The folks at Marketing Experiments have reported impressive results from a project designed to test the reach and new subscriber sign-up costs of online videos.

Moreover, their report is chock full of good advice on how to optimize your chances of hitting an online viral video home run. If you're thinking of testing your own online videos, read this first.

The test …

ME produced 28 videos (you can see samples on their site), from 15 seconds to 8 minutes in length, and placed them on YouTube and Google Video, using only the built-in social networking gadgets on those sites to promote the videos. The videos were intentionally amateurish (costing $9,600), but entertaining. While none were explicitly promotional, each did mention a URL for a few seconds where viewers would find something relevant or interesting. In sixty days, the videos had been viewed 324,190 times.The videos produced 4,162 click-throughs and 62 sign-ups.

And another 382,444 viewings of the videos is projected for the next 30 days. That's 700,000+ total views in 90 days … and counting.

Assigning a mid-range cost of 30 cents each for click-throughs, ME calculated that the same number of sign-ups would have cost $20.14 if acquired via traditional pay-per-click banner advertising.

Interesting. But not a slam-dunk.

62 sign-ups so far for the production cost of $9,600? Even if we credit them another 73 sign-ups from the third month's projected viewings (using their same conversion rates), that's $71.11 per sign-up. Makes the pay-per-click cost of $20.14 look great by comparison. But we've seen basic email campaigns directed at targeted (non-house file) email lists that produced handraisers at $1 a head.

We're most impressed with total viewing audience reached. Their 706,634 video views cost $13.58 per thousand … that's good. And these were viewers who self-selected to watch … we're not talking intrusive advertising here.

Agitator can easily imagine that if a cause organization managed to present its message in an entertaining online video, with a relevant and compelling call to action, and promoted it smartly using the social networking tricks of the trade, they could replicate the total reach of this test AND produce hard responses at a far more impressive cost-per-response.

It's worth a test!

Reminder: This is the last week you can complete Agitator's Staying Ahead of the Curve survey. Just click the survey box at top right of blog to get started. Only takes a few minutes.

This article was posted in: Online fundraising and marketing, Social media.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.