Video as a Key to Market Growth for Small Players

Brian Clark recently linked to a 51 page Michel Fortin PDF which was against writing long copy salesletters. It is a great read for any web marketer. A few highlights:

  • Human nature extends through all mediums.

  • The early web mimicked offline direct marketing. This is why long sales letters worked so well.
  • Due to increasing competition for attention (more websites, more web users, more email, more IMs,
    more spam, audio and video content, games and widgets, statistics programs, and software making the
    reach of one person greater) we have to package attention grabbing content in smaller easier to
    consume pieces if we want it to be consumed.

  • We look for proxies of trust and proxies of value. More people are looking for signs of trust
    away from sales letters, shifting sales from a sales letter to a sales process.

  • "Web 2.0 is about giving the user more control and selling them in the way they want to be sold."
  • "The more technology-driven we become (i.e., the more automated, static, robotic, and
    impersonal we become, as is the case with the web), the more we will crave and seek out human interaction."

  • Some people learn better with video and for many people video is far more stimulating that reading.
  • People are becoming more insatiable and want quicker answers and more free samples.
  • Many people are seeking more content upfront instead of getting it after they get on your newsletter.
  • Even after the purchase videos can be used to help orders stick.

How Salesletters Relate to Search:

You can take Michel's thesis on salesletters and extend it out to everything else on the web. Search is largely a proxy of how well people trust a website, a merchant, or person.

If a person searches for your brand name do they find any feedback about your company? Or is it just a bunch of ads for competitors and a few customer complaints? Or, worse yet, is nobody talking about your brand?

If a person searches for THEIR needs how THEY want to do you have any relevant trustworthy content to lead them into your sales process?

Cutting Edge Search Engine Marketers on Video:

Martinibuster recently posted a fabulous entry titled Creating Authority and Link
. Like Michel Fortin's report, it is worth reading from end to end, but here is a sample:

Every selling point relative to the product is appropriate subject matter for demonstration.
It can be presented as one long presentation or it can be broken down into chunks. Yes, it’s an infomercial,
but it’s a way to demonstrate your product in a manner that site visitors are coming to expect and
appreciate. Giving them a way to preview the product is an excellent way of providing value with quality
content. It’s something to link to.

Roger also recently mentioned the move from text to video.

Matt Cutts, WebProNews, and a few search marketers like Lee Odden and Rand Fishken have been using video much more than in the past. Over the past few years Google has been the leading innovation platform at scale. And they recently bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. All of these should be seen as a signal of where things are headed.

Video was shunned in the past largely due to bandwidth costs, and because it had little to no text associated
with it (and was hard to find). But that is changing because:

  • bandwidth costs are dropping - essentially free

  • transcription costs are dropping
  • within a few years audio search will significantly improve (think of how approximate general search is, yet people use it because it is good enough, audio search does not have to be perfect)
  • aggregators, taggers, and bloggers are making it easier to find interesting and unique valuable video content, and are making it easier to find in general search indexes by writing about it
  • if people are talking about me and linking to my site it raises my authority and the authority of every document on my even if one of my videos does not have a lot of text near it but still gets linked to it still adds value to my site

Killing Off Small Players

Currently there is a large blurring between ads and content. It is what Google teaches publishers to do, and targeted ads as content is one of the reasons smart affiliates have been able to make a killing over the past decade.

But due to improving duplicate content filters and an increasing amount of people producing editorial content and editorial links it is getting hard to rank a site which is targeted ads as content unless you attach some sort of editorial or other value add to your site. Plus easy to organize link lists are losing value to improving search technology, social bookmarking and news sites, vertical search engines like Google Custom Search Engine, and the editorial value added by bloggers and media discussing their topic and reviewing related websites.

Large players are wising up to search, with companies like eBay and AOL buying up vertical authorities like TradeDoubler and StubHub. Yahoo! has been pushing splog-like brand universes to leverage traffic streams associated with well known brands.

And it is getting harder to buy the search ads too. Minimum ad relevancy and quality score improvements make some terms out of reach for newer and less sophisticated players. And even traditional content sites like large newspapers are buying keywords to boost their exposure.

If you are logged into a Google Account Google just stopped giving you the ability to see
which results are personalized as they ramped up personalized search. AdWords manipulate the organic search results. And as noted in a comment by Hawaii SEO, the large brands will not only have more authority to rank for the more generic terms, but they also will be able to afford keyword ads early in the buying cycle, even if those keywords offer a negative ROI. If that early broad exposure leads to those sites being biased for long tail keywords as the buyer does deeper research that will also bias traffic streams to larger sites.

Major corporations, which typically are slow at reacting to new markets and opportunities, are already using keyword based search data to determine what products to make and how to name their products.

A while ago I wrote a post about how Google could commoditize nearly everything. I wasn't writing that to be a pessimistic wanker. My point was that as they get better at distinguishing the differences between real brands and non brands it is going to be much harder to keep making money from Google trust if you aren't also heavily trusted AWAY from Google.

Video & Interactivity Helps Keep Small Players Competitive:

Those who are getting into video now have a head start on people who still think of the web exclusively in terms of text. Think of the current video players as the equivalent of early domainers or people who were creating legitimate domains in your field a decade ago.

Published: February 12, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


February 17, 2007 - 1:08am

Some thoughts: video is slow and takes time. I wonder if text will be used for narrowing down the information search, and video will be used for verifying credibility?

Video might appeal to less well-educated people with time on their hands

February 17, 2007 - 2:36am

But for most information based websites selling advertising or an information based product most of the money is at the early end of the market anyway.

February 12, 2007 - 8:39am

I imagine audio and video will become commonplace on the web over the next decade. websites will all have audio or video versions of their pages (i.e. about us video for the about us page of every site).

Audio and Video can transfer information to us at a faster rate, so it only makes sense to utilize it.

February 12, 2007 - 12:27pm

The video above is awsome. But an other way of promoting is by making videos with your information, and upload them to 20-30 different free video sites. Not only can you promote your services for free, but you will also get many backlinks.

February 12, 2007 - 3:18pm

RIGHT on track with you. I just ordered a complete production setup with a greenscreen backdrop an HD pro-sumer camera and a professional lighting setup. I already know about video editing and I do graphic design (I'll be making my intros and exit scene with flash animation), I'm preparing to make a GIANT leap into video before the main crowd is ready.

I'm going to be incorporating video as a MAIN (not supplementary like in most blogs) information source in all my blogs in the comming month! Nice to see this post!!!

February 12, 2007 - 7:02pm

Interesting post, Aaron. I can see how the inherent difficulties of Google being able to assess video content could also be used to game the system a bit right now. This will be a race to keep up with technology, if they expect to be able to transcribe video content accurately as it improves in quality. Think of the processing power required! Considering how long it can take them to index new text-based sites, how much time will it take them to transcribe and index video-based content?

Plus, if they're depending on tagging right now to index video content, what keeps tagging from becoming the new version of often gamed, rarely trusted meta-tagging?

Is tagging just meta-tagging reinvented?

Even if they move up to audio-recognition for video indexing, what's to keep out things like brand placement and subliminal messages?

February 12, 2007 - 7:06pm

I don't think they mind brand placement so long as users are happy with the content.

What prevents tagging from being a new meta-tagging? I think the following variables

  • submitter and tagger related trust (their history)
  • community feedback and flagging

Meta tags were invisible to end users. These tags are not.

February 13, 2007 - 8:25am

Good points, but are they requiring that user trust be established prior to accepting and indexing video content?

Unless you have someone physically screening the video content prior to acceptance, it seems like there will be lots of content that could "slip by" for a while until/unless someone flags it. Few of the people that I know who regularly use Google do any content flagging when they run into inappropriate content, except perhaps by unknowingly sending data back to Google via the use of their "back" button.

I would imagine that the old "bait and switch" technique might also become a problem...some might change all or part of the video content once it has been indexed. Google will have to have to re-evaluate every so often (re-spidering video?) in order to keep indexing current, like they do now with text content. More heavy resource drain!

It will definitely be interesting to see how Google and the others adjust...

October 6, 2007 - 9:07pm

thanx for your knowledge

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