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Video Marketing & My YouTube Wish List

UPDATE 6/25/10: Wow, YouTube is fast in responding to my requests! How I wish it were so. So I shoulda done a wee bit of research before dashing off this post. YouTube has already released an online video editor just days ago. You can find it at http://www.youtube.com/editor. Still, much of the following post still applies. 🙂

Google has been quietly building out additional and very useful features at YouTube this year, making it an increasingly more useful and flexible communications channel. Where in years’ past, we had to suffer through nearly unrecognizable imagery from overly-compressed video, the addition of high-definition video has made viewing clips on the site more pleasurable by the day.

These developments are not surprising, given the trend toward video as a dominant online medium and the concurrent explosion of online video content from professionals and amateurs alike.

But here’s the rub: I can’t be the only amateur video content producer who is exceedingly frustrated with video editing tools like Adobe Premier or even the simplified Microsoft Movie Maker. (And, yes, the the Mac users out there, I’m aware at how infinitely superior Apple’s video editing tools are, etc., etc., but let’s set that aside for the moment and focus on the vast majority of the world who use Windows OS.)

While we have plenty of people at Tunheim Partners versed in video editing, my buddy Pat Lilja chief amongst them, I am not one of them. I don’t know codecs from bitrates.

But I do know how I want to edit my video content.

So, since Google is adding a bunch of features to YouTube, let me add two to the list:

Video Editing Tools: It seems to me it is in Google’s best interest to decimate yet another industry by adding video editing tools to YouTube. Though they probably could, they don’t even have to go as far as driving Adobe out of business by sophisticated free editing tools to the mix. They could just give us the basics.

I don’t know that anyone’s done a survey but I’ve got to think that us video amateurs are, if not currently at least we have the potential to be, the majority among video content producers in the world. Isn’t it in Google’s best interest to give us simple editing tools to make our videos the most palatable to their/our audiences so more people watch more video so they can sell more ads?

I don’t think I’m alone in being perplexed at the fact that when I edit a video in Premier to make it smaller, it actually balloons the file size to twice or three times that of the original. I shouldn’t need a degree to lop off a few seconds from the end of a video and still keep it small enough to remain under YouTube’s generous two gig limit.

Speaking of limits, by implementing video editing tools, YouTube could have an simple and elegant solution to their ridiculous 10 minute time limit. If I upload a video longer than 10 minutes–an hour-long presentation I’ve done, let’s say–why couldn’t YouTube recognize that, offer me editing options to chop it up into bite-sized clips–and help me string them together into a coherent whole in the form of a playlist?

It’s not like there are technical limitations to online video editing; Chevy offered them four years ago for their Chevy Tahoe campaign.

Simple. Easy. Everyone’s happy. Oh, yeah, and more advertising opportunities.

Hot Spots Editing: One of YouTube’s coolest analytics (they call them “Insights”) features is the Hot Spots tool that let’s you see where audience attention is focused on a given video. You can see what content your audience finds interesting in a given video and where their attention falls off. If I had editing tools built into the Hot Spots Insights, I could chop off the stuff the audience doesn’t like and create a more palatable video as a result. That’s likely to translate into more video views and thus more opportunities to advertise.

A/B and Multivariate Testing: The proposed Hot Spots editing feature leads logically into a testing tool. Just like you can do in email marketing or with landing page design, why can’t I make two (or more) nearly identical versions of the same video, test which ones perform the best, and promote the one that gets the most views and/or interactions?

This feature would benefit YouTube’s content creators by helping them increase their viewership and build an audience while the very same activity would provide a lot more advertising opportunities for Google.

Thems my three cents. What other features should YouTube add? What am I missing?

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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