Videos and short clips are extremely powerful marketing tools. Video campaigns are getting more popular in corporate and B2B marketing. Videos can increase click-through rates significantly. But having put a lot of creativity into a video doesn’t mean it will perform well. Often, success of an online video marketing campaign is hindered by poor technical implementations.
Let’s face it, the technical aspects of video distribution are extremely complex. And solving the technical challenges involved in online video distribution are not a core competence of most corporate IT departments. It all boils down to 3 major challenges:
- Transcoding raw video material into different formats
- Fast video streaming to a global audience
- Embedding videos in your page with device recognition
Let’s look at each of those challenges in more detail and how an integrated solution with a digital asset management system looks like.
Transcoding raw video material into different formats
Before distributing a video, make sure you get ahold of the final cut without any compression. This will be a rather large file. 1+GB per minute is not unusual. Of course this file size is not suitable for online distribution as most consumers won’t have an Internet connection fast enough to stream that much data in real-time.
Still, you need the uncompressed video file so that you can transcode and convert it to different formats and resolutions. Unfortunately, there is no single format suitable for all kinds of devices. For modern devices, MPEG-4 with H.264 encoding is the preferred option, whereas Apple devices usually work best with QuickTime as container format. For older devices, you probably still need Flash video. Besides the different encodings, you probably also want to have renderings of the same format with different qualities to save on file size.
When creating the different formats, make sure to always derive each format from the original uncompressed video. Each conversion step reduces the quality of the derived video. It’s like in the old days of copying music tapes: You always tried to get hold of the original tape or LP when recording your “backup”. J
Transcoding a video from one format to another is a computing intensive task. Don’t expect your daily machine to do it in a couple of seconds. Instead, video transcoding is a task perfectly suitable for cloud services, which often make use of special hardware designed just for this purpose.
Setting up video transcoding can be a very frustrating task if you try to do it on your own. Usually, a conversion tool only supports a sub-set of the formats you need. Also, don’t underestimate the costs for such tools. Video formats are still evolving with H.265 and V9 already around the corner.
In sum, don’t try implementing it on your own. Instead, rely on specialized services!
Fast video streaming to a global audience
After generating the different formats of your video, your next step is getting the files distributed to the consumers. Unfortunately, you have to deal with 2 major problems here:
- Your audience might be globally distributed.
- There might be heavy spikes in demand.
Even if you plan to target a regional market like Germany, the video consumer might be on a business trip to China when the video pops up in his social network of choice. You want to make sure that video playback works great no matter where your consumer is currently located. You can only achieve that if you distribute your video via a global server network with edge locations in all major regions. Setting this up on your own is not only technically challenging, but also very cost intensive.
The problem gets worse as there might be spikes in demand. When your marketing campaign is successful, your video will get shared on social networks and via email resulting in sudden increase in video playback. You must ensure your server capacity is able to scale within seconds to service all consumers. They won’t come back to watch the video at a later point and they also won’t wait more than a few seconds for the video to start playback.
Again, unless you are working for an extremely large corporation with computing centers all over the world, don’t even think about solving these problems on your own. Instead, make sure your videos get served from a professional CDN (content distribution network) with edge locations all over the world.
Embedding videos in your page with device recognition
Once you have your video converted to different formats and are certain each rendition of your video can be accessed globally with lightning speed, are you done?
Not yet! You still need to embed your video in your website or blog. But which format of your video do you embed? How do you make sure visitors of your site get served with the best-suited format? And how do you make sure to change to a lower quality version if your consumer’s bandwidth drops during playback?
For all those situations, you will need an intelligent player you can embed in your page. The player will recognize the consumer’s device and current bandwidth. Based on this information, it will select the best format. The player will monitor playback performance and continue serving a different version of the video if bandwidth changes. Also, the player will support skipping to any position in the video the consumer wants. Besides, you also might want to show a selection of more videos after playback completes or allow the consumer to enable subtitles.
There are plenty of video players available on the market. If you assemble all the parts on your own, make sure the video player you select interfaces well with the CDN (Content Distribution Network) provider you selected before!
An integrated video marketing solution for digital asset managers
If you are serious about video marketing in a professional setting, you most probably already manage your digital assets like videos, images, banners, etc. in a DAM (digital asset management) system, for instance like Canto’s Cumulus.
With Cumulus, we partner with the video cloud experts of MovingIMAGE24 . Their video cloud frees you from all the technical challenges discussed above:
- Video cloud converts your video into all relevant video formats required.
- They stream your video via the leading Akamai CDN with more than 100,000 servers in 90 countries.
- They provide a customizable video player supporting device & bandwidth recognition, which you can embed easily in any website.
The Cumulus Video Cloud provides a seamless integration with this technology. Whenever you add a video to Cumulus, the video gets automatically transferred to the video cloud and the required formats are generated. As soon as you release your video, you get a simple embed code, which you put into your CMS. That’s all you need to implement a professional technical solution for online video marketing.
When you shop for a DAM system with video marketing capabilities, ask potential vendors tough questions about supported video formats, global video distribution, and embedding video in your website. And be wary of a long lists of irrelevant video formats other vendors support, without having a solution on how to serve those formats to your consumers!
See the Cumulus Video Cloud in action during our on-demand Video Management webinar.