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Developing an Online Video Marketing Strategy, Part 3: Distribution and Analytics

In this third installment of our series on online video marketing strategy, we'll begin with a discussion of the various distribution platforms you should consider when marketing your online videos, and also cover how to use metrics and analytics top refine your strategy going forward.

You've created a great online video, but how is it going to reach your audience? This is where you need to be strategic on the distribution platform you choose. You need to know where your audience is. Depending on the nature of your brand, your video, and your target audience, the best approach might be blended distribution--that is, posting your video to more than one channel. That can be a sound strategy, but if that’s the approach you take, you just want to make sure that you're creating content specific to those channels to get the most bang for your buck.

Choosing a Platform

Any distribution platform you consider really needs to meet some basic criteria. First, your video should allow for easy sharing, for easy commenting and easy viewer engagement. It’s intrinsic to the very nature of online video that it should be easy to share and easy to interact with, and any platform you use should encourage that. Obviously, this applies only if you’re distributing an external video that you can show to any type of audience. If it's a project intended only for internal distribution, then this feature isn’t relevant.

Also, as discussed in previous installments of this series, you want to make sure that your video includes some type of recommendation or call to action, and your platform needs to support it. Some type of a call to action--something that's clickable that can lead your viewer to a landing page or a website--is essential to an effective marketing video, whether it’s to hold the audience’s engagement, or to direct them to your website or get them to sign up for something. So you want to make sure that you have a platform that can drive action. Also, you want to use a platform that enables you to recommend videos related to what they're watching. That's a huge thing on YouTube. Keeping them on your page is going to increase your SEO and give you better results with the channels you’re using.

Another essential element of a viable platform is making sure that your video is mobile-ready. Cisco predicts that mobile video is going to make up 69% of all Internet traffic by 2018. That's a huge number, so it’s critical to choose a platform allows for your video to be played on tablets and smartphones.

Last but not least--and we'll delve into this later in the article--is selecting a platform that provides you with metrics, analytics, and visibility. YouTube is amazing in this respect. It's the second largest search engine on the web. It attracts one billion unique users per month. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network. If you're in the online video space, you have to pay attention to what YouTube is doing.

See the article Do’s and Don’ts for YouTube Publishers for a deeper dive into how to leverage YouTube more effectively in your video publishing and marketing efforts.

Instagram

Instagram is the second biggest social media tool in the online video space right now. It's been growing rapidly, and now boasts 200 million users. According to Simply Measured, Instagram videos created two times more engagement than Instagram photos in 2013--really huge numbers as far as how their videos are doing on that platform. I recommend using Instagram for short, snackable content, since the site limits you to a 15-second time span.

One great way to use Instagram is to push preview-style content. Create a trailer for a longer-format video that lives on YouTube or on your website, and then use it to drive people to watch the full video on your website or on YouTube channel. Overall, when working with Instagram, make sure you're keeping it visual, giving people a quick, behind-the-scenes glimpse and then driving them somewhere.

Another huge thing with Instagram is the use of hashtags. With hashtags, you can really home in on specific audiences that are relevant to your content and to your audience.

Social Media Channels

With social media, there's a wide assortment of different channels for you to put your videos on. One of the most important things with social media channels is to make sure you're keeping your lights on--that is, stay active on the channels that you're actually participating in. It's very easy to go through and sign up for accounts and create channels, but when your account becomes inactive, it can really dilute your brand and it's just not effective. I recommend picking 2 or 3 channels, knowing where your audience is and which ones they're using, and use those 2 or 3 channels well rather than maintaining a subpar presence on a bunch of sites.

Facebook is definitely moving in on YouTube as a platform for social video. They've been encouraging some of the most popular stars on YouTube to post original content to Facebook over the last few months. GoPro, which is one of the top online video channels on YouTube, has admitted to having regular conversations with Facebook. Definitely pay attention to what Facebook is doing if it's relevant to where your audience is and relevant to your videos.

One other thing I recommend with social media is to read the terms of service on all of the sites you use. They're all very different and you want to make sure that you're able to control and own your content. Different sites have different revenue-sharing arrangements, if they have them at all. Make sure that you really understand what they have to offer before you start integrating them into your video marketing strategy.

Related Articles
In this three-part series on developing, delivering, and leveraging online video for marketing purposes, we'll begin in this first installment with a look at creating content for market videos.
In Part 1 of this three-part series, we looked at content creation for effective online video marketing at the conceptual, strategizing stage. The next step, after you've decided what type of content you're going to create, is to start thinking about preproduction and the production cycle.
Here are some dos and don'ts for leveraging YouTube as a distribution platform.