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It is the professional opinion of this blogger that Buzzfeed has won the content marketing war and that, shortly, they will rule the world. Resisting the brute efficacy of “listicles,” True Facts, and relatable gifs is – as I’m sure you realize – futile.

Between mobile and desktop users, the Buzzfeed website enjoys about 10 million unique visitors daily…and that’s on a bad day.

For the non-Mathletes in the audience, that’s 30% of YouTube’s total unique user traffic over the course of a month (which is 1 billion) – on a website that is younger, less prolific, and does not rely on user-generated content.

via reactiongifs.com

That share-of-voice takeover escalated quickly, am I right?

Obviously, BuzzFeed is not in competition with YouTube – instead, these two monolithic content platforms function as partners on this epic, shared journey of Social Media domination. And while their business models share little in common, the media giants are both swaddled and secure in the knowledge that they have perfected – together and independently – the Internet-reinforced concept of “content as communication.”

Pictured: YouTube and BuzzFeed’s concurrent sense of self-satisfaction. (via reactiongifs.com)

Both in Ze Frank’s 2013 Vidcon presentation and during Jonathan Perelman’s REEL Video Summit speech last week, the BuzzFeeders tip their hand by declaring that content should be made for how it is consumed – as a shareable form of communication. They’ve cleverly discerned that share-worthy content – taken holistically – keys almost exclusively into 3 drivers of human communication:

1. Identity (“this article/video communicates something about me or my life experiences better than my just telling you would.”)

2. Emotional gift (“this content made me feel X, I want you to feel X too.”)

3. Information (“HEY GUYS – this stuff is factual and cool.”)

By playing to these 3 share-driving principles, BuzzFeed has exploded in popularity over the last 24 months and has, perhaps more notably, rendered Google Search secondary to content discovery. In its place, Facebook – the gold standard of Social Media referral – now leads the bulk of users to BuzzFeed’s content watering hole.

The implications for SEO, by the way, are semi-staggering. (Source.)

Ahh, yes. Share-worthy content is indeed successful content. But, why? Is it because of the complex network of overlapping human needs resulting from our schizophrenic relationship with empathy? Is it because LOL cats have driven us to over-identify with memes? Is it because Ze Frank has perfected mass hypnosis from high up in his ivory, BuzzFeedian tower and we are all victims?

Nay, my friend – it is so much simpler than that.

Allow me to introduce you to oxytocin:

“Sup, bros. I’m basically the neurological foundation of human society and community sentiment. No biggie.”

Oxytocin is a fun little mammalian neuromodulator that most of you will more readily recognize as the “bonding hormone.” This is the stuff that gets mothers (naturally) high after childbirth, the stuff that gets you (naturally) high after sex, and that makes menial tasks like grocery shopping – when shared with someone you like – (naturally) less terrible.

Interestingly, oxytocin is released in small amounts into the human brain during 3 common, share-worthy experiences:

1. Social belonging.

2. Intimacy.

3. Information discovery.

Now, let’s play a game called, “Find the Synonyms.”

1. “Identity” = “Social belonging” (we reinforce our sense of self by seeking out external reinforcement and relationships.)

2. “Emotional gift” = “Intimacy” (shared feelings/experiences are the root of actual and perceived intimacy.)

3. “Information” = “Information discovery” (not really a synonym so much as exactly the same word.)

Wait a minute. Does that mean that BuzzFeed is just exploiting your fiendish biological addiction to oxytocin?!

Not at all, my dear reader – everything good on the internet is just exploiting your fiendish biological addiction to oxytocin. Whether it’s a Wikipedia loop or social media FOMO or LOL cats, your sustained interest is no more mysterious than is a mild heroin habit (for even less mystery, check out the structural parallels between oxytocin and heroin molecules).

Ain’t neurochemical stimulation neat? Evolution certainly thinks so – that’s, like, its entire community-building strategy.

In short, the secret sauce of successful content is also the secret sauce of all human endeavor – a high dependency liability.

Thanks for reading. I got you some oxytocin. (Source.)


More info means more oxytocin. Got a craving? Download vidIQ’s free Chrome Extension to see YouTube video analytics and a whole mess of metrics right in your browser.

Last week, industry insiders and industry newcomers mingled, saleswomen and salesmen schmoozed, a veritable lovefest erupted on Twitter under the never-quite-trending #ReelSummit – this was the 2014 REEL Video Marketing Summit.

And this is the highlight reel for the 2014 REEL Video Marketing Summit, carefully optimized with cat gifs.

Highlight #1: 8AM Advanced YouTube SEO & Audience Development for Marketers Workshop with Mark Robertson, Tim Schmoyer, Mark Ballek, and Derral Eves…Or, Everybody Just Wants to Talk to Tim Schmoyer

“That’s a fascinating insight, other panelists; but, I was mostly curious what Tim had for breakfast and if he thinks I’m pretty. #Reel Summit”

Source: http://gifak-net.tumblr.com/

Highlight #2: REEL Summit Intro Video – Evolution of Video Marketing…Or, Everyone Briefly Remembers that Weird/Awesome Poo-Pourri Viral Video from Last Year

“LOL – ‘you won’t believe the mother-load I just dropped’…wait, wasn’t that actually an ad for poop perfume? Yeah, 2013 was weird. #ReelSummit”

Source: facebook.com

Highlight #3: Googler Jon Klaff Addresses, “The Next Big Leap in Video Advertising”…AKA Envisioning a Dystopian Future Where All Consumers are Chronically Attention-Divided, Under-Slept, and Device Co-Dependent to the Point It Destroys All Traditional Marketing Paradigms

“Welcome to the new normal, populated largely by Millenials – a mutant race of Buzzfeed-addicted, Social Media drip-fed, 3-hours-of-sleep-a-night-getting, seamless-experience-demanding super-humans whose data we’ve been mining since they went through puberty. Also, that Brand Relationship Arc graphic is SO COOL. #ReelSummit”

Source: http://gifak-net.tumblr.com/

Highlight #4: BuzzFeed Presents, “Creating Content for How It’s Consumed”…Or, We All Erupt in Applause Over a Friskies Ad

“We don’t care if this video is inauthentic – our love for zefrank1 voiceovers is real. All hail Friskies! #ReelSummit”

Source: iheartcatgifs.tumblr.com/

Highlight #5: JW Presents, “New Innovations in Video Technology”…Or, I Can’t Even with Your Industry Advancements Right Now

“Jesus, we’re talking adaptive streaming, interactive & searchable transcripts, a friggin’ in-video table of contents…just stop – it is literally too much. #ReelSummit”

Source: http://gifak-net.tumblr.com/

Highlight #6: YouTube Strategies for Brands with Jonathan Hunt, Christine Ngo, Brendan Gahan, and Ross Everett…Also Known As the REEL Summit Drinking Game

“Shhhhhhhh – just take a shot any time I say ‘authenticity’, ‘community’, or ‘storytelling’… #ReelSummit”

Source: cats4everyone.tumblr.com/

Highlight #7: Closing Keynote – Is Your Company’s Culture Killing Your Video Marketing Potential?…Or, Sourabh Kothari & Peter Agnus Medlock are a Hyper-Natural Comedy Duo that Need to Start a YouTube Channel Immediately

“10/10 would hit ‘Like’ & ‘Subscribe’ so hard. #ReelSummit”

Source: cats4everyone.tumblr.com/

Highlight #8: Closing Reception & Party…Or, Everybody is Now Drunk

“So, I literally don’t even know how everybody got drunk. There were only 2 drink tickets included with summit registration. Wait – what’s in my hand? Is it Uber? #reeldrunk @ #ReelSummit”

Source: http://gifak-net.tumblr.com/

And that’s the skinny from the Visionaries here @vidIQ. The REEL Video Summit was an unqualified success, with cat gifs.

Be sure to join us next year, where they may or may not be providing more drink coupons with summit registration.

What about you, fellow REEL Video Summit attendees – do you have other favorite highlights? Feel free to write them in the comment section.


Want to watch awesome videos from the REEL Summit, with metrics? Download the vidIQ Chrome extension for in-browser analytics.

Let’s play a game. This game is called, “Spot the Legible Title.”

Here are the choices – you’ll probably want to remember them for later.

TITLE #1 | CAPACITOR EXPERIMENT EPIC FAIL

Title B: Epic Fail Video -- Funny Fail Compilation

Title #2 | Epic Fail Video — Funny Fail Compilation May 2014

Title C: epic fails of history #1

title #3 | epic fails of history #1

Despite the relative newness of online video and online video optimization, this game has been around for a while. From 17th-century book binders to modern-day web designers, the art of legibility has been passed down to each new generation of typographic engineers and enjoyed by everyday folk like you and me (who have little clue that they are being visually manipulated into rapid word comprehension).

What is legibility, exactly? In a nutshell, “legibility” is the quality of being clear enough to read.

Seems simple enough.

Presumably, if you can read English that should mean you can read English words in any typeface. In any letter case. With any stylistic modifications.

Right?

Okay, now try deciphering the names of all the roads that cross “Thames Street” on this 1736 map of London.

Well…maybe not.

Despite this map being written in Modern English (the kind we still read and write in) and using words familiar to most English speakers, the street names are hard to riddle out. Not impossible, of course – just more time-consuming than would be ideal for, say, catching the attention of a YouTube viewer.

Now, you may be thinking, “Come on, vidIQ blog. Obviously, no one is going to be writing YouTube video titles in Teutonic No.1 font with a 45-degree tilt on a #F7E2D1 hexadecimal background. That would be madness (especially since everyone knows YouTube uses Alternate Gothic No. 2 – jeez).”

If only it were that simple, dear reader. Because legibility isn’t just about font – it’s about LeTt3R Ca$iNg too.

For example, PowerPoint has all your letter casing needs covered.

For example, PowerPoint has all your letter casing needs covered.

Letter casing is legibility’s dirty little secret – while web designers try, retry, re-retry, and then meticulously align different fonts against their elegantly engineered landing pages, the real fight for reading comprehension is in the Social Media trenches. With preordained sans-serif letters flung across the World Wide Web in Facebook feeds, on Pinterest boards, and – yes – even on YouTube Watch Pages, user attention spans are shortening while legibility efforts are dwindling.

You see, unless text is completely legible, it takes longer to read. 

How much longer? A fraction of a second, maybe, for each imperfectly-legible letter. But second fragments, as any internet professional knows, are critical when potential consumers are scanning web pages, feeds, and search results. So, if you’re invested in your content’s text being quickly understood (or, really, being not simply ignored), it helps to type legibly.

To understand the effect of shrewdly-chosen letter casing, consider this…

long text strings that are written in lower case letters evoke a softness and nonchalance that is brutally absent when sentences, headlines, or paragraphs are written in all caps. alas, this softly sloped and undemanding case type is not ideal for rapid-scan readers hunting through dozens of videos. it turns out that, when reading titles or headlines, it takes a moment to visually adjust to words being so demurely typed.

AND, IN ADDITION TO CAUSING YOU SOMETHING OF A HEADACHE, TEXT SET IN ALL CAPS IS THE LEAST LEGIBLE BECAUSE HUMAN EYES RECOGNIZE WORDS BY BOTH THEIR SHAPE AND THEIR INCLUDED LETTERS. TYPING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ENSURES THAT EACH WORD HAS THE SAME SHAPE AND, THEREFORE, TAKES LONGER TO READ.

Finally, we have the eponymous Title Case: Human Language’s Gold Standard for Titles and Headlines.

User-anticipated and legible, title casing makes title-scanning a breeze. And while search rank is unaffected by a video title’s letter casing, you can be darn sure that Optimizing a Video Title for Human Eyes will affect viewer click-thru rates and reader comprehension.

Now that you have some typographical context, are you ready to play, “Spot the [Most] Legible Title”? You remember the choices:

TITLE #1 | CAPACITOR EXPERIMENT EPIC FAIL

Title #2 | Epic Fail Video — Funny Fail Compilation May 2014

title #3 | epic fails of history #1

So, my dear and clever and admirably patient reader, which title do you find most legible? And, which title would you click?

Feel free to leave answers in the comments or to address them in a strongly-cased letter to contact@vidiq.com.


Concerned that artful title casing is an incomplete video optimization strategy? Access more of the metrics that matter, right on the YouTube Watch Page, with vidIQ’s free Chrome Extension.

As Forbes contributor Rob Schwartz pointed out yesterday, this year’s World Cup was a global phenomenon rife with challenges for traditional marketing. It was a major televised sporting event with “almost no commercial-breaks for advertisers to showcase their message,” making it “incumbent upon marketers to think beyond TV.”

And, boy, did they ever!

With 45 brands spending more than $400 million to promote 97 campaigns, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil represents one of the largest marketing events in history. It also marks the moment that online advertising claimed a definitive victory over television.

Commentators are quick to evaluate the success or failure of these video marketing efforts in terms of “total views”, but at vidIQ we know video virality is more than views-deep.

To get to the heart of the matter, we’ve decided to pit the top branded YouTube campaign videos head-to-head and see who won the 2014 World Cup Battle of the Brands (in our humble opinion).

How, you may ask? We’re taking the most telling engagement metrics from our Chrome extension’s YouTube video report card and evaluating the real, hard-won, organically-viral winners of this momentous marketing match. We’ll assess…

Share date – time since the video was uploaded, for context and to assure all metrics are evaluated equitably.

Total views – the reported number of times a video has been viewed on YouTube. Be wary, however, since this number can be manipulated and views can be bought.

Minutes watched – total, aggregated number of video minutes watched by YouTube users, regardless of whether or when the video was abandoned. Be wary here too, because creators can withhold this data – sometimes to protect proprietary information and sometimes to obscure a paid viewing campaign.

vidIQ score – this is an optimization score applied to every YouTube video according to our proprietary, cross-platform algorithm that predicts the video’s likelihood of promotion in Related Videos, Search, Recommended Videos, and more.

Creator suggested –  this metric monitors the relative number of videos that YouTube is linking back to a publisher’s own channel, and is a fair indicator of a channel’s level of management or sophistication. Read a more detailed explanation of “Creator suggested” here (if you’d like).

True engagement – the Gold Standard of video marketing metrics, this key YouTube performance indicator crunches the numbers on every social media share and linked referral to a specific YouTube video, relative to its number of views. In a nutshell, “true engagement” shows us what portion of the audience found a video share-worthy.

Tags – these keywords are intended to make videos more searchable or “related” on YouTube and, in the best of cases, are part of a more targeted SEO strategy.

Now, let the games begin!

Battle Athletica | adidas vs. Nike

The contenders.

adidas YouTube campaign video | Messi's Dream

adidas YouTube campaign video | Messi’s Dream

+

Nike YouTube campaign video | "Winner Stays"

Nike YouTube campaign video | “Winner Stays”

The score.

YouTube stats | adidas vs. Nike

YouTube stats | adidas vs. Nike

 The champion.

Nike wins by the power of true audience engagement, which is undiluted despite its high number of views.

Battle Auto | Hyundai vs. Kia

The contenders.

Hyundai YouTube campaign video | "Avoidance"

Hyundai YouTube campaign video | “Avoidance”

+

Kia YouTube campaign video | "Football vs. Futbol"

Kia YouTube campaign video | “Football vs. Futbol”

The score.

YouTube stats | Hyundai vs. Kia

YouTube stats | Hyundai vs. Kia

The champion.

Despite significantly lower total views, Hyundai wins for its unprecedented true engagement numbers – 1 in 10 viewers shared this video.

Battle Royale | Coca-Cola vs. McDonalds

The contenders.

Coca-Cola YouTube campaign video | "One World, One Game"

Coca-Cola YouTube campaign video | “One World, One Game”

+

McDonald's YouTube campaign video | "Trick Shot"

McDonald’s YouTube campaign video | “Trick Shot”

The score.

YouTube stats | Coca-Cola vs. McDonald's

YouTube stats | Coca-Cola vs. McDonald’s

The champion.

McDonald’s wins handily, in a competition so lopsided that it might trigger some PTSD from the Germany vs. Brazil semifinal.


Want more insights on your favorite FIFA videos and more? Download our free Chrome extension or explore our premium software suite.

Creator Suggested is a new metric we’ve been running in our Chrome Extension for the last couple of months. It’s a surprisingly powerful new metric that monitors the amount of videos YouTube is recommending back to a publisher’s own channel, and while that may not sound like much, it says a ton about your channel’s success.

Budweiser_Super_Bowl_XLVIII_Commercial_--__Puppy_Love__-_YouTube-2

In the Budweiser Super Bowl Puppy Love video, we’re tracking a rating of 4/20, meaning 4 of the 20 videos YouTube is recommending after the video and on the sidebar are also on the Budweiser channel.

It’s not as glamorous as some other metrics, but this has huge implications for channel (and thus brand) engagement. Think about it: someone loved your video and watched it to the end, but then what? Either they hit the search bar to find something similar (which is probably going to be on someone else’s channel), or they’re so engaged they can’t help but click to watch another in the recommendations. The more of those videos that are on your channel, the higher the total views your channel will receive when those videos explode, and the better your brand sticks with each viewer.

Breaking Down the Score

4/20: This is the lowest Creator Suggested rating a channel can have and a sign the channel isn’t focused enough on playlists, proper metadata, and annotations.

6/20 – 10/20: You’re on your way! We’ve seen great channels averaging around here, like The Verge and American Express.

12/20 – 16/20: If you’re here, you’re killing it. This channel is likely in the ranks of Red BullBuzzfeed, and Old Spice.

20/20:  At this point, you’ve likely been “whitelisted” by YouTube. We’ve seen some huge non-profits, political parties, and brands spending a significant amount on YouTube to get here. ARDrone, Nintendo, and The Olympics are great examples.

An Example of Creator Suggested at Work

As of writing this, we are seeing the University of Minnesota have a very viral moment with Guy Pulls Out Sign on Gophers Kiss Cam. They worked to get a 19/20 on Creator Suggested, and that will pay off as this video drives a massive amount of views and increased watch time throughout their YouTube channel. That’s more watches, shares, and engagement with their canon of videos, leading to exponentially more total views as people continue flocking to them.

If you take a second to look through the channel, you can see they didn’t get here by luck, or even a huge budget. They just consistently upload content, grow their subscribers, annotate, and actively playlist content.

There’s no secret to success like this, just sound YouTube marketing practice. And sound practice starts with the right data to build it on, which can all be yours with the vidIQ Chrome Extension.

Don’t have the vidIQ Chrome Extension? Make sure to download it here.

Want more insights on your own channel? Signup for our full video marketing suite.

We get a lot of questions about what metrics we use to calculate the vidIQ Score in Vision, our awesome YouTube Chrome extension for brands and creators. The short answer is – a lot! It’s Big Data science, really. The long answer is, everything here:

Watch Time
  • Average Watch Time
  • Views
Metadata
  • Titles
  • Tags
  • Description
Popularity of Creator
  • # of Subscribers
Virality
  • Facebook Likes
  • Facebook Comments
  • Facebook Shares
  • Tweets
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google+
Recency
  • Age of Video
Engagement
  • YouTube Likes
  • YouTube Comments
  • Subscriptions Driven

Of course, all these metrics aren’t weighted equally – for the curious mind, here’s a live action reenactment of how vidIQ mad scientist/CTO Todd Troxell came up with the vidIQ Score formula:

How Do I Improve My vidIQ Score?

Since the purpose of the vidIQ Score is to judge the likelihood of your video surfacing in YouTube Search, Related Videos, and the Front Page, the best way to improve it is to focus on discoverability. That means Tags, Average Watch Time, Subscribers, Views, how old the video is, and social engagement metrics are mighty important! To improve these metrics, boost your discoverability on YouTube, and increase your Score check out this article by our CEO Rob Sandie on Five ways to organically grow your YouTube audience, sign up for vidIQ, and keep on creating!

For more information on vidIQ Vision check out the White Paper or download the extension here.

As we all know success on YouTube is about more than just views. There’s a lot of confusion about what metrics YouTube marketers should be paying attention to, so we developed vidIQ Vision to eliminate that confusion. Just install our Chrome extension and we provide you with key insights into what the top creators are doing to drive growth, increase engagement, and create viral content.

How It Works

So for every video you view on YouTube (not just yours) you’ll now see the vidIQ Vision “widget” that ranks every video with vidIQ’s proprietary Score as well as shows you Key Performance Indicators, including:

  • vidIQ Score: Helps judge the likelihood of a video being promoted in Related Videos, Search, and Recommended Videos.

  • Average Watch Time: You’re now able to see Watch Time not just for your own videos but for any video you’re looking at.

  • Facebook Likes/Shares/Comments: See how many times someone on Facebook has Liked, Shared or included your video’s URL in a comment.

  • Tweets: See how many times someone has included your video’s URL in a Tweet, as well as the actual tweets themselves.

  • Words Per Minute: WPM shows you how many words per minute a video has. According to our dataset (from 8k+ channels) the most successful videos have higher WPM (~220). In other words, the faster you talk & the more jump cuts you add the more engagement + views you’ll get (surprising, I know!). This would explain why Jenna Marbles talks so fast (people have short attention spans!).

  • Tags: YouTube recently started hiding video tags. We surface them. This is extremely valuable for brands (if I’m Pepsi I probably want to see what Coca Cola is tagging their videos with).

  • Description Link Count: We tell you the best number of links to add.

  • Description Word Count: We tell you whether your description is too short or just right.

Chrome users can install vidIQ Vision for free by visiting www.vidiq.com/vision

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