Tuesday Oct 15, 2013 by Allen Bonde - Partner, Digital Clarity Group
The rich media revolution is here. Demand for video content continues to grow, and thanks to smartphones (and webcams) nearly everyone can be a video star. Meanwhile, innovations in online video production, distribution, and storage have brought broadcast quality content, programming and campaigns within reach of companies of nearly every size.
Of course we often think about consumer content when we think of online video, and with the explosion of apps like Vine and Snapchat, and streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, it seems like everyone is consuming online video – especially on their mobile devices. In fact, Nielsen reports that “nothing is growing faster than the adoption of portable devices and the consumption of content on these devices” in its ongoing cross-platform research.
For digital marketers, online video - especially short-form – is appealing because it cuts through the clutter, and can be uniquely effective at engaging audiences and telling a story (Jason Thibeault from Limelight has some great tips in this video). This is certainly appealing to consumer brands looking to reach increasingly distracted consumers, but arguably even more important to B2B companies looking to engage prospects at the top of the funnel, establish thought leadership, and keep buyers interested and informed throughout the sales cycle.
Video Marketing Works
Regardless of whether you are trying to reach new audiences or establish thought leadership as a B2B brand, online video offers several advantages compared to plain-old web content and other media:
Computers and humans both like video: Traditionally, video content is more likely to be on Google’s first page, while emails with embedded video content are more likely to be opened and clicked (see this post from our friends at HubSpot on power of visual content to boost email clickthrough).
Video makes people buy more stuff: Beyond views and shares, video content motivates online visitors to stick around and follow up with your call to action. In fact, people stay on websites 5 times longer with video according to DigiDay, while viewing product videos often makes consumers more likely to buy.
Rich media is portable and reusable: With the right content strategy one video shoot can produce multiple segments, which can each be post-produced into formats for YouTube, Facebook, podcasts, etc.
Boston Area Firms at the Front Lines
From online video platforms, to ad networks, content marketing agencies and innovators at the front lines of social TV and video analytics, Boston has become a hub for rich media thinking and doing. Here are six of these firms that I’ve had an opportunity to collaborate with or track in my coverage of the rich media space:
Akamai - a pioneer in web content delivery, Akamai has been a staple of the Cambridge tech scene. Competing primarily with EdgeCast and Limelight, Akamai’s recent acquisitions (Contendo, Blaze, Verivue, etc) have broadened the company’s cloud, mobile, and security offerings.
Brightcove - founded by Web development tools legend Jeremy Allaire, Brightcove is now one of the leading online video platforms. Recently embracing the content marketing/CEM bandwagon, the firm has partnerships with local CMS vendors Acquia, Bridgeline, and Ektron among others.
Hill Holliday - while there are a number of area agencies with online video chops, only Hill Holliday has social TV guru Mike Proulx on staff, and hosts the TVnext gathering of industry insiders each year.
Pixability - founded by entrepreneur and Sloan grad Bettina Hein, Pixability has become a rising star in the YouTube marketing and advertising arena.
The Pulse Network - under the direction of sports media personality Butch Stearns, the TPN studio was an early player in social TV programming (with contributors ranging from Chris Brogan to Steve Garfield), and has re-focused on creating rich content for B2B clients like Rockwell and SAP.
Visible Measures - founded by Allaire alum (and Tufts and Sloan grad) Brian Shin, Visible Measures is a leading video ad platform and audience measurement powerhouse, and has embraced a data-driven approach to connecting with viewers that leverages the power of big and small data.
Beyond these firms, I know there’s many others in the area and new players as well. I’d love to hear about them for my research and future write-ups if you'd like to reach out to me on Twitter or add a comment below.
Allen Bonde is a Partner and Principal Analyst at Digital Clarity Group, a co-founder and advisor to Offerpop, and a 3-time CMO. He loves helping early-stage ventures with their strategic positioning, social marketing, and channel development, and tweets at @abonde.