Video Marketing Trends in 2012


I’ve been asked to make a few predictions about the future of video. As Yogi Berra might have said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Nevertheless, I’ve learned a thing or two from the author of such books as “When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!” (2001) and “You Can Observe a Lot by Watching”(2011).

The first is: When you’re asked to make predictions, just say, “Thank you for making this day necessary.” And the second is: When you get around to making those predictions, remember, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”

So, with that clearly understood, let’s look at a couple of the video marketing trends that we can expect to see in 2012.

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

According to comScore Video Metrix, 184 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in October 2011 for an average of 21.1 hours per viewer. A year earlier, comScore reported that 175 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in October 2010 for an average of 15.1 hours per viewer.

So, it’s safe to predict that up to 5.1 percent more Americans will be spending close to 39.7 percent more time watching online video content a year from now. That would be about 193 million Americans, who will be watching roughly 29.4 hours per viewer in October 2012. Hey, it will be an election year.

In addition, comScore reported that Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at, ranked as the top online video content property in October 2011 with 161 million unique viewers. Google Sites also demonstrated the highest engagement with 7.1 hours per viewer.

A year earlier, comScore reported that Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at, ranked as the top online video content property in October 2010 with 146.3 million unique viewers. Google Sites also had the highest average time spent per viewer at 4.5 hours back then.

So, I think it’s safe to predict that no other online video content property will be ranked No. 1 a year from now. But, will comScore still be referring to the top property as Google Sites? already represents more than 99 percent of video viewing at Google Sites, while Google Videos represents less than 1 percent. And, “YouTube” is now featured in the new drop-down menu on Google, while “Videos” is now hidden under the “More” option.

So, I expect to see YouTube’s share of video viewing at Google Sites to rise up to 99.9 percent over the next year, while the share of Google Videos will wither away to 0.1 percent. As President Barack Obama would say, “This is not class warfare; it’s math.”

“It’s déjà vu all over again”

Back in August 2009, Yossi Matias, Niv Efron, and Yair Shimshoni of Google Labs, Israel, posted a paper entitled On the Predictability of Search Trends. Their paper included the following observations:

  • Over half of the most popular Google search queries are predictable in a 12 month ahead forecast.
  • Nearly half of the most popular queries are not predictable.

Based on the findings in this paper, Google introduced a forecasting feature in Insights for Search. For example, add the search term, snow, and you’ll see that web search interest in the United States is forecast to spike in February 2012 and again in December 2012.

So, what other search trends are we able to predict for the coming year? Well, Google Insights for Search forecasts that web search interest in April Fool’s Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Christmas will spike in the United States on those holidays in 2012.Now, monthly search term volumes in YouTube are often different than the number of local monthly searches on Google. But, in a post entitled, “How Soon Till Spring? ,” Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends manager, observed, “According to YouTube data, searches for ‘snow’ videos generally peak in December, which could mean that while we like to take in the winter weather when it first arrives, we are not excited about looking at more if it after the holidays.”

This means video marketers can start planning now to create what the YouTube Creator Playbook, which compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies to build greater audiences on YouTube, calls “tent-pole programming.” In other words, they can plan to create and release content themed around tent-pole events like these holidays.

“It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

Of course, there are a lot of things that I can’t predict. These include if or when YouTube will roll out any of the recipes and concoctions that its engineers and developers are working on inTestTube, its ideas incubator.

One that I’m hoping will make it soon is Insights for Audience, which helps you discover what different audiences like doing on YouTube.

Another thing that is hard to predict is which of the 100 new original channels that have already started to appear on YouTube will go on to be successful in 2012. Many in the mainstream media are betting that it will be the channels created by well-known personalities and content producers.

But I’ll bet that it will be the channels created by some of the most innovative up-and-coming media companies as well as some of YouTube’s own existing partners. They don’t need to read the YouTube Creator Playbook. In many cases, they created the plays.

Nevertheless, 30 years ago, when cable television expanded our viewing possibilities from just a handful of channels to hundreds, few predicted that MTV, ESPN and CNN would go on to bring us some of the most defining media experiences of the last few decades.

So, whether Yogi Berra said it or not, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.



What’s the Secret to Video SEO?


Ever since Google, Yahoo and Microsoft went “universal” with their search results in 2007, search marketers have been looking for ways to optimize their non-web-page assets, like images, press releases, blog posts and videos.

Getting into the video OneBox results can be an effective alternative route to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), especially for competitive keywords. Google is now showing videos in search results in at least 11 different OneBox formats, ranging from a single video to a “7-pack,” and Bing is experimenting with video units beyond its standard 4-pack as well.

To better understand how search marketers can optimize videos to increase their chances of appearing in Google and Bing universal SERPs, Minnesota-based online marketing agency aim Clear undertook a study in Q1 2011 to perform keyword research for video optimization on behalf of its multi-national clients.

The study, conceived by aimClear account manager Manny Rivas, looked at 978 keywords in 24 categories, selected by YouTube search frequency. Categories included Business, Games, Home & Garden, Sports and Travel. The keywords were tested by data extraction in Google and Bing to see which ones triggered the inclusion of video results.

The same keywords were also tested on Google Video, Bing Video, Yahoo Video, YouTube, Daily Motion, Vimeo and to see where the videos included in the Google and Bing universal search results ranked on each video site.

Some of the goals of the study were to find out which video sites were worth submitting and optimizing videos for, to see if rankings on video sites had any correlation with inclusion of a video in Google and Bing universal SERPs, and to see how keyword intent would affect inclusion of video in universal search results, according to Marty Weintraub, CEO of aimClear.

The results of the study, which aim Clear is releasing in a whitepaper, found that successfully ranking a video in Google or Bing’s universal search results comes down to 3 main factors: platform distribution and ranking, video site-specific optimization, and keyword query intent.

While YouTube results dominate both Google and Bing SERPs, the study found that other video sites like Bing Video, Daily Motion, and Metacafe are worth pursuing. This is especially true when you consider that, in addition to broadening your audience and reaching more potential customers distributing your video on multiple platforms can also help you rank on Google and Bing.

As aimClear discovered, universal video SERPs platform allocation extends beyond YouTube, especially in Bing.

Videos that showed up in Google’s universal search results came primarily from YouTube (84%), but they also came from Daily Motion (3%), Metacafe (2%), Google Video (1%), and any of 100 others, which collectively made up 10% of videos in Google SERPs.

For Bing, YouTube supplied just 38% of videos in its SERPs, followed by Bing itself (37%), then several professional music video and news sites, including Vevo (9%), Fox News (4%), CNN (3%), Blastro (2%), and Reuters (2%). All other sources combined supplied the remaining 5% of videos.

These results show that there are options beyond YouTube, and distributing a video to multiple video sites can increase the chances of its inclusion in universal search results in Google and Bing.

Video Site-Specific Optimization

One of the goals of the study was to find out if there was a correlation between a video’s ranking on a video site and its inclusion in Google or Bing SERPs. As it turns out, aimClear found a direct relationship – all of the videos that were included in Google and Bing SERPs for the keywords that aimClear tested also appeared on the first page of the video site that Google or Bing got it from.

The results that were shown in universal SERPs were not always the top results on the video site, but they always appeared on the first page of results, the study found. Spending the time to optimize titles, descriptions, and keyword tags can pay off in first-page placement, which the study determined is the first step in getting a video to rank in Google and Bing SERPs.

Keyword Intent

Some of the most groundbreaking elements of the study look at the relationship between keyword intent and video inclusion. For the results of the keyword intent study, as well as additional findings, you can download the whitepaper here.

Understanding how query intent impacts whether videos are returned in universal SERPs can eliminate weeks of misguided optimization work, Weintraub said. “Everybody’s tagging their YouTube videos trying to get into keyword spaces without taking into consideration the keyword’s query intent, but sometimes that’s just not going to happen,” he said. “If you choose the right keywords you have a much better shot at placing the video in Google and Bing’s universal organic SERPs.”

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