We are not alone... when it comes to watching videos online. You, your mother, and your mother's cat are all consuming video content via the web (the cat is also uploading lolcat pics). And while traditional marketers may be hesitant to step foot in the World Wide Web, the sheer number of eyeballs watching videos online cannot be overlooked (pun intended).

Today we will hear from:

Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR
Jonathan Allen, Director, SearchEngineWatch
Brian Cusack, Head of Display, Google
Peter Farfaras, Solution Specialist, Microsoft Advertising Canada

Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is up first to give more of an overview, since there are two vendors (Google and Microsoft) who will also be speaking on this panel.

Greg: How many people here have a YouTube channel?

*a handful of audience members put their hands up*

Greg: How many of you are rich?

*crowd laughs*

Greg makes the point that videos are certainly getting views, but being able to monetize these is the elephant in the room. The two main ways to monetize videos are: to market your products/services; or generate advertising revenue from views of the video.

ComScore found that 21.7 million Canadians watched over 4 billion online videos in the month of April. YouTube is ranked as the top video property in Canada, with a 54.1% market share of all videos viewed online.

This is good news for video, but the problem is that 24 hours of new content is being uploaded every minute! The challenge here is that there are too many competitors. Therefore, it's important to optimize your videos to get discovered in YouTube, the second largest search engine.

YouTube "combines sophisticated text-matching techniques, [with] number of hits and ratings" to determine if a video is a good match for a given query.

Optimize The Text In Your Video

Title: Write a headline here, with a maximum of 120 characters. Include your brand name at the end.

Description: You have 5000 characters to play with here. Be as detailed as possible, and include URLs (with http://) to a playlist or website.

Tags: Be detailed with the 120 characters you're allowed.

Greg: The "Performance-Based Marketing Best Practices" session scheduled today at 3:45pm has been changed to a Video Search Optimization Clinic. You can learn more about Video SEO at this session.

[Alas, I will be covering the Augmented Reality session during this time slot.]

Jonathan Allen, Director, SearchEngineWatch

Video "discovery" is bigger than the searching of videos.

1) Use titles and tags. For tags you can "borrow" tags from other popular videos.

2) Segment longer videos into shorter ones. Get a transcript, and use subtitles.

3) Link these shorter videos together as a playlist, because you'll get more text capacity from the combined videos.

4) Submit these chunks to other video sharing sites, via TubeMogul.com.

5) Invite webmasters and bloggers to embed your videos on their own sites and be credited as source.

Developments in video:

  • Recommendation is the way of future web TV
  • White label video platforms are embracing SEO
  • HTML5

Recommendation engines are great, and social sharing is good for static content archives (BBC's iPlayer, Facebook). Hulu has recommendations and browser add-ons you can use. Magnify.net lets you embed videos on the web, no matter what the source is.

Brian Cusack, Head of Display, Google

The World of YouTube:

1) Start (homepage, 130+ million daily impressions)
2) Discover (second only to Google searches)
3) Watch (2 billion videos viewed daily)
4) Engage (24 hours of content uploaded every minute)

In terms of video discovery:

Start = Homepage
Discover = Video Promotion
Watch = Video Sponsorship
Engage = Brand Channels

Today we're focusing on discovery. Google is trying to create a deeper user experience. Posting a transcript is a good idea, and the algorithm does look at it.

For marketers, Promoted Videos is the AdWords for YouTube. Advertisers can bid for positions next to organic search results.

Brian goes on to show a video from Orabrush (Funny: Test Your Breath - The Stench That Stole Christmas). It was a successful Promoted Video advertiser, as the video was informational and funny [I agree]. Orabrush videos have been watched over 8 million times, over 70% of which came from Promoted Videos.

[This is Google's subtle way of telling us to spend money on Promoted Videos. :)]

Google has a new tool, the Promoted Video Keyword Tool, which will start to project what traffic you might expect for certain keywords.

YouTube Insights has a great dashboard. If you have a channel then you'll know this, and that it's a very powerful tool. It looks at demographics, geo-distribution, and hotspots, like a virtual focus group.

Peter Farfaras, Solution Specialist, Microsoft Advertising Canada

Canada leads the world, making up 89% of the online population that is streaming video. Users have doubled their online video consumption throughout 2009.

Discoverability is key! With Video SEO/SEM, it's like a balance between art and science. We promote videos across the MSN portal, and Windows Live products and entry points.

Microsoft "strategically tailors" the video feeds going into the bottom of the main Windows Live Messenger windows, using anonymous login IDs to identify a user's demographic, and provide relevant videos.

[People who patch their MSN will miss out on all this fun. :)]

Microsoft has made improvements to how they store videos online, making them more search engine friendly. Keywords are now put into URLs and appropriate meta data is added.

How to leverage videos to make money:

  • Align content correctly (traffic driver or promotional?)
  • Identify your partnerships
  • Video Ad Networks are friends - ask them about targeting
  • Create inventory to be monetized

In terms of the "walled garden":

  • Microsoft tries to prevent holding users hostage
  • Don't feel pressured to just use one or two video networks
  • Bing will show Dailymotion / Metacafe / YouTube video results, if no relevant ones are available from Bing
  • If your content is very niche, then maybe don't put it on YouTube [Looks like a shot at Google. :)]

To summarize, context matters. Each video now has its own URL and indexing is easier. Create and submit high quality videos, and partner wisely for distribution and seeding.

Questions / Answers:

Q: How do you optimize videos for local search?
A (Greg): Include local place names in the Titles and Descriptions. Use Google Places (used to be called the Local Business Center), where you can now add videos to your local business listing.

Q: What percentage of video views are Ads vs. Entertainment?
A (Brian): The lines are blurring. The Orabrush example is entertainment but also has advertising overlays. Marketers are merging entertainment and commerce.
A (Peter): ComScore has metrics for this, but you have to pay.

Q: What is YouTube doing to stop people from gaming Youtube? Will there be integration with Google Voice recognition?
A (Greg): Not everything in Google is shared with YouTube, so voice recgonition from Google Labs might not be used.