Video Search Worlds Collide

I’m delayed in posting columns; here’s the not-so-latest from MediaPost, which first ran last week.

VIDEO SEARCH OPTIMIZATION AND advertising worlds have collided,
and the big bangs bursting forth will shape the video marketing landscape for
years to come.

The audience at last week’s OMMA panel “Video Search
Optimization: Prime Time for Prime Positioning” got a taste of what’s
happening thanks to the four engaging speakers from Blinkx, Viewdle, ScanScout,
and VeoTag. It was the perfect embodiment of the “Worlds Collide”
theme of the entire OMMA event.

Here’s a glimpse into the worlds of the four presenters from the
panel:

Blinkx:
Jay Prasad, director of strategy & business development

Blinkx, perhaps the best
known brand in video search today, shared its boldest claim right on the title
slide of its presentation, calling itself “the new way to watch
TV.”  Given how many options there are for viewing TV online or on a
mobile or portable device, and given that most TV is viewed on a TV, I’d be
reluctant to call any online technology “the new way” to watch, but
it does point to Blinkx’s ambitions beyond just search.

While Blinkx is taking a leadership position with video search
optimization thanks to resources such as its white paper on video SEO,
it’s also rolling out an ad network, AdHoc.
Blinkx uses its search technology, including speech-to-text indexing and visual
analysis (it can recognize brand logos within videos) to contextually target
video ads in a range of formats. This hints at a new trend: If you have search
technology, the ad targeting will follow.

Viewdle:
Barry Schiffman, co-founder and senior vice president, strategic alliances.

Viewdle‘s focuses on one
specific challenge of video search — facial recognition — and it’s now in a
live beta test in Reuters Labs.
There, you can search Reuters videos for names of celebrities or news-making
politicians such as Angelina
Jolie
, Angela
Merkel
, and Ang
Lee
, to name a few. The Merkel search brings up eight listings, including
one for the news story from Reuters Germany, “Merkel und Sarkozy beraten
über Finanzmarktkrise,” and you can click to see not just the exact spot
where the chancellor of Germany appears, but also each segment featuring the
president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

While Viewdle’s current focus is on licensing its technology to
increase user engagement on publishers’ sites, it also plans to debut
advertising offerings, along with a consumer-facing destination of its own.

ScanScout:
Waikit Lau, co-founder and president

Rather than bill itself as “the new way to watch TV,” ScanScout‘s site says it offers “a
glimpse into the future of digital television.” ScanScout developed video
search technology, but unlike Blinkx and Viewdle, ScanScout has been solely
committed to the ad network model. As is de rigueur these days, ScanScout’s ad formats are tickers and
overlays, which can open videos or other more engaging formats above the ad or
in an accompanying window. Ads can be targeted to the keyword uttered in a
clip, an option not available with comparable formats on YouTube. Here,
ScanScout draws inspiration from the AdWords model in a way that Google hasn’t
come close to applying on its own. This perfectly mirrors the Blinkx ad
network, which framed itself as an evolution of Google’s AdSense contextual
network.

VeoTag:
Scott Rhodes, CEO

VeoTag, unlike others on the
panel, is purely focused on making online videos more accessible by making them
easier to navigate and then easier to find in search engines. Anyone can tag an
audio or video clip, basically creating a table of contents with whatever
degree of detail is desired. Search engines can then index the tags; without
the tags, this content would have probably been invisible to the mainstream
engines.

You can find examples of how the videos rank in search engines by
perusing the library of tagged clips
on VeoTag’s site and then searching for keyword phrases. For instance, say you
remember hearing or reading the phrase “most PR is spam” somewhere. A
search for it in quotes will bring you to Paul Dunay’s blog, where he shares a podcast
of his interview with author David Meerman Scott
. Other searches lead
directly to the tagged segment of the video, such as this demo Scott Rhodes
shared for “swiftkids
dora
.” VeoTag fits into the collision theme, albeit from a different
angle. It’s more from the classic SEO standpoint of a site’s editor using
VeoTag to drive traffic to the site, so the editor winds up playing a clutch
role on the marketing team.

Collision
Course

Throughout OMMA, every one of the search marketing tracks exemplified
how Worlds Collide. Two panels touched on the melding disciplines of social
media marketing and search engine optimization. One panel simultaneously
tackled local search and mobile search, while another discussed the confluence
of SEO and paid search. OMMA’s last search session featured a slew of case
studies on how marketers are using search and display advertising together. In
that last panel, an audience member shared that he’s been working with display
advertising for years and has been waiting to see real examples of the two
types of media being used together. His dream was realized.

These are all big bangs. The marketer tasked
with using one of the most traditional of channels, the Yellow Pages, must
simultaneously pursue the next frontier of mobile marketing. The marketer
trained to monitor conversions from keyword-triggered search ads must embed the
best keywords in widgets for search engine optimization. The marketer ensuring
that videos on a site rank well in search engines must broker media buys on
other video sites and networks. Tectonic plates are shifting, land masses are
changing, and worlds are colliding in chain reactions. Harness the energy
created. The alternative — to return to a complacent equilibrium — is
untenable today. BANG.

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