Please Take Our 2010 Video Email Marketing Survey!

We need your help and participation. Please take 5 minutes to complete the 2010 Video Email Marketing Survey so we can all learn about how video marketing and email marketing are starting to converge. All participants will be sent an advance copy of the Survey Results and Video Email Trends Report that will be available through the WVMC in late June. You will also be invited to a special webinar to review the Survey Results and discuss trends and best practices for video email marketing.

Click here to take the survey.

2010 Video Email Survey

About the Video Email Marketing Survey

The Video Email Marketing Survey was initiated by the Web Video Marketing Council to better understand and identify the trends and practices driving the increased use of video with email marketing. As email inboxes become more and more crowded, email marketers are challenged to find new ways to increase email open rates, engagement time and response rates. While the use of video with email is gaining in popularity, video email marketing presents marketers with a range of technical and content challenges that impact the adoption of video email as a common marketing practice. This WVMC survey is being conducted to gather data form marketers on how and to what extent video email marketing is being practiced and to identify emerging trends and common practices that will help us understand and define the evolving video email market segment. Research is being conducted through a voluntary survey distributed online to marketers. The survey and resulting whitepaper are being sponsored by ExactTarget and Flimp Media.

Thank you.

The WVMC staff

The 2010 Video Email Survey is Live!

The Web Video Marketing Council, Flimp Media and ExactTarget Present the 2010 Video Email Survey

Our good friends over at ExactTarget have partnered with the WVMC and Flimp Media (our parent company) to launch the 2010 Video Email Survey. If you have a spare five minutes, please spend them on this survey. Why? Well because A) we asked nicely, and B) you’ll get some really cool perks:

First, we’re going to send you a copy of the report that we create based on the results of this survey. You’ll find out how many people are using video for email marketing, how many plan to do so, what the general opinion is of video email, what kind of video email people like best, and a bunch of other really insightful tidbits.

Then we’re going to send you an invitation to a webinar where you can hear experts talk about what all these numbers mean to you, how you can use them to shape your own video email marketing campaigns, and where to start with video marketing. And if my prowess with PowerPoint can be fully leveraged, you’re in for quite a show.

And thirdly, you’ll walk away from the survey with the smug satisfaction of having helped advance the relentless march of technology, incrementally boosting not only the utility of the Web, but indeed the evolutionary progress of all mankind.

…That was a bit over the top, wasn’t it?

Joking aside, you really should take the survey. It’s the kind of thing that benefits all of us in the end. And when you’re done taking it, tell everyone you know about it. The bigger the pool, the better the data.



Rolling Out Some New Enhancements

We’re constantly reviewing and revising the way we do things at the WVMC. This month is no exception. Within the next few weeks, you can expect to see quite a few changes on the Web Video Marketing Council site. We don’t want to give away too much, but here are some things to look for:

Rebranding (sort of): You may notice that the words “Powered by Flimp” have appeared in our header. That’s really a disclosure issue. The WVMC is the place where Flimp employees (like myself) go to talk about the goings on in the industry independent of Flimp. That’s how all of this started, after all: as part of our marketing process we used to spend countless hours combing the internet looking for information about video marketing. At some point we thought to ourselves that it would be a lot easier to collect that info if it was all in one place. This naturally evolved into, “hey, I bet lots of other people would like to read this stuff, too.” And thus the Web Video Marketing Council was born. Putting the Flimp logo on the WVMC site is just a way for us to be completely transparent. Flimp staffers run WVMC, Flimp pays for its maintenance and upkeep, and so we thought it only fair to acknowledge it. If that bugs you, let us know. We’d be happy to talk it out.

Council Library: We’re working on putting together a multimedia library where we will collect all of our white papers, webinars, podcasts, and other rich media content. We want to keep this separate from the article library because we know that when you’re looking for quick updates you don’t want to be bothered by announcements about a new recorded webinar. If you want that kind of content, you’ll be able to find it in one centralized location. This should be live sometime in the next 8-10 business days, depending on the breaks.

WVMC Partnerships: We’ve been approached by several companies who wanted to partner with  us to promote industry events. We love this idea, and we’re excited to do more of it. That means not only will you start hearing more about really cool events in the Web video marketing realm, but you’ll also see the WVMC popping up at trade shows and other video-centric get-togethers. Save us a seat! (Want to learn more about sponsorship opportunities? Drop me a line.)

More Blogging! This is the one I’m really excited about. We’ve been given the directive to do more blogging. That’s right, our fans have spoken up and have told  us to do video blogging, guest blogging, podcasting,  and so on. You want us to pack your RSS reader with great news and opinion pieces about the video marketing industry. Well if that’s how you want it, then we’re happy to oblige. If you haven’t done so already, you’re going to want to subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed, because we’ve got some great content coming your way.

As always, if there’s anything else you’d like to see from the WVMC, let us know!

The New TV: A Space for Independent Art

Remember When

That's Elisha on the bike. Click to watch the trailer.

Today’s post comes courtesy of Elisha Yaffe who is, among many things, a brilliant comic and a steadfast proponent of using the Web to change the way people produce and consume video content. What follows is a reprint of an email that Elisha sent to his friends and fans to drum up support for his Web series, “Remember When,” which debuts on April 13th. The WVMC endorses Yaffe and the whole Remember When cast and crew for their forward-thinking approach to the evolution of film and television. Please consider donating to the cause.

1) A Hello.

Hi friends and family,

How are you? I’m well.

2) A Project / Goal.

2a) Project

I wanted to inform you of a new project that I’ve been working on. It’s a comedy series called “Remember When” that follows three roommates who decide to help an amnesia-stricken friend by recreating his memories in order to bring his memory back. It is directed by Sam Molleur and stars Randy LiedtkeCurt NeillAlexander Barrett, and myself. Since late 2009, I have been honored to collaborate with an insanely talented group of people on the production. Together, we’ve independently produced three episodes, financing the series out of our own dusty jean pockets – writing, booking locations, booking equipment, shooting, and now editing the thing. We also we able to convince some of the funniest comedic actors in Los Angeles to donate their time and skills.

This past month, with our scheduled launch date soon arriving, we had a preview screening of the first episode. Over 100 people showed up and seemed to like what they saw, which was fun. Since the screening, we’ve put the trailer online ( and have received even more positive feedback. This is a great sign, as we have every intention of selling “Remember When” as either a stand alone web series (meaning we’d produce several more webisodes) or as a pitch for a longer form television series.

2b) Goal

“Remember When” is the first step in a goal to independently produce 5 web series/pilot presentations each year with my many talented friends. In the 2 1/2 years that I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I have been lucky enough to occasionally write and produce content for major studios. These experiences helped me to hone my production skills and gave me the confidence that creating television and film is an attainable goal. However, the industry itself is changing rapidly and I’m motivated to do more.

It’s not a new story, but my early experiences in Los Angeles have showed me that creating a project from scratch within the studio system can be quite challenging (one particular studio is still sitting on a series that my friends and I created over 2 years ago). More often than not, big companies are simply too large to confidently take advantage of the new trends in an industry. No where is this more glaring than on the web. As a creative space, the web offers television more opportunities to experiment than ever in its history. Yet in order to take advantage of this, the studio system as it stands would have to restructure itself in ways that many executives are not ready to do.

So I ask, why wait for them?

Technology is evolving each year, making it more affordable to independently produce short form original content. This content can then be utilized in a variety of ways: a stand alone web series sponsored by a specific brand, a pilot pitch for a long form television show, or simply as a portfolio piece that showcases the writers, producers, and performers involved. More than ever before, content creators don’t have to wait on someone to read a script. The web allows us to make an independently produced piece of quality content popular as a means to get a foot in the door. And if there’s one thing that grabs executives attention, it’s popular content.

3) A Thing You Can Do / More Info.

3a) A Thing You Can Do

We’d love your support in piecing together the final touches to “Remember When”. With the help of the website, we’ve begun a campaign to raise money to finance our final production needs. This money will go toward post-production costs like sound mixing, ADR and the purchasing of hard drives, which tend to cost a pretty penny.

With‘s guidance and support, we’ve set a fundraising goal and are asking folks to pledge whatever they can afford. If we reach our goal by April 13th, we’ll receive enough funds to fully finance all post-production needs. If we raise more than our goal, all funds will go to future productions. We’re happy to announce that after less than a week of our fundraising campaign, our goal of $2,000 is already 66% fulfilled. We don’t have much further to go!

I know this is a tough time economically for most folk. If you can’t pledge any money, I completely understand. However, it goes without saying that every dollar counts (our donation minimum is just $1). We are humbled by donations big and small. The entire process is super easy and entirely secure (Kickstarter is a partner with, so donations are made through Amazon’s secure payment service, which accepts all major credit cards).

3b) More Info

Here’s the donation page: <— more info on the donation process

Here’s the official website for “Remember When”: <— more info on the production process (photos, videos, behind the scenes, etc).

If all goes according to plan, the show will launch on April 13, 2010 and many more episodes / new productions will follow! Tell your friends if they are cool!

4) A Goodbye.

Thanks for reading this long winded email. Hope all is well. Drop by my place and say hi to me (person) and Freddie (dog) anytime. And let me know how you are doing. Speaking of which, how are you doing!?



About Elisha:

Elisha Yaffe is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. He got his start in Boston, where he was called a “rising comedic star” by The Boston Globe. He co-founded the troupe Zebro, whose web videos were featured on Salon, HuffPo, MTV, MSNBC, and the BBC. In Los Angeles, he’s developed, written and produced series for Warner Brothers, TBS, and Freemantle Media.

About “Remember When”:

“Remember When” is a joint production of TIWWI and Forgettable Productions.
TIWWI is an art and video collective based in Los Angeles that focuses on hosting projects that encourage the stimulation of creativity and productivity in all of us. Website:
Forgettable is comprised of Elisha Yaffe and Curt Neill,  two Los Angeles based comedy performers and producers. They have produced content for, G4, Freemantle Media, and TBS. In addition to producing and writing for television, they aim to prove that both short and long form television-quality content has an audience on the web. Website:

Four Myths About Video Email

Video Email Trends

Google Trends chart for the term "Video Email"

We’re coming down hard on the whole video email thing, and we’re choosing to talk about it now because it’s a topic that is hotter than its ever been. (See the Google Trends analysis of the term to the left.)

There are a lot of misconceptions about what is and is not possible and practical regarding the use of video in email marketing campaigns. As ever, the future of video email marketing is unclear. But one thing is certain: in order to be successful with video marketing you need to understand the capabilities and limitations of technology as they exist right now. What follows is a list of myths about what can and should be done with video in email marketing campaigns:

Myth 1: I should figure out how to get a video to play in the inboxes of my recipients.

No, you shouldn’t. Here’s one very good reason why: in most cases, no matter what you do, it won’t work.

Here’s another: We at the Council have seen a variety of video emails in our inboxes (thanks to a very liberal webmail client) and not one has been remarkable — not a single one. The simple fact of the matter is that full video — and by that we mean good frame- and bitrates, decent audio, good production values, an attractive player, etc. — deserves its own space. Cramming a video into an inbox detracts from the value of the video. Video deserves its own space. That’s how viewers are used to consuming video content.

Oh, and if you’re even thinking about having your video auto-play in the body of an email, forget it. Auto-play video works on the Web, but it is intrusive in email. The last thing I want first thing on a Monday morning is to inadvertently start a loud video before I’ve had a chance to adjust my volume controls. That’s the kind of thing that gets laptops thrown across offices.

Myth 2: I should look into animated .gif files.

This solves the audio problem, for sure. But again, we’re talking about a quality issue here. Even the best animated .gif files that we’ve seen have been grainy, choppy, or both. Further — and this might sound hypocritical — in the modern era, video without audio is unheard of. Viewers expect audio with video content, and are generally confused if they don’t get it. I’m not saying you should go full video — that would be hypocritical. I’m saying that if you’re looking for a seamless video implementation, animated .gifs aren’t a much better solution.

Myth 3: HTML5 solves all of my video email problems.

Does it? I’m not sure. There are definitely browser compatibility issues with HTML5/H.264, and as of right now the Council is unclear as to what this means for video email. The simple fact of the matter is, though, that HTML5 doesn’t solve any video email problems right now, and we’ll have to wait and see what it does for video email in the future. One thing is clear, however: regardless of the coding, there will always be deliverability issues associated with video in certain mail clients. Add to that the detriments listed in Myth 1, and you begin to get a broader picture.

Myth 4: Video email is a very bad idea.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here. There are plenty of ways you shouldn’t use video for email marketing. But the same is true for email and social media, email and telemarketing, email and direct mail, and so on. That doesn’t mean the two don’t go hand-in-hand. It means that you have to think things through a bit more.

Look, video is a powerful medium. It deserves to be considered on its own, independent of other competing media. Email is, as it always has been, about text and graphic content. That’s email’s bread-and-butter, and it’s what people expect when they open an email. In order for the two media to play well together, one has to pass traffic to the other. Specifically, the text-and-graphic content that works in email must pass traffic to a video in its own appropriately-designed (and marketer-controlled) environment.

That’s the state of video email at this very moment in time. We can talk about the future of video email all we’d like, but that doesn’t help us design email campaigns today. What are your thoughts on what is and is not possible with video email? What would you like to see as a marketer and as a consumer?

(Oh, and beware ye who would comment on this blog post and say that your company solves one of these problems. Our SPAMhounds are particularly ravenous today.)

Video, Toast, and Rocket Engines

I don’t like calling people out. I really don’t. But sometimes I feel like it is my duty to stop people from propagating industry views that are either dishonest, self-serving, or otherwise detrimental to progress.

That sounds a little bit harsh — and maybe it is — but such is my reaction when I read articles like the one posted on MediaPost’s Video Insider blog earlier this week.

To summarize: Matt Berry, the post’s author, describes at some length the idea of temporal (or time-based) meta-data for video. Essentially the theory is that temporal meta-data would work like dynamic image alt-tags that update every frame. In a specific video clip, for example, if Charlie Sheen walked on-screen in frame 124, then the meta-data for frame 124 would include the words “Charlie Sheen”. If he says the words “pepperoni pizza,” the meta-data for the clip would include the words “pepperoni pizza,” and so on.

Pretty cool stuff. And provided all of this meta-data didn’t delay the delivery of video frames, there are some pretty important implications here. Video analytics become more meaningful when they’re associated with specific keywords – and without temporal meta-data we’re left to make those associations on our own. This kind of data allows us to sift through mountains of video content to find specific video footage related to a particular keyword — and this keyword doesn’t even have to be present in the video’s title, description, or surrounding text. Imagine the possibilities!

Well, either Matt Berry’s imagination isn’t very good, or else he has some kind of agenda behind his blog post. What does he suggest we do with the mountain of data that temporal meta-data could produce? Use it to sell ad content.

When an ad spot is available for sale, it is always best for the buyer to understand what is happening during that content.  Time-based metadata gives advertisers the ability to not only determine where to put an ad break, but also can provide insight on what is happening right before and right after the break.

Seriously, Matt Berry? Are you being serious?

Using temporal meta-data to sell ad space is like using the business end of a rocket engine to make toast. Advertisers have been able to contextualize ad space since the advent of television, without the need for meta-data at all. The fundamental problem — a problem with which Mr. Berry is apparently unfamiliar — is that the future of Web video has nothing at all to do with selling ad space. Ask Hulu how effective this business model is. Ask the guys at JibJab. No, the future of online video has more to do with targeted delivery, content customization, formatting, search optimization, and so on.

I understand that as the co-founder of Digitalsmiths — whose clients include The WB, Extra, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Tyra Banks Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and so on — Berry has a vested interest in force-feeding ads to Web viewers like they do on TV. After all, most of their clients depend on ads to survive in TV land, and I wouldn’t doubt that many of them assume that the same ad model works for the Web. Digitalsmiths needs to keep its clients happy, so telling them they’ve come up with a better way to serve ads is a smart move.

But it’s entirely self-serving. Web video is moving away from selling ad space. The “sucks-but-necessary” attitude surrounding video ads has eroded to just “sucks.” To claim that a new technology could breathe new life into a marketing tactic that the rest of us are forced to tolerate is just plain dumb.

We expect more from people like you, Matt Berry. We expect to be told how new technology will make people honestly want to engage with our content. We expect true innovation, not a better mousetrap. Video meta-data is a powerful tool, and you are one of the very few who demonstrably understands it. Now use your platform to tell the rest of us what it can do to move Web video marketing forward — not what it can do to make a polished turd shinier.

video+social: What Does it Look Like?

The “video+” movement rolls on. We’re hearing about video+email, video+direct mail, video+advertising, and so on, each one focused on using video not as the central medium of a marketing campaign, but as an auxiliary medium that enhances the message. The next entry seems to be video+social, a movement toward using video to enhance a brand’s social media presence.

What is social video?

Social video is not a thing so much as it is an overarching theory. The theory seems to go like this: Video has the ability to spread naturally among the members of a social network, and ultimately between networks (we used to call this “going viral,” but that’s out of vogue at the moment). Social video is video that is optimized for this specific purpose — not necessarily “viral” video, but video content that is relevant to and easily sharable among members of a network.

Why use social video?

There are a variety of reasons why you should use social video. The fact that your content can be shared among peers means that your target buyers may never get a message from you at all. Instead, they’ll get a referral from their friends. Are you more likely to trust a link from a friend that says, “Check out this cool video I found!” or a link from a company that says, “Check out this cool video we made!”? Probably the latter.

This is particularly good, because it means that in order to reach a large number of buyers, you don’t necessarily need to have a large number of social media followers. Once content starts spreading among the members of a network, your job is essentially done. Just sit back and let the network do your work for you.

How do I create social video?

It’s really easy, actually. There are three steps:

  1. Create really specific video content. We’re talking crazy specific, addressing the specific problems of a person with a particular title in a particular industry at a particular time of year. Marketing professionals at small credit unions during tax season, for example (if they have problems your product solves).
  2. Optimize your content for sharing. Make sure your video has prominent sharing buttons for the social media outlets you’re trying to target. Video landing pages and microsites are great for this, because they also let you incorporate text and graphics to really make your video and offer pop.
  3. Get your content into the hands of someone with reach. This is the really important part. You need to make sure that you can find a gatekeeper to your target network. This may be a blogger, a prominent professional, or a celebrity — whoever it is, got your content in their hands and make sure they see the value of it. If they do, they’re more likely to share it. If not, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of time. (Suffice it to say you should target more than one gatekeeper across multiple social media platforms with similar messaging, to avoid exactly this kind of headache.)

That’s it. It’s important to realize that this is a high risk/high reward kind of strategy. After all, you’re banking on the fact that a few influential people will become brand advocates, and that this will influence others to engage with your content. Unlike broader messaging,  you can’t play the averages and create a predictable return.

For example, if I send an email to 500 people, I’m relatively certain that 95% will receive the email, a certain percentage will open it, and a smaller percentage will click through.  If I target the same 500 people with social video, however, I stand a much better chance of engaging those 500 contacts. The problem is that reaching those contacts in the first place is contingent upon one influential individual finding my content interesting and sharing it with his followers. If he doesn’t, I have no chance at all of reaching them.

Final Impressions

The whole video+social thing is intriguing because of its potential pay-out. But I don’t think the average marketer knows enough about social media (much less video) to make it particularly effective right now. My fear is that social media will evolve past the point of marketing usefulness well before video+social becomes widespread. All the more reason to become an early adopter, I suppose!

Web Video Marketing Council White Paper Cover

White Paper: Web Video – Changing the Game for Direct Marketers

Are you wondering  how you can use Web video to augment your marketing efforts? Wonder no more. Click the big yellow book to download our white paper “Web Video: Changing the Game for Direct Marketers“.