Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going Beyond Making Book Video

It’s hard to sell something creative when most creative is subjective. We did an online survey of our videos. We chose one video from each of our editors and created a survey at If you ever want to do a survey of your readers or clients this is a very valuable service. We use surveys as one part of our quality improvement and assessment commitment.

It was interesting to see that so many people participated and there was such variety in their opinions. Something we discovered that was interesting was that many of our participants, which were made up of readers and booksellers, were most influenced by the genre of the video. Overall, each of the videos did well, but there were opinions that conflicted over music and visual elements. The video that had the worst marks was also the video that 80% of the participants voted the as the best video. It was almost as though they were harder on the video they thought was the best.

It made me wonder how this could happen. It all came down to the preference of the viewer. Not just the quality of the video, but genre of the video was most important overall. So, one can conclude that, if someone doesn’t like a video, it may have nothing at all to do with how the video looks or what the message is.

In 2003 when Borders Group put the first book trailer, Dark Symphony, up on their site, no one really knew how book trailers would eventually turn into a market of their own. Now that they seem almost commonplace; people see them less as a cool novelty and more as an expected entertainment or advertisement. With the newness wearing off people are becoming more critical and demanding of quality and clarity. Slideshows slapped together with text taking up the entire screen is not going to be acceptable anymore. More and more people are turning to professionally made content. Not only are authors and publishers turning to professionally made content, but so are distributors of online content.
The book trailer market has been established. With growing online demand for entertainment and news the book video market has solidified its place in most marketing campaigns. There was a shift in 2008 from just having a book video to maximizing the effectiveness of book video. Distribution and analytics are the name of the game now. If you aren’t a major player in those categories you aren’t looking toward the future of the market.

Distribution doesn’t just mean uploading to YouTube, MySpace and the like. That’s now expected. Back in early 2006 we were impressing people with our 10 distribution sites that went with each product. In 2010 we have well over 400 distribution sites and have branched out into genre-specific placement of video. You must realize that if everyone is uploading to the top 10 or 20 video share sites, then your video is now in competition with thousands of others. It’s not just competing with other book video, but with other online video entertainment. Either you need to grow your own YouTube-type sites somehow, or you need to start partnering with specialty sites that will take your video as content. You need to investigate online content provider companies that will send your content out to entertainment sites like SciFi Channel or Oxygen Network.

Analytics are key as well. What are analytics? Analytics is an analysis of how something did, in this case, online. Information like, who is watching the video, where they are from, how long did they watch the video, did they share it? Demographic and geographic information can be important for many reasons.

  • Knowing if your book is read more by men or women can help you determine how to develop the look of your website
  • Knowing that your video is very popular in a particular state or city can help you determine where to do a book signing or what booksellers you need to become more friendly with
  • Knowing what state or city your video is popular in can help determine where you should do media buys

There are more reasons why this information is important and a variety of ways to utilize the information for future campaigns.

Targeting your audience, localizing your target and being able to pinpoint your best chances for sales in a given area is going to make your marketing budget dollar work harder for you. After all, a book video isn’t designed to get hits on YouTube, it is designed to sell books. When you can do both, then you have an effective marketing tool worth investing in.

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