Last session of the day, last session of Pubcon Las Vegas 2016. The crowd is clapping for everyone involved. It’s been a great conference this year (and we also heard some major Google news this morning, which was pretty cool).
We’re here to hear from Jim Louderback, currently working with Wochit (he also does a bunch of other awesome things). Jim has never been to Pubcon before! He can’t believe it (we can’t either). He’s excited to be the closing act, like the Rolling Stones usually is.
Jim wants to talk about video, and starts with how we got to this point, where video is taking over the web.
In the early 90s, it was all about gatekeepers. There were people – directors, producers, editors – who kept things from going into print, on TV, etc. We also dealt with extremely limited bandwidth.
1995. Spice Girls. Woody and Buzz. 56k modems. He’s showing us the speed it took to download web pages, songs. An HD movie would’ve taken a month.
In the 90s, we saw the beginning of the end of print publications and newspapers. Words and photos, though in a limited sense, were doable online.
2000. Y2K didn’t happen, but Britney Spears and Lord of the Rings did. DSL and the first cable modem did. We got that HD movie down to 3 days, but more relevant at that time, we could download a song in a couple minutes and a CD in 2 hours. This is when we saw Napster, BitTorrent, Kazaa, etc.
2007. It was a really good year for cabernets in CA. Hannah Montana. Transformers. Also, the 2nd generation cable modem – 2 megabits per second. That’s a lot. We could suddenly download a movie in less time than it took to watch it (unless it was HD, then it still took awhile).
We meet YouTube. Netflix starts to stream soon. Apple gets moving on streaming video.
2015. 3rd generation cable modem. We’re averaging 25 megabits. That’s the standard modem (many can already do way better). CDs get downloaded in under 10 mins. HD movies in an hour and a half. We download in less time than it takes to watch it.
So Playstation. HBONow. AppleTV. And cable TV is getting disrupted.
But guess what. Bandwidth ain’t done. Fiber to the home means 1000 megabits. That’s what we’re going to start seeing in many more places. Time to download anything and everything will basically become instantaneous.
What we’ve seen is bandwidth increase – more and faster means various media got disrupted. Newspapers. Music. Traditional TV and movie models.
That innovation won’t stop even though we’ve disrupted everything.
Scoble’s first VR rig is on screen. New forms of media have never existed before, because we disrupted all the old ones. So we’re moving on. VR. AR. It’s all really exciting, because now we’re inventing new media.
And along the way, here’s what he realized:
In the end, consumers get what they want.
Napster, Kazaa. People wanted broad access to music. They didn’t want CDs with 1 great song and 12 bad songs. They got what they wanted as it got easier and easier. Which is good, because change is hard. Jim says new technology has to be two orders of magnitude better for us to accept it. As we look at new technologies, are there two amazing breakthroughs here? If so, it’s more likely to be accepted by consumers.
And what about those gatekeepers? They’re gone. Anyone can make a “tv” show now. No more sets, directors, etc. We have PewDiePIe now, with 3M views an episode, 300M views a month… oh, but he’s no unicorn. Many channels that are that big or bigger.
Ryan ToysReview is the #3 channel on YouTube in September for the # of views. 515M views in September (8 videos a week – when does this kid go to school?)
It’s not just on YouTube anymore. New video stars understands the individual. They’re not seeking a fan base – it’s a friend base, now. They’re constantly building community, engaging them, and doing it better and better.
The Shaytards family is probably the biggest reality show of the day. Meanwhile, Olga Kay is a huge YouTube star who was a circus performer and has an amazing business selling socks. She’s making tons of money because she has a great relationship with her community, so they buy all her socks. No gatekeepers. Just her working incredibly hard.
Side note, this is hilarious.
Lil birdie named @stevehall told me that I made it into @jlouderb keynote today at #PubCon2016
Thank you Jimmy, want better screen grabs 😂? pic.twitter.com/ZN11HPYxKx
— Olga Kay 🌿 (@OlgaKay) October 13, 2016
It’s 2010 when it comes to mobile bandwidth. But it’s going to get better. Everything you can do on your computer, you’ll be able to do on your phone.
Mobile, or desktop, the fact of the matter is all of this online video is also inherently social.
Social video is all about platforms. We used to just talk about YouTube. Now it’s SnapChat, Facebook (LIVE), Instagram, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch (and more). A couple years from now, this could all be entirely different.
He breaks them into a few categories:
- ‘Second tier or already gone: Vine, Vimeo, Vessel, Periscope, MeerKat…
- LIVE (right now), or near live (things that last for 24 hours then go away): Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat
- On demand: Platforms such as YouTube, Instagram
He also indicates that formats matter.
We used to create one video to put in 40 different places. Platforms = formats. Don’t create one video and post it everywhere. It just isn’t going to work.
Think back to the traditional TV formats: the sitcom (All in the Family), the modern sitcom (Big Bang tTeory), animated sitcom (Simpsons), all the medical and crime dramas, soap operas, fantasy, reality TV.. these are all formats. Different ways to tell video-based stories. We also have standard newscasts, and we have newsmagazines (60 Minutes).
Social video formats exist, as well.
Many things to consider with regard to social video:
- We need to think about frame size – tall, square, wide.
- Is audio on or off?
- What’s the length? YouTube now wants 10 minute videos. Facebook would rather you didn’t cross the minute.
He notes that Facebook LIVE goes on basically forever, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. He recently broadcast the sunset. Not the smartest use of LIVE, but “some people liked it.”
- What level of production value does the platform require. SnapChat is about being real. Production value not so important. That’s not the same for YouTube.
- Story arc – what are we telling?
- Where is it watched – what glowing rectangle is it being seen on?
- What’s the viewing context? What else might the user be doing when they consume this content?
- Discovery -how do you find it? YouTube let you subscribe to people that you love. Aw. Facebook does a good job in that surreptitious way – you didn’t realize you wanted to see that video of that adorable cat.
- View initiation – is it autoplay? Or click-to-play – you have to initiate it. Or a rollover – if you stop on it, it starts playing (like Instagram).
With this background in mind, Jim moves to cover the top social video platforms.
Good for vlogging format. Help and how-to is also owned on YouTube right now. Pranks are big. Comedy and TV skits live there, too. You benefit when you have a hosted experience, a personality that helps draw the audience in. Sound is usually on, and there’s the subscriber feed.
Wait, what? YouTube favors videos over 10 minutes vs under 5? That’s true. People are seeing great engagement with longer videos on YouTube.
YouTube can tell if a user started with your video, then watched another and another and another. Session duration – the longer it is, the better you, the owner of the original video watched, look.
Text on screen is huge. Think video slideshows like haiku. So is 360 experiential. More than half of video is being consumed by users on Mobile. There’s a split between autoplay and, well, not auto play, depending on the user’s preferences. 80% or more of viewers have sound off. Short videos under :60 work best, as do square videos. Remember that you have to grab someone in 1.3 seconds, or they’re swiping by. Put your best stuff first.
Interesting thing about Facebook – it’s not a website, it’s a newsfeed. So not all of your fans see the same post. 12.6% of your fans will see each post if posted using best practices (not using best practices? ha… well, then, much less).
Facebook Reach = Interest x Post x Creator x Type x Recency. A summary of how reach is determined. Average native video reach is better than status update, link, or photo.
Jim brings Mark Robertson of Reel SEO to explain a slide on video MetaData. If you see a video, someone else probably shared it, you clicked, watched. You probably never knew what the title was. But using the meta data, you explain to Facebook what the video is about. Tag people, places, location, etc. Leverage this.
DONT PUT YOUTUBE LINKS ON FACEBOOK. Facebook doesn’t want to know you’re sending people to YouTube. Not interested.
Other quick tips: Create a good thumbnail when you put your video up. Half(ish) of people aren’t using auto-play. Square videos work best. If your video is wide because you shot it that way, it’s fine. Put a black bar above and below to make it square. You can use those black bars for text. Leverage it. You can do branded video content and monetize it if you’re verified. Get verified. Read articles like this one from NewsWhip.
Not on Snapchat? Get one. Do something every day for a month, even if no one is watching. You’ll figure out what this platform is all about.
Snapchat posts disappear after 24 hours. It’s raw – slice of life. You can let your hair down and be yourself. Images and video in 10 second chunks work really well.
It’s all vertical. It’s powerful because it’s integrated messaging – seeing what friends are doing, what stories are out there, what’s in the discover stories.
DJ Khaled isn’t a teenager. But he’s one of the top Snapchatters out there.
Other quick thoughts: Active viewership is a critical stat. Screenshots are also a real indicator of how valuable the content you did is. Screenshots can also spread around on other social platforms and websites. Story completion rate – how many people made it all the way through? This shows how engaged your fans are. You can optimize it.
Up and comer on video. Already done tons of great stuff with photos.
Lots of experiments on Instagram, which basically just copied Snapchat. The format was stolen by one platform for another, which is working really well. Stories on Instagram are doing well, and Instagram currently offers more data. Marketers are beginning to see results. Instagram is here.
Twitter works best for news and trending subjects.
Videos can be up to 140 seconds long (except for some partners, which get to have longer videos). Some people in the room say they have watched football on Twitter. Jim says it’s not a great experience yet, but expects it to get better.
He notes that adding a poll will increase retweets.
Work in progress, although now everyone can make money with it. Twitter provides 70% revenue share vs 55% or less on other platforms. You can make more money.
What’s Next? VR
He concludes by saying you need to watch what’s happening, see what others are doing, experiment and test, test, test.
He also quickly touches on VR. It’s going mainstream… today. Because today is the day PlayStation VR begins to be sold. However, in the technology sector, there’s a crash coming of sorts. Too many VR companies to meet demand. Do not expect most VR companies, which have had venture capital rained down on them, to exist in two years. We’re at the beginning of a new technology. Most companies that exist at the beginning aren’t there long.
Nonetheless, VR will be huge, for multiple purposes. For medical, training, gaming, targeted experiences already – and more to come. He says to play with it, experience it (just don’t expect it to be a big revenue driver right now… those days are coming).