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So you think you're up-to-date by DVRing "Grey's Anatomy." But the "new normal" is streaming Lilyhammer through Netflix on your Xbox, subscribing to channels on YouTube, and watching web TV originals on your iPhone.
In case you don't know where to start with your viewing, we've listed 20 of our favorites. The list varies between high-quality scripted and reality-style shows, Disney's "Power Up" where a teenager lives out video games in real life, Tony Hawk's "Ride," newsy dailies, and a Seth Meyers-voiced cartoon.
There's something for everyone on this list. That's one of the benefits of web video -- it doesn't have to be created for a single massive audience. Today's viewers are in charge of what they watch.
We start our list with...Netflix's all-new "Arrested Development."
Google recently began letting worldwide members of its social network broadcast live Hangouts sessions for anyone to watch -- just like some performing artists and politicians have already been able to do.
The new "Hangouts on Air" feature was introduced in September 2011 at Google+, with certain high-profile individuals testing out the service that lets as many as 10 people simultaneously take part in roundtable-style video chats, with the option to live stream and record the session.
The public roll-out of "On Air" has opened everyday real-time Hangouts to any number of viewers, automatically publishing these streams to the hosting user's YouTube account for anyone who may have missed it (which is private by default, but can be made available to the public) allowing him or her to monitor the number of views.
In addition to YouTube, recorded Hangouts can be posted to one's Google+ social profile or one's website by checking "enable hangouts on air."
Some companies have already started experimenting with the platform to see if it will be suitable for staff, webinars, conference calls, and for communication across global business networks.
Says Barbara Ulmi, marketing director at GraphicMail: "It's really handy for our business that you can filter friends into different circles in Google+. So far we've been creating circles for different departments in our international team as well as for franchisees, which has helped us organize and channel the right information to the right people. We've really taken to Hangouts' screen share ability, which will be especially useful for doing business-to-business conference calls. We also like that fact that you can add phone numbers, especially for branches of the company that do not have the liberty to use Google products, such as our representatives in China."
The official news was first broken to a South African audience by Brett St. Claire, Google's Head of New Products for Sub-Saharan Africa, as climax to his talk about how social media is challenging online promotions at the 2012 CTICC Marketing Indaba. Members of the GraphicMail marketing and design team were present for the talk, prior to running their own workshop on integrating email with mobile and social media channels.
One of the advantages of Google+ as group-chat destination is that most people already have a Gmail address, or are at least familiar with the service, which means it's not as intimidating as needing to use one of the many other voice calling tools out there on the web that may not be comparatively as well-known or trusted.
"On Air" Hangouts give users a real sense of immediacy and intimacy with their audience and live interaction is great for engagement.
The only downside to a live stream is in its unpredictability; the real-time aspect means you can't edit the footage first: Once you've said something, it's broadcast.
When Google+ first launched last year, arguably one of its biggest differentiating features was the free video chat service.
At first glance, it looked like something that's been done before: But unlike most video chat options that require friends and colleagues to invite each other to a third-party standalone platform (often requiring its own installation), Hangouts is a part of the widely-used Googleverse.
It's fully integrated with other features that are inherently useful to businesses, such as Google Docs, and has a dandy face switching tool that cycles the camera to focus on whoever is speaking.
Google is also making Hangouts more useful for the all those people who don't have a computer with a camera, or a high-speed internet connection, since it'll let you call into a hangout by using a phone.
In the coming weeks, the "On Air" option for Google+ Hangouts will be gradually rolled out to users in 40 countries. So if you have something to say-as a concerned citizen, an aspiring artist, a bored housewife or a raving revolutionary; you will soon be able to go live in front of a global audience, if not already.
"Hangouts on Air" equips digital marketers with a new way to engage audiences and could signal a huge change in the media landscape.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
"Mother and daughter" image via Shutterstock.
Brand safe. These two words have been the root cause of more lost hours of sleep for me than I care to admit. On the surface, it seems so simple -- find and deliver online ads to the appropriate users on brand-safe content. Once you dig into it though, you quickly realize you've just peeled off the top layer of an onion -- a very large onion.The basics of brand safety
Most ad servers today have out-of-the-box functionality that allows ad operations teams to manage basic brand safety. For example, if advertisers don't want their ads appearing in the message board section of a site, it can be excluded in the targeting so the ads won't show up in the wrong place. On a direct buy with the publisher, this might be good enough for advertisers as long as they trust that the publisher has tagged its site properly.
With ad networks though, the "trust" part starts to get more complicated. Ad networks generally use a similar ad server tagging structure, and they can also block sites, channels, zones, and content categories, for example. So you need to trust (ethically and technically) the network with which you are working, and then the sites those networks work with. It's important to understand if and how a network vets each of its inventory providers before sending them tags, as well as if and how it continues to monitor where the tags are actually serving ads.
However, what about URL-level brand safety? A reputable news site seems like a pretty safe place to advertise, and you probably want your ads served on it. But we've all heard the story about the cruise line company serving its ads on the "contextually relevant" content of a news site in hopes of getting in front of people that are interested in going on cruises -- only to see its ads appear on pages with stories about cruise catastrophes. The news site domain itself was safe enough, but when the catastrophe news story hit, the URL was created dynamically so you couldn't avoid it. Catastrophe for the cruise company running the ad struck as well. To prevent situations like this from occurring again, technology providers have responded with negative contextual targets, enabling advertisers to specify content that should be avoided.Brand safety in a real-time bidding (RTB) world
Today, campaigns can be run easily and efficiently using RTB inventory. But again, how do you know where your ads are actually served, and how will you prevent them from ending up on unsafe content -- say, subwaydouchery.com? The RTB inventory platforms all have built-in controls that allow you to manage where you're buying at a basic level -- whitelists, blacklists, content categories, sensitive attributes, and others.
On the surface it seems like you'll have no problems at all, but once you peel back a few more layers of the onion, it's more complicated. Due to the added complexities involved in getting an ad served in RTB, the true domain of where the ad gets served isn't always clear. Often the referring URL resolves to an ad server domain like doubleclick.net or openx.org. Your blacklist will catch the legit domains it recognizes, but there are quite a few that slip through.
So how do you deal with brand safety when it comes to RTB buying?
First, companies like Peer39 and Proximic offer brand safety data segments available to use as part of the bid evaluation. Once you have one or more of these offerings layered on top of your buy, you probably feel pretty good about your controls. But sometimes you can't help but wonder where your ads are actually served. If you're like me, you need a little more information and one more line of defense. This is where the ad verification services come in. Providers like comScore (AdXpose) and DoubleVerify offer post-delivery reporting at the URL level. This is great for maintaining blacklists. You can also set up email alerts for brand safety by content, keyword, and site list, for example. You can even go as far as blocking your ad from appearing if there's something about the page you just don't like.
The trust issue has opened the door to a seemingly endless stream of technology providers with business models built around buying brand-safe media. New companies appear every week with solutions to the brand-safe riddle. You should listen, ask questions, do a trial, and try to make sense of the solution's impact on what you're trying to achieve. I say "make sense of the impact" because the complexities of buying and reporting on impressions make it very difficult to understand what happened and how it would have been different without the technology. That means you really have to understand how the service works -- and how or if it works with all of the other services you use.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
"People in helmets on a construction site" image via Shutterstock.
Rich media is powerful. Companies are using rich media ads to deliver videos, interactive elements, and targeted messaging to customers. But the development side of rich media can be a drawback, requiring a high level of skill, equipment, and time.
What if the development process didn't hold you back anymore? What if you could create rich media ads with a simple drag-and-drop DIY tool? iMedia's Bethany Simpson spoke with David Simon and Michael Sawtell about Local Corporation's new Rovion drag-and-drop interface.Do it yourself rich media ads
"You don't need to know Flash, action script, or code. It's a drag-and-drop environment."
A hands-on look at DIY ad creation
"40 percent of those in the survey use mobile devices to make sure a product is in-stock when they go to purchase."
The perfect mobile retail experience
"No. 1, it has to be cross platform..."
Michael Sawtell was named COO of Local Corp. on May 11, 2011, shortly after Rovion Inc. was acquired by Local Corp. He was subsequently awarded the President/COO title later that December. This is Michael's second stint as Local's President/COO, as he held that position when the company was in startup mode in March 2000, through the very succesful initial public offering in October of 2004 and into spring of 2005. David Simon was president and chief marketing officer for Rovion prior to its acquisition by Local Corp. in May 2011. Previously he served as the vice president of marketing and chief strategist for CEIVA Logic Inc., a privately held digital photo sharing services firm. Before creating his own product marketing consultancy, he spent three years at Yahoo Inc., as the director of integrated promotions and as director of product marketing, reporting to the CMO. Simon was a founding employee and senior vice president of sales for Yoyodyne Inc., an online direct marketing and promotions firm created by internet entrepreneur and author Seth Godin. While at Yoyodyne, he led a projection-exceeding sales team and was involved in the efforts related to the acquisition of Yoyodyne by Yahoo for $30 million. Simon received a bachelor of arts degree in music and technology from Clark University.
Michael Sawtell was named COO of Local Corp. on May 11, 2011, shortly after Rovion Inc. was acquired by Local Corp. He was subsequently awarded the President/COO title later that December. This is Michael's second stint as Local's President/COO, as he held that position when the company was in startup mode in March 2000, through the very succesful initial public offering in October of 2004 and into spring of 2005.
David Simon was president and chief marketing officer for Rovion prior to its acquisition by Local Corp. in May 2011. Previously he served as the vice president of marketing and chief strategist for CEIVA Logic Inc., a privately held digital photo sharing services firm. Before creating his own product marketing consultancy, he spent three years at Yahoo Inc., as the director of integrated promotions and as director of product marketing, reporting to the CMO. Simon was a founding employee and senior vice president of sales for Yoyodyne Inc., an online direct marketing and promotions firm created by internet entrepreneur and author Seth Godin. While at Yoyodyne, he led a projection-exceeding sales team and was involved in the efforts related to the acquisition of Yoyodyne by Yahoo for $30 million. Simon received a bachelor of arts degree in music and technology from Clark University.
You're pumped like Sammy Sosa in 1998. You're armed with solid research that proves that online video is the bee's knees. And you've got ideas on how to link the investment with other media consumption.
You're unstoppable. What could go wrong? Suddenly, you get the creative from the client or their creative agency. It is one video file -- and a repurposed TV spot at that. As you shake your fist at the sky and curse your misfortune, bring these five recommendations to bear on your next campaign to ensure that the investment of your time and money is well spent.Stay informed. Want to harness the power of social TV -- and use it to your advantage? Attend the iMedia Entertainment Summit, June 26. Request your invitation today. Shoot once, repurpose five times
In today's marketing landscape, marketers don't have the time or the budget to fund multiple shoots for content creation. So, make the most out of the shoot that you already have scheduled. Whether it's a nationwide TV spot, an internal interview, or even some random B-roll, make the most of the day by bringing along some extra cameras to create additional footage. Presto! What you have now is a potential arsenal of content that can be cut and used for different needs and audiences.Create episodic stories
Once you have your arsenal of content, ensure that your videos tell a story that hooks the audience quickly. In this world of skippable ads and close "x" buttons, it's imperative that a brand communicates its point and provides a reason for the user to stay engaged within the first five to seven seconds. If you don't do this, you'll be passed over more (and just as unfairly) than the movie "Cabin Boy" back in 1994.Keep your format diverse
Do you remember why you would get so excited when the girls on "The Facts of Life" would venture to France for a field trip or when "The Brady Bunch" took a vacation to Hawaii? It was because their regular episodes were so formulaic that any break from the norm was refreshing and greatly appreciated by the viewing audience. The same is true for online video. Don't rely on the same format to tell the same story the same way. Either the viewer will think that they've already seen the content before or, worse yet, they'll start to peg the content on the agency that developed it versus the brand. You can hear it now: "Oh, that's the same type of spot as those Burger King ads."Cap the experience
So, now you're excited about the content you've created for your client, and you want to share it with everyone. But don't treat them like little Joel Miller from "UHF" -- they don't need to feel like they're drinking from the fire hose when experiencing the brand. The answer, you ask? Frequency capping! This will ensure that while users are snacking away on content via YouTube or ESPN, they aren't blasted in the face with your brand over and over again with the same piece of content -- again and again and again. Make it a positive experience, and they'll be more receptive when your content is shown in the future. Plus, they'll be more inclined to pass it on and share it.Syndicate, distribute, and spread the word
Just as there's a 95 percent chance of finding a Tom Cruise movie on cable during a Sunday afternoon (Look! "Far and Away" is on again), it's important to push your video content across multiple platforms and devices. If you've been following me thus far, you'll recognize the need to cut your content in a way that fits the distribution means. Whether the content will be embedded in a rich media ad, hosted on YouTube, or pushed through Viddy, you need to not only provide your audience with an opportunity to view the content, but also think about how they will interact with it as well.
If you follow these tips, you'll help fuel ongoing video communication with your audience that drives brand awareness, preference, and consideration along with conversions. Happy content creation, and make me proud, tiger.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
"Video full collection of icons" image via Shutterstock.
You are a marketer. You're in sales. Or perhaps you are the CMO or CEO of your company. You've done everything you thought you needed in creating a social presence. You are on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for starters, and you've even set up shop on Google+. You're posting content about your brand that you feel is relevant, but there's a problem -- you're present, you're trying, yet nothing is happening.
People are not following you, and therefore no one is engaging with you. You have the one or two sympathy "likes," but all your efforts just don't make sense anymore. Sound familiar? Let's find a solution to maximize your productivity to ensure your efforts are paying off and benefiting the business.