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Three-quarters of millennials expect brands to be entertaining

Female_animal_trainer_and_leopardIf you had to describe your branded content in one word, what would it be? Informative? Engaging? Boring? (I hope not) Upbeat? How about entertaining?

In Facebook’s “Coming of Age on Screens” study, 72% of young millennials from all over the world said that’s what they expect from brands – entertaining content. That’s a lot to live up to. It’s a lot harder to be entertaining on command than it is to be informative but when you hit that sweet spot the returns are insane.

Evian’s crazy, roller skating babies video earned the company a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most viewed online ad ever, accumulating more than 25 million views in just two months. When they made that, they knew it was funny and highly entertaining, and I’m sure they hoped it would be a huge hit, but I doubt they expected it to blow up the way it did.

YouTube turns jukebox; beta tests ad-free subscription service

This morning, the folks at YouTube are singing a merry tune thanks to the launch of YouTube Music Key. This obviously music-oriented add-on comes in two sizes; free and ad free for $9.99 a month.

You heard it, YouTube is offering a subscription service. And though the subscription fee will only include music options, it’s a safe bet that if the beta test goes well, YouTube will try subscriptions site-wide.

YouTube Music

When you log on to YouTube, or launch the YouTube app, you’ll find a new tab marked Music. Here you’ll find trending music videos and top music by genre. What’s more interesting are the YouTube mixes like “Music for Every Mood” which includes playlists like “Swag Out” and “Morning Motivators”.  I had to check out the motivators and they’re right! These songs will get you going; U2 – Beautiful Day , Pharrell Williams – Happy, Katrina & the Waves – Walking on Sunshine and (for some odd reason) Bon Jovi – You Give Love A Bad Name.

Friday Roundup: Grumpy Cat, Twitter at the movies and more

grumpy cat christmasAnother Friday and a whole new month. Halloween is over and it’s full-speed ahead from now until New Year’s. For online sellers, these could be the most lucrative weeks of the year. For other types of online businesses, it’s just the opposite. Between the holidays and the travel and the parties, it can be hard to keep workers and clients on task. Trying to close a deal just days before half the people involved leave for a four-day Thanksgiving weekend is stressful and maddening.

My advice: (even if you didn’t ask for it) cut yourself some slack and enjoy the holidays. Easier said then done, I know, but give it a try.

In keeping with the less stress spirit, here are a couple of fun news stories from the world of online marketing.

Smartphones beat tablets for mobile video views

adobe mobile growth 2013In 2014,  194.5 million people in the U.S. watched at least one digital video per month. That’s 41.4% of the overall population. By 2018, eMarketer says that number will rise to include almost half the US population.

Going hand in hand with that, is the rise in mobile viewing.  According to the new Adobe Digital Index “U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report”, 20% of online video views in Q4 2013 came from mobile.

What’s surprising is that smartphones are now outpacing tablets as the preferred mobile method. Smartphone video starts are up 86% year-over-year while tablets are only up 23%.

Looking strictly at growth, nothing beats gaming consoles with 365% rise in views year-over-year thanks to XBox One and PS4. The latest news from that front is the addition of RealPlayer Cloud which allows you to stream all of your personal videos you’ve stored on RealPlayer through your XBox gaming system.

Majority of viewers would rather watch ads than pay to stream TV

When the DVR came along, advertisers worried about the impact it would have on the industry. If we give people the ability to skip the commercials, people are going to skip the commercials, right? Advertisers won’t keep buying time if no one is watching and without the ad revenue, TV networks couldn’t afford to pay for the TV shows they run and soon the entire system has collapsed and there’s nothing left but Pay TV and PBS.

Now here comes streaming and connected TVs and it’s a whole different story.  Crackle and Frank N. Magid Associates, just turned that story into a colorful infographic titled “The New Living Room: Year Two”. Here’s a piece:

Crackle Streaming TV

Tumblr announces 40 percent growth and a fancy new video player

Tumblr pop outsYou’ve heard of Pop-Up Video? Tumblr now has Pop-Out Video! I know that sounds like they’ve perfected an incredible 3D video player but no. . . .  What it really means is that you can pop the video out of any Tumblr stream so you can watch on a continuous loop while you skim your Tumblr feed. Instant second screen!

But that’s not all! Log on now and you can embed your Vine and Instagram videos absolutely FREE!

I know it looks like I made that cheesy graphic, but it’s actually a screengrab from the bizarre, intentionally (I hope) cheesy video Tumblr made to announce the new features. They do get points for a sense of humor, even their list of new features ends with a laugh. Good for them.

Snapchat to users ‘this is going to feel a little weird’

OuijaSnapchat launched their first in-app ad today and with it came the all-to-familiar, we hope this will save us, apology.

This one might be my all-time favorite:

This weekend we’re placing an advertisement in “Recent Updates” for Snapchatters in the United States. It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this because it’s the first time we’ve been paid to put content in that space. It’s going to feel a little weird at first, but we’re taking the plunge.

The app caters to young users and it has a reputation for naughty behavior, so I get the thinly veiled, double entendres but still. . . .

 An advertisement will appear in your Recent Updates from time to time, and you can choose if you want to watch it. No biggie. It goes away after you view it or within 24 hours, just like Stories.