I thought this was an interesting article by Rita Lieberman, the Director of Marketing Communications for ThomasNet.
It’s a fact. Online video has taken off and is here to stay. According to ComScore, the viewing of online videos in the United States totaled 12.7 billion during November 2008, a 34% increase over the same month in 2007.1
How can video help your website increase sales, bring in more leads, and provide better customer service?
With potential customers coming to your website to find out about your company, it needs to convince them that you have what they need without any direct contact from you or your salesforce. You need to do the best job of “showing and telling” the benefits of buying your products or services.
In addition to providing detailed product information, online video can demonstrate your expertise in the marketplace in a familiar and entertaining format.
Four types of videos can help you demonstrate your core strengths:
Corporate capabilities – Do you specialize in custom work, small precision jobs, or have the capacity for high volume work? What markets do you serve? Is quick delivery a key selling point for the products or services you offer?
Plant and/or facilities tour – What does your manufacturing facility look like? And your new machinery? Do you want to show off your new 10,000 square foot plant that just received certification as a green manufacturer?
Visual summary of product lines and related demonstrations – Show and demonstrate your top selling products and related offerings. Do you sell a line of replacement parts too?
Testimonials from satisfied customers – Let your current customers share their experience working with your company. These kinds of third party endorsements are more effective than touting your own success.
Use YouTube to Share Your Videos
Once videos are produced, you can share them on your website using YouTube. Simply create a user account on YouTube and upload your videos for online viewing. You can then embed individual YouTube links into a Web page on your site. None of this requires any new software or server adjustments. Having more unique content on your website helps improve your organic search engine rankings as well.
Your website serves as your 24/7 sales force so it needs to communicate everything you would show and tell a potential customer as if that person were sitting right next to you. Use video to help make your website communicate better to potential customers and increase sales. It’s another way to set your company apart from the competition, especially in today’s challenging economic times.
Obviously YouTube and ThomasNet are not the only portals for online Video on the net. ThomasNet is not free either, so there would need to be some considerations there. Below is a link to a list of where your video’s could be posted for free as alternatives or additions to YouTube. If there are any you would like to add to the list, feel free to add them in with your comments on that page.
Here’s a short list of free video
hosting sites that you can use to display your streaming video content – apart from YouTube, that is. Most of these provide code for individual videos to enable you to embed them in your site directly. I’ll try and include a couple of lines highlighting the main features & USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of each, wherever possible. The list is alphabetically arranged and not in the order of usefulness or popularity.
A video uploading and sharing service by AtomFilms – which is a division of the MTV Networks. As a result you can find a lot of unique web-shows hosted at this
site. Not much information is available about their hosting features. However, as a MTV service you can expect the standards to be quite high. Features channel based organisation and member groups / communities.
blip.tv promises to bring to you shows – the kind of stuff you might find on television but won’t. Highly rated by PC World and Business 2.0 magazines this
sitesyndicates its content with the likes of AOL Video, Yahoo! Video, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, MSN Video, Google Video etc. thus effectively multiplying your reach by millions. If you’ve got what it takes to create a great show, it may even get broadcast on this TV channel that blip.tv owns. And if your show’s a hit, they allow you to pick your own advertisers and earn revenue. Flash, QuickTime, DivX, 3gp – more or less all major formats are supported.
Brightcove lets you build and launch your own internet TV station. You can have your channel up and running within minutes and retain full control over the program schedule. Videos uploaded by other users can be incorporated into your shows too. Your channel is syndicated with other major players on the net and you can earn revenue through advertising as well as video sales. Features a pretty eye-candy interface.
ClipShack is a community for videophiles – a place for sharing your videos with the world. Its run by Reality Digital, Inc. – a company with years of experience in catering to the multimedia needs of the corporate sector. Pretty basic interface.
Crackle (formerly known as Grouper) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. It acts as a streaming entertainment network dedicated to the discovery and development of pioneering video creators across a diverse range of genres. Crackle supports multi-platform syndication to Sony devices, IPTV and major social networking sites. Crackle is all about “launching tomorrow’s stars today” and can serve as a serious platform for aspiring directors. There are contests going on all the time to hand-pick the most innovative creators and launch them in collaboration with Sony Pictures and other leading media partners.
Dailymotion is another humongous
hosting cum sharing service. They have the standard set of features wrapped with a strict set of rules that prohibits any kind of adult or explicit content. If there’s one thing that sets it apart from the crowd – it’s the JukeBox feature. Video-Blogging and direct uploads from webcam supported too.
FlickLife counts among the handful of revenue sharing hosts that there are. You get to broadcast your own videos to the world at no cost at all and yet get some moollah in return. Features buddy lists. FlickLife is a privately owned company based in Columbus, Ohio.
Flukiest is an interactive community for sharing and managing digital media by artists, photographers, designers, musicians, writers, directors, producers, and technologists – which in other words mean it’s a photo and video
hosting service. There seems to be a tagging engine at large judging from the humongous tag-cloud you encounter on the front page. Other services include email, buddy list, forums, blog and a separate music video section.
FLURL allows you to upload and share videos under a set of pre-existing categories. Their rating system consists of a meter that displays the FLURL or HURL rating of a video. Adult content can be found profusely (there’s a separate above 18 section). Adult Filtering options are available but turned off by default for any new visitors.
Go Fish is a largish
site which helps you promote your directorial skills. The primary objective of this
site is to give you your 15 minutes of fame. Documentaries, comedies, spoofs, pranks, and even episodic dramas – all are welcome here. The interface is pretty dense (and dark) and will particularly appeal to the gamers. It’s pretty easy to use though. If you’re seeking a wide exposure for your work, this could be the host for you.
Jumpcut strives to make the uploading & sharing of videos and photos a fun and easy thing. Apart from instant publishing and user communities – Jumpcut has this unique Remix feature using which you can create your own version of someone else’s video without destroying the original work. For this they’ve made available a very easy-to-use and feature rich online video editing tool. At the end of your creative spree, you can let the community decide whether you’ve managed to outperform the original director.
This is a German service and the interface language is Deutsch. However, the registration process and controls are pretty similar to any of the common video hosts – so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to make your way around this one, even if you don’t know the language. Incidentally, there is a small link right at the bottom of the page that allows you to switch to the English version. Keep in mind though – majority of the audience is German.
A community based video sharing service with specialised channels where you can upload related videos. Consequently jumping channels brings up a horde of thematic videos. Permitted uploads include photos, audio tracks and videos. Features nearly unlimited (?) uploads – which in other words mean that they probably have paid, high-storage plans as well. There’s an inbuilt social networking feature in this and hence they allow you to deck up your profile in your own way using an advanced template creator. Drag & drop functionality for quick setup of photo / video journals.
Channels, Favorites, Subscriptions, Videos, Photos – nothing out of the place that can make this service really stand out. It’s got a good blend of general features including a Hit or Miss rating system. However, it’s probably one of the very few which offer direct recording from webcams (see Viddler and VideoEgg).
Myubo comes in four linguistic flavours – Czech, Deutsch, English and Slovak. It sports a mechanism to upload, view and share live and pre-recorded video via mobile 2.5G and 3G networks such as GPRS, EDGE, CDMA or UMTS, web and fixed IP networks. Pretty much covers the whole consumer wireless spectrum. Among offered features are channel based organisation, Mobile TV and user communities.
Revver has a clever mechanism that helps it track and monetize the uploaded videos as they spread virally across the internet – so “no matter where your creativity travels, you benefit“. Your uploaded video is paired with a targeted advertisement and the revenue is split 50/50 with you. Those who share and spread the videos get to keep part of the spoils too. 20% of the ad revenue is handed to them. Of particular interest to the developers is the Revver API, which allows one to build a video-sharing
site complete with user accounts, uploading, sharing tools and access to the full Revver library of videos. The bandwidth is covered by Revver and the ad revenue is split three ways – you, Revver and the content creator.
A basic hosting service with standard features and channel-based organisation. Allows adult content and has a SafeSearch filter in place. One upper it has compared to other services is that it allows for direct mobile based uploads through MMS (currently in UK & Europe only).
This is one service that I probably don’t have much to talk about. It’s part of the reknowned MSN Suite of online applications. Offers all the standard bookmarking, commenting, tagging, rating and sharing features and has it’s own flash-based player.
A service by iFILM that has an extensive library of movie clips, music videos, short films, video game trailers, action sports and its popular ‘viral videos’ collection. Since October 2005, it’s a part of the Viacom network – so one can definitely trust this one. Of course you can expect all the latest and hottest of the videos here and can upload your own too. Has clips of daily TV shows from around the world.
A video hosting service by DivX for people who love videos. DivX, if you remember, is the group which came up with a similarly named format of video encoding for online distribution. DivX videos can be of pretty high quality and are rendered through a custom player which is available as a plug-in for most famous browsers. According to the Stage6 team, “Anyone can become a publisher, anyone can build an audience and every video available on Stage6 is compatible with over 70 million consumer electronics devices from every major manufacturer, making it easy to play back Stage6 videos on your television or portable device.“
Tuberoo and its sister concern Shoutwire – both of which offer video hosting and sharing services. Tuberoo recently opened up the Beta Testing of its mobile video service which will send out one Tuberoo video to your mobile everyday. Adult & explicit content is allowed and there’s no SafeSearch filter in effect.
The name comes from the German word ??ber – which means “above” or “over”. The word migrated into English as uber and has come to mean. “super something that nothing is better than“. On similar lines, ??berme claims to be the ubercoolest place to showcase you uberific moments through photos, videos & blogs, form like-minded discussion groups to debate on uberhot topics or just chat the day away with your uberbuddies through their instant messenger. In short a high-flung social media site that contrives to capture the uber-elite netizens. Uberwap – a personal mobile portal keeps you connected on the move. Last but not the least – thoroughly customisable profile / homepage. Pretty ubertastic if you ask me !
Another site that offers all the standard features – video sharing & organisation, social networking, discussion groups, playlists, customisable profiles etc. There’s rating system in place with which you can vouch for other’s content. Allow for direct importing of videos from other hosting sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Grouper, Myspace etc. Has a couple of widgets & gadgets for your site / blog.
A site with simplistic but likable Web 2.0 style interface that allows you to upload, enhance and share your digital videos. Similar to VideoEgg, they offer a mechanism through which you can directly record / upload your videos using your webcam without requiring the use of any third-party recording tool. Viddler employs a mechanism which searches for content inside the videos, thus making your uploads search results relevant. Has their own flash-based player.
VideoEgg features one of the slickest interfaces I’ve come across and offers a bag of really useful online video manipulation tools (cropping, resizing, direct recording etc.). Allows sharing through email, direct HTML embedding and Permalinks. The videos are displayed through their own interactive embeddable flash-based player. High-end sites with > 1 million visitors per month can sign-up for a revenue sharing partnership where ads are displayed beside each video and the revenue handed down to the partner. Employs content-filtering to weed out inappropriate videos.
A basic video uploading and sharing site. Has the look & feel of YouTube in it’s teething stages. What’s with the outdated template design and grainy logos? Simplicity is good but eye-candy is the order of the day and in order to survive the web-age, you gotta indulge in it as quick as possible. Has a video rating system (on a scale of 10) that shows badges about the size of the Digg badges beside each video. Sports some pre-categorised sections like Funny, Music, Stupid, Amateur, Crazy etc. Photo uploads permitted too. Claims to allow unlimited uploads.
Another cool video hosting service that has been around since end 2004 and reflects the Web 2.0 genre of web-design. They share helpful pointers with you in case you’re lacking ideas regarding creation of unique video content. In action are a bunch of highly configurable privacy options with which you can create fine-grained access control lists to allow only select group of people to view your videos. In short, you choose who exactly sees which of your videos. Has personalised homepage where you can neatly arrange all of your favourite videos. Allows tagging of videos.
VuMe (most likely pronounced as View-Me) pays you for uploading quality content – video, audio as well as photos. Small banner ads are displayed beside each of these and the revenue generated when visitors watch your content and partly passed down to you. Every hit on your video, image, or audio clip counts.
Zeec is another German video hosting service that you won’t find so difficult to navigate around. This one too allows you to directly record / update videos off your webcam. The interface follows the Web 2.0 ideal and has a vague resemblance to the Last.FM music cum social networking site.
This one offers your own sub-domain under ZippyVideos to host your profile (e.g. profile.zippyvideos.com). Unlimited uploads are permitted pertaining to the fact that no single upload is greater than 20MB. Privacy options, video organisation and social networking are an integral part of the package.
Zoopy proudly presents itself as South Africa’s first video and photo sharing social network. It’s a pretty basic service with an easy-going note that can be spotted all over the site. There’s a standing challenge that attempts to coax the hidden director in you to come out into the limelight.
Did I miss out on any of the big ones? Feel free to leave a comment on your favourite one and I’ll add it to the list.