Video Killed the Video Star

Tenacity5 will release the second edition of its email newsletter, the Monthly Marketing Mashup this week. Here is the November edition, “Video Killed the Video Star.”

Everyone is talking about how important video is to online content and marketing. They’re also saying TV advertising is dying. But why do they say that? What does that mean?

This month we dig deep into the video market to give you a complete briefing on the Internet video trend.

TV Is Not Dying

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Many say TV ratings — and consequently advertising — are dying. Don’t believe it for a minute. The Internet is not killing video or TV. Video simply is moving from one distribution mechanism to another, from broadcast and cable to Internet downloads. And ad spends are following the eyeballs.

People love video content. Period! Younger people are just finding new ways to watch it. For example, The Walking Dead is the regular weekly best seller on iTunes. Call it cord cutting or just online video, Internet distributed programs are the immediate future. The distribution of video has caused both CBS and HBO to develop their own programs.

How Big Is Digital Video?

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By the end of 2014, 190 million people in the United States will have watched digital video across their various media devices. More than 100 million of those people watched a movie, which is certainly longer than the standard 30-second to two-minute YouTube schtick. We know Netflix made digital streaming a household experience. The brand remains at the top of its category.

Is Online Ad Growth Really Video Ad Growth?

Forrester declared that online ad spending would surpass TV in the next two years. One has to ask: Is that really true?

We think Forrester is thinking in pipes. In one pipe you have cable and broadcast television advertisements, and jn the other — the Internet — you have online ads. So Internet video ads are simply replacing the old traditional broadcast and cable video ads. For example, the Monty the Penguin ad for John Lewis took Facebook by storm in October.

Even AOL Wins with Original Online Video Content

We admit it; we were skeptical when AOL continued its original video content development en masse with 16 new programs this spring. Fast-forward to the autumn, and you can see that advertising on Internet TV programs now accounts for 38% of AOL’s non-search revenue. Even James Franco has joined the AOL line-up with his Verizon-sponsored series “Making a Scene with James Franco.”

Corporate Video More than a House of Cards?

Most technology-driven media giants are following Internet players AOL and Netflix with their own original Internet TV programs. Players include Microsoft, Yahoo! and Amazon.

They’re being joined by some Silicon Valley start-ups, like SlugBooks, a textbook purchasing site. SlugBooks uses its “Dorms” series to drive in-bound web traffic from college students. NASA offers its own TV programming for aerospace nerds.

Most Companies Only Use Video for Their Sites and Social Media

While video programs may be the hot online trend, a survey produced by video production company Flimp shows that most corporate video is created for corporate websites (80.8%) and social networks (69.2%). Some companies are using video for programs, customer service help, sales, training, etc. However, no other use topped 40% amongst corporate buyers.

Dollar Shave Club launched itself with an incredible two-minute YouTube video. The company’s YouTube ads are now making their way onto the traditional screen.

Producing Video Requires Budget

Video production is still one of the most expensive forms of content out there. A two-to-three minute video will cost you anywhere between $2500-$10,000. Original content programs are significant investments that can easily run over $100,000. Why so much? There are many reasons, but we like this list of 25 factors that weigh in on the cost of a video production.

Oh if you want a good laugh check out Dissolve’s Generic Brand Video. It may be the best marketing making fun of marketing video ever.

CMOs Plan to Deliver

CMOs and marketing executives know that video is a priority. Video production is tied as the top line item targeted for spend increases in 2015 at 71%, according to the CMO Council’s annual survey. Better get ready for moving pictures in 2015.

Adobe built an explainer ad to define CMO.com to CMOs. Now we need videos to explain websites.

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The More We Stay, the Less We Say

Forrester recently updated its Technographics profiles (made famous in the book Groundswell) for global social media consumption, surveying 95,000 consumers across 18 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. One primary finding was the lack of commenting occurring in mature western markets, including the United States.


Adoption is pretty much complete in the U.S. (86%) and globally. Almost everyone who is online also is using or has used social media. Comscore recently corroborated this data, saying 83% of the world’s online population participates in social media.

But, most of us in the United States are not social and care not to converse. The Forrester report finds that 2/3 of the US adult social media population doesn’t comment. This is notable.

Commenting seems to have decreased over the past six years. Perhaps it’s because of the widespread proliferation of mobile media with smaller screens and touch input. It’s certainly harder to type in a blog comment or critique a product on a smartphone.

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Why Content Marketing Fails

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Content marketing seems to be the meme du jour. What’s most striking about this conversation remains the blind eye most bloggers have to the majority of corporate blogs, micro messages, and content initiatives that fail. According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 40% of content marketers feel their efforts are successful, and consumers have been less bullish, with only 14% trusting corporate blogs in recent years.

Yes, there’s an issue of strategy and best practices. The resources and “how to produce” online content argument that most online communicators discuss are accurate. Yet, after a while it gets beyond technique and capacity. The reason most organizational content fails lies in the fact that they are marketing initiatives.

It’s marketing! People don’t want marketing schtick! Consider that amongst today’s youth aged 12-17, only 6% are interested in interacting with brands on Facebook (source: Forrester). Further, marketers’ rush to add hoards of followers to establish credibility has flown in the face of what peer-to-peer trust is all about, and thus many of these “big accounts” lack the influence they desire (source: eMarketer).

People don’t really want marketing in any form of social media, much less content! They don’t want it in their social games. They don’t want it on Facebook. They don’t want it in the content that they read.

This is a timeless issue that dates back to newsletters and press releases, the predecessors of online content. Marketers that produce marketing schtick bore people to death. This decades old misstep finds its basis in two key failures: 1) Not understanding stakeholders and 2) Sacrificing information quality to push marketing goals. Organizational selfishness — short-sighted, unintentional or purposeful — kills content. As a result performance suffers.

No one wants their content to fail. In many ways, reversing this very common problem requires a change in ethos. Marketers need to create compelling content — specifically, interesting and factual stories. They need to adapt best practices from the journalism field, and bridge the gap between corporate interest and market needs for valuable information.

In that sense, Clay Shirky was right: Everyone Is a Media Producer. Creating compelling content begins with understanding the fundamental shift and interconnection between the Fourth and Fifth Estates. The influx of millions of new content creators, most of them lying in the niche communities of the long tail has increased demand for online eyeballs. This in turn creates an increasing sense of information overload anxiety for readers who have to choose from a wide variety of traditional media, new media from professional content creators, corporate and nonprofit produced content, and yes, amateur media.

This produces incredibly competitive content markets! Right now only 20% of marketers believe that corporate sources are perceived to be more valuable than traditional media (source: Content Marketing Institute). How will companies and nonprofits differentiate in such a field?

Success requires evolution and becoming better storytellers. This does not mean just pulling heart strings. Tell the truth! Deliver facts, show deeper insights into the value your organization creates. Learn media best practices and how to deliver a story in a compelling fashion. Create content that works in or includes a variety of media. Or if stakeholders have demonstrated interest in your initial efforts, diversify with mobile and traditional media products.

Point being, it’s time to stop treating content like marketing, and start developing media as a product for stakeholders. Shockingly, they may actually be interested in it. That’s what journalists and media producers do (even the embedded corporate and nonprofit ones)… Produce worthwhile content.

Eight Useful Market Research Studies

Here are eight market research studies released in the last six months on social media, cause marketing and causes that I have found useful. Studies include pieces from eMarketer, Pew, ComScore, Forrester, and Target Analytics. I hope you find them as useful as I have.

The End of the Social Media Adoption Road

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Two recent studies made me think we’re rapidly approaching the end of the technology adoption curve for social media. Yesterday’s Forrester 2010 Technographics research showed a retraction in the percentage of content creators, critics (people who comment), and collectors (link sharers) in the United States. While there is an increase in joiners, this can be accounted for by the older late adopters who are now coming on to Facebook.

Pew Internet’s social media adoption study last August showed the greatest growth in social media:

  • Half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64
  • One in four (26%) users age 65 and older now use social networking sites

Meanwhile adoption in the 18-49 segments has slowed down significantly.

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The Forrester analysis demonstrates that people are settling into natural roles. The decrease in content creation clearly shows a strategic opportunity for organizations that can provide valuable content for their communities. As another Pew study shows, blogging has slowed down with social network adoption even though content creators often serve as voices of authority within these same communities.

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From an adoption perspective, we’re likely moving into the laggard stage currently. By year end 2011, social media will not be special, new or unique anymore. In my opinion, online will be just another information source.

Companies, nonprofits and the vendors that serve them will settle into a maturation phase where best practices become the point of competition. While there will always be new social technologies to adapt — such as augmented reality and location based technologies — the principles of two way communications will remain the same. It will come down to who can work with communities in the best fashion.

The above is draft material for my next book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate (the follow up to Now Is Gone, which is almost out of print). Comments may be used in the final edition. You can download the first drafted chapter of the new edition — Welcome to the Fifth Estate — for free.

The El Show Episode 26: Will Big Agencies Go the Way of the Do-Do Bird?

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Episode 26 of the El Show revolved around Forrester’s call-out of big agencies. From the post:

“Agencies continually reinvent themselves to serve their clients — they have to quickly adapt to changes in marketing strategy, media, technology, and society. And with the rise of social media and digital proliferation, we are entering an Adaptive Marketing era. In this era, mass media is no longer the foundation of marketing communication, forcing yet another change in the expectations of what marketing agencies can and should deliver. Marketers should assess their partners using the three I’s — ideas, interaction, and intelligence — to select the right partners. Marketers who change their thinking will lay the groundwork for partners that are more agile, can build long-term relationships with active customers and communities, and can use data to drive real-time decisions.”

We proceeded to analyze and discuss. Here’s a breakdown of Episode 26:

  • Market dynamics – Why has this occurred?
  • Agencies need to focus on core competencies – That’s their brand value.
  • How does this impact the client? Is more management required?
  • Budding marketing pros – Do you go the big agency route?
  • Boutiques – What are the downsides of small firms?
  • John C. Havens from Porter Novelli called in and talked about big agencies
  • Will big agencies go the way of the newspapers? Is more consolidation coming?

Download or listen to the El Show Episode 26 today! Also available on iTunes!