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Developing an expert system: Much work, many challenges, challenging job. | Copyright iStock 912613902

In Brief: Last time we talked about the equipment, responsibilities among the involved, legal aspects and the shooting location.
In the third part of the series there are more important tips with examples on how to make a marketing video successful.

Now we are closing this series with more thoughts on these last 4 points (click and read the answer immediately):

  1. 1. Budget: Something always goes wrong
  2. 2. Where do we launch our video?
  3. 3. Which duration is best for our marketing video?
  4. 4. Epilogue: The actual secret recipe is to plan long-term
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

And there is more you might be interested in:

[su_box title=”How to Prepare Your Marketing Video?” box_color=”#86bac5″ radius=”9″ class=”alignlcenter max-width: 700px”]

Video marketing: 4 tips for creating relevant content 
Video marketing: 4 tips for avoiding trouble
Video marketing: 4 secrets experts won’t tell (you are here)

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Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Budget: Beware, something always goes wrong

  • Do we have the necessary means to fund the production?
  • Does our calculation comprise every detail and is there a financial buffer (it is almost always needed!)
  • Is there a need for external financing?
  • Where can we find sponsors and how can the compensations look like?

Especially this last point is interesting to all of us. If you can pay your video production yourself, then there is no need for this. But the sooner you get more partners and cooperators on board the better!

This is because you should not stop after producing only one video (for further details see below!). It is beneficial to find sponsors even though there is no need to find external investors in the first place. But in future these can support your projects and furthermore promote your video in their own networks.

Sponsors can not only give money, but provide for catering or a perfect shooting location. In this way working with sponsors means your marketing video can be really good even though it is a low budget production.

Then it’s your turn to give something back to your sponsor. This can be as easy as incorporating the sponsor’s company’s logo into the picture. Or thank him in the end credits.

For our Deutscher Marketing Verband (#DMV) video, we only needed someone who had a white wall we can use as a background

By the way, we had to go there twice. By the time we were there the first time we noticed that Urs’s shirt (white with small, light green dots) was practically indistinguishable from the white background. We could not shoot a floating head…

We had to postpone the shooting. Fortunately, we lost only one week.

Dies ist das YouTube Thumbnail unseres Videos für den Deutschen Marketing Verband (#DMV) zum Thema DSGVO

This is the YouTube Thumbnail for our Deutscher Marketing Verband (#DMV) video.

2. Where do we launch our video?

This is a question we ask ourselves and we work on theoretical solutions even before we start putting something into practice.

  • Which video platform can we use to launch our marketing video? YouTube, Vimeo, something else?
  • Do we have a YouTube channel that matches the corporate design or do we have to create one?
  • Do we have to write blog entries about our video and the production, where we can embed the video? (YES, definitely! We do this every time.)
  • Does our sponsor have a blog? Can we embed our video in one of his blog entries?
  • Do we have social network accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? There we can for example post a short version to generate traffic on our blog site or YouTube channel.

Another question is: How to launch the video.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

If you have a short movie that’s about 10 minutes long, task the cutter to make a trailer or teaser of about half a minute. This will be posted on all social media channels before we launch the actual video.[/su_note]

Maybe there is the option to show your marketing video on local TV channels or in the cinema in the surrounding area. Obviously, this depends largely on our target audience as well.

3. Which duration is best for our marketing video?

In the first 15 seconds of your movie the viewer chooses if he wants to watch more of it or not. This means, the first few seconds have to be as interesting and eye-catching as possible.

Turned out – after many projects – our DrKPI camera team spends most of the shooting time with these first seconds. It’s definitely worth it, to be a perfectionist when it comes to the introduction.

The rest will fall into place: If you are going to talk about a to of complex information, you have to ensure the talking speed is appropriate for your target audience to understand. Do not tell too much in too little time. But make it as short as possible, so it will not become boring half way through.

Duration time largely depends on your budget as well. For example, 1 minute of video needs 1-2 hours of basic cutting. (Consequently, more complicated editing like animations needs more time.)

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Tip

In general we can say: The video has to be as short as possible, as long as necessary.[/su_note]

4. Epilogue: The actual secret recipe is to plan long-term

If we are going to produce only one video alone, it has to become something magically perfect to be a success just like that. Videos get more attention if they appear in as a series, therefore we have make new videos on a constant bias.

That is why we ask ourselves: Is there a potential for continuation of our idea, our project? Do we have other similar ideas with the same style so that our videos will be recognized?

If the answer is no, you should consider making another movie.

Another fact is, that videos will be outdated after a while. Sometimes because of the content, sometimes because there are so much more new videos with the same content.

This is not very surprising when we consider that every minute there about 400 hours of video material are uploaded to YouTube. To make it even more stunning: Every day there are 576.000 new hours of moving pictures on this video platform alone!

What we learn is simple.

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Tip

Video content has to be renewed on a regular bias, because one video alone is never enough. [/su_note]

A video will at some point become less and less interesting for the viewers. Even though the content might still be up-to-date after months or years.

It depends mostly on the industry and the nature of the video contents, but there is a tendency that in about 2 to 8 weeks there are no more new views. Of course, you can post the video again and again and stretch this period. But, at some point, everyone who wanted to has watched it and will not watch it ten times more.

So think about the continuation, think about your first video as the beginning of a long-term project. This is what we always suggest our clients to do.

What is the secret behind videos gone viral?

What is the secret behind videos gone viral?

Maybe you are lucky: You succeeded in making your first marketing video a hit. And you gained a lot of new costumers.

But will these costumers be loyal? Especially, if the concurrence is uploading new videos with even more innovation in the same field every month. This is problematic…

5. What is your opinion?

  • Do you want to make a marketing video, but you are still looking for a good idea or do you need help with the execution of your project?
  • Do you have experience in video marketing? What would you improve next time?
  • You have already succeeded in making a marketing video for your company? Show us your project with a link in the comment section below and tell us how you made it.
  • Or are you planning to make a little movie for your company, for an event or produce a short video for some of your blog entries? Tell us about it in the comments. We answer as quickly as possible.

We are glad to get to know your project and wait for your comment.

 

Making a movie for your blog: the best social media marketing strategy, youtube video marketing

In Brief: In the first blog entry of this series about Marketing Videos we talked about: Why a movie? Plus, thoughts about our target audience, our goal, and what is the best content.
The second part of our series covers more production tricks and examples.

How can you avoid common problems in video shoots and preparing for them?

We can provide details, because our own past experiences were a process of trail and error. To reflect on our projects allows us to optimise our working process in the future. Learning never ends and we are motivated.

This time we came up with a variety of answers to these five questions (click and read the answer immediately):

  1. 1. Which equipment do we need?
  2. 2. Who is involved and who is responsible for what?
  3. 3. What are the legalities?
  4. 4. What is the best location?
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

For more information read the following articles:

[su_box title=”How to Prepare Your Marketing Video?” box_color=”#86bac5″ radius=”9″ class=”alignlcenter max-width: 700px”]

Video marketing: 4 tips for creating relevant content
Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble (you are here)
Video marketing: 4 secrets experts won’t share

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Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Which equipment do we need?

The technology

Everyone would probably list the same item first: a camera. But keep in mind, lighting and sound are equally important. These two components are almost always underestimated, especially by beginners.

I would say, if you provide for professional lighting and sound you don’t even need to have a big professional movie camera. A good video nowadays can easily be shot with your iPhone. The image quality is more than sufficient. That is, under certain circumstances (outdoor shooting on a bright and sunny day).

However, without a high-quality microphone, your marketing video will seem amateurish no matter how good the image quality is. Synchronisation in a recording studio is possible but requires a lot more technical know-how and an experienced voice behind the mic.

If your shoot takes place indoors, you can almost never expect the natural light (from the windows) or the installed lighting in the room (usually only from above – another disadvantage) to be enough.

If you want to guarantee a professional-looking outcome, consider good-quality spotlights a must for every shoot.

And, to be honest, we from DrKPI do not make the marketing videos with our iPhones. We use camera-like camcorders like the P2HD solutions offered by Panasonic. Of course, you need a lot of accessories as well: memory cards and devices for transfer data compatibility, the tripod, and so on…

Without sufficient know-how in camera technology, you might be lost. And the same goes for the cutting. The Windows Movie Maker cannot compete with a professional video editing software like Final Cut Pro X. But this program calls for an expert, too.

In short, everything calls for one thing – and that is professionalism.

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Tip

A highly authentic marketing video can be shot with an iPhone and some headlights.
Start collecting short videos (pictures only) from products that are made, hands that work on something, a walk through your company (for stabilization consider using an Osmo that fits your Smartphone), etc.
Film everything that comes to your mind.
Then contact an expert and discuss the value of your material and what can be done with your clips.[/su_note]

More equipment needed

If you work with a production team, you can leave these questions to the experts. That gives you time to think about other things you need, such as:

  • props,
  • clothes (also known as costumes), and
  • catering.

For LomMedical (more information here), we made a video about how they integrated the smart retractable syringe for single use.

By the way, this is one of our first videos. It illustrates, what can happen, if you do not have the opportunity to test the location prior to the actual shoot. Therefore, we had no time to conduct light and sound tests.

It turned out that the long and narrow conference room was poorly lit, with windows at only one end. Even with the three spotlights on (at the best positions we could manage) the lighting for this project was not the best…

What clothes should our speaker or actors wear? The director and camera operator (responsible for visuals) can help you. Start with thinking about the Corporate Design first. This should form part of any marketing video.

And then, if your project will take a lot of time, you should provide for your team. Prepare some food and drinks. Or, at least, inform them that there will be no lunch at the set, but there is a restaurant and a supermarket nearby.

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Tip

Show your process on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms!
Take pictures from behind the scenes (Smartphones are perfect for a cool little making-of).
But keep in mind, everything that’s in the room – cups, plates, bottles, food, notebooks, pens – will become props. It’s worth thinking about how these things look on moving (and unmoving) digital film, and how they will be perceived.[/su_note]

2. Who is involved and who is responsible for what?

Participants can be divided into two groups:

  1. those working in front of the camera, and
  2. those working behind the camera.

Choose the face on screen: should it be an influencer, CEO or an employee “like you and me”? A poor choice can ruin the whole project.

All persons involved are present at the shoot (left to right): Peter Johann (CEO, Lumendi Ltd.); Corina Rieflin (Investor Relations, Lumendi Ltd.); Patrizia Sinistra (camera operator and editor, DrKPI); Urs E. Gattiker (producer and director, DrKPI).

The next question is, who is responsible for what? Expertise is needed in every area. That is why it’s almost impossible to make a movie on your own.

For instance, the head of a company can instruct a manager to take on the organisational tasks of a producer, but they will not necessarily have the technical know-how to operate the camera and lights, or the eye to arrange a scene.

It would be frustrating to realise that the material just does not look good once you’re in the editing room. Or an editor from a contracted company tells you, there’s nothing to be done with material this bad.

And you will still have the production costs to deal with.

It’s helpful to include everyone from the beginning:

  • actors, speakers, extras – everyone who is expected to be in front of the camera,
  • producer,
  • director,
  • camera operator,
  • lighting and sound experts,
  • someone responsible for legal issues
  • financial officer,
  • editor, and
  • the marketing people.

There has to be an active exchange of important information and the communication must be totally reliable to avoid misunderstandings.

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Tip

Include everyone from the beginning before taking any step in any direction. (Sometimes you will not need everyone, but it is good to have someone for everything – just in case.)[/su_note]

3. What are the legalities?

Do we need consents, contracts, insurance?

For everyone’s sake, any agreements should be done in writing. Especially when it comes to personal rights there should be signed consent forms. Prepare the paperwork with your legal expert and collect the signatures.

That goes not only for your actors or anyone else on camera, but also for anyone in the background, who may not want to be filmed. This is of particular importance if your shoot takes place outdoors. For shooting in public, you almost always need to obtain a permit. For privately-owned places, you might need permission to access the facilities.

Ensure that you have insurance to cover the work you’re doing – just in case. It would be terrible if you suddenly could not publish your marketing video because you unwittingly infringed on someone’s personal rights…

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Tip

Start the paperwork by making a list of every consent you will probably need.[/su_note]

4. What is the best location

You have an idea that suits your marketing video? A location with the perfect atmosphere or one that is able to reflect your company’s philosophy? Be sure to do light and sound tests before the shoot.

If necessary, you may need to increase your equipment, e.g. more spotlights, a wind-attenuating cover for the microphone, etc. Sometimes you need to reconsider your choice in order to prevent budget overruns.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan ahead. There should be an alternative date for the shoot. The publication can be delayed by weeks or months if you start organising a new shoot date too late.

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Tip

Be specific. The location has to be perfect.[/su_note]

5. What is your opinion?

Have these tips helped you so far? Feel free to leave a comment below. Or proceed with the third part of this series (coming soon) to get more answers to important questions regarding the preparation of your successful marketing video.

During production we often experience sudden insights we want to share with you as our secret tips in filmmaking. We hope to support you in optimising your own marketing video production.

  • Do you have experience in video marketing? What would you improve next time?
  • What interesting insights do you want to share? Tell us about your “Eureka!” moment.
  • Are you planning to make a little movie for your company, for an event or produce a short video for some of your blog entries? Tell us about it in the comments. We answer as quickly as possible.

In brief: This is the first of three blog entries about marketing videos.
In this post, we show you what it takes to create a successful video.
Careful preparation is the first and biggest step.

Keep reading to see a full post and how you can implement these tips for your next video.

Almost five billion videos are watched every single day on YouTube alone.

Another interesting fact about video marketing ROI (return on investment) is that 92 percent of mobile video consumers share content with others.

We are convinced that good preparation is half the job. Conversely, a lot of time and money will be lost if we realise during production or – even worse during post-production – that our project was not thought through properly…

That is why we made this series of twelve questions with tips, tricks and examples you should know before you dive head-first into shooting.

Below are four questions that need to be answered carefully during the preparation phase. Please address these issues before you do the video shoot (click to get straight to the answer):

  1. 1. Why a video?
  2. 2. Who is our target audience?
  3. 3. What is our goal?
  4. 4. What will the content be?
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

For more information, read the following articles:

[su_box title=”How to Prepare Your Marketing Video” box_color=”#86bac5″ radius=”9″ class=”aligncenter max-width: 700px”]

Video marketing: 4 tips for relevant content (you are here)
Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble
Video marketing: 4 secrets experts won’t share

[/su_box]

Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Why a video?

Making a movie or simple video is easier said than done. Why not a white paper, blog post or press release, instead?

First and foremost, we need to clarify our intentions. Otherwise we will get lost during the process of shooting the video. This helps bring everything into focus.

For example, why should we make a video instead of, or in combination with, a blog entry?

Of course, a video will be more easily remembered, and over all, people love to watch videos on the internet, even more so than reading a blog entry. A video might be easier to understand as well, because it generally demands a lower level of concentration than text.

In particular, we have to think about what we want to show. If we provide our costumers with audio-visual material, we need to give them something particular to see.

For instance, if we are going to talk about a lot of information, our audience be better off with text. An interested user is able to read through important sections of a text again and again. He or she doesn’t have to search for the very second where the important part begins. In a text, there are headlines that structure the information so that one can easily find a sentence or word again.

Then again, there might be a very complex issue that requires a more precise explanation. Why not make a video about this very matter to accompany the text? In the video, we explain the issue and visualise it with an exemplary demonstration.

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Tip 1

Making a marketing video just for the sake of having some video might not be beneficial, but it is always useful to have a short video a blog entry to supplement a text with visual content.[/su_note]

2. Who is our target audience?

Who are we trying to reach with this content? Existing customers, key accounts, or employees? Or are we trying to get new audiences on board, and reach even more people?

Does our target audience consist of pupils and those looking for a job or training, or of companies that could become affiliates? Or do we want to get closer to the end-user?

Children? Artists? Sportsmen? Dog lovers? You know what I mean…

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Tip 2

It is helpful to look for the kind of videos your target audience is watching, but keep in mind, your audience might be interested in completely different videos when it comes to your business.[/su_note]

Most adolescents love to watch vines (7-sec-videos) by their favorite YouTube star, but if you want to air those, the situation gets more complex. If we want to produce a video that will go viral, we had best also include an influencer (note the irony).

This inauthentic video might deter the student. She wants to be taken seriously by her future employer, who has to show they understand her situation, probably characterised by her uncertain future.

In this case, we had best focus on our qualities as trainer and an employer that provides our trainees with security, learning support, and other important qualities.

We made a video (in German, see below) about Hadya Khalil from Syria.

This DrKPI production shows what it takes to make an authentic video. Hadya herself is not an influencer, but she is authentic in speaking about her personal situation. As a refugee, she was looking for an apprenticeship in Switzerland. After a lot of hard work, which she talks about in the video, she secured a position.

For Hadya, Alpiq InTec in Zurich is the best employer / trainer she can imagine. That comes across as authentic and truthful, based on her experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlX6mSkY2n8

Obviously the video’s tone (factual, emotional, etc.) arises from the objective, which was to reach a younger target audience.

Understanding your target audience’s preferences, needs and wishes is a first important step. As we show below, defining what you intend to accomplish comes next.

3. What is our goal?

The next step is to ask:

Do we want to produce an image video, to illustrate our corporate culture or philosophy?
Do we need to increase awareness for our newly launched product?
Do we want to increase the number of qualified and motivated job applicants for certain positions?

In some cases, the company may just want to document the annual shareholder meeting to communicate with an important group of stakeholders.

We must write down and discuss our objective or what we want to accomplish. Without this, it is difficult to stay focused when shooting the video. Moreover, this makes assessing whether you accomplished the goals you set feasible, such as with the help of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip 3

It is helpful to watch others’ videos with a similar objective to help you formulate your goal and decide what can be accomplished. [/su_note]

Of course, if you have the budget, getting advice and support from professionals is always helpful, but remember that, while creativity can be wonderful, keeping your goal at the forefront is key to getting your message across.

4. What will the content be?

Obviously, a marketing video about a toy train cannot be compared to one about an innovative accessory to an endoscope.

That is what determines the video’s tone. If a CEO of a medical company is talking about the technological advancement of a new product, the video has to be neutral and fact-based. This goes beyond just the product, the firm’s strategy or an event. It is about communicating what needs to be communicated well. This can easily go wrong, whether you keep your target audience in or not.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip 4

Tell a story. That goes not only for better blogging, but for videos – maybe even twice as much.[/su_note]

We often want to tell a story (see Hadya Khalil above), but sometimes we only want to give important information. Either way, we need to specify what is to be communicated.

A script has to be prepared beforehand, which must be structured properly. Without structure, you risk your audience losing the thread of what you are trying to communicate, in which case they will not watch your video to the end.

Do you want to share your views? Have these tips helped you so far? Leave a comment below or read the second part (coming soon) to get more important information on how to make a professional marketing video.

5. What is your opinion?

  • How much time do you think you spend each day watching video content on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop?
  • Do you have an example of a great video for a product, event, or explaining algebra?
  • What would you advise someone wanting to make a great video? Please share in the comments.

CLICK - DrKPI for improving college marketingIt is again the time of year when parents and prospective students pore over recently published university rankings.

“…US News asked top college officials to identify institutions in their Best Colleges ranking category that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

But should we recommend such rankings, like the one above from the US News & World Report?  Are college rankings good, bad or ugly as Yale’s former Dean of Admissions suggests?

Or could it be the single worst advice we could possibly give a high school student?

Fact 1: College rankings generate revenue for publishers

Media houses know very well that university rankings are of great interest to prospective students and parents. So, newspapers like the Financial Times (FT) feature a weekly special section on education. In addition, the paper publishes numerous rankings throughout the year.

Then there are the various feature reports (see 2015-11-03 FT Special Report on Innovations in Education). Of course, they carry also advertising like the one below from Thunderbird.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2517″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”519px” height=”380px” alt=”FT Special Report Innovations in Education – Thunderbird promotes itself as innovative leader – half page – front page color ad $120,000″]

Looking at the FT Special Reports Ad rates shows that getting involved with educational institutions pays well for media houses. Universities are forced to get increasingly famous to attract more resources and qualified students. In turn, advertising in special editions about education is a sure way to reach more of your target audience.

Marketing 101

Publishing college rankings makes sense from a publisher’s perspective. Advertising brings in the revenue needed (FT Special Reports Ad rates), and people read the stuff because as Langville and Meyer (2012, p. 1) suggest:

In America, especially, we are evaluation-obsessed, which thereby makes us ranking-obsessed given the close relationship between ranking and evaluation.

Fact 2: Schools love to use rankings

Everyone certainly loves rankings when they place in the top 10. And regardless of whether we agree with the findings, if we are the top dog, we let the whole world know about it.

The great thing is such rankings are based on a third party’s opinion, which lends it all credibility when we advertise our achievement.  Arizona State University (ASU) continues to tout their top rankings in the US News & World Report list of most innovative schools.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2514″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”519px” height=”381px” alt=”US News & World Report – Most innovative school ranking 2015 – an advertising bonanza”]

Marketing 101

You don’t have to be brilliant or innovative, you just have to convince others that you are. Of course, if you have an external reference point that ranks you highly, such as a well-known publication, so much the better for your recruiters.

Can prospective students trust these school rankings?
Are they useful when choosing a university/college or program of study?

Fact 3: This stuff is less useful than you think

It is best to look at the methodology used in a ranking. What measures were used to conclude that ASU should be considered more innovative than Stanford and MIT? Fair question – let’s see.

US News & World Report asked deans and presidents to rank their peers. The magazine wants to compare apples with apples. Hence, national schools such as ASU, Stanford and MIT are ranked with their peers.

By the way, did you know that the US News & World Report puts the United States Naval Academy into the category of national liberal arts colleges?

So how does one measure the innovativeness of a university? We are told:

“…2015 survey that received the most nominations by top college officials for being the most innovative institutions. They are ranked in descending order based on the number of nominations they received. A school had to receive seven or more nominations to be listed.”

In plain English, this means you need to get as many high level university administrators as possible to nominate your university for innovation.

Accordingly, if you manage to make everyone perceive you as innovative, you are. That is all there is to it. Isn’t that wonderful?

Of course, we have no idea if whether a product innovation or a process innovation helped you rank highly. In either case, to claim to have made an invention, and thereby become an innovative university, you should answer things like: Why is this curriculum change an invention? They can be evaluated according to:

  • novelty (new),
  • inventiveness (i.e. must involve a non-obvious inventive step), and
  • industrial applicability (can be used).

Of course, in this case we have no clue what makes a curriculum change a simple change and what makes it an invention.

Marketing 101

US News & World Report rankings illustrate very well that how you measure things matters little. It just has to come across as making sense because 90 percent of readers do not bother to read about your methods or the fine print.

However, if you invest several years of your life in attending a school, while paying through the nose for tuition, fees and so on, you are well-advised to ensure the ranking makes sense to you.

Of course, even if the measure is bad, this does not necessarily mean ASU and Stanford are bad schools. They’re great, but

the US News & World Report’s attempts to measure innovativeness is a useless vanity exercise, to put it politely.

Fact 4: Using just one ranking is the worst

You basically have to do the homework. The five points spelled out in the table below will help you make better sense out of any ranking.

Please keep in mind – the perfect ranking does not exist. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, but you can only learn what those are by following these steps.

[su_box title=”5 critical things to do before trusting a college ranking.” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

1. Take the time and make the effort to learn about the methodology. Where is the description, and how thorough is the ranking we are looking at? An example of a good method section is PEW Research‘s study on multiracial Americans, which explains how data were collected, weaknesses of the study, etc. This is also easy for the uninitiated to understand.

If you have done this homework, you know better how much weight you should give the rankings in front of you. That is a great start.

2. Does the study measure what it is supposed to (also called validity)? What criteria were used to make up a component in the ranking? Do these make sense to you?

3. Are there components of the ranking that particularly interest you? We may look at costs as an important factor. It could be interesting to understand how, for instance, a university degree (e.g., undergraduate or graduate) affects one’s career prospects and / or income 10 years after we graduate.

3 very good examples of included interesting factors:

4. Come up with a set of criteria that are important to you (see also image below), such as:

4.1 – location (e.g., which country and what area of the country/city), and
4.2 – costs (e.g., tuition, fees, health insurance, accommodation).

5. Write down a set of criteria that are not that critical to you, such as:

5.1 – GPA of incoming class,
5.2 – number and value of student scholarships, and
5.3 – diversity of faculty (e.g., gender, race, country and language)

The above makes it clear that using just one ranking is plain stupid. Using two is risky and using three or more allows you to pick and choose, thereby empowering you to make the decision that best suits you.

If the ranking uses those criteria that are of limited importantce to you (see point 5), you know what to do – ignore it.

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[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2536″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”520px” height=”414px” alt=”Balancing the worth of education with outcomes.”]

One must balance the resources put in and the outcomes we hope for. This also indicates that we need to look at several rankings to choose the right university.

Who is number 1?  Create the best ranking

Of course, in addition to US News & World Report and the Financial Times, others do not want to be left out of this lucrative business. For instance, The Economist (a weekly magazine) also produces a ranking of MBA programs. So does the Wall Street Journal. Of course, even more rankings exist, such as the best 100 Employers to Work For or the Best Consulting Companies (German-language Handelsblatt).

In the case of the Best Consulting Companies, participants are asked three questions about the firm and voilà, we have the 2015 rankings. This may indicate more about how much you advertise (helps increase brand recognition) than how satisfied your clients are with your work.

These examples illustrate, everybody and anybody can create a college ranking. However, to avoid becoming a laughingstock, I urge you to follow the nine steps outlined below.

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How exact and thorough we are when addressing each step will, in turn, affect the overall quality of our rankings.

[su_box title=”9 steps to develop your favorite ranking system for just about anything.” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

1. Write a one-page summary of why this ranking is needed and explain its purpose (to help readers… lose weight, pass the certification exam, purchase the best car, etc.).

2. What can readers do with these data? For example, does studying these data help improve performance? Does it show one’s weaknesses? Does it outline how one can improve (see DrKPI BlogRank)?

3. Come up with some indicators or measures that allow the collection of data from individuals (e.g., salary three years after graduation), the institution (e.g., faculty with doctorate), and possibly other indicators (e.g., inflation rate, purchasing power parity (PPP) data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to adjust salaries).

4. Use the indicators to make up components that make sense to the uninitiated (e.g., career progress, quality of faculty).

5. Add up the indicators to attain the overall score for each component the school, firm or student achieved.

FT uses three indicators to make up the “idea generation” component of its MBA rankings.

  • percentage of faculty with doctorates,
  • number of doctoral students that graduated last three years, and
  • research output created using a set of 45 journals (no Chinese or Spanish research journals need apply).

6. Convert the component scale to a common one such as 0 to 100, whereby the best gets the top score and average performers hover around 50.

7. Determine the importance of each component.

In many cases, some components are weighted higher than others. That is a value judgment that warrants an explanation. The same goes if you weigh each component the same! Explain your decision to the uninitiated reader.

8. Compute the aggregate score as the weighted sum of the previously calculated scaled component scores.

9. Present the aggregate score from the desired scale, such as 0 to 100.

Thanks to Fung (2013, p. 22-23) for inspiring me to write up this list.

Whenever looking at a university or any other ranking, keep the above in mind. Is the methodology spelled out, explaining the issues raised above? If these things are not made transparent, caution is called for.

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What is your take?

What’s your favorite ranking (e.g., sports) AND why do you like it?

– Which university ranking did you use when you applied for college?

What do you like the most about rankings?

What advice would you give a high school student regarding college rankings?

FT Global MBA Ranking

As I pointed out above, each ranking has something we might be able to use for our own purposes. The one below shows which business school provides you with the best value (i.e. current income minus tuition, books, lost wages while attending the program, etc.).

Surprising, is it not? The best known schools rank low. But maybe you want to use different criteria to rank… Check it out yourself.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2552″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”497px” height=”650px” alt=”Financial Times Global MBA Ranking – Value for money”]

FT Global MBA Ranking – the winner based on value is the University of Cape Town – Graduate School of Business.

Things worth reading

1. Fung, Kaiser (2013). Number Sense. How to use big data to your advantage. New York: McGraw-Hill. Available on http://www.mheducation.co.uk/9780071799669-emea-numbersense-how-to-use-big-data-to-your-advantage

2. Kenrick, Douglas, T. (September 30, 2014). When statistics are seriously sexy. Sex, lies and big data. Psychology Today online. Retrieved November 2, 2015 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201409/when-statistics-are-seriously-sexy

3. Kenrick, Douglas, T. (June 20, 2012). Sexy statistics: What’s the one best question to predict casual sex? The science of sex, beer and enduring love. Psychology Today online. Retrieved November 3, 2015 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201206/what-s-the-one-best-question-predict-casual-sex

4. Langeville, Amy N. & Meyer, Carl D. (2012). Who’s #1? The science of rating and ranking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Available from http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9661.html

5. Rudder, Christian (September 2015). Dataclysm: Love, sex, race, and identity – what our online lives tell us about our offline selves. New York: Broadway Books. Available on http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/223045/dataclysm-by-christian-rudder/9780385347396/

6. Stake, Jeffrey Evans and Alexeev, Michael (October 30, 2014). Who Responds to U.S. News & World Report’s Law School Rankings? Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington Legal Studies Research Paper No. 55. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=913427

Single worst advice – the answer

After reading this blog entry, it is obvious that using a single ranking is not smart.
Use a few and be aware of each one’s weaknesses and strengths.

Choose the component that helps you the most. If by any chance two rankings use the same component (e.g., salary), compare the numbers and smile.

Nothing is perfect. And since you read all the way to the end, why not write a comment and subscribe to our newsletter?

Download PDF file: How to save advertising dollars on Facebook and YouTube.
2015-09-28 Update thanks to Rubén Cuevas,

Fake views of ads by "bots" cost advertisers more than $6.3 billion US globally during 2015.

Data show, video fraud-detection on DailyMotion, vimeo, YouTube and others fails to filter out invalid traffic properly.
 
Here I distill our knowledge into 3 takeaways.

Check out what Sir Martin Sorrell WPP has to say about the matter.
According to Media Rating Council (MRC) and IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) standards, a viewable impression of a digital ad occurs when 50 percent of an ad’s pixels are on screen for one second.

In December 2014 Google published data regarding display ads in browsers (desktop and mobile). The study revealed that 56 percent of the display ads it served on its own and others’ sites never appeared within view on someone’s screen.

Nobody really knows for sure how Google or any other video platform or ad server come up with these numbers. For instance, Google provides explanations of what one should look for in these numbers it serves advertisers about their ads. How it collects them is, however, not explained.

1. What is the challenge?

The US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) released a report in December 2014, which estimated that

  • 23 percent of video ads, and
  • 11 percent of display ads

are viewed by “bots”. These are computer programs that mimic the behaviour of an Internet user.

The ANA estimated that this would cost advertisers about $6.3 billion US globally in 2015. This is a concern for two reasons.

1. Adertisers are spending ever larger amounts of money across both display and video advertising (see graphic below), and

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2. Spending for video ads is estimated to grow 21.9 percent compound annually from 2015 to 2020 (US data) (see also online video celebrities – chart below).

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2. Google and Facebook want a larger slice

Google and its YouTube platform want to garner the largest share possible of this growth in video advertising. Nonetheless, the competition will surely want to prevent this.

In April 2015, Facebook boasted it had over 4 billion video views each day. This number continues to grow.

For now, YouTube data suggest many more videos are viewed daily on its video platform than on Facebook.

For Google, display and video ads create tons of cash for the company, but things are changing. For instance, the rate for pay-per-click ads has been dropping (view chart as shown below). Google explains this was lower rates on YouTube than its other platforms.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2334″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”530px” height=”288px”]

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Some suggest that in the US, millenials spend nearly 60 percent of their time watching movies on either a smartphone, tablet or desktop/laptop.

To keep advertisers pouring more money into video ads, however, Google and Facebook have to up their game. Accordingly, both must provide strong evidence that their fraud detection systems work. Until fraud detection works, three things must be addressed as outlined below.

3. Focus on not getting charged for invalid video views

Each video platform wants to charge advertisers for video ads according to whatever the market will bear. In turn, advertisers want to keep costs for ads down, but this is becoming a challenge.

Apparently, some companies offer tens of thousands of YouTube views for as little as $5 US. Such data could in part help explain why 23 percent of video ads are viewed by fake consumers.

Of course, no advertiser wants to pay for these “views”.

How does one avoid paying for fraudulent views?

That is difficult to say, because…

Filtering invalid traffic before advertisers are ever charged is not getting easier.

Recent research sheds light on this important issue. Researchers uploaded two videos to each of five video platforms (YouTube, DailyMotion, Myvideo.de, TV UOL and Vimeo).

They bought ads on these platforms, which targeted the videos they had previously uploaded. Then, they directed their “bots” to these videos.

What are bots?

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Bots are used by DrKPI, Google and Qwant Search to crawl the web.

They are little programs that allow DrKPI  to collect data about blog entries (e.g., text, data of blog entry, etc.).

Google uses bots to index webpages. Bots can also be computer programs that mimic the behaviour of internet users viewing, e.g., a video ad.

About 60% of internet traffic is due to bots.[/su_box]

Each platform’s two videos were visited by the bots about 150 times. The researchers explain in their paper that the bots used were far from sophisticated tools as cyber criminals might use. Nevertheless, the results are worrisome for advertisers.

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If detection mechanisms work properly, marketers do not have to pay for ads on YouTube viewed by robots.

Data show that YouTube seems to have the best fraud-detection mechanism of the five platforms tested. It was followed by DailyMotion.

YouTube’s fraud detection tool identified 25 of the 150 bot visits to a video as real users viewing the video.

This means in 16.67 percent of cases, YouTube wrongfully identified a bot or robot to be a human watching a video.

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What is most unsettling, however, is that Google charged the researchers for 90 of the registered fake views. This is a 60.67 percent error rate!

So what is the bigger problem:

1. That YouTube wrongfully identified 25 robot “views” to be humans out of 150 times the video ads were “seen” = 16.67 percent error rate, or

2. Google AdWords, instead of charging for the 16.67 percent of views wrongly identified as humans by YouTube, deciding to charge for 90 views done by robots =  a 60.67 percent error or false positive rate?

How could YouTube’s false positive-rate be so inflated? The process of counting views (i.e. public view counter and number of counted and monetized views) is opaque on YouTube.

Thanks to Rubén Cuevas for pointing out: “YouTube has two different mechanisms in place to discount views for the:

public view counter, and also the
monetised view counter”

Important is here to understand as Rubén pointed out to me, the public view counter seems to be more strict in the detection of fake views.

This is to say YouTube increases the count, and therefore, charges the advertiser for even more fake views than the public view counter would suggest.

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Read the research findings in detail:

Marciel, Miriam; Cuevas, Ruben; Banchs, Albert; Gonzales, Roberto; Traverso, Stefano; Ahmed, Mohamed and Azcorra, Arturo (July 2015). Understanding the detection of fake view fraud in Video Content Portals. Retrieved September 23, 2015 from http://arxiv.org/abs/1507.08874

Check out the FT article for non geeks, including comments by the researchers left here:

Cookson, Robert (September 23, 2015). Google charges marketers for ads on YouTube even when viewed by robots. Financial Times, p. 1. Retrieved, September 23, 2015 from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/53ac3fd0-604e-11e5-a28b-50226830d644.html

[su_box title=”3 takeaways: Focus on verifiability of video views to fight off deception.” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

1. Better process transparency for fraud detection
Having over 15 percent of bot views identified as “real” is a high error rate. While this is bad, YouTube is better than the rest.

YouTube seems to use a sufficiently discriminative fake view detection mechanism, but this applies only to the public view counter.

For the monetized view counter (i.e. those for which advertisers get billed), YouTube seems to ignore this mechanism for discounting fake views (see section 3 above – verifiability).

This is, of course, unacceptable for advertisers. Moreover, it makes the process of how YouTube detects these deceptors totally intransparent for advertisers.

Bottom line: With the help of third party verification, this challenge should be resolved quickly.

2. Improve measurement and use a set of standardized metrics
Even with third parties verifying numbers for advertisers, if our KPIs (key performance indicators) are not comparable we are stuck. For instance, Facebook defines a “view” as someone watching a video for three seconds or more. Others like YouTube talk about around 30 seconds before counting.

These different standards make it difficult for advertisers to get a clear feel and comparable numbers across platforms. Thus, even focusing on numbers, as Google suggests, is of limited value.

Bottom line: Define and agree upon the metrics used by the advertising industry. Make them comparable across social networks and video platforms.

3. Establish third party collecting, verifying and auditing of numbers
Facebook has followed the practice of self-reporting on viewability of ads, pages, reader engagement, and so forth. But as Volskwagen’s #dieselgate shows, self-reporting is always vulnerable to misuse, sloppiness and abuse of the system.

Bottom line: We need third party collecting and verification of numbers. Such efforts must in part focus on minimising charges for advertisers when ads are viewed by robots.

Eliminating fraud in online advertising is key

You are supposed to count the actual number of measured views of a video ad. Ergo, filter out invalid traffic from bots.

In December 2014, the ANA/White Ops study identified 23 percent of video ad impressions as bot fraud. Combine that number with the results from data reported here, and this means:

Google AdWords takes at least 60.67 percent of the 23 percent bot fraud views on YouTube and charges advertisers for them.

Thus, it follows that advertisers pay for at least 14 percent of video ads not viewed by humans!

The lack of transparency, standardized metrics and a regular audit of how video platforms handle fake ad views costs advertisers dearly.

Accurate metrics matter. For the first time ever worldwide mobile advertising will overtake print in 2016 ($71 billion US versus print shrinking to $68 billon US).

As well, social media advertising will top $25 billion US this year. Facebook is expected to take the biggest slice, more than $16 billion US. Instagram will account for “just” $600 million US.

Advertisers are justifiably wary and suspicious. Based on the above predictions, we better make sure that we pay only for those imprints, views, etc., that were executed by humans and not robots. Will #GoogleAW2015 tell us more about how YouTube plans to address this issue? Not really.

Download the checklist as a PDF (320KB file).

Interesting read

a) More content about advertising and viral content
b) Google: hidden ad costs
c) IAB’s efforts to establish a more trustworthy supply chain
d) YouTube frozen views
e) YouTube search for counted views – zero information provided
f) Facebook partners with Moat to verify video ad metrics
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Benchmark and test your blog – for free – right now

What is your opinion?

Now that you have read “Epic fail: Video view fraud detection“, I would like to ask you a question or two.

– As an advertiser, how do you deal with this issue? Please share!
– What type of video advertising works best for your business?
– What do you know about Facebook’s handling of this challenge?

More about advertising fraud

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Ads on mobile platforms are cheaper than ads on desktop platforms.
But the core of Google’s business is still on the desktop.
In this article I offer 3 key take-aways about mobile and desktop advertising trends you want to know about.

I purchased my first mobile in 1997. It was a 2G device from Ericsson and set me back by about 3,500 DKK (about €500). My second mobile phone was much cheaper in 2000 DKK (see photo).

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The first generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. It changed how users took advantage of 3G technology in a big way (see chart).

Downloading music files became feasible, thereby making the smartphone an increasingly more versatile gadget for entertainment. Voice calls were still made, but listening to music files became popular.

See newspaper clip below and full article here: From 1G to 3G – what a change… People were not downloading MP3 music files in the early 1990s.

You could around 2000, but it was expensive, cumbersome and took about 10 minutes (at least when I did it in Copenhagen). When the iPhone 3 arrived July 11, 2008 it was possible to get the file in 10 seconds. These days it should take just 3 seconds – in theory at least :-)

[su_box title=”With an Apple iPhone 3G, users managed to download MP3 files in 10 seconds.” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

From 1G to 3G on mobile networks.

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So if we are using 4G now, what will the future hold? Nobody really knows what 5G will bring.

[su_box title=”5G is 10 x faster than 4G: Do I need it?” box_color=”#ff9900″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

From-4G-to-6G-on-mobile-networks

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What we do know, however, is that all this has changed the advertising business.

Most of Google’s traffic comes from mobile

We may not know how 5G will evolve, but we do have a pretty good idea of how people search for information on the web:

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An interesting tidbit for the above graphic is that tablet searches are growing faster than smartphone searches using Comscore’s data. In the US most Google search traffic comes from people using mobile devices, as pointed out by Google’s Jerry Dischler, VP of Product Management.

In his presentation, he stated that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Canada,” (the slide he showed pictured a US and Japanese flag).

Google puts tablets and PCs in one group.

What could explain the discrepancy between Google and Comscore’s data? Somebody must be wrong. There are four possible explanations:

1. 75% of mobiles in the US are smartphones. 53% are powered by Google Android and 42% by Apple’s iOS.
Android’s default is Google search… (see US Digital Future in Focus March 2015 Q4 2014 data).

2. Mobile search is growing much faster than anticipated. This may be reflected in Google’s numbers for Q1 2015.

3. ComScore’s or Google’s data are incorrect (see point 1).

4. A combination of these explanations.

Google is neither willing to comment on the above discrepancies to me nor the Wall Street Journal, but Mr Dischler did put the 50% number into perspective. He pointed out that roughly 50% search about cars on their mobile… Roughly can mean anything from 45% to 55% :-)

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By the way, if people use smartphone devices in the middle of a task such as shopping or cooking, how much does this annoy others?

I, for one, prefer to look at a cook book to find out information about how to bake on a Sunday afternoon. Why mess with a mobile phone? If I need a recipe for pancakes, I search on my laptop.

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More about Google Mobile Ads – Ad Words Performance Summit

Key take-away #1: Google appears to be scrambling to catch up with Airpush, Facebook and others that appear to deliver great results for advertisers.

Why does Google push mobile?

The quick take-away, assuming these data are accurate, is essentially that Google search revenues may have peaked on the desktop. Google thus either has to acquire market share from rivals on the desktop or boost mobile search revenues to maintain growth.

The ads that Google displays alongside its search results are effective and lucrative in the online marketing world, but Google’s average ad prices have been in decline for several years. Google can try to grow video and display advertising, but the company faces much more competition in those categories.

Dischler said patterns are changing as users hop among devices. “It’s more of a swirl, with people browsing on phones, getting on their desktop at work, then their tablet at home, then purchasing through a store visit or on a phone call,” he said.

To tackle this, Google built a new crop of mobile-friendly ads that rely on data, such as images, product specs and prices, from advertisers, rather than keywords.

When users search for something, Google increasingly

shows a panel or carousel

of listings from advertisers at or near the top of mobile search results. Users can swipe across to see more listings and when they click on them, advertisers pay Google for the traffic.

See more hereMobile ad rates are dropping like a rock

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Of interest is how the Internet giant tries to cope with these changes. For instance, the fact that mobile ads simply don’t command the same rates as traditional search ads.

Key take-away #2: Google is taking away precious mobile screen space to show ads in search results.
Usability for users will be affected by requiring more scrolling to get to the organic search results.

Interesting:  Google and DrKPI: SEO optimization

Will you like it?

Ads that include a mobile ad function consume 48% more of a smartphone’s CPU. Not so wonderful… is it?

Also increasingly popular are short advertising videos. These are between 15 – 20 seconds, instead of 30 to 40 seconds on a desktop. But that increases the amount of network data I require. Apps that serve advertising, including Google search, use a whopping 79% more network or data. How much this slows things down for everyone else is not yet clear.

And if this is not enough, research shows that your battery goes flat faster as well. A recent study of 21 Android apps shows that the use of ads leads to increased energy consumption (on average by 17%), and requires repeated changes to ad related code.

Must read: Gui, Jiaping; McIlroy, Stuart; Nagappan, Meiyappan; Halfond, William, G. J. (May 2015). Truth in advertising: The hidden cost of mobile ads for software developers. In Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). Retrieved May 5, 2015 from http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~halfond/papers/gui15icse.pdf

View larger image – What are the hidden costs of mobile ads for users and developers?

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Key take-away #3: Increasing use of mobile ads results in more complaints about the hidden costs to users' devices.
In turn, it can negatively affect an app's ratings. 
Developers must carefully weigh the trade-offs of incorporating ads into their mobile apps.

What do YOU think?

Do you think mobile ads will increase in price and reach desktop levels?
Have you experienced negative effects on your smartphone due to mobile ads?
What is the BEST mobile ad you have come across?
Do you think Google will succeed with its mobile ads against Facebook?

Watch the full 45-minute video, in which Jerry Dischler explains how these developments will affect mobile advertising, below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/2EV8VC8n24E [/youtube]