I like to see how well a marketing push does. It determines if my ideas are hitting with the intended audience. That helps me shape goals and informs me as to a realistic expectation of how my work is received. It’s my mini non-studio version of test marketing and thanks to a few tools, it’s completely free. Like all demographic information, the results are subjective and all you really have are hypothesis and conjecture, but in some things the numbers do not lie.
For over 12 years I’ve been doing stuff online as “Sonnyboo”, the name that means little. The one thing I have learned with absolute certainty is that in most people’s minds, the Internet means “free”. The most popular things online are when people get something for nothing. Knowing that, I have used things to my advantage in that way.
First and foremost, I started as a musician. I wrote songs and did multitrack recordings from the time I was 16 years old playing multiple instruments. I wanted to pursue that as a career, but I did not have the skills. I know that and accept that without regret. I wrote well over 200 songs and I’ve put some of the “best” of them online for free for anyone to use in any way they want (‘Best’ being incredibly subjective since they are beneath the quality in every way from music I would use today).
Along with contracts and paperwork that makes filmmaking easier, I made a section of Sonnyboo.com exclusively as a free site that anyone can use to do whatever with the things and tools I have acquired over the years.
Now my webstats flourish because there is free material. As you can see what a single day can do to the unique viewers on my site. That’s a lot. It’s overwhelming. Probably 90% or more just get the downloads and leave, but the other 10% or so look around. I can track it and see. They look at the movies, read on the blog, etc. That is effective marketing to me.
Other tools like TUBEMOGUL paint a great picture as to what people like to watch and what sites offer the most viewers, find things via referral, create niche marketing plans, etc. I can upload once to TUBEMOGUL, then track everything from one site. I can see how a single video does on multiple sites or I can see how all of my videos on a site are doing in comparison to the other sites.
Without a doubt, YouTube is still the king. With little to no effort, most of my views in the last 10 years are on YouTube. It’s just the site Du Jour for random people finding and watching things. Vimeo may have the best looking video, but it’s got a fraction of the viewers.
Right now, Sonnyboo videos get more and more views online. Combined between all the sites, I have well over 2 million views for all my videos. I have not yet gone “viral” as it were, as in no single clip has exceeded much more than 100,000 views, although I did on a site that no longer carries the videos.
I don’t make the kind of movies that will go viral per se. If I wanted to, I could try to do something with “V” my cat just to see if one of my :30 second clips might go that route, but that is not my goal. My eyes are set on something a little different…