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Think BR: Do your views count? Defining success in online video

You need to go the long haul to succeed in online video, writes Mark Fagan, head of search and performance media, iProspect.

Mark Fagan, head of search and performance media, iProspect

Mark Fagan, head of search and performance media, iProspect

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Online video is big. You can’t deny it; YouTube alone has three billion global video views daily and over 48 hours of content loaded a minute.

Those kinds of figures are pretty mind blowing on their own but Cisco predicts that by 2015 over 60% of online traffic will be video based, and that’s not even including content that’s shared by the millions of P2P software users.

There is plenty to be said around online video; why it is so big, how it compares to services such as Sky Plus and how it could shape the future of consumerism.

But the purpose of this article is to define success from an online video and how it can help you and your clients.

Picture the scenario, (it’s a pretty common one): you’re a brand/service that has chosen to use YouTube to promote your product, after all, uploading a video is free, videos can be cheap to produce - some videos are simply uploaded via a mobile phone - and can be kept online indefinitely.

The tricky part is getting people to see your video. You can just upload your video and hope for the best, but with those 48 hours of content a minute to contend with, things are looking pretty slim if you don’t do something about it.

The easiest choice would be to use a seeding service. They are usually pretty good value and can get you lots of views in a matter of days. So with all these views you can consider your video a success, right?

Well, not necessarily…

The main problem is assessing where these views have come from and what kind of long term return you are going to get on them, and more importantly for your clients (if you’re in an agency), what kind of ROI.

It is easy to define a video success by the number of views - the number of views a video gets does help get rankings in YouTube - but how many comments did your video get? How many subscribers does your channel now have? How many people actually shared your content?

The truth is online video success is rarely an overnight accomplishment, it can take months, even years to truly achieve and it certainly takes more than just buying views.

Though making great content is going to be a defining factor in the success of your YouTube channel, sustained success is actually going to come from maintaining a high level of interaction with your viewers, and this interaction needs to go beyond YouTube.

Any long term successful YouTuber will interact with their audience in some shape or form. Action movie producer freddiew develops behind the scenes videos and tutorials for the special effects used in his videos.

Games player Thesyndicateproject produces videos of himself playing the game Minecraft, a game whereby you build your world, and interacts with his audience, asking for building ideas and hints and tips he may not know about the game.

Beyond this many YouTubers will have Twitter feeds and Facebook pages for fans to give feedback and content suggestions.

This also acts as a place for YouTubers to talk directly to their fans beyond YouTube comments, as well as informing them of updates.

Defining success in online video goes beyond your view counts, it’s about the quality of views you are actually getting. 

When really broken down, you will find a lot of your bought views will actually be coming from a country that doesn’t even speak your language. So below are some quick tips to help you in your mission to find video success:

  • Create great content

Sounds easier than it is, but you have a lot of competition out there, you don’t necessarily have to be completely original, just better than the other guy, and be prepared to make a lot of content to keep your audience engaged.

  • Know your views

Buying views from a seeding agency can help gain rankings, but they will usually have very limited value to gain a real value audience…

  • Be interactive

Comment on other videos that you find interesting, create video responses, promote your video on Twitter andFacebook.

Competitive eater FuriousPete was invited to make a video with cooking channel epicmealtime by constantly harassing them online after his fans kept asking him to tackle one of their meals. Partnerships between channels help you to gain recognition across other audiences which can increase your subscriber base.

  • Listen to your audience and get them involved 

Chess player Kingscrusher regularly responds to his audience chess queries which have been put in his comments. By working directly with your audience you are making them feel valued and an audience will have friends who share their interest who will spread the word of your channel.

  • Be patient and invest time

If you really want to get successful in online video, you need to go the long haul, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your subscriber base be. Create regular content, be social and make lots of noise about your work where people are going to see it.

All this means in order to future proof your client’s video strategy, it requires an in-depth planning process that helps develops shareable content that audiences want to engage with.

Video is clearly going to be a huge driver of growth in digital over the next few years but requires a robust strategy in order to deliver success.

Mark Fagan, head of search and performance media, iProspect

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