25 Feb 2019

All posts from 25 Feb 2019

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A Year in the Making: Update from Jonathan

I’m a little late to publish this, but I wanted to share a little bit about the past year for us. As many of you know, 2018 was an incredible year of growth for Big Slate Media. As a young company, we started off the year crawling (ya know, like a baby) and now, we’ve learned to run – full sprint!

Brimstone Paragon 2018

When I originally purchased the company in 2017, we were a digital marketing company doing exactly what you’d expect: websites, SEO, AdWords and of course, video. That’s what we branded ourselves as, and that’s what our clients expected from us… or so we thought.

Within the first quarter of 2018, just about all of that changed. In taking a hard look at the market and listening to the needs of our clients, one thing was clear. Content is the missing piece for almost every marketing plan.

There are plenty of talented strategists, PR companies, and visionary marketers out there (especially in Knoxville), but who’s doing the dirty work? Who’s making the content they are strategizing? We were. We just didn’t know it.

After looking at our books and list of projects, it was clear. We are a content creation agency. The first and only one in Knoxville as far as I know. Over 80% of our business was video production, copywriting, and content management. THIS is what our clients need from us. #pivot

Q2-4 were insane. We broke sales records month after month, produced beautiful, creative and high-quality content and started relationships with some amazing clients. Saying we’ve been blessed is an understatement.

Having been involved in a dozen or so startups, I’m no stranger to the perils of owning a small business. However, I’ve not been a part of one with this much growth this fast. To keep the ship pointed in the right direction during the rising seas, it took immense dedication from the crew. Lucas and Jess, along with our network of freelancers, have put in early mornings, late nights and busy weekends. Additionally, we’ve all grown in our skill sets greatly by watching after hours YouTube videos, online classes and being mentored by generous sages of the industry. Growing pains are a real thing, but this team has pushed through them with unbelievable perseverance and joy. We could not be where we are today with this incredible team!

In October of 2018, the time came to start looking for an office space and room to grow (beyond my living room). ProMedia had recently sold their building to a friend and I fell in love with their beautiful 2500 square-foot cyc studio near Maryville. This sparked a vision for a collaborative, affordable studio space for content creators of all types. A place for not only photographers but for people to self create for YouTube or other platforms without having to purchase a bunch of gear. A place where they could just come in, and hit record.

After a month of trying to wheel and deal and come up with a way to justify buying a 7500 square-foot building, God made it clear that it just wasn’t what he had planned.

One night, in late November, I had made peace with the fact that the building wasn’t going to happen and that God had something better in mind. Literally, the very next day, I learned the warehouse across the street from our current home office had been bought. After talking with the new owner and hearing the details, it was amazingly clear that this was the next step. So, in December 2018, we began construction on an 1800 square-foot studio and office space. Creating the creator studio I had envisioned and new offices with plenty of room to grow.

During this growth, we discovered a deeper appreciation for Knoxville and the mindset of the creator community here. There’s a feeling of collaboration and optimism here within the production community that just doesn’t exist in a lot of places. To help further this, we decided to bring this community together through starting an organization called KnoxMedia, which recently had its first mixer with more than 70 people in attendance.

Late in 2018, I began meeting with local production companies in hopes to bridge the gap between the one-man freelancer and the area giants like Jupiter Entertainment, North South and of course, Discovery. Many people don’t know that Knoxville is the 5th largest production city in the U.S. By bringing these people together, we strengthen the collective power of the industry in our city and promote the collaborative mindset that sets our city apart.

2018 was an incredible year for us and I can’t thank our team, clients and partners enough for their trust and support. We’re already kicking butt in 2019 and I just know we’re going to continue making incredible content and growing our team.

Yours,

Jonathan Halley, President | Big Slate Media

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Big Slate Media Team
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Measuring YouTube Success: 3 KPIs That Matter

So, you’ve built your YouTube channel, populated it with some organic content, and dove into the world of advertising – so you’ve done it all right? You’re now a YouTube advertising master?

Not quite.

In order to fully understand the quality of your content and how well it engages your audience, it’s important to monitor certain data within YouTube Analytics. This is integral in learning how to best optimize your videos and positioning your efforts for success.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we recommend monitoring:

Watch Time Reports

Use the Watch Time report to see data about impressions, impressions click-through rate, views, and how long viewers watch your content. This is significant as all YouTube algorithms are focused on watch time.
Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube through registered impressions.

Impressions click-through rate (CTR): How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.
Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.
Watch time: The amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).

Audience Retention Report

You can use the Audience retention report to get an overall measure of how well your video keeps its audience.
Average View Duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.

Average Percentage Viewed: The percent of each video the average viewer watched. Anywhere above 60% is a really good.

Traffic Sources Report

This report shows the sites and YouTube features that viewers use to find your content. It’s great for understanding and evaluating which marketing channels are working for you.


A/B Testing

After reviewing your reports, it may be time to make some adjustments. Don’t try to change too much at first. Work with what you have for a few videos and then, after gathering a decent sample size, make your adjustments by changing some of the these variables.

YouTube does not yet have an A/B testing feature, so you’ll have to use a third party if you really want to dive into this. Also, be sure you’re tracking and linked up with as many analytics tools as you can across all platforms (Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel especially).


We hope this YouTube blog series provided you with enough information and actionable items to start a solid video ad campaign. We know it can feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll be thankful for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

As always, if you have any questions about it you can reach out to your friendly, neighborhood content creation agency.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Getting Started: Paid Advertising on YouTube

We’re on a YouTube advertising kick.

In case you haven’t heard – at the beginning of this year we spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series about YouTube and we’ve been sharing all that content right here on our blog! (If you missed the first two installments, you can click here to see the 8 Things to Get Right on YouTube AND click here to learn all about organic content on the platform).

If you’re ready to take the leap into paid video advertising and make it a regular part of your content marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to driving organic traffic to your content, there are also several paid options for promoting your videos on YouTube to expand your reach. We’re covering all of them right here.

Begin with the End in Mind

Your advertising goal is the foundation of your entire campaign, and it affects the types of video ads and bidding strategies available to you. So, before setting up your video campaign in Google Ads, consider what you want to get out of it:

Leads: Generate customer leads and conversions with video ad formats designed to encourage people to express interest and take action
Website Traffic: Bring interested people to your site and get more conversions with a compelling call to action and other features that encourage people to take action after your video plays
Product + Brand Consideration: Get more people to consider your products or brand with video ad formats designed to encourage engagement.
Brand Awareness + Reach: Increase awareness for your products or brand with video ad formats designed to get more views and expand your reach

The Five Ads Types

Keep in mind – there are other ad types that can be placed on Youtube (like graphic ads); however, we’re going to focus on the video ad formats you can utilize. The video ad content is hosted on YouTube and managed through Google Ads.

1. TrueView Discovery Ads

These ads show up on Youtube via the homepage, search results, and related videos based on targeted keywords, chosen audience or placements. The ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text, and it invites people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page.

2. TrueView In-Stream Ads

TrueView In-Stream ads show up before, during or after other videos on Youtube. They are your most malleable video ad type, and there are three subgroups:

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Only offered to a high percentile of spending users. They are no longer than 15 seconds in the US, and the viewer has to watch it entirely.
Skippable In-Stream Ads: Sometimes called Standard Video ads in Google Ads. Really, you have the most flexibility with this ad type as there is no limit to how long these can be.
Shopping: Allows you to put up to six cards on your skippable TrueView ad to drive consumer action. You must have a Google Merchant Account to be eligible.

In both skippable and non-skippable in-stream video ads, we recommend keeping ads between 60-90 seconds and having your logo or business name show up in the first five seconds.

3. Bumper Ads

These are short six-second ads that are non-skippable. They should be catchy, simple ads that make a viewer want to visit your website. That’s right, you only have six seconds to catch someone’s attention – go watch some Vines (RIP) for inspiration.

4. OutStream Ads

OutStream ads are mobile-only video ads that play on partner websites and within apps. It includes a logo, description (with a CTA), a link to your Youtube video, and a link to your website. These are great for driving traffic to your already existing Youtube account or website.

We recommend only using this ad type when you have a Youtube page that is updated consistently with content, and as for your title – keep it catchy, creative and clear. People may only see it for a moment, so make them stop dead in their scroll.

5. Ad Sequence

This is a pretty impressive ad type because you can actually send a consumer on a step-by-step journey using different Youtube ads. Each step has a distinct goal and can have different bidding strategies. In short, you can use In-Stream, bumper or a variety of both to take a consumer on a trek to purchase.

This will take the most forethought out of any of these ad types.


Yeah, we know that was a lot.

So, we made a chart to help you out!

Keeping all this information in mind, you’re off to the ad races! However, it’s not enough to simply run these campaigns, you’ll want to actively monitor them…

We’ll cover that next in the fourth and final part in our YouTube blog series.

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Big Slate Media Team