Month: October 2014

Ideas For Your Next Video

Video Marketing

Video isn’t just for entertainment anymore.  In fact, online video is increasing in importance and effectiveness when it comes to online purchase decisions.

Did you know that 73% of  adult consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching an online video that explains the product or service beforehand?  Web users today are hungry for information but they don’t necessarily have the time to read through pages of text to find what they need.  It is important to keep navigation easy and intuitive and your content engaging.

Lately, I have been loving videos that are able to tell a story.  I love hearing the company founder, president or executive talk about the company’s history, vision and mission.  For me, understanding their story makes their business or what they do just that much more compelling.  It reminds me of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk ‘Start with the Why’ that I wrote about last year.

Here are a few more creative ideas for your next video:

Instructional or How To Videos

67% of consumers watch instructional videos.  The best instructional videos are the one where the message is clear and delivered in a creative, engaging or humorous way.  Instructional videos allow you to showcase your product or service and appeal to DIYers who can’t wait to try it themselves.

FAQ’s Videos

Keep track of the questions that your customers ask frequently and create a video that answers each question on video – a great way to add value for your customers!

Testimonial Videos

If your customers are willing, create a video of your customers talking about their experience with your company. Let your customers do all the talking!

Keep your budgets low but don’t sacrifice on quality.  But most important of all, don’t aim to go ‘viral’.  Think about your target audience and how you can reach them and help them. You are not aiming for worldwide domination (unless that is your goal, of course…)

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Ideal Length of Your Social Updates

Working within so many different networks, platforms etc, sometimes it is hard to figure out just how long my online content should be. (Especially since in this field, things can change so quickly and without notice!)

Recently, I found this beautifully designed infographic from Buffer and the designers over at SumAll that show the optimal lengths for tweets, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, domains, hashtags etc.  I couldn’t help but save it – then I realized, it would be more useful for me to post it so that I can easily come back to it in the future.

Thanks Buffer and SumAll for such a fun and useful infographic!

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Current Trends of Airport Advertising

My latest trip to the Chicago O’Hare airport made me feel like I was an extra in Tom Cruise’s science fiction thriller, Minority Report.  In the movie if you recall, when Tom Cruise’s character stepped into the Gap, the in-store signage automatically scanned his eyes for identification and delivered on-the-spot targeted messages based on his previous purchases.  Walking by billboards, he was bombarded by personalized messages that seemed to follow him wherever he went.

My own “Minority Report” moment wasn’t quite so extreme.  I didn’t have ads speaking to me but as I was walking to my terminal at Chicago O’Hare earlier this month, the digital display ads did seem to be following me around.  Or rather, they seemed to have popped up all over the place!

Chicago O'Hare Advertising

Chicago O'Hare AdvertisingAnother one in the actual terminal:

Chicago O'Hare Advertising

I don’t know how I could’ve missed them before!  Digging a little deeper, I learned that Clear Channel Airports was awarded a 5 year contract late last year to provide indoor digital media program at O’Hare with nearly 400 devices, located throughout the airport.  According to Clear Channel Airports, the digital media program will reach over 66 million travellers in Chicago annually and could attract as much as $25 million advertising dollars to the city.

The program includes:

  • The first ever 360 degree digital globe located in Terminal 3
  • 2 digital soffits comprising of a total of 60 LCD screens equalling 412 square feet of digital display surface
  • Full network of digital directories providing information on restaurants, entertainment, hotel information etc.
  • Digital tablets available for use within sponsored work stations

For national brands, airport advertising (especially in an airport as big and busy as O’Hare) could be a worthwhile investment if reach and volume is a top goal.  Clear Channel Airports also says that 73% of frequent flyers take the time to read airport advertising messages.  I can see frequent business flyers or travellers stuck in the airport for extended period of time seeing the ads often enough to have the messages stick. But mostly, the ads are a backdrop to the bustle of activity from travellers.  That is why I also appreciate the different tactics big brands are employing to catch your attention – sponsoring charging stations for your mobile devices, work stations with tablets that are pre-programmed with messages, bathroom mirror advertising – all ways to make you notice and located where they know you will be!

Here is a digital sign I saw in the Jacksonville airport:

Jacksonville Airport Advertising

Jacksonville Airport Advertising

Seems like most major airports have gone digital in one way or another with their advertising!  When you have these fresh tactics though, eventually they become old so I am really looking forward to seeing what else advertisers come up with!  Perhaps the personalized billboards in Minority Report are closer to reality than we think!

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GIF It: Bringing Back Animated GIFs

GIF’s have become cool again!

The emphasis though, is on the ‘again’ part.  As I have learned, GIF’s have actually been around since 1987.  But unlike back in those days, the GIF’s that I see today are much more than spinning globes and waving flags.  GIF’s or Graphics Interchange Format is a compressed bitmap image format that supports up to 8 bits per pixel referencing a palette of 256 colours.  The format also supports animation to create low resolution clips.

The New Yorker recently experimented with a GIF animated cover for its website and mobile apps.

New Yorker GIF Cover

Created by artist Christoph Niemann, the cover featured a rainy New York City as seen from the inside of the cab.  The image was simple with the raindrop falling as the animation.  Somehow, the raindrop turned an otherwise dull image to striking.  What a different a simple movement can make to a picture!  Imagine the impact you can have by adding a little movement to the still imagery on your site – you are able to tell a better story and build a stronger emotional connection to your audience. If a regular picture is worth a thousand words, wouldn’t you say an animated GIF is worth even more?

Aside from cover art, I think GIFs have so much potential and can have this same effect on your web content!  Here are a few more ways to incorporate animated GIF’s onto your websites:

Banners – I know an animated banner is nothing new since we’ve all seen our fair share of the animated banner ads but I don’t mind a well designed banner on a website which can help bring attention to important messages like upcoming promotions or events.

Product Images – You can either replace the image gallery all together or show a 360° view of your product.  You can also use the animation to show how a product works in a fun and interactive way.

Events – In the same way that an Instagram video or Vine video would work (without sound), you can show a series of pictures from an event or to highlight certain moments with a replay GIF. But unlike a video, they are shorter and require less commitment for interaction.

Demonstrate UX – Animated GIF’s can be used to demonstrate interaction on an application or site.

Call to Action – They can also be effective Call to Action’s since they are able to draw the viewer’s attention without being obtrusive.

Add a Bit of Humour to Your Content  – GIFs and Memes go together like no other.  Take advantage of this by creating memes that are funny and engaging to your audience.

Use them on homepages, product pages, blogs, landing pages, social media properties or even your email.


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A Funny President and Galifianakis = The Perfect Healthcare Plug

Remember this Funny or Die video featuring President Barack Obama on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis?  I would like to confess that I’ve seen it about 12 times myself since both the president and Galifianakis were absolutely brilliant with their back and forth banter and on the spot humour.  I didn’t even mind that Obama was there to talk about which he was pushing at the time.  (This was the part when Galifianakis sarcastically mutters, “Here we go. Let’s get this over with. What did you come here to plug?”)

I recently read that during the height of the video’s popularity, it was responsible for 40% of the traffic on the site.  A whopping 40%.  What a brilliant use of viral marketing to get the word out on something that would otherwise have been just another government initiative!  The video was authentic and funny – so much so that you probably kept on watching even through the plug.  Another great thing about the video was that they were so up front about what they were there to talk about.  There was no subtly working the topic into the conversation, you knew it was coming – they made sure you knew but you probably kept on watching anyway!

Not only were they able to educate the viewers (while entertaining them too), the video was also able to prompt action.  People were intrigued enough to click on the link or visit themselves. With so much information thrown our way everyday, Obama found a way to get the information across to millennials and even enticed them into action.  We all knew the video was funny but now we also know that it worked!

Whoever thought of putting the president on a Funny or Die video was brilliant!  Showing off Obama’s funny side, paired with Galifianakis in the perfect setting, targeting the “invincible” demographic, choosing Funny or Die as partner and using the perfect platform for sharing – it was the perfect formula for a successful viral campaign.  I am really, truly impressed!

Don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind another sequel (Obama and Galifianakis yes; Hangover 4? No thanks).

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