Today I am sitting with Ben Bernstein, VP of Marketing at Startcut. Startcut is a video distribution platform that allows you to take your video and in one click distribute it to over 20 video hosting sites and social networks. Located in ‘The Time', Startcut one of Israel’s leading incubators and has received funding from the Israeli Chief Scientist. Ben holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University in Marketing and Information Systems Technology.
Hi Ben, ready to start? Startcut might not be on everyone's radar yet – tell us who you are, and what Startcut does!
BEN BERNSTEIN, STARTCUT: Thanks for having me on! Startcut is a platform that allows video creators to get exposure for their video. Today, there are many video hosting sites in addition to YouTube. Some, like Vimeo and DailyMotion are video portals and others are specifically targeted towards a certain country or language. At Startcut, we realized that in order to gain maximum exposure for your videos, you need to have them on all these sites. The problem is that would involve a long and onerous process of going to every site and uploading videos.
That’s why we created Startcut.
Startcut simplifies the process and allows you to take your video and in one click, distribute it to 20 hosting sites and social networks. After the video is distributed, you can follow where your video has received views, likes and comments on our analytics dashboard. You can also modify the title and metadata on our dashboard and it automatically updates on all the video hosting sites.
What unique attributes does your organization bring to the market space it operates in?
STARTCUT: First of all, we don’t require someone to be a member of a site in order to upload to it but allows users to distribute videos via their accounts if they are a member of the site (for example many people have a YouTube username but fewer have an account for Indavideo, a popular video site in Hungary).
In comparison to other similar companies we have a far more global presence in terms of the video sharing market with sites in around 10 different European countries and China. We also allow users to purchase views in order to promote their video once it is already loaded.
Finally, we provide the most in depth analytics (paying customers only) of any video distribution company.
What are some projects that your organization is behind?
STARTCUT: We are invested in promoting Music artists and getting them exposure around the world. We promoted an Israeli DJ named Skazi whose videos ended up on a Chinese site where it got lots of views. Skazi now preforms in China 2-3 times a year.
We also do work for Publicis, one of the largest advertising companies in the world. We help distribute their content to various channels.
What’s contributing the surge in demand for online video marketing? Is it consumers pulling for content, or companies pushing content out?
STARTCUT: I think both reasons are correct. When online video just started, a lot of consumers looked for attractive content and because of this companies started to push more and more content. This all happened in a very short time frame. Today, I think we are to the point where online video is starting to challenge TV and because of this, companies are trying to push content towards online video platforms.
Does video marketing ‘work’? Is there quantitative and qualitative evidence of it working?
STARTCUT: Video Marketing is perhaps the most important tool today in internet marketing. It has been shown in multiple studies that customers remain on sites with video longer than sites without. People are also more likely to remember video after 48 hours than they are images or text. The Google and Bing algorithms also heavily weigh video so a site with video is – get this – 53 times more likely to show up on the 1st page of Googe than a site without video!
In short, video marketing works, its quantifiable and a must for any serious business that wants to operate in online realm. If you don’t create online video your competition will..
With cheap production gear available, what should an organization start out with – DIY (do-it-yourself) or Professional Production?
STARTCUT: As with most things, it depends. If you are a large corporation or even a Startup that wants to have a professional looking video on their homepage, having a production professional or an animation studio is a must.
However, professional production isn’t always cheap and there are certainly some things you can do yourself. Testimonials videos and walkthrough videos on how the site work are two examples of videos that can probably be made yourself.
You can also make a Video blog (Vlog) by yourself to try and give your clients something of value that engages them via video!
Here is an example of a Vlog we created:
What are 3 pitfalls most common to DIY production for the newbie creator?
STARTCUT: When you use a professional production service, most of the variables that mess up DIY videos are controlled. For example, there are rarely sound or lighting problems in a professionally done video, something that is rampant in DIY video.
The second pitfall is cutting corners by not editing your video professionally or “over editing” your video so it looks choppy.
The third problem I see is that DIY video creators don’t always fully appreciate that they need to pick a target audience and have a consistant message for them. If you want to target 2 different groups of customers than make 2 different videos, otherwise the message gets lost in the video.
What are the top beginner to intermediate tips you have for an organization hell-bend on self-production?
STARTCUT: I'll break it down to five key points:
- Be Snappy – Keep your Videos short, preferably under 2 minutes. If it goes over that consider cutting your video into 2 parts
- Choose your Title Wisely – Choose your target audience and try and think what they would be interested in hearing and clicking on! A poorly chosen title is an easy mistake to correct.
- Understanding your target audience – Sometimes a script is called for and sometimes you don’t need a script. However, many DIY videos have a narrator who is all over the place and the video ends up lacking clarity. Choose your audience, choose the message and execute it to perfection.
- Don't Miss the Metadata – the description and metadata are the way search engines find your video. Out of laziness, many people don’t take this seriously figuring (correctly) that 99% of the time the audience wont read the description or tags. However, you hurt your video in terms of search results. Poor search results=Less Views
- Ensure Multiple Takes of Each Shot – people often get lazy and think they really “nailed” the video after one or 2 takes. Its better to “waste” time and shoot the video 10 times than to shoot it 3 times and be stuck with 3 bad choices.
How does a professional video production organization avoid these issues?
STARTCUT: None of the things I mentioned are revolutionary or frankly that difficult. Professionals simply have an awareness of why these issues are important.
Any predictions for the future of online video marketing and/or video production?
STARTCUT: Online video is the wave of the future and many advertising companies are starting to steer their advertising budget away from TV and towards online video. It will be interesting to see if YouTube’s monopoly on online video will be able to be broken in the next 5-10 years.
Great interview Ben – glad to have you featured and being a part of the Reel Designer interview series! What are the best ways to get in touch with you?
STARTCUT: Thanks for having me on to give my points on video for this online magazine! First of all I want to invite everyone to visit our site at www.startcut.com and try our system today for free. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I will usually respond within 48 hours. You can also follow me on Twitter @startcut or visit the Startcut Facebook page: facebook.com/Startcut where we post all of our companies blog posts and videos. Also, ask me any questions on this page below and I'll be happy to reply to you!