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November 16, 2009


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Thanks for this post David. Very cool application.


Incredibly insightful video into GM's marketing, David. I think if they just made a few commercials that went down this road rather just showing their vehicles, it would build the companies brand and spread over all the future vehicles they produce. After seeing this video, I went from a 2% chance of buying a GM car up to 15%. Imagine what it would do for people that were on the fence already or, god forbid, actual fans of GM!


Ryan Barton

I agree that the concept of interactive video elements are a great addition.

But I found myself actually ignoring those elements as they're very similar to the advertisements used by YouTube-like applications.

My immediate thought is to get rid of all graphics that are making it more difficult for me to actually view the video. It's like the cable watermarks and tickers that block up to 1/3 of the television screen.

I'd almost prefer a sidebar of interactive elements rather than laying them on top of the footage. The footage is the real content. The interactive elements are extras.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks, all, for your comments.

@kienan - wow. I'll pass this on to GM. I am flattered of course, but they will be intrigued, I'm sure!

Thanks, David



great that it is possible now to follow your video posts! I can't wait to see next videos of yours. From my own experience too, as a PR person, the videos really do make a huge difference!

Good job, GM for showing your human face!


You know, David, I'm surprised a bit by your endorsement here. Overlay ads are interruptive by nature, aren't they? Isn't that exactly the kind of thing we New Rulesians are against?

For the record -- and at the risk of being dubbed a shameless self-promoter -- there is a better technology out there, and it has existed for more than three years. It allows users to generate leads with video without overlays, registration forms, or really anything more than a click of the "Play" arrow. Lead gen with video, WITHOUT interruption.

Don't get me wrong - VisibleGains is a really cool product. I'm just surprised by the plug, that's all.

(And for those who would like to learn more, don't clog up this board -- DM me @mattatflimp.)

Rick Braddy

Thanks for the post - wasn't aware of VisibleGains. Good to see someone trying to make video more of a direct response vehicle.

David Meerman Scott

@Matt Shaw -

Sorry, maybe it's just my ignorance or stupidity. But I have not seen any applications that do what VisibleGains does -- both the player and the services that the company provides.

If I am mistaken, it is my fault. And if so, I would like to know more. Feel free to post other options for the technology here.

I don't see the links embedded in my video as "ads." While the technical term may be "overlay ads" as you say, I do not see them as interruption when used as I have to provide additional valuable information that viewers can go to (such as the GM FastLane blog or Christopher Barger's twitter feed or the full video of my conversation with Fritz Henderson, GMs CEO). I don't think of those links as "ads".

Based on your comment and your tweet and recognizing my potential error based on ignorance, I am removing the word "Finally" from the post's title.

Thanks for jumping in.


John Assalian

We have seen great results (over 7%) by simply displaying a URL on the lower third of the social video - and then tracking that URL. Nice thing: if someone goes to the trouble to type in the URL and get to the content/landing page, we know they are engaged prospects. Because what we are offering (free implementation and training videos targeted to B2B customers) is HIGH VALUE content, we get great results. In the end, the quality of your content is the most critical part. Users are attracted to quality content and will find you. The solution here is nice, though seems like just a flash video with embedded links.

Adam Wood

I love the unobtrusive, contextual overlay. It's only interruptive if it isn't related (here's an ad for Viagra while you're watching that wedding dance video).

What I think is funny, though, is that a lead gen. company with such a cool product seems to do such a bad job at lead generation. I went to their site, and the only thing I can do is watch videos and engage them in "conversation." What if I wanted to buy something?

Nothing like pricing, demos, options...

David Meerman Scott

John and Adam - both great points. Many thanks for jumping in.

Adam - I know that the people from VisibleGains are watching so they will see the suggestions.



I do agree with some of the comments here David. I think the technology is not new but what they're trying to do (bundle up video WITH other platforms to produce data) is probably new. Links are found anywhere, now you'll be able to find out who's linking and decipher the flow to a sale. Adam makes a good point: why would you create such a product and not be open about its pricing? That's always the make or break for a venture like this. --Paul

Paul Baiguerra

Found this interesting article at Search Marketing Sage - they did a landing page test with video and whitepapers to determine which generated more leads. Video generated 373% more leads but the things that really stunned me was when they looked at cost per conversion - video was 35% LESS than the whitepaper.
Have a look: http://blog.search-mojo.com/2009/09/30/video-landing-pages-and-cost-per-conversion/

The lead generation result kind of feels obvious but interesting to see some measurement around it


David, I wish I knew more about how I can get this product/service into my hands! Just visiting the Visible Gains website did not tell me how much their service costs or how to go about purchasing.

I can understand that a company may want to force me, the potential consumer, to call and be given a sales pitch, but I don't necessarily want to spend the time to make that call.

I feel like you of all people would encourage a company to make it easy for potential customers to find out how to buy their product!

Harriet Meth

David, First of all, having seen all of your GM videos, you did an excellent job of re-editing the interviews into a compelling storyline. I saw all of your GM videos and you captured the essence and re-packaged them quite well.

As a former network news and documentary producer, I'm usually annoyed by screen "bugs" and other online "signage" that detracts from the viewing experience. So, to my surprise, I didn't find any of the links obtrusive in the least. The Visible Gains video app is a great advantage to any marketer who needs to convince management that there is indeed ROI to be had from running more videos. Kudos.

Bob Williams

Thanks for sharing David. I know your post was about video use and ideas on how to use video for lead generation. However, I couldn't help but keep thinking how how impressive it was for a gigantic corporation to have so many executives who were versed in the importance of social media. Not only that, but they were willing to go on camera with someone who had previously written negative comments about them. While I'm not an owner of a GM product, this definitely impresses me and will certainly be something I remember.

Gary Ambrosino

Yes, there's plenty of this video technology around. BUT, Visible Gains seems to have packaged their system for this specific task - - which in turn now makes it damn easy to think creatively about applications. We experimented with this concept in 1988 using some prehistoric equipment from IBM and an installation at Logan Airport. The intercept and uptake rates were unbelievable.



Thanks for taking the time to respond, and I appreciate the title modification.

Sure, maybe the term "ads" is a bit of a semantics debate, and I understand your point there. But isn't the term "unobtrusive" subjective to a certain extent? And if so, wouldn't the only way to ensure that a call to action remains unobtrusive be to keep it out of the video entirely?

I agree that the way you've used overlay buttons is better than most. But overlay buttons come with their own set of "Old Rules" drawbacks, which are too numerous to list here. I've posted some of my thoughts on http://blog.flimp.net -- I invite you and my fellow W.I.N. readers to read and join in the debate.


Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments about the VisibleGains application on this blog and the feedback about our website. I’ve been with the company since 2004, when we first created the core technology to enable interactive or non-linear video. But in the past six months we’ve gone through a major transformation from a video technology platform (previously called PermissionTV) to a B2B marketing and sales solution. While the enabling technology has been around for some time, we realized that the core challenges faced by B2B marketers and sellers could only partially be solved by technology. We needed to rethink the way video content was conceived, produced, assembled, and delivered for the new “buyer-led” world that social media has empowered.

We built new tools to enable rapid construction of “video apps” to enhance prospect interaction throughout the entire sales funnel from lead generation to lead qualification, nurturing and sales enablement. We focused on integrations with key CRM and marketing automation systems like Salesforce.com, Hubspot, and Eloqua and integrated Omniture’s analytics engine to provide insights into user behavior and needs. The ROI numbers quoted in this thread are similar to what we’ve experienced with our clients to date, but in true agile fashion it’s critical to gather specific metrics on engagement time, click thrus and lead capture in order to tell what works and what doesn’t. On the surface it may look like a technology that’s been around for a while, but underneath it all is a well thought out solution purpose-built for today’s marketing and sales challenges.

Based on the comments, we know we have much more work to do on the marketing end, no doubt. Since we provide video content strategy and production as part of our solution, prices can vary greatly depending upon the amount of content required. I’d like to make myself personally available to anyone interested in exploring our solutions in greater detail and can be reached via Twitter at @mpkaplan.

David Meerman Scott

Matt (Shaw) and Matt (Kaplan) - thanks to you both for being here. It would be fun for me to moderate an online video conversation between you two at some point...

Harriett and Bob - thanks for noticing and commenting on the video itself. Working with the production staff at VisibleGains, we were able to come up with a compelling short video story. And yes, it is rather amazing that I was given the access that I was to GM executives.

Best, David

Dale Berkebile

Great article. Thanks for the tip. I am going to check out VisibleGains and maybe start using them in the very near future. This looks like an excellent tool!

Russ Henneberry

Visible Gains looks powerful David, thanks. And good stuff from GM as well. Loved the reference to "humanizing" the company --- couldn't agree more.

John Beckley

What a great application, the only downside I see is that we can't embed the videos.

Josh Chandler

I think, if you're a smart marketer you should be investing your time into the niche sites such as Viddler.com which allows you to add tags to website URL's directly underneath the video rather then overlaying.

I don't think it's a matter of including "disruptive" links on the video itself, it's about complimenting the viewing experience and Viddler can allow you to do this much more effectively then your custom built solution from Visible Gains!


David, thank you for selecting your GM visit as your VisibleGains application test case. It was a great editing job and a tight four-minute story – if that’s okay for me to say ( :

@kienan – wow and thank you! I started following you yesterday as soon as I saw your comment. I don’t think we’ve posted this to our GM Facebook fan page yet, but we will – good idea. I hate it when we overlook the obvious. I’m thrilled your perception of our company has changed a bit. All we ask is that consumers give us a shot. So, Kienan, when you’re in the market for a new vehicle, let us know and please put us in your test drive consideration set. We’d be grateful for the opportunity.

Bob Williams – same is true for you let us know when you’re in the market. I’m glad you liked the videos. We’re fortunate our leaders embrace the opportunities on the social web and are active participants. In fact, we encourage our employees to become our ambassadors and offer both online and in person training sessions. There’s no better way to engage with both fans and critics, and to become part of the conversation.

Inviting David to Detroit seemed like the right thing to do. He’s clearly a talented opinion leader and we were eager for him to get to know us and to hear what he had to say. I finished reading his World Wide Rave book last week and loved it – more on that later.


Mary Henige, GM
Director, Social Media & Broadcast Communications



Interactive or "1:1" Video has so much more to offer than "Lead Generation" - It's a vehicle to deliver Persona-Based Marketing - I was surprised your title was so specific!

Since we last talk about GiftTRAP and our use of Persona based marketing I've been working with a company http://www.hustream.com and I've just created an interactive news release here;


My first experience with these guys was creating the video to promote a city-wide initiative to get business on Twitter;


It was a huge hit.

Without wishing to sound like Victor Kayam, I liked the company so much I've invested and I'm now the CMO.

Glad to see video interactivity getting discussed. There's lots of Video companies which are more focused on advertising, but there a very few the follow the track of VisibleGains and HuStream with more focus on creating conversations.

Zach Jordan

Great insights David (as always). It's refreshing to see that such a large organization is making attempts to engage people in this new consumer landscape. How did GM react to your statement about dumping their advertising agency? If in fact, as noted in your exchange with Mary, GM would like to personify their image through the compelling stories of customers, potential customers and GM employees, is the modern structure of a traditional agency the best way to accomplish this or are they looking into other methods to either replace the agency or work in conjunction with their agency?

David Meerman Scott

Nick - Of course video can do more than lead generation. The focus of this post was on that use.

Zach - A huge company like GM works with dozens if not hundreds of agencies. As you can see if you look at the detailed interview with Fritz, they will do a combination or agency led TV, print, and social media.

Thanks for jumping in.

John Mancini

Very cool. And a nice product placement for the RAVE book within one of the clips!

Ken Kueker

Apparently, the technology still need some work. When I clicked on your video link, I could hear the audio, but no video screen appeared.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Ken - I will check into it.

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