Tag Archives: interactive

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?


Turntable.fm, the new hottness

Turntable dj area

Answer yes or no to following statements:
I listen to music at work.
I use Pandora so I can discover new music.
I use Grooveshark so I can listen to music I already love.
I have friends.
I have friends who have jobs that allow them to listen to music at work.

If you answered yes to three or more questions, turntable.fm is for you.

This website has a very simple concept, yet it is truly a game changer.

Turntable assumes three things:
1. Humans are creatures who crave connection and socialization with others.
2. People enjoy listening to music they already love.
3. Yet, people want to discover new music.

By combining those three assumptions turntable has created a social experience around music.

Each individual user curates their own DJ Queue from the turntable database or from uploading music you own.  This satisfies assumption #2, you are ensuring that you will hear music that you already enjoy.

Users enter either public or private rooms based around music genres, themes, affinity groups, anything! Up to 5 users can DJ in a room, but you will only see the songs in your list.  This plays off assumption #3 as 4 out of 5 songs will not be your choice and you will not know what is going to be played ahead of time.

There is a chat function that DJs and room listeners can use too.  A lot of the conversation occurs around the music, especially in large public rooms.  However, I like to use turntable to connect with colleagues and friends.  The chat feature allows us to have real time conversation about what is going on in our day.

Turntable has also incorporated a gaming feature into the platform. You get to vote whether you think the song playing is “awesome” or “lame.”  The more “awesome” your song, the more points you receive too unlock new avatars.

turntable voting area

This gaming element was a brilliant move on turntable’s part.  It keeps users interacting with the site.  And personally I am gunning for the blingin’ gorilla.

Turntable has completely revolutionized the work day.

“Turntable is a fun alternative to Pandora for music during the workday. I’ve definitely heard (and liked) music I wouldn’t have stumbled on otherwise.  It’s also become a forum for collaborating with colleagues.  The music room is a place where I can ask a quick question when I am working on a project.  Plus, I’ve learned Mallory’s theme song, that Nick spells ‘hottness’ with two T’s, and that Aaron Rester has a band.” – Alaina Wiens

Turntable allows you to make connections.

“The type of music someone listens to really gets to the depth of who they are. It says as much about then as the shoes they wear. Turntable allows you to share with your friends who you are, on a personal level, yourself beyond face value. What music you play says to the room how well you pay attention to the mood and interests of everyone in the room. Seeing how people react to your and other people’s music builds a deeper connection between friends, better than what a random DJ could ever do.” – Nick DeNardis


As hott at turntable is now, the site is still in beta and there are a few features or changes to the interface that would make the experience better:

  • Turntable needs an app. The site loads on my iPhone but the music doesn’t come through the speakers.  Plus it’s very clunky to navigate on such a tiny screen.
  • Turntable could take a few cues from Grooveshark for song search and playlists.  It isn’t always easy to search for songs within turntable because only 25 results appear and you can’t designate your search by song title or artist.  You currently can not build playlists, so if you have uploaded or added hundreds of songs to your DJ Queue it can be tricky to find what you are looking for.
  • Turntable needs to be open to the general public.  Currently users can “get in” if they have a Facebook friend who is already using the site.  While this probably creates an air of mystery and exclusivity (google wannabes), turntable has huge potential that will not be realized until more people start to use it.
  • Everyone wants to be a DJ, but a room can only have 5 DJ’s at a time.  Michael Fienen would like to see changes that would allow for better DJ rotation in busy rooms.  His suggestions include a seat queue, DJ voting, or limitations based on song number or total play time.
  • Fienen also points out that currently the avatars are pretty useless.  You can’t customize them and “at the moment, they really are quite useless aside from indicating who has liked a song.”  Since we connect with turntable through Facebook, one might expect that we should be able to use our Facebook profile photos in place of the avatar.

Have you used turntable? How has it changed your music experience? Are there any other features you wish they would add?

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.


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)


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)

Engage your audience by being interactive

Goosebumps "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

It didn’t matter that the vampire bit me on page 78 because I had my fingers dug into two different places where I’d made the pivotal decisions to “jump out of the car and run” and “follow the mummy into the dungeon.”  All I had to do was flip back to my pinky and this time “wait in the car” for a new adventure to start.

The “Choose Your Own Adventure” style books had their run in the 1980’s and 1990’s becoming one of the most popular children’s series, not because of a deep storyline but because they were just plain fun.  Didn’t you love being in control of your character’s destiny?

The internet is the perfect tool for captivating your audience with interactive features.   Lucky for us less experienced with programming, YouTube makes this incredibly simple to do with the annotations feature.  Almost one year ago Seth Odell posted a vlog called “Fire Up Your Fan Base With Online Trivia” where he easily created an interactive trivia video game by using YouTube annotations.  Seth pointed out the importance of connecting positive emotions with your brand in the eyes (hearts?) of your audience.   “Sometimes what we don’t stop to do is just have a little fun.” he said.

So I did it.  A year ago I created the first Saint Michael’s YouTube Holiday Contest.  It was done in one day with a flip cam and window’s movie maker.  Not exactly the highest quality, but at the time I was an Admission Counselor in the middle of reading season and had only produced a handful of equally low quality videos.

This year, I am excited to share with you the second Saint Michael’s YouTube Holiday Contest.

With an HD Panasonic and iMovie, the help of 9 SMC staff members, and 10x the length to work on this task… this was still a relatively simple video project and if the results are like last year’s, the audience will love it.

Here was my process:

Step 1: Determine the incentive.
(Let’s be honest… as fun as this will wind up being, we need to lure in our prospective students with swag.)

Step 2: Come up with 10 simple questions about Saint Michael’s College that any high school student who has done some research will probably know.
(Creating the “wrong answers” is easier than it sounds.)

Step 3: Find 10 staff members to read those questions on camera and film them.  Have them tell us why they “Like St. Mike’s”
(I chose to use mostly Admission staff members in order to introduce our applicants to the Counselor who manages their territory.  The “Like St. Mike’s” piece integrates this project with our new Admission tag line and materials.  I also want to point out that we did not use cue cards.)

Step 4: Create 20 second text screens with answer choices and combine those screens with previous footage.
(These text screens allow you to use branded fonts/colors and will give your viewers plenty of time to make their answer choice.  This will also look cleaner in comparison to using the YouTube Annotation text notes.

Step 5:  Think creatively about the “wrong answer” video.
(Should it be funny or serious?  One version or multiples?  It can be very simple, but the user experience will be better if you give viewers the opportunity to answer the same question again directly from the video.)

Step 6: Upload all videos to YouTube.
(To prevent the videos from showing up in the “suggestions” column, set all of the videos to unlisted – except the intro.)

Step 7: Use YouTube annotations to link the answers to the next video and the correct “wrong answer” video.
(This is more time consuming than you think.  I suggest putting all of the links in a word document so you can easily copy and paste.  If you are unfamiliar with annotations, here is an article to help you get started.)

Step 8: Set the launch and end date.
(I learned very quickly last year that this contest works best spread out over a one month period with winners drawn at random at the end.  I personally like the month of December because you can get your prospective students in the holiday spirit!)

While you will not get bitten by a vampire, you might get a question or two wrong.  That is okay!  Any high school student who makes it to the last video is encouraged to head over to Carrie Pratt’s blog; she is one of SMC’s Admission Counselor’s.  She has a blog post about the contest and students “enter” the prize drawing by leaving their name and email address in the comments section.  See how we have driven the student to another place where they can connect with our Admission staff and find helpful information?

As web specialists, we can not underestimate the power of interactivity.  It is fun, it is engaging, and it creates warm fuzzies inside of our audience.  As marketers, we want those warm fuzzies to be associated with our brand, not the one down the street.  And as higher ed professionals, we face the challenges of differentiating our institution (brand) and building meaningful relationships with our prospective students (customers).

Interactive video is one of the ways we can powerfully and meaningfully build connections, share information, and engage our audience.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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