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Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For… Facebook?

In the last year alone, Facebook had 1.4 billion monthly active users compared to YouTube’s 1.3 billion. Our last blog post discussed the video advertising arms race between YouTube and Facebook, but it seems the latter may be racking up those views in an unsavory way. Someone’s got some explaining to do.

Unlike sea pirates, Facebook freebooters don’t directly profit from their plundering. That’s because, unlike YouTube, Facebook doesn’t run commercials before its native videos—not yet, at least. That’s part of why they spread like wildfire. What the freebooter gains is attention, whether in the form of likes, shares, or new followers for its Facebook page.

Essentially, a Facebook freebooter downloads (or “rips”) a video from YouTube and then proceeds to post the video directly onto Facebook as a native video, with no credit given to the original creator. And without any links or tags, the creator has no idea his or her video is going viral – all on somebody else’s platform. Take for example the famed Tyrese Gibson, who regularly rips videos from YouTube. Yet one of his videos was the 5th most popular of 2014.

Ripping videos not only exaggerates the number of Facebook video views for the freebooter; it hurts the creators as well. Creators lose user engagement, but here’s the real problem: it costs them a great deal of time and money to get these videos removed from Facebook.

George Strompolos, the CEO of Fullscreen is “shocked that a rights holder with deep pockets has not sued yet.” He went on a Twitter rant a little over a month ago about the freebooter problem.

If Facebook wants to seriously compete with YouTube, it will have to fix the issue of videos being uploaded without the creator’s permission. All it takes is one “deep pocket” before the company gets itself into serious trouble.

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The Time For Video is Now

Video isn’t the future of content marketing. It’s the present.

Marketing strategists like to claim that video is the future of content marketing, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, video is the future. Nearly 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by the year 2018. But if you haven’t incorporated video into your advertising campaign, you’re already late in the game. The time for video is now. After all, video ads grew 34% last year – the fastest in any online ad medium. It’s clear that video is essential to any content strategy. If you’re not using video, you better think twice… your competitors surely are.

“Far outpacing growth in spending on television and other digital formats, it’s not hard to understand what makes online video so compelling to business advertisers. Video ads obtain the highest level of engagement and provide a level of visual and narrative richness, while offering all the advantages of digital, including advanced targeting, tracking, and increasingly, automated buying of video ad units.”

Video drives growth and increases sales

A picture is worth a thousand words, but one minute of video is worth 1.8 million. Whether it’s a personal ad or a business commercial, video builds trust and credibility with an audience. In fact, studies show that more than 80% of people say they are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it, and Forrester predicts that more than 90% of the online population will watch online videos regularly by 2017.

Browse through your Facebook News Feed and you’ll see a GoPro video of your buddy’s recent vacation in Mexico. Scroll through Twitter and you might happen across a warm, heartfelt video of a lost puppy in a Budweiser commercial. It’s just that simple; video ads are everywhere. Posting a video increases the chances of a customer making a purchase by up to 35 percent. That’s right – online video ads generate 27 times more traffic than standard banner ads.

Amazon, Dell, and other online retailers have publicly shared statistics showing that a posted video can increase the odds of a customer purchasing an item by as much as 35 percent. Results from Online Publishers association’s research show that after watching video, 12% purchased the specific product in the ad and 26% looked for more information about the subject of the video.

Video Increases Social Media Engagement

A young boy retweets a Nike video of his favorite athlete and that video instantly reaches a new network of people. One of his followers retweets the same video and boom. You get the picture. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites have wonderful sharing opportunities for video. Where else can you reach millions of people in a matter of seconds?

People are most likely to engage with branded content on social media when companies share either picture or video. In fact, one in five Twitter users discover videos each day from tweeted links. If brands are smart, they will capitalize on video through apps like Instagram and Vine. Check out this brilliant move by Oreo:

Still not convinced? Consider this: more than 80% of shoppers say that their friends on social media platforms directly impact their purchasing decisions, and 4 in 10 social media users have purchased an item online or in-store after sharing or favoriting it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. And ever since Pinterest introduced the buy button, sales have skyrocketed. Social media and video go hand in hand – you can’t have one without the other.

Video Increases SEO and Improves Email Marketing

Nothing else boosts engagement like video. Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? Incorporating video on a web page makes it 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google. And hey, let’s face it – people are lazy. We prefer to watch videos rather than read. Especially with autoplay on Facebook and Twitter, users are more than willing to watch a 30-second video instead of clicking a link to a news article. Landing pages with video can increase conversions by 80%. When searching a topic on Google, over 60% of the results include video.

Yes, SEO matters. But did you know that marketers consistently rank email as having a higher return on investment (ROI) than any other marketing strategy? Video increases email click-through rates by 200-300%, therefore almost tripling the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. If your business doesn’t have video, you’re in the minority.

Want to use video ads in your marketing campaign? Check us out. Viddyad is an easy-to-use platform that enables businesses to create and publish their own video ads online in minutes. With an in-built content library, easy-to-use editor and affordable pricing, Viddyad opens up the world of video advertising to everyone.

The Video Advertising Arms Race: Facebook vs. YouTube

You’ve seen it all over the headlines: Facebook video views are catching up to YouTube. In the last year alone, Facebook had 1.4 billion monthly active users compared to YouTube’s 1.3 billion. Although the difference is minor, the recent growth rate for Facebook video has risen dramatically; the reach Facebook has seen in native video views within the year is astounding. Facebook’s video platform launched just over a year ago, whereas YouTube launched a decade ago. Ampere found that 15% of Internet users across North America and Western Europe had watched a video on Facebook in the last month, and a sixth of those people had not watched a video on YouTube in that same time span. It seems the king of online video has finally met its match. YouTube is no longer the only major video platform.

It’s predicted that by the end of 2015, Facebook will have 2 trillion video views. That’s two-thirds as many as YouTube. And what’s more, Ampere determined that Facebook is more profitable than YouTube. Marketing Land wrote the following:

“Facebook’s challenge to YouTube is showing strength. Based on similar totals of monthly active users on the two networks, Ampere found that advertisers value Facebook inventory at a higher rate, $0.73 per MAU for Facebook vs. $0.28 for YouTube. That’s despite the fact that Facebook charges advertisers for views as short as three seconds in its autoplay environment while YouTube only charges when people view a view for about 30 seconds.”

Why is Facebook the preferred video advertising method? Even though Facebook charges advertisers after such a short view time, Facebook is ideal for content marketers before the launch of a product for creating brand awareness. That’s because Facebook videos are getting more likes and shares on the social network site compared to YouTube videos. Nonetheless, YouTube is still more advertiser friendly since the ads can be shown anytime during a video view. YouTube also has the feature TrueView, which allows users to skip an ad after only five seconds. It’s shown to be extremely effective, as advertisers don’t pay for a video if it’s skipped.

Even though Facebook lacks in some areas of video advertising, the company is looking ahead to the next market trend: mobile advertising. The Cisco index predicated that nearly three-fourths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2019. Mobile advertising is an enormous market that many advertisers have yet to tap in to. Facebook debuted its vision for mobile ads at Cannes Lions on Tuesday, June 23. It’s an intriguing idea and one that is a smart move for the company. Re/code wrote the following about Facebook’s mobile potential:

“Facebook’s future is mobile — it already has more than half a billion people whose only interaction with Facebook each month comes from a mobile device — and it’s giving marketers a hand in designing the very ad units the company will be selling them in a few months. Not a bad move… Of course, Facebook will also be tasked with walking the line between advertiser wants and user happiness. Users are rarely fond of advertising — although with Facebook the issue tends to be targeting more than anything — and it’ll be up to Facebook to ensure whatever ads they create strike the right balance.”

Despite Facebook’s video success, the company still has a long way to go when it comes to video advertising. Facebook does not offer pre-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are the commercials that appear prior to an online video.  If Facebook wants to remain competitive with YouTube the company will eventually have to incorporate these ads, which would allow for a more advertiser friendly format.

So just how fast has Facebook video grown within the past year? Business Insider UK compiled data about the state of social video from Socialbakers and found that brands have virtually stopped posting YouTube videos on Facebook. Beforehand Facebook native video launched just over a year ago, brands did publish their YouTube videos on Facebook. Last year, YouTube was the dominant video platform on Facebook. As you can see, that’s no longer the case.

While YouTube may not be the king it once was, it’s still the leading platform for online video. Although a Google exec said YouTube isn’t worried about Facebook’s native video expansion, the company must realize the threat Facebook poses. Still, YouTube is the second largest search engine thanks to Google, a feat not to be dismissed. But while YouTube is still in a strong position overall, Facebook and other video platforms are giving YouTube a run for its money. So what is the future of video advertising? Only time will tell.

Whether you choose to advertise on Facebook or YouTube, Viddyad is here to help. Create a video ad online in minutes. #EasyFastAffordable

The Facets of Smart Content

Great content begins with great food. Contently’s first West Coast Summit started off with a bang on June 9, 2015 at Tank 18 in San Francisco. After a tasty networking lunch, Joe Coleman, CEO and Co-Founder of Contently, opened the conference by discussing the intersection of what’s driving innovation in content marketing.

Coleman suggested that a combination of storytelling and technology is essential in order to create an effective marketing platform. Present marketers can reach consumers relatively easy and inexpensively due to modern technology. Consequently, he stressed the continued importance of storytelling, indicating that it still remains the core of successful content marketing. As Ben Plomion, SVP of Marketing at GumGum, stated, “Your content has to be so good that your competitors share it.”

So what generates great content? Coleman hit the nail on the head: storytelling. Stories are indispensable for brands because they indicate that the product a company builds is working. Successful storytelling is adapting to situations quickly, but not necessarily moving too fast. Moving too fasts results with mistakes made and poor content quality. Allie Townsend, Managing Editor at Facebook, declared, “The best stories are the ones that grab you.” This means taking the time to create interesting content rather than solely focusing on how quickly you can get new content out there. If you have nothing of value to add, don’t – original and personal storytelling beats hasty, irrelevant content.

Unfortunately, not all marketing platforms work no matter how creative the content is. Content marketing is a game of trial and error. Brands learn from their previous marketing strategies, understand where they went wrong, and try again. Deirdre Hussey, Director of Digital Marketing and Communications at Gap Inc., said “If you’re producing content that’s true to your core, you won’t find your brand in the wrong conversation.” Through experimentation and analysis, as well as research and development, brands will find what type of content works for them as long as they keep it original and meaningful.

The summit ended with Ben Parr, Author of Captivology & Co-Founder of DominateFund. Parr was the superstar of the evening and made many insightful points about the convergence of content and marketing. He supported long-form content, reiterating that it’s not just about the quick read. Marketers need to have something interesting to say. Parr also said, “People share content because it validates their identity [and] gives a sense of belonging.” Content that gets shared is fluent, novel and relates to identity. However, he also noted that content isn’t what’s changed – distribution has. Social media sites and other forms of Internet communication have revolutionized the way marketers approach their ad campaigns. As a result, Parr suggested “people should consistently experiment and see what their audience engages with.”

Viddyad CEO Grainne Barron attended the West Coast Summit and enjoyed listening to the refreshing approaches discussed by many of the Contently speakers. She described the summit as a “very lively, meaty and interactive event with great energy… I was very ‘contently’ with it.” The first summit was a great success and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next year.

Everything You Need to Know From Apple’s WWDC 2015 Keynote

Less than two weeks from Google’s I/O, Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in California on June 8, 2015. Several new apps were introduced including the revolutionary new music streaming service, Apple Music. The company also announced that its programming language app, Swift, is now open source. Here’s everything you need to know from Apple’s WWDC:

Apple Music

Launching June 30 and promoted by the rapper Drake, the new streaming app gives users the first three months free. Afterwards the pricing will be $9.99/mo or $14.99/mo for a family plan with up to six different users. Music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have steadily become the primary medium used to listen to songs, and since Apple Music allows integration with the iOS Music app, it may just be the service that Apple users have been searching for. In addition the new app contains playlists from top artists and a live DJ service, Beats 1, as well as Connect. The feature integrates social media like Facebook and Twitter, and artists will even have their own pages to share new music, videos, and playlists. Apple Music has the whole package: music streaming, personal downloads, and Internet service radio – all in one app.

OS X El Capitan

In order to make up for last year’s software fiasco, Apple’s new operating systems for both iOS and OS X focus on improving stability, performance, and battery life. El Capitan (named after a rock in Yosemite national park) will be up to 1.4 times faster than Yosemite, allowing for faster browsing and switching between apps. In addition to optimized performances and a longer battery life, the iOS Metal graphics system is now on Mac, which is “significantly faster and less processor intensive for rendering intensive graphics.” The Spotlight app was also enhanced to expand its search engine and provide smarter search performances.

iOS 9

The biggest change with the updated operating system is Apple’s move away from its classic grid home screen towards the “Home Screen 2.0.” Interaction with the home screen changed when Apple introduced interactive notifications on the lock screen, which allowed users to go straight to the app itself. Now with Proactive Assistant, Apple’s competitor to Google Now, the software will make inferences based off a user’s history, anticipating what the user may want to do at any given moment. For example, if you check your emails every morning, iOS 9 will show you the email icon on your lock screen whenever you wake up. In addition it incorporates location-based recommendations for anything nearby, like restaurants or parking garages. Despite privacy concerns, Apple executive Craig Federighi assured that this information will stay on the user’s device and won’t be shared with any third parties.

Other new features include a low power mode, which can extend battery life for an additional three hours. You can also ask Siri to “show me photos from Utah last August,” and it will pull up the pictures directly on the Photos app. The iPhone isn’t the only Apple device getting an upgrade – iOS 9 permits iPad users to multitask on split-screens, letting more than one app to run side-by-side. Both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan are expected to come out sometime this fall.

Apple Maps

Perhaps one of the best yet underrated new features is the upgraded Maps app. Before, only Google Maps had the functionality of providing transit directions. If an iPhone user was lost in New York City and needed to look up which subway route to take, he or she would need to download Google Maps or another similar app. At last (seven years later), Apple integrated public transit directions into Maps. The transit directions include bus, ferry, subway, and train routes. Unfortunately, only London and a handful of cities in the US and China will be the first to experience the new update.

Women Keynote Speakers

Yesterday’s event also generated a buzz around something other than the company’s new and improved operating system: women executives took the stage for the first time. Although still lacking any minority executives onstage with the exception of Cuban-American Eddy Cue, both Jennifer Bailey and Susan Prescott taking the stage is an enormous step forward for Apple, “famous for parading white male executives across the stage.” Bailey presented the latest developments of the Apple Pay system, soon to be available in the UK, while Prescott discussed Apple’s innovative News app. Apple rebranded its former Newsstand app to simply News, which creates a personalized feed based on choices you make.

Overall, this year’s WWDC did not disappoint. With great new apps like News and Apple Music, we can’t wait for Apple’s new operating systems to debut this fall.