True Intimacy

A guide to discussing sex and sexuality with your significant other

by: Laura Bradley

True Intimacy discussing sex and sexuality with your partnerTrue intimacy is about getting to know and understand someone deeply. Learning about who our partner is sexually is part of that.

Our past experiences around sex contribute … Read the rest

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Meet the Team, Video Style: Josh Dunton

Meet the Team is our monthly chance to introduce you to the fabulous, quirky, talented people that work at Vidyard, using our favorite medium — video! For this episode, we caught up with Josh Dunton, Talent Acquisition Lead here at Vidyard. Learn where you can find the best all-day breakfast in Kitchener, and what Josh wanted to be when he grew up by watching the video:


What Didn’t Make the Cut

Josh has more to say than just talking about his twin brother, so here’s what didn’t make the cut:

What brought you to Vidyard?

I came to Vidyard because I was really excited about the challenge. The team wanted to grow very quickly, and that’s something I could get behind. Also every person I met during the process was really passionate about working here, and that passion really inspired me and fired me up, and made me want to be part of the team.

What’s your favorite video on the internet right now?

My favorite video on the internet right now is the NFL bad lip reading. It’s an old one, but every time I watch it I can’t help but laugh out loud. It’s just so funny what they think of to do as the lip reading.

What do you do in your free time?

Right now I spend a lot of my free time with my infant son — he needs a lot of attention these days, but when he’s asleep I like to play video games a lot. Specifically Madden … all the time. Anything football, I’m into!

Want to order your own “Hungry Mel”?

Mel’s Diner is a Kitchener institution and boasts two locations. You can find their breakfast menu here. I would also go with the Hungry Mel. That just sounds delicious.

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Halloween Video Ideas So Good They’ll Getcha (and Your Customers!)

Boo! It’s time for some scare-tactics for 2016!

This post has been updated for Halloween 2016! Why? Because, like those black and orange wrapped toffee candies kids are bound to get in your candy haul every year, this post never goes stale. These Halloween video ideas are still perfect for 2016, and I’ve added some new, awesome ideas that you won’t even have to get dressed up to get! So let’s get right to the goods…

Halloween is coming quickly, and the creepy/crazy/awesome holiday is a perfect opportunity to have some fun entertaining your leads and customers.It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that if they’re entertained, they’re more likely to remember you and engage with your brand. That win is better (okay, almost better) than free candy.


Oops…I mean…I digress.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Our brand is too serious to have some off-the-wall Halloween video”, or maybe you’re thinking, “It’s just Halloween, you can’t do anything worth the effort that will have any real impact.” Maybe, you’re just plum (or pumpkin) out of fresh ideas.

Well, Halloween is one of those rare times when brands can be silly, scary, creepy…or whatever. Halloween lets you be whatever you want to be. Your video doesn’t have to be boring, and it certainly can have an impact on your audience. Here are some ideas for a memorable Halloween 2016 video:

It’s spooky what video can do for your whole business in 2016

At Vidyard, we STRONGLY believe that video can achieve amazing results for your whole business (and we’ll get Dracula to bite anyone who says otherwise!) There is a plethora of Halloween video ideas for marketing (for some of the best ones, see below). But video isn’t just for marketing! Imagine the effect you could have on your audience if you used video for sales, internal communications and training, and even customer service and support. Like what? The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas to get your fresh, juicy brains going:

  • Sales can try sending fun videos telling leads they will stalk or hunt them until they call them back or answer emails. (Just keep it light and jokey, and don’t get too scary – we don’t want any restraining orders!) Sales videos can even be as simple as a screen capture video (like through ViewedIt) showing the sales rep’s face and screen – but the rep could be in costume! It’s a great chance for reps to show their personality and have some fun with prospects and leads, and could help encourage call-backs – wouldn’t you want to speak to an angel or a devil or Babe Ruth or Jamie Lannister?
  • What about video for internal communications? Get your employee audience engaged by creating a fun culture video about everyone’s halloween costumes, and let your employees rate the best one!
  • Internal training teams can have their own fun with a Halloween video: how awesome would it be to get a notice that you have to watch a “mandatory training video” on how to survive a zombie apocalypse? It prepares your employees for the inevitable while also helping them feel more connected to their personal, relatable and fun company.
  • In support or customer service? Imagine how freaked out you could make your customers if you told them you were “killing” some aspect of the product that everyone loves? Maybe your customers could have a chance to “save” your product by signing in or taking some other action within a certain time frame. Or, if you need to refresh any part of your product – you can kill one aspect that needs improvement or has bugs, and bring the product back (in a sort of Frankenstein way, bigger and better).

Video gives your whole business the power to really engage, excite, spook, and connect with your audience. So encourage different teams in your company to get involved – it’ll be a real treat!

Personalized creepiness for each viewer

You know what video viewers eat up faster than a bowl of candy? A personalized experience. Any day of the year, customers want to feel like they’re recognized and understood as the unique person they are, not marketed to as part of a mass group or list.

So give them what they’re ravenous for on Halloween: with a personalized video, you could add right into the video unique details about that specific viewer, like their name or company logo for example. Your customers would be blown away! Put a creepy spin on it (think: “We’re watching you, Blake”, or “You’re next, Katie!”, etc., etc….imagine the possibilities!), and your customers will be freaked out…and even more engaged, watching a story that includes them all the way to the end.

Are you wondering, “Holy crap, I could do something like that for my video?! HOW???!” I’m not just playing a trick on you…discover personalized video for yourself and you’ll be amazed!

Choose your own spooky adventure

Go even further with your Halloween story by allowing your audience to interact with you and determine how the story progresses. How can you do that? Through multiple players and calls-to-action. Here’s how:

The viewer watches your initial video, which ends with a CTA containing several options (that are actually links). Ask them brand, product, campaign, or story-relevant questions, and provide clickable options that each link to their own video player (What should the character do next? Where should he go? What should he buy/eat/wear/build etc?). When an option is clicked, the linked player plays in the same frame on the page. Then the new player can its own CTA options that link to even more players, giving the viewer a real “choose your own adventure” experience. Who wouldn’t keep watching a video like that? It’s the perfect way to get past audiences’ ridiculously short attention spans.

Share a product or service message

Your awesome, entertaining, or spooky Halloween video doesn’t have to live outside your brand or relevant messaging. There may be a ghoulish slant to your everyday marketing – in the telecommunications industry? Pretty much every horror movie includes a phone that doesn’t work or a phone that rings off the hook with a freaky voice on the other end. In the software industry? What if a computer was doing something all on its own? That might be exciting and intense for viewers who then learn that it isn’t actually a ghost doing it, it’s just your awesome software that’s programmed to do the work itself. You get the idea.

Check out this video from IKEA that shows how simple and effective this can be.
Or LG’s video that shows how realistic their screens are.

But sometimes it’s fun to just…have fun

Sometimes a special day calls for a light-hearted fun video that acts simply as (very) top-of-funnel, brand awareness content. Audiences love to get inside, behind-the-scenes looks into an organization; it humanizes a brand and can help your viewers relate to you. These types of videos are often shared as well, and while view counts don’t matter in the greater scheme of converting leads to customers, getting your name out there never hurts!

You can create a haunted video that doesn’t necessarily include product messaging, like the one Vidyard released for Halloween last year:
Keep it even simpler, if you want. Film your halloween office party, for example. Videos don’t have to be a big production. After all, Jimmy Kimmel’s audience videos weren’t exactly Hollywood material, but they were a great success for the late night show!

What ideas are you excited to try for your Halloween video? Let us know!

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Get These B2B Video Secrets – Before They Self-Destruct!

Just before the first big tech bubble burst in the early 2000s, my co-founder, Bill Wittenberg of Humongous Media, started a different business, one that had an unintended side-effect: whenever he described his new enterprise, it made everybody laugh. To be fair, sometimes they’d frown. Or shake their head. Or kick him out of their office.

“Seriously,” he’d say to stone-faced bankers and dubious retailers as the door swung shut behind him: “People will want to watch video on the Internet! I swear, they’ll even buy things on the Internet. It’s going to happen!”

Just 15 years later – and after my partner sold his business to Yahoo for more than $150 million — any B2B marketer knows that marketing without video is like milk without chocolate. Consider the lowly email. As a digital vehicle, B2B marketers throw a party when the engagement needle rises 5%. But according to Forrester Research, adding a video to an email marketing campaign lifts click-through rates 200-300%.

Or the humble tweet – yes, it can be 140 characters of crushing, Kardashianesque meringue. But it can also move a ton of product, if there’s video involved. In a recent Amazon @deals promotion, one electronics manufacturer added a video to their previously text-only tweet, and unit sales of the promoted product shot up 297%. In three days.

In fact, here’s what’s new: strategically speaking, whether it’s B2C promotion or B2B outreach, video has become the great marketing lever-arm — the preferred medium of consumption for all consumers, whether you’re buying a bar of soap for your kids, or software-as-a-service for your 100,000 employees. According to Forbes Magazine, after viewing a video, 65% of executives visit a marketer’s website, and almost 40% call a vendor.

So if the value of video is so clear to so many, why do some marketers still resist creating it? Simple: video can be hard to make. It can be time-consuming to develop. It can be really expensive. And that’s before you hire your ad agency. But after making over 3000 eCommerce, employee-training, change-management, and B2B education videos for marketers as diverse as Laddawn Packaging and Comcast Communications, I’ve learned a number of cool, even vital rules that I’ll share with you so you can maximize the chances of your video success.

1. Just because it’s Amazon doesn’t mean it’s Amazon

While many B2B marketers imagine that they’ll only reach their customers through effective CRM management or travel-heavy sales campaigns, they don’t realize that lots of B2B sales are made…on Amazon. Yes, just as thousands of general contractors now regularly drive to the B2C retail giant Home Depot to pick up needed business tools and supplies (hello big box, goodbye Fred’s Plumbing Supply), Amazon now sells directly to businesses. So what does that have to do with video? It turns out Amazon’s search engine has begun to weigh marketers’ product Detail pages more heavily if the page has a video on it. In other words, if your business customer’s search terms call for your page, and you don’t offer them something to watch, you could find yourself on page 9 (or 30) of the search results.

Conclusion: lots of your enterprise-sized B2B customers go to traditional, B2C eCommerce channels, social media timelines, and custom-content news sites, and when they get there, they want to watch a video.

2. Tone matters

One of the most important variables in the marketing equation is ‘tone.’ Specifically, most customers believe a company is telling the truth when it makes marketing claims. But the closer you get to the point of purchase, the less a customer wants to hear your sales message. They just want a little help. They want to understand what your offering. Remember: business customers come to eCommerce sites or a company’s product site because of effective marketing. They just don’t want to see more marketing when they get there. So if they want a video but they don’t want you to market to them, what do you say in the video? Facts, expressed quickly. B2B customers crave good information, in under 1 minute. They don’t want more claims. They want a video that offers proof. The key: gradually shift your tone from ‘sell’ to ‘tell’ the closer you (and your customer) gets to the point of sale.

3. Time matters

Time is of the essence. Why? Surprise: most B2B customers… are at work. They don’t believe they have even one extra minute. Video marketing has to be brief. Fact: by 1 minute and 20 seconds into your marketing video, you’ll have lost about 80% of your audience. By 1 minute and 40 seconds, you’ll have lost 90% of them. If you do create a marketing video, here is what we always tell our customers: “Brevity is the soul of commerce.” If you keep your video under 1:00, you’re more likely to get your entire message to your viewer. Be bold, be brave, and be brief – remove all but the most important marketing points, and you’ll keep your customer around for the sale.

4. Technique matters

OK, so you know you have to be quick about it, but how quick? Very: there are 3 critical video-abandonment points where customers are more likely to leave your otherwise excellent marketing video – at 0:03 seconds, 0:09 seconds and at 0:59 seconds. So what do you do to keep them with you, and watching? Offer them something – a product benefit, a surprise, a fact – at those key moments.

5. Buying is a journey, not an act

There are powerful, proven, repeatable techniques – some expressed above – that almost always guide a company’s customers to a purchase decision. But almost no customer goes from interest to purchase in a single moment. So any video marketing you create has to reflect where in the sales funnel your video will be seen. Will your message be consumed at the top of the sales funnel? Have fun. Sell key benefits. Attract interest. Salve customer pain points. But above all, keep it short (around 15 seconds). As your customer works their way closer to you and farther down the sales funnel, take a little more time – maybe 40 seconds. But just as you take more time, take fewer liberties – sell less. Tell more. Explain. Guide your customer through a buyer’s journey by offering them something, not asking them for something.

6. Repetition is OK.

7. Repetition is OK.

Our clients have found that their story has to be repeated — across multiple digital venues — to gain real market awareness and sales lift. The reason: customers get hazy quickly about terms and claims. The more technical or complex your product is, the more true that becomes. So you have to simplify and demystify in multiple places, on multiple platforms. To be sure, there has been a rise in category acceptance around the idea of technical products or features, but there has also been a swell of jargon associated with those claims. Problem: jargon is the enemy. Glaze is nice on a cupcake, but not in the eyes of your customer. So repeat the simple, simplified truth of your benefit across multiple platforms, all at once… Seriously. Repeat it. Across multiple platforms. Again and again. Repeatedly.

8. Science seems sexy, but it’s not

To manufacturers, jargon is tempting — legal departments find jargon reassuringly specific. Marketing departments believe jargon equals authenticity. But especially when the message is in a video, we’ve found the opposite: scientific jargon intimidates. It reinforces customers’ belief that they don’t know enough to be educated customers. So they back away — wondering if they really know enough to make a smart purchase. If your marketing video is successful, it’s often (in part) because it reassures your customer of their competence, not of yours.

Solution: Customers need the product story told simply, repeatedly, and without jargon. (Wait. Did I already say that? Good!) One reason for the repetition: if you sell a technical or complex product (software, cars, really good paper cups), you’re making a value proposition that’s often literally microscopic. Your microchip is faster. Your software is more efficient. Your car uses less gas. Well, guess what: your customer can’t see any of that. And with that literal lack of visibility comes a subtle disbelief in your brand’s claims. The opposite is true, too — if a brand repeats the simple, practical reasons for their claim and they use a video to (literally) magnify a product benefit, customers will flock to that simple story, and to that product.

The short of it all: Selling happens when a story gets told well, fast

Explanation and education are the new gold standards for marketing. And many B2B customers now want their learning delivered in video form, because video is on their time, it’s on their device, and it’s where they are. So make a video. Help your customer. Train your employees. Give everybody confidence. And whatever you do, make it snappy.

Okay, these rules won’t actually self-destruct, but they will help you outsmart and outperform other B2B marketers who aren’t in the know! Want more useful video marketing insights, tips and tricks? Come to Viewtopia, the Video Marketing Summit! Humongous Media will be there, and we hope you will be, too.


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3 Lessons on How to Use Data to Improve Your Marketing Campaigns

We all need to start somewhere, and we all make mistakes on our journeys to becoming great marketers. But rather than cry over spilt milk (or that email you sent to the wrong list … don’t worry, we’ve all done it), what you learn from it is far more important.

I myself am far from an expert, but I do know what it’s like to feel lost when you’re trying to interpret dozens of metrics from a single marketing campaign. So I’ve short-listed some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the hopes that this won’t just be an awkward confessional post, and you’ll be able to learn from my experiences, too.

Lesson 1: Don’t just track vanity metrics.

Just like you wouldn’t look at view count to measure the success of a video (we know you’re better than that), you shouldn’t use inquiries, or initial campaign responses, as the only measure of success for your marketing campaign. If you track those initial inquiries further down the funnel then you get to the more meaningful metrics, like if the leads converted into opportunities for your sales team or if they generated any pipeline.

For instance, if we were to look at view counts alone, then this webinar we co-presented with Jay Baer would be our star performer and we’d be tempted go full throttle to create more webinars like it. But if we look more carefully at the data, while it is definitely a fact that many people watched the webinar, those people actually converted into opportunities at a lower rate than most other webinars we’ve done. While this webinar appears to be fantastic to engage people who are new to video for the first time, it not our strongest asset for nurturing and converting existing users. So instead of just pumping out introductory webinars that appear at first glance to be great lead gen activities, we have to make sure to balance those with webinars that also nurture and convert viewers who are further down the funnel.

Lesson 2: Wait to see the true results of your campaigns before making decisions.

If you’re using a CRM like Salesforce it’s incredibly helpful to set up dashboards or reports so you can monitor campaign progress from the moment you set it up. But be aware that you might not see the true results of the campaign until weeks, or even months, after. Why? Because sometimes it can take time for leads to make their way through the funnel and have the appropriate conversations with sales so they can convert into pipeline. So while it may appear a campaign isn’t effective at generating pipeline immediately, if you wait for those leads to trickle down it will demonstrate its true value over time (especially so for evergreen campaigns that you can continue to promote, like webinars and eBooks). Just be patient, which I realize is infinitely easier than it sounds when you’re trying to demonstrate the ROI on your campaigns!

Speaking of dashboards reports, they’re also invaluable to not only review campaign performance within your team, but also with other teams you work closely with. Reviewing the data together is a great way to find out what’s working and what’s not, but getting qualitative data like anecdotes from other teams that sometimes don’t translate into data are also equally as important. I’ve always found that sales is a goldmine of information, and conversations like “We had some great conversations with these people. Maybe we should target more prospects in the toilet industry” can result in you committing to a Squatty Potty event later in the year (link is SFW!).

Lesson 3: Don’t discount your failures.

If you’ve tracked the metrics further down the funnel and given it time to see the true results of your campaign and things still aren’t shaking out, please, please, please don’t just throw the baby out with the bathwater. You could have a fantastic idea or piece of content on your hands that just needs a bit of love and tweaking to get it right.

For instance, let’s say your sales webinar didn’t perform well. You could try breaking it up into a short demo series, or promoting it on-demand so viewers can watch it at any time, or making it interactive to allow viewers to submit their questions to get a discussion going. You can even try something as simple as hosting the next one first thing in the morning or over lunch rather than in the afternoon.

Or let’s say your new product video has a 60% drop-off rate in the first 10 seconds. No sweat. Try cropping out the fluff at the beginning, like any intros, re-record it and get to the good stuff faster, or add interactive annotations to keep people engaged.

The ways you could improve your campaigns are almost endless. By evolving and testing new ideas against the baseline, you could spin even some of your worst campaign nightmares into marketing grand slams.

Do you have any gems of wisdom you can share about how you use your data? Or want to share your biggest marketing mishap? Let me know in the comments below!

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Welcome to Viewtopia: Vidyard Announces Speakers for 2016 Video Marketing Summit

YouTube and Vine star Zach King, Forrester analysts Nick Barber and Laura Ramos, Solarwinds video director René Lego join top voices in video, marketing, content and customer success

KITCHENER, Ontario – October 19, 2016 – Vidyard today announced the speaker lineup for Viewtopia 2016, the industry’s largest annual video marketing summit being held in San Francisco Nov. 9-10.

YouTube and Vine personality Zach King headlines an impressive speakers list featuring industry analysts, video experts, marketing innovators and other business leaders. Video continues to be one of the fastest growing and most effective areas of modern digital marketing. Viewtopia attendees will hear from innovative marketing leaders about how video is helping drive results at their companies and will learn practical techniques to launch and advance their own video marketing programs, as well as how to use the power of video in other areas of the business to boost audience engagement and improve results.

“Online video is changing the way businesses connect and communicate with modern buyers,” said Michael Litt, co-founder and CEO of Vidyard. “Viewtopia is where we explore the latest trends in digital content and storytelling, and the expanding role that video is playing throughout the customer lifecycle. It’s a perfect opportunity for marketers, sales leaders and business executives to discover what’s really working and to gain practical advice on how to use video in a more strategic way to deliver real results.”


Zach King started his journey in film at the age of 7 when his parents put him in charge of shooting home videos at a wedding. Since that moment, he’s had the film bug in his blood. As a freshman in film school, he started his YouTube channel where he started posting his film projects, such as Jedi Kittens, which quickly went viral generating millions of views. In September 2013, he opened a Vine account and challenged himself to create one Vine video a day for one month. Three years later, he was awarded the 2016 Shorty Award for Best Vine Artist, and he is now heralded as the king of Vine magic and one of the most popular content creators on social media.

Forrester Research analyst Laura Ramos is a leading expert in business-to-business marketing with hands-on senior management experience in corporate, industry and product marketing; demand management; and social media. She helps Forrester’s B2B marketing clients plan, build and deliver marketing programs that combine traditional and digital approaches that lead with business issues, create thought leadership and fuel their company’s topline growth.

Her colleague Nick Barber specializes in video technologies, including live and on-demand video within the enterprise and for customer experiences. His research centers on how companies can use online video platforms for sales and marketing operations and how they can enhance their business using video collaboration and video conferencing. Prior to joining Forrester, Barber was the director of online video at IDG News Service, where he was a technology news journalist serving IDG’s global network of websites. He helped build IDG’s global video presence from both a content and technology perspective, and he produced thousands of videos on a range of enterprise and consumer topics.

René Lego is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer, director and videographer who currently leads video production and media strategy at Solarwinds, a leading global provider of IT monitoring and management tools. During the past six years at SolarWinds, Lego’s video team has flourished into a multi-faceted internal video production, creative and media team with over 1,500 videos released. She is the executive producer of SolarWinds Lab, a monthly customer livestream talk series, and has helped develop and expand THWACKcamp, SolarWinds’ annual online virtual thought leadership and training event, now in its fifth year.

A marketing and sales industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books “Customer Message Management,” “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale” and “Three Value Conversations” focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals.

To see the full list of speakers and topics, learn more about the event or register, visit the Viewtopia website: Registration is $499 for the full 2-day event.

Viewtopia will also be the site for the 2016 Video Marketing Awards (VMAs) to recognize organizations and individual marketers using video content and video analytics to drive revenue and boost marketing results. Winners in each category will be recognized at the event and will have an opportunity to share their story with other attendees. To see the full list of categories, visit

About Vidyard

Vidyard (Twitter: @Vidyard) is the video intelligence platform that helps businesses drive more revenue through the use of online video. Going beyond video hosting and management, Vidyard helps businesses drive greater engagement in their video content, track the viewing activities of each individual viewer, and turn those views into action. Global leaders such as Honeywell, McKesson, Lenovo, LinkedIn, Cision, TD Ameritrade, Citibank, MongoDB and Sharp rely on Vidyard to power their video content strategies and turn viewer into customers.

Media Contact:
Brad Hem
Phone: (281) 543-0669

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A Shortish History of Online Video

In the years following World War II, a strange and exciting new technology emerged. Moving pictures … in your living room.

Showing eager audiences moving pictures was nothing new — people had been watching nickelodeons since the 1800s, and theatres were showing silent films and “talkies” well into the dawn of the 21st century. But, save for the wealthy owners of home theaters, one had to go out to experience these. Moving pictures were group activities, while sitting around the fire listening to the radio was the mainstay of the modern home.

Television changed that. Many wrote TV off as a fad, but soon, nearly every home in North America had a television: rabbit-ears pointed in all directions, picking up everything from news broadcasts to sporting events. By the 1950s, presidential addresses were delivered over television, and wide-eyed children watched incredible footage of the moon landing, beamed back from the furthest any human being had ever gone in our galactic front door. Moving pictures became personal.

Color TV was introduced in the 1960s, and as VHS tapes were born in the late 1970s, TV became an on-demand medium. No longer did you have to wait for your favorite show to come on, you could record it, and watch it later. No longer did you have to wait for a station to play your favorite movie, you could pick it up and watch it at your leisure, commercial-free. On-demand television was an exciting idea as early as the 1970s. And it’s no surprise that when the internet rolled around in about the same time frame, it would take less than 30 years for video to become one of the primary, and most exciting uses of this new communications network.

And that, is what we want to talk about today. We believe in the power of online video, but where did online video begin? What were some of the key milestones that got us to where we are now — a world where Facebook’s CEO believes video will be as big as mobile phones in how we communicate, and Cisco conservatively estimates that up to 80% of the internet’s traffic will be video by 2020. Funnily enough, it all began with a pot of coffee.

The Trojan Room: Laziness Breeds Innovation

While details are foggy on what the very first video was to be streamed over the internet, few people mince words over the first real “live” video stream. In 1991, in the old Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge in England sat a lonely coffee machine. Disappointed engineers from all over the building would traverse the hallowed halls to find the coffee pot empty, and would trudge back to their offices and labs empty handed. To help alleviate this great stress, a camera was set up across from the coffee pot, beaming its status to any computer in the building.

trojan room coffee pot

By 1993, web browsers had attained the ability to display images, and the camera was connected to the internet as an image that could be refreshed ‘live’ to make it easier to transmit its status. As the world wide web grew, so did the popularity of the webcam, with people checking in from all over the globe to see the status of Cambridge’s coffee pot. One could argue that in addition to being the first live video streamed daily on the internet, it was also the first viral video. The coffee pot pre-dates Google, so to find it, you had to either know where to look, or have someone tell you.

Broadcasting a coffee pot online to save engineers a walk down the hall may seem like a small feat, but this humble beginning is the first step towards the video-driven world we live in today. And as technology evolved, so did its capabilities. In 1993, a top-of-the-line modem would have transmitted and received data at 14.4k per second, which works out to downloading a 1mb image in 9 minutes and 42 seconds. Streaming a Netflix movie, at a whopping 1.5gb per film, would take 242 hours and 23 minutes, or just under 21 days. On-demand digital video wasn’t quite ready for prime-time yet, but the seeds were planted. All it needed was technology, and mainstream interest, to catch up.

Enter: Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law and Online Video

Moore’s Law is the observation that, as technology advances, the number of transistors in a dense circuit doubles every two years. Sometimes this is the result of progress, sometimes Moore’s Law is seen as a target that must be reached so we reach it. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will.

While there’s no direct relation of Moore’s Law to internet speed, one could look at the rate at which we have increased our internet communications capacity in a similar light. Whether it’s advancement in technologies through natural experimentation, or simply the desire to meet the demand of ever-increasing complex online processes, our internet speed and bandwidth has continued to rise year-after-year, and with it, our ability to do amazing things online has risen too.

The late 1990s saw the rise of broadband internet, and the increasing complexity and creative possibility of internet browsers to display more exciting media. GIFs began to emerge as a popular moving image format, and some of the earliest viral ‘videos’ — adding audio to a page with moving gifs, and looping them at the same rate — began to emerge too. While not the proudest moment in internet history, few will struggle to remember the Hamster Dance, sent out via countless emails from well-meaning relatives, and spawning everything from techno remixes to awful day-time television dance parties. Like it or not, the Hamster Dance was one of the first viral videos. And a new technology emerged that would change everything once again.

The Short But Exciting Rise of Flash

Flash Video, Developed by Macromedia in the late 1990s, was officially added as part of Adobe’s Flash Player 6 in 2002, and ushered in a new wave of online video. In addition to allowing media companies to display short video online and in a format that was easy for browsers to display, Flash was also an easy platform to build animations, and would enable thousands of would-be cartoonists to bring their visions to life. Animations like the infamous Badgers video arrived in 2003, and were widely shared privately before Flash-focused websites like Newgrounds opened up to user-generated content. The now famous Numa Numa video, uploaded as a flash video, would attain an unheard of 2 million views in its first three months online.


In addition to battling for bandwidth space against Napster and a host of new file-sharing platforms, online video finally had the technology, and the required bandwidth to become a mainstream phenomenon. News networks used Flash to share their segments online, sports teams shared highlights on their websites, and humor sites like eBaum’s World and AlbinoBlackSheep became popular destinations to watch and create flash animations.


With so much video scattered across the web, watching the content was no longer an issue for those that could afford the internet connection required to enjoy it. But finding video content was still a challenge. Until Valentine’s Day, 2005.

Why You Were the Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2006

By 2005, nearly 30% of all households in the United States had “high speed” internet — using cable or DSL to access a much higher download and bandwidth rate than had been offered by telephone modems. This dramatic increase in available internet speed, coupled with digital cameras (and video cameras) becoming more commonplace, was creating an interesting intersection of opportunity.

There was a lot of video content floating around. And people had the technology to watch it at home, or at work. But where did you put it?

On February 14th, 2005, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, three alumni of PayPal, launched YouTube as a place for people to share their online videos, and search for other people’s videos. The first video uploaded to the site was commemorating Karim’s trip to the zoo.

Anyone could create an account, upload their content, and start building their “channel”. And people did. In less than a year, YouTube was serving 100 million videos online per day, and was accounting for 60% of all internet traffic.

Remember that intersection of opportunity I mentioned earlier? YouTube found it.

Much like television was made for people, but largely paid for by advertising, the internet was beginning to emerge as an ad-defined space as well. Banner ads and spam emails were nothing new in 2006, but truly innovative brands were looking for new ways to connect with users in a way that didn’t annoy them, but got them excited. A medium that was drawing people in every day to watch content was still an open playing field.

Nike saw an opportunity in 2005, and uploaded a three minute clip of soccer star Ronaldinho quietly trying on some new cleats, and showing off his incredible shooting accuracy (watch for it at 1:40!):


It’s grainy, shaky, and has no background music or other editing. But it was the first video to break 1 million views on YouTube the first time it was uploaded, and it ushered in the concept of viral videos on YouTube. Brands had taken notice of this new anything-goes online video platform, and Nike could proudly wave the flag that they had been the first to find real success with it. Connecting with users had gone from a television battleground to an online one.

In 2006, after breaking nearly every possible milestone in online video (and setting up a few new ones for others to break along the way) YouTube was acquired by Google for a whopping $1.65 billion. The partnership only fuelled YouTube’s growth, adding advertising features to generate revenue, and bringing so much attention to the platform that in 2008 some experts feared YouTube would collapse the entire internet infrastructure by simply being too big for it to handle.

By the end of 2006, YouTube was part of a larger collection of online applications that focused on user-generated content, and community building. MySpace, Wikipedia, YouTube, and a host of other collaborative sites led to Time Magazine publishing the controversial Person of the Year as simply “You”, representing the people who used these tools every day to redefine the web. YouTube’s role in this was center-stage, as the cover featured a monitor showing a mirror, with the conspicuous scrubber bar on the bottom of the popular online video platform:

Time You Cover

2007 saw Facebook, at the time a powerfully emerging social network, begin to include video as an uploadable media typel to compete with YouTube. Few could predict how powerful Facebook would turn out to be, and how much this pivotal moment would affect its future success.

As with any medium, YouTube celebrities also began to emerge, with the popular Fred being the first channel to reach 1 million subscribers in 2009. For the sake of your eardrums, I will refrain from posting any of Fred’s clips as part of this article, but I will remind you that the internet is sometimes as inexplicable as it is incredible.

Streaming Video is the New Norm

While YouTube was busy collecting user generated content (and deleting slyly uploaded copyrighted material) another startup had been brewing since 1997, and would shake up online video just as much in a short time.

Started in 1997 as a way of renting DVDs by mail, Netflix launched its streaming media service in 2007, less than a year after YouTube was acquired by Google. While YouTube had worked with publishers to show some copyrighted material online through a pay-per-view model, Netflix built its model on offering big budget movies on-demand for a monthly fee. By 2013, less than 6 years later, Netflix would add television shows to its roster of streaming media, and would become the biggest source of downstream traffic on the internet, taking in a whopping 32.3%. With House of Cards debuting the same year, Netflix again broke records by launching its own high-budget programming to compete with the very network TV providers it had long used as its main source of content.

YouTube and Netflix showed the power of small companies to change the way we consume media, but big corporations weren’t entirely in the stone-age either. Hulu launched in 2007 as a television-focused competitor to Netflix’s streaming service, and led by a consortium of companies, including Disney, Fox, and Comcast. While it launched after Netflix, it remains a popular competitor to this day.

Much like Nike was the first company to truly take advantage of YouTube as a marketing channel, other large companies began to see the power of online video, and a new challenge to network television was emerging. Long thought of as the ‘holy grail’ of commercial marketing, the Super Bowl was taken by storm in 2011, as Volkswagen posted their now-famous “The Force” commercial to YouTube four days before the big game:


By Super Bowl Sunday, the ad had received over 8 million views, and would go on to become one of the most shared Super Bowl commercials of all time. While these online views can’t match the number of eyes on the ad during the Super Bowl broadcast, it showed brands that spending money creating ads for the Super Bowl could have the added bonus of making your company an internet superstar. Within a few years, nearly every brand was taking advantage of this, especially Budweiser.

The early 2010s would prove to be pivotal in the rise of streaming video, as bandwidth continued to improve, and live video became far more accessible. YouTube launched live streaming in 2011, and even the International Olympics Committee, an organization steeped in the revenue it receives selling broadcast rights to its events, chose to live stream portions of the Olympics from London in 2012. Brands like Apple and Salesforce began live streaming their event keynotes in 2013, opening up the door for countless online viewers to experience up-to-the-minute news from their favorite brands live, and share in the experience.

Live streaming, and streaming video was here to stay. So where do we go from here?

The Future Will Not Be Televised, But It Will Be Advertised

The rise in online video has been meteoric within the last decade, but few realize the costs of hosting and delivering all of this video. Consumer internet may be relatively inexpensive depending on where you live, but for brands hosting and serving millions of videos — like YouTube and Facebook — bandwidth costs are definitely a concern. Much like cable television was supported by commercials and sponsored broadcasts, online video has slowly become one of the most powerful, and lucrative advertising tools.

Facebook launched video ads in 2014, and America watched over 20 billion video ads in 2013 alone. Brands began to move commercial content from television to the web, and content like Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches and Geico’s Hump Day ads were viral sensations in the years they were published. Some brands have eschewed even creating their own content, looking to users for inspiration. GoPro’s video of a fireman saving a kitten has been viewed millions of times, and much like most of their YouTube content, was not originally produced by their team.


Even presidents began to take advantage of the popularity of online video, with Obama appearing on the popular Zach Galifianakis web series Between Two Ferns to promote The site saw a huge increase in traffic as a result of his appearance, and was lauded as a successful way of communicating a controversial — but potentially life-saving — topic to a younger audience.

The early 2010s also saw the dawn of what many consider to be the real future of online video: mobile.

Vine, launched by Twitter in 2013, quickly became a widely popular video-only social network. Popular picture-only social network Instagram added video only a few months later. Brands immediately leapt on this opportunity to show short-form video content to their audiences, and even older brands like GE leapt on the trend, launching their Vine account a mere one day after the network was started.

By now, it had been less than a decade since Nike took home the trophy as the first video to reach a million views on YouTube and online video was no longer a fun niche market for brands big and small; it was a must-have.

The Sky is the Limit

So what is the future of online video? For one, it’s volume. Mark Zuckerberg, whose company, Facebook, went from being a small dorm-room project to the largest social network in history, predicts that video will look like as big of a shift in the way we communicate as mobile has been. And, as I mentioned earlier, Cisco is already predicting that by 2020, at least 80% of internet traffic will be video.

100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day. That’s 11,415 days of video content. So, if everyone is doing it, how do brands stand out?

First, brands are embracing new technologies as fast as engineers can create them. In 2015, YouTube launched 360 video, and Facebook followed suit. Brands as big as National Geographic, and as small as college football teams are using 360 video to give viewers an immersive experience with their content. Whether you’re helicoptering over a volcano, or running onto the field with Stanford at the Rose Bowl, the experience is unlike anything we’ve seen before in online video.

As people begin to expect video content from brands, innovative companies are also adding interactivity to their videos. Honda took a chance in promoting their Civic R with The Other Side, allowing viewers to flip back and forth between the family friendly version of their car, and the darker, more mysterious story that lurked beneath.

As video has matured as a marketing asset, many marketers are also looking to take video off YouTube and start seeing real results with it. Video platforms (like Vidyard – selfish plug) have emerged to help brands complement their YouTube strategy with more in-depth viewer analytics and lead generation elements. While there is always a place for branded content on YouTube, businesses that want more from their video – and to have more control over what plays before and after it – are increasingly moving content to their own websites, and keeping it there.

Personalization has also become the cornerstone of modern marketing, and brands are following suit with their video content. A recent personalized video campaign from Lenovo saw an almost 5x increase in clicks compared to their usual campaigns. And that was to a list of dead leads. If seeing their first and last name in a video is enough to drive prospects to click through and engage, I suspect we’ll see far more companies using this technology to stand out.

At the end of the day, online video is quickly replacing network television as one of the biggest sources of media attention. Streaming services like Netflix, user generated content sites like YouTube, and social networks like Facebook are making video accessible, searchable, and using complex algorithms to supply viewers with the exact content they know they will enjoy. Whether we spend the rest of our lives glued to a screen remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: brands know how much time we spend watching content, and smart ones are taking advantage of online video as it grows.

Now, after all of this, I still don’t have a good way of knowing whether or not the coffee pot in our own kitchen is empty most of the time, but perhaps I can look at one of the latest innovations — inexpensive, video-enabled drones that I can control with my phone — to solve that.

After all, when it comes to online video, the sky truly is the limit.

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