determine what it is that you’re trying to optimise for. Are you looking for a specfic action, or are you simply looking for user interaction and engagement? This will determine if Autoplay is appropiate at all.

Secondly, as a general rule, Knapp advocates that you should avoid using autoplay on your homepage. No one screams “get me off this site now” faster than me, when I navigate to a page which instantly begins playing something I didn’t ask to see. If you have advertising on your website, your advertisers won’t be impressed if their hard earned money gets them space on an often abandoned page.

Instead, consider putting your video on a page which the user specifically navigates to; at this point, autoplay is entirely appropriate, as the interaction with your website has already begun.

What about when the video is over, and your user is staring at a blank screen? You have their attention, but as Knapp states, they’re already in a “lean back” position, don’t make them have to “lean forward”. Try setting up a playlist which will allow your viewer to select another relevant video from your selection of content.

Ooyala offers a recommendation engine which intelligently provides a few options for the view, either based on similar views, or based on their individual browsing habits. Content discovery like this is big news, as the Internet expands and more and more content consumers are looking to technology for smart recommendations.

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No Comment? The Advantages and Disadvantages of Allowing Comments

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

While the Huffington Post may not be everyone’s idea of Pulitzer award-winning journalism, the news site has made huge advancements in the world of journalism and taken steps to disrupt our expectations of news sources. After the announcement yesterday, Forbes was quick off the mark to start discussing the secret to their success; their conclusion? Comments.

Forbes cites the Huffington Post’s ‘mullet’ strategy as the source of their quick rise to Internet popularity; business in the front and a party in the back. In other words, they provide the business end of journalism in the front office, but bubbling behind the scenes is an engaging user experience in which readers are able to comment freely on the reporting. One front page news story “Conservatives Side With Obama on Health Care” has already received over 12,000 comments, 1,800 Facebook shares, and nearly 200 tweets.

So how can you utilise comments and shares for your own website, blog or social networks?

  • When establishing a blog, website or social account, you’ll have to decide several factors. To avoid any confusion or misunderstandings, it helps to clearly state your expectations of user usage in a ‘terms of use’ guide. Be very clear about what is and what isn’t acceptable.
  • Decide if you want comments from your users, if your content doesn’t really call for comments you may save yourself a lot of time in moderating if you disable the comments function.
  • If you welcome comments, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to moderate before or after they’re posted, if at all. Not moderating your comments can open you up to spam which can make your website look neglected. Also, any offensive comments may reflect badly on your site, even when you’re not the one doing the posting.
  • Forbes suggests that one method for instilling responsibility in your active users is to make the first person to comment responsible for the whole discussion. This will stop your first comment being ‘first comment, yeah!’, it instills a certain level of trust, and involves your users in the interaction process.
  • There are plug ins available which will allow users to post comments under their Facebook user name. Not only does this encourage social media integration, but it also prevents people from hiding behind anonymous user names.

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Viral Writing

Monday, April 16th, 2012

We’re all familiar with viral videos, viral images, viral memes; but what about viral writing? It’s the art of producing a blog post, an article, or marketing material that your audience think is too good to not share. This is obviously more difficult to achieve, as many of us only have enough of an attention span to look at an image, or watch the first 30-seconds of a video, before we move on to the next thing our friend insists we just have to see.

Recently the Daily Mail published an article that went Viral, in a bad way. Although, if you’re from the camp that says there’s no such thing as bad publicity, then it was actually good news for the paper. They did succeed in attracting a larger and wider audience than would usually visit their site. The article was titled “’There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful”. Written by an outspoken and confident Samantha Brick, the article went viral on Twitter within hours. The Twitter-storm lasted for days, and Ms Brick was subjected to a barrage of hate.

So why did this article go viral? It is highly controversial, but not in a debate provoking way; people were simply lining up to tell Ms Brick that she was wrong. She was quite clearly thrown under the bus by the Daily Mail in an effort to increase site traffic.

Is your Company ready for Viral Writing?

Every company is capable of producing marketing literature that will make their audience want to share with their friends. Black Milk clothing has come up with a fairly unique way of telling their customers that their order may take longer than usual; so witty was their e-mail that a friend of mine insisted on sharing it on Facebook:

“Thank you so much for shopping at Black Milk Clothing!

The fact that you have done this says a lot about you. First, it says that you are awesome.

You’re practically a unicorn at this point. You sweat holy water and stink of rainbows. Any more awesome and you will be shooting lasers from your eyes. That’s the good news.

The less than good news is that there are a large number of others who share your awesomeness. These peeps have been shopping like hot little bosses and despite our near super human powers at BMHQ, we can only put clothes in envelopes so fast. After a collection launch there is an obscene amount of clothing that needs to go out.

So, there might be a slightly longer than usual wait on your order. Sorry, but we promise that we’ll do our best to get it out to you as soon as possible. And we’ll send you an email when your order is on it’s way.

Cool? :)”

It’s a small touch that eases the pain of having to tell your customers you’re taking longer than expected to complete their order. And if they find it quirky enough to share, then that’s a nice bit of free marketing for you.

The question is; are you ready for the controversial type of viral writing – the kind that could potentially get people grumbling about you or your business. If you are, then you have to be sure you have a contingency plan in place to cover every possible outcome. For the Daily Mail, they simply allowed Samantha Brick to feel the full brunt of the public outcry; she took the fall for their editorial choice.

It’s a controversial method with uncertain results; and remember – if your blog post doesn’t go viral, then you’ll just have an iffy post sitting on your site scaring your regular visitors.

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TED 2012 Marketing Challenge- Ads Worth Spreading

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Have you ever passed on a link to a friend or colleague and accompanied it with an unimaginative ‘lol’, or a ‘hahaha’, and later thought “that wasn’t really worth the effort”? We’ve become so used to sharing mindless and meaningless rubbish online, via social media and e-mail, that it can be easy to forget that the Internet is housing some really interesting content too.

On Tuesday TED announced the winners of their marketing challenge “Ads Worth Spreading”. The non-profit organisation, which is focused on sharing ideas about technology, entertainment and design, has plowed through entries from over 300 agencies and brought together some of the most imaginative and thought-provoking marketing ads.

On their website, TED announced: “The dream behind this initiative is to find ads that communicate ideas with consumers in the same way that TED wants to communicate with its audience. An idea can reset someone’s worldview and even begin a domino effect as they pass it on to friends.”

1. Day 1: Linda (Prudential) Following the first day of retirement for Linda.

2. Your Man Reminder (Rethink Breast Cancer) Hilarious ad for an app which reminds women to check for breast cancer. At least, I think that’s what it’s about… I should watch that again. 

3. The Kinect Effect (Microsoft) The many amazing uses for the Kinect.

4. Back to the Start (Chipolte) Adorable animation about a pig farmer.

5. Defy Convention (Mazda) Masahiro Moro, an executive from Mazda, gives a heartfelt speech about a secret that the city of Hiroshima and his company share.

6. Aimee Mullins (L’Oreal Paris) Because she’s worth it.

7. The Bear (Canal+) A witty and uncoventional ad with a great tagline.

8. The Return of Ben Ali (Engagement Citoyen) Getting people fired up, with a great political message behind it: vote for democracy.

9. Start with Sharpie (Sharpie) The story of a young illustrator who uses sharpie and paper cups to create art.

10. Xylophone (NTT Docomo) A 144 ft xylophone made from sustainably harvested wood. Amazing.

Hope you enjoyed your Sunday viewing! Which was your favourite video?

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