Category Archives: YouTube

Reel Deal Monday: Big Things Are Within Reach, Nina Blanco

This post was originally featured on mStonerblog.com

Profiling current students is one of the easiest ways to show prospective students the potential opportunities available at your institution. This idea isn’t rocket science, but it can have a big impact. Here is the second video in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s new series “Big Things Are Within Reach.”

Perceived Goals

  • Sharing opportunities available for students attending SIU with prospective students. (“This could be you!”)
  • “This series focuses on students gaining hands-on experience and pursuing their goals,” stated Tamarah Cook, manger of social media at SIU.
  • Tamarah added that this series directly supports SIU’s overall branding messages.

Evaluation

  • “Big Things Are Within Reach” videos are created and produced by students on the Social Media Team. Awesome! Giving capable students a project like this is really smart. They’re in touch with the current student body, have the ability to easily find these unique stories, and the end result will often look more authentic.
  • If you aren’t required to have a three to five second intro of your institution’s logo, get rid of it. You can always put your logo at the end of the video or add a small watermark over your frames in the beginning. The first five to ten seconds are critical to retaining your viewers. In some ways I consider those intro-logos to be a punishment!
  • I love the b-roll and effects selected for the beginning of the video. Making it clear very quickly that Nina’s story is unique and taking place outside the typical academic setting was a smart decision. As a viewer, I’m curious to see and hear more.
  • The shots of Nina in action are interesting and fun. Filming the interview from her DJ chair enhances the story and provides authenticity. Smart visual choices!
  • When you’re profiling current students with web video it is really important to select people who will be natural and relatable in front of the camera. Nina was a great choice.
  • Layering music or other audio underneath a person speaking is a common practice, but you have to be really careful to not distract viewers from what is being said. The music was well selected for Nina’s video profile, but overall it needs to be toned down. Many video editors will auto-adjust layered tracks for you, known as “ducking.” Make sure you manually re-adjust if necessary. In fact, you might have to reduce the volume of your layered tracks to different levels throughout the video depending on how loudly the person on camera is speaking. Once you have all the audio tracks properly layered and adjusted, always give the entire video one final listen, with you eyes closed. It’s amazing what you might pick up when you remove the sense of sight and just focus on listening.
  • It’s important to select your visual effects wisely. Too many transitions, flashes, or filters can be a bit overwhelming.
  • Perfect length.
  • More could have been done with the description and tags. What if a student wants to take Nina’s path? What is the next step? Why not provide a link to her major’s academic page? And better tagging will increase the likelihood that other videos from this series will appear in the side column of related videos.
  • In case a prospective student discovers these type of videos on your YouTube channel, create YouTube playlists for your video series when two or more videos are posted.
  • In case a prospective student randomly stumbles across this video, don’t make it difficult for them to discover the rest. Using YouTube annotations you can quickly and easily link to the rest of the videos in your series.

Results

  • This video fits well into the theme “Big Things Are Within Reach.” And Nina is a great example of a SIUC student pursuing special opportunities.
  • The video has received a modest number of views.
  • Selecting a title for the series that is in line with other branding efforts allows SIUC to take advantage of SEO opportunities. For example, notice the first sentence on the how to apply page.

Rating

rating 7.5

My rating for this video is a 7.5. The video series is a fantastic idea to enhance the “Big Things” tagline and profiling Nina was a smart decision. I took into account that this series is student created and produced, but there were some audio issues and other minor details that prevented me from giving the video a higher score. Overall, it is an interesting and enjoyable video to watch.

Thanks for sharing this series, Tamarah!

Don’t forget to submit a video from your institution.


Reel Deal Monday: If you can… You can go to Brock

Sometimes dealing with criticism head-on is the best approach. The saying goes: “If you can walk and talk, you can go to Brock.”

Karine Joly covered this video when it published in February 2011. Read her Q&A with Kevin Grout, Marketing and Communications Manager, for a background on why and how the video was produced.

Perceived Goals

  • Address the misperception that Brock University accepts anyone who applies.
  • Highlight the intelligent and engaged community at Brock.
  • Positively enhance the University’s reputation.
  • Incorporate into undergraduate recruitment initiatives.

Evaluation

  • Someone very smart chose to begin and end the video with one woman stating, “You know how the saying goes.” (Was that you, Kevin?) This is effective at the beginning because once viewers recall the full taunt, they are bombarded with Brock students and faculty sharing their academic accomplishments. Unless you’ve brushed up on your SAT-vocab recently, a first-time viewer might become overwhelmed with the academic opportunities and might not understand everything being presented. The quick pace of the video contributes to that feeling. By the end of the video, when one can’t help but think, “Wow, there is a lot going on there…” the first woman reappears. This time when she says, “You know how the saying goes,” the viewer realizes the full absurdity of the taunt.
  • One criticism. I wish they’d highlighted a physically disabled student who is succeeding academically… even though they can’t “walk.”
  • My favorite clip: I loved how Brock got the point across that they attract leaders and people who think for themselves. It was powerful to say “If you aren’t one of these…” followed by an image of a sheep. The message was clear and clever.
  • I think it’s interesting that Brock chose to use an image of a closing door to accompany the latter half of the statement, “Fall in love or lust.” But hey, it’s college.
  • Warning, this is really picky. The timing of “supportive” around 1:06 and the person’s hand touching his friend’s shoulder was perfect. Combining sensory cues has a huge effect for the viewer, whether they realize it or not.
  • I like the text they selected for the video description. It strikes a balance between being friendly and inspiring.
  • This video was very well produced. Audio, visuals, length, pace… it’s all works together seamlessly. Kevin shared with Karine that a professional crew shot the video, but the concept and script were developed internally.

Results

  • Nearly 30,000 views is nothing to sneeze at.
  • Unlike many higher ed videos I’ve seen, this one actually received comments. It is great to see that Brock took the time to respond to some comments from the institution’s account and individuals associated with the project left their responses too. (And for what it is worth, I think it was a smart decision to avoid some of the more ridiculous conversations.)
  • I’d be curious to hear more from Kevin on whether or not they feel the video helped counter misperceptions.

Rating
rating 9.5

It isn’t easy to tackle tough subjects head on and I commend Brock for having the guts to produce this video. This video receives a 9.5 rating because it was edgy, smart, and well-produced.

What rating would you give this video and why? Leave a comment below.


Reel Deal Monday: A day in the life of Gettysburg College, Leap Day Photo Project

This post was originally featured on mStonerblog.com

I love starting my week with video. Here’s one from Gettysburg College. What better day than Leap Day to capture campus life via photos and short video?

Perceived Goals

  • To showcase life on Gettysburg College campus.
  • I believe there are broader purposes for this video than simply using it as a recruitment-focused marketing tool.

Evaluation

  • If I was giving out points, I’d give Gettysburg 279 points for creating an interactive and integrated social media campaign for the Leap Day Photo Project. Not only was this video shared on Gettysburg.edu and YouTube, the College promoted the project on Facebook and encouraged user photo submissions on Tumblr and on a special Posterous account for the project.

Facebook Gettysburg College

  • YouTube Insights gives valuable information into the success of your videos. As a regular viewer, I am able to view the top three gender + age demographics for any YouTube video. Of course, when you are trying to recruit a traditional undergraduate student the goal is to have “Female 13-17″ and “Male 13-17″ among the list. A day in the life hit a home run with the “Female 13-17″ demographic. I’m going to roll with awarding arbitrary points and grant Gettysburg 78 points for connecting with half of their target market.
  • As you know from my last review, I think it is extremely important to update description, tags, and the category for YouTube videos. Because this project has an interactive component, I think Gettysburg should have encouraged photo submissions with a link to Posterous or Tumblr right within the video description. And why isn’t “Leap Day” a tag? 40 points awarded for not leaving these sections blank. 18 points taken away for missing an opportunity.
  • The length is perfect. The video moves along and the visuals are nicely timed with the music. (Little details like that make all the difference.) This is the type of video where length can easily get away from you, so kudos for keeping it to just over one minute.
  • Campus looks great, students look happy, and a woman was wearing a Gettysburg hoodie. “Duh,” you might be thinking, “why would I show trash or unhappy faces?” Well, getting these images isn’t as easy as you might think when you are snapping candid photos and shooting random video clips. And most of the photos and videos have that raw, “I just pulled out my iPhone” feel.
  • Academics, athletics, and food. I think my one complaint is every photo or video can be placed into one of those categories. What about the impressive performing arts groups? Or photos of students volunteering with the local youth?

Results

  • By sharing the video in multiple places, the view count is over 1,000.
  • I’m wondering if Gettysburg can attribute new photo submissions on either Tumblr or Posterous directly to this video. (Paul, are you out there? Have any insights?)

Rating

rating 9

I give this video a 9 because Gettysburg paid attention to details. Lining up the images and music may have been something a less-experienced video editor would have overlooked. And this video will be easily repurposed, increasing the return on investment. The length is perfect and I walk away feeling good about life on campus at Gettysburg.

Paul Fairbanks, Director of Web Communications, Communications and Marketing, submitted this video and says, “We feel the video was successful in both capturing the day and reflecting life at Gettysburg College. We are pleased with the view count and will re-use the video in the future.” Well done, Paul.

What rating would you give this video and why? Leave a comment below. And don’t forget to submit a video from your institution.


Reel Deal Monday: Pop quiz: the beginning

This post originally appeared on mStonerblog.com

Confession: I had every intention to feature the latest video from the Boston College Minute video series, “Problem in A minor.” The BC Minute series produced by Ravi Jain consistently tops my list for effective, interesting, and engaging web video content.

I went to Boston College’s YouTube channel to get the embed code for Problem in A minor and their feature video Pop quiz: the beginning started to play. And I was instantly hooked.

Usually I am not a fan of using auto-play and I never suggest clients take that approach with their YouTube channel. But I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have thought to watch the video otherwise, because I was on a mission to find another link.

Please note, I have not interviewed BC staff about the production, goals, or outcomes of Pop quiz: the beginning.

Perceived Goals

  • To educate current students, prospective students, and the greater Boston College community about the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
  • I do not believe using this video as a recruitment-focused marketing tool for the institution was a primary goal.

Evaluation

  • The video is funny. I see a diverse student population, a beautiful campus, and students who seem friendly, interesting, and most importantly–real. I don’t care if they can spell Sesquicentennial (heck, I’m not sure I can either!) but it is funny watching them try.
  • The video is fast-paced, the audio is high-quality, and even though Pop quiz is nearly 4 minutes long–my attention was held the entire time.
  • The host does a great job interacting with the unsuspecting students. I think this was key to the success of the video. The side commentary at :11, :36, and 3:26 kept the balance between light-hearted Q&A and information overload.
  • It is clear from the Sesquicentennial site that Boston College is celebrating the anniversary all month. Pop quiz was filmed before the festivities began (+1 for thinking ahead) but wasn’t published until April 18 (-1 for failing to capitalize on potential web traffic for the entire month).
  • Nothing gets me more upset than seeing video information (description, title, tags) that isn’t filled out on YouTube. It is so simple and provides context for your viewers, this should be a must. Boston College always does an excellent job filling out this information. By giving viewers further information about the College’s 150th celebration, they were able to keep the video light and funny.

Results

  • No matter what audience I belong to, by watching Pop quiz I learn something new about Boston College.
  • I am not sure how or if BC promoted this video, but 347 views in five days is pretty typical of higher education web video. They are missing an opportunity to link to this video from the Sesquicentennial home page and the main Boston College Facebook page.

Rating

rating is 8

 

I give this video an 8 because it delivers otherwise “boring” College facts in a way that is fun and funny. And while it was a bit longer than I’d usually suggest, my attention was held throughout the entire video. If a prospective student interested in BC finds this video, I believe they’ll be interested and enjoy seeing the authentic student-to-student interaction. Pop quiz doesn’t scream “marketing” and the video is well produced.

What rating would you give this video and why? Leave a comment below.


A new trend in higher ed video?

The creation of funny and light-hearted college and university promotional videos has been on the rise ever since UQAM published their lip dub to “I Gotta Feelin'” exactly two years ago.  Since then there have been flash mobs, 16 minute musicals, spoofs on those 16 minute musicals, strange British attempts to be funny, oh and of course… more lip dubs.

I’m a little sick of flash mobs and lip dubs (and still waiting for the unflash mob to appear) but one style of video that I really enjoy are the music videos that are being produced by both institutions and students.  Chances are you know by now that one of my favorites is Midd Kid (completely student produced!) but I also enjoy Call Me a Duck from the University of Oregon, a well produced video created to engage an eager audience who learned about the group On The Rocks from NBC’s The Sing Off.  While at St. Mike’s I ran a video contest for students and received two music video entries Knight Vision and the contest winner At Saint Michael’s, proving to me that these videos are of interest to the 18-24 year old range.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Joe Schuberth, associate director of undergraduate marketing at Towson University, asking me what I thought of a new music video he produced with students called I Tell ‘Em Towson University.

My response? “HOLY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME!”  Although, I think I toned it down a bit for my email reply.

Luckily, Joe was willing to answer a few questions about this fantastic video…
_____________________________________________________________________

Where did the idea for “I Tell ‘em” originate?  Were you inspired by other institution’s music videos?

I wanted to do a music video since I started working for Towson a little over three years ago.  If they are done well, they are effective at getting tons of people talking and excited for an organization.  With so many students using social media, I knew a music video had the potential to explode and reach both people who were considering Towson University and those who might not initially have Towson on their radar.  I’ve seen “That’s Why I Chose Yale,” but I wanted to do something different.  I wanted it to be from the students so it felt genuine and original.  It took three years for it all to come together because I needed the right mix of talented students, and I finally found them during the winter of 2011.

What was your process?  You mentioned working with students, how did you discover their interest in doing such a project and what steps did you take with them to produce the video?

I manage a YouTube channel, which features videos filmed and edited by Towson students.  I hired Henry Basta to be part of the student YouTube crew in the fall of 2010 after an impressive interview and viewing some of his work which included a music video he and his friend, Jay Karolenko, produced for a video contest held by the library on campus.  After working with and getting to know Henry for a semester, I was even more impressed with his creativity, attention to detail and his zeal for Towson.  I knew Henry and Jay made up the band, Sharpened Crayons, and I started watching more of their videos on YouTube.  Search them yourself, you won’t be disappointed.  I started realizing that I had an opportunity to work with them and the rest of our student YouTube crew to make the music video I had been talking about for years.

At the beginning of the spring semester, I brought Henry and Jay in to talk over the idea with them.  They were thrilled with the opportunity and we immediately started throwing out ideas.  We met almost every week for the entire spring semester.  We started with the song.  A music video will go nowhere without a well-produced song.  I gave them some guidelines of things that I wanted them to cover, but I really wanted this to be something that came from them as students of Towson University, so I left most if it up to them.  They came back with lyrics, we made some tweaks, and then they added the music to it.  I loved what they did with the music.  I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I do think I know a good song when I hear it, and when I heard their first cut of this song, I knew we were going to be doing something big.  I couldn’t get the song out of my head!

After the song was finalized, we started planning out all our shots.  I also wanted the video to be a quick tour of Towson for anyone who watched it, so I knew we had to have lots of different shots and involve lots of different people all over campus.  We all worked to set up all the shots and made sure we could do things like have a dance party underwater with the women’s swim team or in the middle of a dining hall.

We wanted the ending to be our grand finale, so we spent a lot of time planning that out and getting some of our students, cheerleaders and marching band to participate, as well as our mascot, Doc the Tiger.  All of the student YouTube Crew, including Henry and Jay, played a part in figuring out the right camera angles and techniques for all the shots, especially the ending.  Chad Harrell was the main videographer for most of the shots, and Alex Nearey and Steven Wilson also played roles in filming.  I was really blessed with excellent student talent around me to be able to pull all this off.  After we got all the footage, Henry edited it together.  I gave him some feedback and so did some of the other members of the YouTube Crew our other students, Henry made some changes, and we finally had a music video after four months.

Why did you choose to invest time in a fun promo video?  What are your aims and objectives?

Our students are some of the best people to tell the story of why a prospective student should come to Towson University, so when I saw this opportunity coming together, I had to take it.  The main goal of the video is to increase excitement for Towson University and ultimately bring in more students who want to become Towson Tigers.

How will you be promoting this video?

We are promoting the video through e-mail and our website, and it is the featured video on our YouTube channel.  We will be showing it during our campus tours and our Open House events.  The Towson community liked it so much that we had a request for it to be played on the television screens in our University Union, so it now plays on a loop there too.

What will constitute success with this project?  How are you measuring results?

Measuring results is a challenge with something like this because you will never truly know how many people were affected by the video.  But we will do our best to measure results by including a question about the music video in the surveys we conduct with our prospective students.  Hopefully this will tell us whether or not the music video played a factor in their decision on whether or not to attend Towson University.  We can also obviously measure views.  We’d like to have at least 50,000 views within a year of releasing the video.  We are on our way with 28,547 views so far as of 9/8/11.  The comments on YouTube have been a nice sign of success too.  Alumni, current students and prospective students have all been commenting on the video with lots of excitement and pride for the school, which is exactly what we wanted.

_____________________________________________________________________

Watch the video for yourself!  What do you think about this new trend in higher ed videos?  Leave a comment and let me know.


YouTube Reactions

YouTube Reactions, a new way for viewers to respond and interact with videos, is a service YouTube started testing this summer.  Today it appears they have rolled out Reactions to all videos and made it’s location more prominent.

Here is a screen shot where you can see the call out to “Your Reaction?” at the bottom right.

youtube reaction example

When you click “Your reaction?” this is what you will see if you are logged in:

reaction drop down

My reaction to Reactions

  • Unfortunately you have to be signed in to participate in this feature, which is really too bad.   The very definition of “reaction” indicates a certain level of spontaneity that seems undermined by having to take an extra step.
  • The most popular videos on YouTube (think Bed Intruder, Sneezing Panda, and Evolution of Dance) all have less than 100 Reactions thus far.  Yes, the feature is new, but if these videos can’t get traction with Reactions… will yours?
  • Some videos will fit into more than just one of these categories.  In my example above I would like to select funny and incredible.  YouTube is forcing me to choose.  Give me check-boxes instead so I can express exactly how I feel.  And what about a video that doesn’t fit into any of these 6 choices?
  • Will this get measured? As pointed out in the article linked above, will we eventually be able to sort videos based on “funny” or “what?”  Will this voting system be integrated into Insights?

I’m interested to see how this feature continues to evolve and whether or not viewers choose to use it.

What do you think? Will you use YouTube Reactions?


Update on YouTube EDU applications

Letter from YouTube EDU:

I received this in my inbox recently from “The YouTube Team” regarding my pending (of nearly a year) YouTube EDU application.

Thank you for applying to YouTube EDU, home to high quality educational content from around the world!

<< I applied nearly a year ago.  IMO this “high quality education content” has not been vetted or paid attention to from YouTube for quite some time.>>

Our vision is to provide a vibrant, global platform where anyone, anywhere can obtain a world-class education.  Whether you are a student, teacher, or gifted storyteller, our hope is that you will continually discover, create, and share educational videos with the world.  

<< Lovely message.  Moving right along… >>

To reach this vision, we are currently revamping YouTube EDU to bring you a bigger and better version of what you’ve seen to date.

<< Revamping, you say?  I have felt for some time somewhat slighted by the fact that YouTube doesn’t pay very close attention to the content that their accepted channels are posting.  There are a lot of promotional/marketing videos and only a handful of educational videos.   Yet, they have turned higher ed institutions down, mine included, for lacking in the latter. >>

While we are not currently accepting new applications for YouTube EDU…

<< Turned down again.  Drats. >>

…we do invite you to consider applying for the YouTube Partner Program, which enables access to features such as premium branding capabilities, ability to upload longform high quality video, and advanced analytics. You can apply for the YouTube Partner Program at: http://www.youtube.com/partners.

<< Hmm.  The Partner Program requires monetization of videos and a Google AdSense account.  YouTube also has written on their site:  “We are currently focusing on accepting users who regularly produce videos intended for viewing by a wide audience or who publish popular or commercially successful videos in other ways (such as DVDs sold online).”  Something tells me this will not bode well for most higher ed institutions. >>

To learn more about Google education resources, check out http://www.google.com/edu.
To make the most of your YouTube experience, visit YouTube Essentials: http://www.youtube.com/t/about_essentials.

Again, thank you for your interest and we appreciate your understanding as we work to achieve our vision!

<< Blah blah blah. >>

Sincerely,
The YouTube Team

Insider information:

I’ve since learned that in the past the requirement for EDU status was to have a  ‘representative amount of educational content’ on your channel, which typically meant at least 50 videos, of which some are full courses (e.g. lecture 1-20 of an entire course).

Thoughts:

I’ll be very interested to see how YouTube goes about revamping their EDU site.  Will the requirements change?  Will current EDU partners be ushered into the “new” system, even if their current content doesn’t meet the old requirements?

What do you think?


10 YouTube tricks you need to know

Last night’s episode of Higher Ed Live was chock-full of YouTube pro tips from Seth Odell.  Any business or higher ed institution who uses YouTube to share web video needs to know the following 10 tricks in order to get more bang for your buck.

Here’s a recap of the Top 10 YouTube tricks:

Video Pro Tip #1 – Always post your video initially as private or unlisted.
Even once YouTube has finished uploaded your video, it takes awhile for it to process.  A processing video usually looks like crap… not what you want your customers to be watching!  Allow for the video to process (the length of time varies) and then make your video public once it is completed. 

Video Pro Tip #2 – Thumbnails are important. As a YouTube partner you can customize your thumbnails.
Thumbnails lure viewers to click on your video.  Higher Ed institutions can become an EDU partner (bonus tip: in order to do this you must have quality academic content on your channel, not just promo videos) and upload customized thumbnails.  I recall seeing stats somewhere in my internet searching equating a well-chosen thumbnail to higher viewership.

Video Pro Tip #3 – To hyperlink in the video description box, make sure to include the “http://&#8221;.
Do not start links with “www.” in the description box as they will not be hyperlinked.  This is important to remember if you want to drive viewers back to your website. 

Video Pro Tip #4 – You can link to a specific time in a video with the code #t=00M00S.
Ever wanted to direct blog readers to a certain moment in a YouTube video?  Add the above code to the end of the video URL and replace with zero’s with the time in the video that you want them to see.

Video Pro Tip #5 – YouTube does not weight your video titles as much as it weights your file name.
If you are like me, you are careful to tag your videos appropriately so they show up in searches.  A little known fact is that YouTube places more weight on the original file name of your video than the title that you later give it.  When exporting your video from iMovie, Final Cut Pro, etc. make sure to properly title the file.  YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world and I can imagine you want to make sure you’re optimizing YouTube SEO.

Video Pro Tip #6 – Use the YouTube Keyword tool to find trends and help optimize YouTube SEO.
This free YouTube Keyword tool will help you capitalize on current trends on the web.  You can even sort keyword suggestions by country, language, demographic, and interests.

Video Pro Tip #7 – “Best” the YouTube algorithm with proper file names and creating your own co-view web.
If you are interested in your videos appearing in the “suggestions” column (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) you can attempt to “best” the YouTube algorithm by combining Pro Tip #5 with some careful clicking.  Seth Odell admits this is a time-consuming process: start on your own video and click on a suggested video that is not your own.  Spend time clicking around on the next set of suggested videos and inserting your own URL ever so often.  YouTube makes it’s “suggestions” by remembering the web of videos that viewers watch.  You can essentially create your own co-view web… if you have the time.

Video Pro Tip #8 – There are only 3 ways people find your videos: Directed, Direct Search, Indirect Search/Browser.
This is an important tip to remember, as you can only do so much in marketing your video.  (Raise your hand if you’ve ever been charged with creating a viral video.) 

Video Pro Tip #9 – Use YouTube annotations to drive viewers to your own videos.
At the end of every video you create, place a 10 second screen that has text to the effect of “Click here for more videos from Company X.”  Use YouTube annotations to link the text to your YouTube channel.  Wouldn’t you rather your viewers watching more of your videos versus leaving your channel for a suggestion?

Video Pro Tip #10- Hotspots tell you when viewership drops off, this is only available for videos under 1 year old.
Understand your viewers better by paying attention to YouTube Insights, particularly the hotspots.  This will help you catch viewership trends on your videos.

BONUS! Want the latest stats on web video?  ComScore, Inc. is my favorite resource and they recently released  “The State of Online Video.”  The presentation and slides from Dan Piech, Senior Product Management Analyst, can be found here.   

Watch Episode 17 “Seriously Advanced YouTube Tips” with Seth Odell of Higher Ed Live.


What is a viral video?

After realizing today that I had not listened to the Midd Kid rap video in far too long (it’s been at least a month), I also realized it was time to update my blog readers on the status of Midd Kid vs. Yale.

In a blog post from November 2010, I recapped my HighEd Web conference session “Using YouTube for Recruitment.”  I ended my presentation with the question, “What makes a video viral?”  I showed screenshots from the videos “That’s Why I Chose Yale” (YouTube musical from the Yale admission office) and “Midd Kid” (student produced rap video at Middlebury College) and asked the audience to raise their hand if they could recognize what video the screenshot was from.

While many of the attendees had heard of the “Yale” video, only one attendee had ever seen “Midd Kid,”  and he was from Vermont so he didn’t count.   Now, this was despite the fact that the videos were released roughly one month apart and “Midd Kid” had over 11,000 more views than “Yale.”   My point was that a video can not be considered viral solely based on the number of views it has received.   One needs to ask “Who is my target market?” and “Did the video reach them?”  According to YouTube’s Insights, at the time of the presentation, the top 3 audiences for “Yale” was Females 13-17 and Females and Males 45-54.  The top 3 audiences for “Midd Kid” was Females 13-17, Males 18-24, and Males 25-34.

Today “Midd Kid” is outpacing “Yale” by almost 58,000 views and the top 3 audiences for each video haven’t changed.  It’s important to note that “Midd Kid” did not have the extraordinary amount of press coverage that “Yale” received when it was released.

Yale disabled the ability to add comments on their video. (Side note: I’m not a fan of that.)  But, here’s a screenshot of the top two comments for “Midd Kid.”  I think the 2nd one is particularly striking.

midd kid comments

“This has probably made more people want to go to Middlebury than all the college’s recruiting efforts combined.”  Walee227, you are one insightful dude.

What do you think?  Is “Midd Kid” a viral video?… even though you may never have heard of it until today. Is “Yale” a viral video?… even though it isn’t fully reaching it’s target market?

Or are neither of them viral because they don’t have over 65 million like “Bed Intruder?”

Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

Update: For your viewing pleasure…

_________________________________________________________________

Update 5/24/11

“Midd Kid” surpassed 1 million views while “Yale” continues to lag behind with roughly 925,000 views.

Recent audience view for “Midd Kid”

audience view for midd kid rap video

Recent audience view for “Yale”

audience view for that's why i chose yale video


Follow up: Engage your audience by being interactive

Last month I wrote a blog post about engaging your audience with an interactive video quiz.  I promised to follow up with statistics, so here they are.

If you missed that post, in short, I created a 10 question video quiz that was advertised to our prospective seniors and applicants.  If a student made it to the end, they were instructed to visit our Admission’s Blog and leave their name and email address, this entered them into a contest to win some SMC gear.  The contest ran for the month of December.

Stats

Over 1000 people viewed the intro video to the Holiday Quiz.
– 26.9% of participants made it through all 10 videos.
– 12.4% of participants entered their name into the contest.

45.9% of participants who made it to the final video entered their name into the contest.

The average number of views per question = 285.6 (with the intro video removed from the calculation)

Analysis

The question was raised, “Are 10 videos too many?”  I was pleasantly surprised to see that a quarter of our participants finished the quiz, but should I assume that only 12.4% of our viewers were in the target market?  It would be naive to not realize that some prospect students only made it part way.

Using YouTube Insights I can see further into the demographics.  Looking at the intro video, 40% of the viewers were in the 13-17 age range.  This is excellent, but also indicates to me that for the majority of prospective students 10 questions was too many.

Our decision to go with 10 was based on the staff and questions we wanted featured.  I think next year I will cut it down to 5, see what the stats say, and compare to this year’s results.

Either way, this project was well worth my time.  124 students entered the contest in hopes to win swag.  In the process, they were educated about the college, introduced to our Admission team, and it was fun.  In fact, some of Saint Michael’s Admission Counselors heard from students (in person, on the phone, or even in their college application) that they thought the quiz was “cool.”

I think it would be interesting to cross check those 124 submissions with the future Class of 2015 to determine what percentage of participants actually enrolled.  Look for another follow up in May…

(Video view counts were recorded at 3:30pm on 1/11/11)

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