Jelly – search made today

SO Biz Stone (Twitter co-founder) goes for a walk with his friend Ben Finkel. They wonder what a search engine would look like if it was created not ten or fifteen years ago, but now. It occurs to them that with everyone mobile and connected, for any question you might have there is someone out there with the answer. Take a picture, say what is this and wait for answers – on your smartphone. Jelly has completed a second round of venture capital funding so apparently somebody thinks that betting on Biz is a good idea. View this quite lovely video of Biz and Ben (hmmm, a new retail chain or snack brand?) describing their idea. Be sure to click the “full screen” option to see it in all its glory.

Economical Video from Audio

I was recently approached by a client with two audio files in mp3 format that he wanted to upload to a Facebook page. I explained that Facebook doesn’t offer support for audio but that I could create video from audio, resulting in a file format welcome to upload to Facebook.
Converting audio to video
In this screen shot from editing software the process is revealed. The audio file is imported to the audio track. In this case the client provided a high resolution still image intended to become the visible element of the final product. Just as a widescreen television displays a certain aspect ratio so the video frame must be sized to fit the project settings. In this case the finished video was intended to be 740 pixels by 1280 pixels, entry level HD. The image provided didn’t share that aspect ratio so I created a background to that size and brought the image into it. I shifted it to the right, leaving black background over which to lay text in a title.
In this project the audio files were from two separate radio interviews, conducted as is often the case with the DJ taking a phone call. But audio source may be generated in many ways. What contributes most to the low price of this solution is the fact that all of the components can be delivered to the editor as digital files, attached to email or deposited in something like to be pulled down to the editing computer. No travel, no on location set up so no additional cost. Here is the result in this case, a brief comment from a store owner on Canada’s version of Black Friday sales. Click the “full screen” icon (the double arrow heads, bottom right) to view the original visual quality:

Sergey Brin on Google Glass at TED

The Google Glass project is taking centre stage as politicians express privacy concerns around a device that has the potential to capture everything the wearer sees and hears and upload it to the cloud.  Google co-founder Sergey Brin has another agenda in front of a TED audience, demonstrating how the Glass is the evolution of the smartphone – looking out rather than down, seeing the important messages rather than trolling through all of them and doing it with your hands free. It’s a compelling vision – but you can decide for yourself whether it’s a future you’re interested in:

Online Media for Neighbourhood Groups

In Ontario alone there are more than 500 organized groups of neighbours (aka ratepayers) banded together under volunteer Boards to lobby for the preservation and improvement of local quality of life.  It isn’t unfair to say that the majority could use more than a little help in developing the online presence required to make them as relevant to their constituents as the long unpaid hours warrant.  Websites, blogs and social media platforms represent a huge opportunity to create a community online vital enough to energize the real neighbourhood. If you or someone you know is involved in such a group visit Neighbourhub and explore a site built to showcase the possible for Ratepayer Associations everywhere.  So much potential for so small an investment. Once you’re there, don’t forget to share!

Online Video for Small Business

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, President of Chiasson Consultants Inc., is credited as the founder of the foodservice merchandising profession in North America.  I’m honoured that she asked me to write a guest post for her newsletter (Feb. 2013) on using video in a small restaurant/food service business.  We agreed that including a demonstration video made sense.  The one I chose was done for a south-eastern Ontario family resort, to promote their get-away options, showcasing the property, its amenities and food services.  If you have any comments or questions about either video in your business or the blog post (available to download below) call me direct at 416-823-3100 or send an email to

Online Video in Your Small Business

According to a recent 3M study on Facebook, videos are shared more often than photos, status updates or links. Sharing builds your fan base, so the more the better. And video is unique in its ability to communicate information and personality at hyper speed. According to the same 3M study we process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. In an age when grabbing someone’s attention in an instant is critical, visuals work, making video a stellar idea…. (View the post in PDF).

Email drives visits for Best Buy Kiosks

Joining Best Buy’s Reward Zone is likely during one purchase or another and today the rewards can be welcome. Their video kiosk program came to a 7-11 nearby recently and to promote it they sent a coupon code for up to five free DVD rentals. That created awareness of a service down the street.  And it guarantees that, for $1. 50 an evening (DVD vs BluRay at $2.00),  we’ll be visiting with some frequency, compared to Rogers on demand price of nearly four times that.  So, in-store lead capture generates email offers that create foot traffic and ongoing revenue. Well done.

Hangout at Google+

Last night the partners at Facelift met for 90 minutes, thanks to the video conferencing feature Google+ calls a “Hangout”. With a few glitches in audio and a very occasional video freeze it worked wonderfully. The intuitive interface switches view from one individual to another when the speaker changes. Participants see themselves in thumbnail video and their hangout mates in larger screen mode above. [Read more…]

“No Video” Video – Storytelling with no camera

Online video made without video camera content is a rapidly growing proportion of online video. It comes with names like “infographics”, some is hand drawn with high speed playback and much of it exhibits what has come to be called the “Ken Burns Effect”. Burns and his documentary-making team pioneered the technique of filming still images, paintings and print work using pan and zoom to animate the material and often cleverly adding sound effects to add realism to the result. [Read more…]

Video in search – proof of claims

Data suggest that video on a web page makes it 50 times more likely to appear in page one search results. We have proven that time and again. Here is a screen capture from Google showing a video from our site (Video Introduction) appearing in the number one organic search position – one day after posting it. [Read more…]

“Newsjacking” – content that rides on a bigger story

We accept that the steady creation of fresh, engaging content is the path to increased web traffic. Why? Because blogging, posting and tweeting that content brings interested parties back to the website. It’s obvious that big stories get big reach. Ask Prince Harry. When nude Vegas pictures of him appeared online, social media lit up. [Read more…]

Facebook (and other) Statistics for Business

Because web activity of all kinds is so measurable there is a universe of useful information available to those of us using or considering the tools of inbound marketing. Social media plays an important role in this effort and of course Facebook is a central player.  So here now some recent information concerning Facebook and more:

  • 1 in 7.7 people in the world have a Facebook account
  • 1 in every 8 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook
  • 70% of Facebook news consumers follow links posted by friends or family
  • 51% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or brand after liking them on Facebook
  • 95% of all Facebook wall posts are NOT answered by brands
  • 17% of company responses to consumer comments on Facebook call the consumer by name
  • 16% of online consumers expect a response within 30 minutes when they ask a question or post a comment on the company’s Facebook page, compared to 13% who expect a response within 2 hours


  •  Video on a web page makes it 50 times more likely to appear in page-one search results
  •  Pinterest will account for 40% of social media driven purchases in 2012
  • Google users click on page-one results 88% more often than page-two results
  • 97%  of online consumers search for local businesses online
  • About 40% of local businesses still don’t have a website
  • 79%% of online U.S. consumers use social media
  • Video on a product page lifts sales by 4% even when the video is not watched. When it is fully viewed the lift is 20%
  • The average budget spent on social media and company blogging increased from 9% in 2009 to 21% in 2012. Businesses are clearly finding value in social media

Using Video in Your Business

Video used to be so simple – a VHS tape and a player. If you weren’t near a wall plug you weren’t watching video. For many the first time video appeared on a computer monitor it was coming from “Encarta”, Microsoft’s encyclopedia on CD. Though postage stamp sized its effect was enthralling. Now you can not only watch it on your phone, you can make and send it on your phone. [Read more…]