FloorPop  - Interactive Marketing Best Practices for Homebuilders, May 3, 2006
Vol. 7, Issue 2: Copyright (C) 2006 Blair Kuhnen.  All rights reserved.

FloorPop FloorPop (Flr-pop) n. 1. The home buyer who visits a Builder's community and writes a contract for sale the same day. 2. The sound made by a salesperson clicking their heels high in the air and returning to the floor after a prospect signs a contract the day they first meet.

Video on the Web: Generating Results By: Tom Bevins

Don't make the mistake of confusing streaming website video with television. The two are as different as, well, baseball and softball. On the surface things may look similar, but in reality they are very different games, played at different speeds on different fields using different tools. What separates streaming website video from television is who has the control of the content and how they use it.

Television is passive media giving the viewer the option of watching a program (we're not talking about TiVo or other disk recorders) and accepting the advertising that is interspersed throughout the program. As much as you may want to watch Desperate Housewives on Thursday night, unless you take extraordinary means, you're watching it on Sunday night with the rest of us. With television, once viewers decide that they'll watch a program on the night it's offered, they have no control over the advertising. The only real control a television viewer has is to change the channel (and miss Desperate Housewives) or get something from the fridge during a commercial. People watch television for entertainment purposes and accept the commercials as part of the bargain.

Don't Bring a Baseball to a Softball Game

Internet video is different. Internet video consumers get to choose their advertisers and that's the ultimate control. When an internet viewer goes to an automobile, pharmaceutical, or homebuilder website they're not going for the entertainment value of the streaming video. They're going to the website for information they plan to use to make a decision. The mistake that most companies make is that they don't acknowledge the different set of expectations and behaviors that internet viewers have that distinguish them from television watchers. Usually, the video they use on the website is just a smaller, grainer version of the same stuff they broadcast on television, or a moving version of their latest print ad. That's why it doesn't work. Too much camera motion may be entertaining on television, but it's distracting over the Web. Flashy graphics may enhance TV viewer excitement, but on the web they take up precious viewer time and often look pixilated and distracting. Web viewers who are looking at product based video don't want to be entertained as much as they expect to be informed, and if the video attempts to entertain them instead of inform them, a company actually runs the risk of alienating a potential customer. It's like bringing a baseball to a softball game. Sure, you can play, but it's not really baseball and it's not really softball and the game doesn't count in the official standings.

Who's Watching Streaming Video?

Video online is hot. Two, facts are supporting remarkable growth.

  1. 60% of internet users have broadband connections.
  2. Nearly 70% of online video viewers are upper to middle class.

Advertisers have responded to these numbers. They will spend $344 million in 2006 and are expected to spend nearly one billion dollars by 2010. The reason that they are spending so much money on the medium is because it works. Video viewers are responsive.

  • In the OPA study cited above, over 40% of internet video watchers surveyed clicked on an ad, visited a website or requested more information based on information in the video.
  • These "action numbers" can be increased by nearly 14% by adding interactive elements other than standard "play" and "pause" buttons to the video player.

Opportunity for Builders

If builders understand how to properly create video for the web, they are tapping into a huge growth opportunity. To do this they must follow some critical steps.

  1. Builders need to create video specifically optimized for the web. Complex graphics, fast moving camera work, and elaborate transitions may work great on television but don't on the web. Interviews or testimonials must be shot in "head and shoulders" framing to get a clear view of facial expressions. Unsteady artsy camera work is great for music videos and Law and Order on TV, but it doesn't translate well on the web.
  2. Builders need to create video information specifically optimized for the web viewer. Internet video watchers are going to give you just under 22 seconds to make your pitch. Make an impact in the first 20 seconds. Complex graphics, slowly developing plots, or surprise endings with incentives or discounts work great for television, but won't work with the internet. Focus on getting the viewer to initiate some type of contact. The video should quickly indicate what you'd like the viewer to do, contain the information and instructions on how to do it and quickly indicate the benefits of the action.
  3. The video player must facilitate the action you'd like the viewer to take. Include easy and quick contact points such as links to the community page, request information, and others that encourage contact between the viewer and the builder. Include contact form links to drive dialogue.
  4. Hit the right balance of quality and speed. Viewers on high speed internet connections expect high quality video and will look at more videos if the experience is good. In our own research, videos viewed per user improved by more than 29% following a change to higher quality defaults.

Blair Kuhnen is the publisher of FloorPop and can be reached at 817-658-7698 or via email at kuhnen@earthlink.net. Tom Bevins is a guest contributing editor to FloorPop. His day job is GM of Crozier & Henderson's Multi-Media Division in Dallas TX. He can be reached at 817-658-7698.

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