Category Archives: Video

Interactive YouTube Video Signals Evolution of Social Marketing

youtube_carslife.jpg If you think the future of social media revolved solely around leaving and responding to comments, you are wrong (thank goodness!).

The folks at Hexolabs have released what is being called the first interactive YouTube video game. If marketers are paying attention, it should result in a flurry of Outlook calendar invites for brainstorming sessions this week.

The Premise

In "A Car’s Life," participants watch a brief video of a car meandering over some difficult terrain. At some point towards the end of the piece, a button appears for viewers to click. If you do so in time, you advance to the next level and watch the car overcome even more obstacles. If you don’t click the button in time, the car crashes and the video ends.

How They Did It

Hexolabs used YouTube’s annotation feature to insert links into each video connecting them to other YouTube videos they created for the various levels. In doing so, Hexolabs created what is probably the first interactive video game on the popular video sharing site.

What It Means for Marketers

The video works for several reasons. One, the animation is simple but interesting. It requires minimal effort and explanation to play, and the payoff is worth it. it’s also much more fun than just watching a plain old video. Two, at least for right now, it’s original. If you missed being among the first companies to put up a Facebook page, start a Twitter account or pay ridiculous sums of money for a viral video that never went viral, this could be your chance to earn a citation in the annals of corporate social media marketing.

I’m kidding, of course.

But the idea is a novel one and certainly worth further consideration. Can you create an interactive experience with this type of storytelling that people would want to share with their friends? This is a fresh approach to video I doubt many (if any) companies have explored.

As of this writing, there are only about 100,000 views for the first installment and less than 50,000 for the third. When I saw it last week, there were less than 5,000 views. I predict that when this does catch on, we’ll see many iterations of it from companies in the months to come.

You can play "A Car’s Life" for yourself here:

Hat tip to Amit , whose post reminded me to blog about it!

Best Posts of the Week

Thought I’d share a couple of interesting and useful posts I’ve read this week:

Enjoy. And if you have any feedback, please leave them for the bloggers at the end of their posts. Bloggers love feedback!

BONUS VIDEOS: Corporate Social Media in Action

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Yesterday while I was leading some social media workshops out West,  Mashable published my latest post on 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media.

It was the first guest post where I included a link to this blog, and I was hoping to welcome readers with a post featuring some additional examples of corporate social media in action.

I’ve assembled this collection of videos where the people responsible for implementing the corporate social media programs I referenced in the post discuss at length their company’s participation.

This collection of conversations could be pretty useful for community managers and social media strategists at large organizations, so if you know of any others, please share them below.

Everything You Know About Viral Video Is Wrong

At least that’s the word from a guy who should know. Arun Chaudhary, Barack Obama’s director of video field production, has helped the campaign to post more than 1000 videos on YouTube as well as capture footage for TV ads, news clips and everything else.

After taking leave from his day job as an adjunct professor at NYU’s film school to work for the candidate, he returned to the university last night in his first public appearance, sponsored by frog design and Fast Company. Chaudhary spoke to a packed crowd about the use of video by political campaigns in an age when everything is documented and how that is impacting the political process.

The one hour chat was moderated by Fast Company senior writer Ellen McGirt,  who reported on the campaign in the April 2008 cover story “The Brand Called Obama.” There were a lot of great gems, but I wanted to focus on two things Chaudhary said.

The first was the example he gave of Hilary Clinton’s 3 AM ad:

When the ad aired, it turned out that the sleeping girl in the stock footage the campaign used was actually an Obama supporter. Four years ago, there was little you could do to get that message out. But Chaudhary’s team found the girl, Casey, and put together a YouTube video. At one minute, it was still too expensive for TV, but it had the opportunity to spread online:

As the campaign moved forward and the YouTube channel became a destination to post footage from Obama’s speeches and appearances, the community started talking back. Comments below the posts, emails to the new media team and general feedback at events yielded two findings:

  1. The audience for the YouTube video skewed towards an older demographic – 45-55 year olds — not the typical 18-34 age group most people expect to find on YouTube.
  2. People didn’t want short, edited clips. They wanted to watch the whole video.

What? People want to watch long form videos?!?!  Chaudhary went on to say that based on what they’ve heard from the community, people aren’t interested in sound bites and clever edits. According to the numbers, full speeches at important moments are underestimated. That might be unique to the political process, where people want more context as every quote has the potential to be politicized (ask Jesse Jackson). But I don’t think so.

Key takeaways:

  • People want transparency
  • Don’t make assumptions about your audience – listen first!
  • You never know which moments people will respond to, so test and test and test. You might be surprised by the outcome.

What say you?