Use YouTube’s InVideo Programming to brand your channel

Written by on Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tired of the ugly annotation boxes you can add to YouTube videos? YouTube recently launched their InVideo Programming tool that allows you to add graphical elements to any video.

Both the featured channel and featured video annotations will be displayed in the same way as regular annotations. Choose a custom channel avatar to display in the video using the Featured Channel option. You can upload any image file that will then link to your YouTube channel page.

If you want to promote your latest content, use the Featured Video option to display a thumbnail all your other videos. That can be a great way to leverage your old videos to give visibility to new content. Below is an example from The Kick Network, one of KLOK’s online video channels.

For a step by step guide, watch this tutorial by YouTuber S0NlC1:

Shoppable Video: Using YouTube Annotations for Social Commerce

Written by on Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Juicy Couture using external annotations to link to product pages in their latest video

With social media growing up, today’s core challenge seems to be how engagement, things like re-tweets, likes and video views, can be turned into sales. Google’s announcement of YouTube merch annotations went largely unnoticed in the media last week, even though it’s a major step in introducing shoppable video to the mainstream.

To those new to YouTube: video annotations are elements, mainly links and text boxes, placed on top of a video and shown while the video is playing. With standard internal annotations, anyone with a YouTube account can link from one video to another to connect two related videos, or promote their channel to turn viewers into subscribers.

YouTube’s new merch annotations, on the other hand, allow bloggers and other online micro-entrepreneurs to use videos for driving traffic to licensed merchandise they sell on e-commerce platforms like Spreadshirt, Shopify and iTunes. In practice, this means that an indie band can take fans shopping for music or band t-shirts directly from a video, free of charge – a prime example of social commerce in action.

Although merch annotations are somewhat groundbreaking, linking to external sites is not a new feature. It has been available for a few years to brands such as Juicy Couture, Nokia and ASOS in the YouTube External Annotations Beta Program and to nonprofit organizations in the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Although not as flexible, video call-to-action overlays have also been on offer to the broader advertiser base in YouTube markets.

Google knows that the easier it is for video publishers to attribute sales to videos, the more YouTube investment it will see. It needs to build a profitable business around shoppable video, but without the shopping distracting users from consuming more and more adorable user-generated cat videos and YouTube’s original programming.

With this in mind, Google recently optimized YouTube search for watch time, meaning it gives preference to videos that make viewers stay on the platform longer. It looks like going forward, commerce-minded publishers will have to balance between their desire to link out and getting people to spend more time watching branded content. Sounds healthy, doesn’t it?

ASOS is currently trialing with shoppable video on their brand channel. Only problem: the shopping elements do not work outside the YouTube custom channel page.

The New Era of Television

Written by on Friday, November 2, 2012

Evolution is inevitable. Internet TV is replacing television, digital is replacing film, reality TV is replacing reality.  We have made huge technological advances through the years but the way we think of storytelling a television series has essentially remained the same since the birth of TV. So what about the evolution of storytelling?

Recently The Kick Network released a video with Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings talking about the new era of television. Linear TV has dominated the industry and how we think of storytelling in the world of motion picture. But it is restricted by time and ad breaks, interrupting the natural rythm of a story. Hastings talks about Netflix revolutionising the way stories are told by providing storytellers with new platforms. Imagine a television show where every episode is of a different length, like chapters in a book, with no ad breaks and only one click away, accesible anywhere in the world.

On February 1st 2013 Netflix will release it’s first original series House of Cards directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. All episodes will be released the same time for every Netflix user in the world. How the creators of the show will utilize this new platform remains to be seen but they now have a tool where they are free to create something new and interesting that can completely change the game.

What is clear is that the way we will be able to tell stories online is changing and we are being provided with new and exciting tools where the only real restriction is our creativity. Our challenge now is to question the old ways of storytelling and come up with new and fresh ideas for these new platforms.