Earlier in the year I ran an online video contest at Gamers Daily News through Launchpad6, for whom I have done some writing work as well. Since I used their system, it means I could give an accurate run down of the system’s features and usability for those looking for an online video contest platform. When I did my contest, the service was still working out some beta level kinks. But that was months ago and now the service is all spit-shined and ready for prime time, as it were.
I chatted with Aaron Beashel, Director of Marketing at Launchpad6 and got all the blanks filled in about what is new and improved for the platform.
“With the new changes to Facebook, the rapid growth of mobile video viewership & a growing Connected TV market, creating compelling video content is becoming an increasingly important marketing strategy” he said, “Running a contest or film festival can be a great way to engage your audience and build your content library at the same time.”
Launchpad6 is an online video platform aimed specifically at gamifying your online video presence and running contests to get consumers to interact and engage with the brand in new, unique ways, as well as providing social network and mobile integration. But there’s more to it than just uploading some videos and giving away some product.
‘Our goal is to provide a technology solution that both amplifies the reach of a campaign and deeper engages the consumer in the brand’ -Launchpad6
The video sites that can be created through the platform can be hosted at a unique domain or integrated
into an existing website and come complete with a Facebook App and mobile viewing site. They are used by brands & agencies to run video contests & talent searches as well as crowdsource video content for advertisements, product support, education, etc.
New at Launchpad6 since the contest run at Gamers Daily News is the setup wizard which gives you a fairly automated system to get your microsite and contests setup with minimal interaction or waiting. Thanks to the hard work they’ve been putting in, it all ties into places like Facebook and Twitter and features a lot of metadata inclusion for SEO purposes.
Basically, you can customize the whole look and feel of the microsite that is generated, as well as run your own ads through the integrated ad server to further monetize your contest and campaign. One of the keys to a successful online video contest is knowing who you are trying to reach and then being sure to cater the entire experience to them.
The Launchpad6 system gives you not only customization of look and feel through logo and image uploads and customizable CSS templates, but also gives you customization of how the contest runs. Will you give virtual trophies for the Top X videos or per X number of views? It’s all possible Plus, with the dashboard you can see the current leaderboards and trophy winners at a glance for quick, easy administration of the contest.
Essentially, you can have everything up and running inside of an hour and, if you’ve got everything together prior to beginning might even manage it all in a half hour.
The Launchpad6 platform is also up to speed on all the latest and greatest trends and technologies. The service is using JWPlayer which is HTML5 compatible and, depending on what options you choose for your contest, it can be integrated right into a Facebook page and have a mobile site generated for maximum potential reach. Aside from social network integration and mobile compatibility, the microsites will also be able to be viewed through connected TVs, a rapidly increasing market in the US.
One of the more interesting things about the service, from a brand marketer perspective, is that in addition to all the standard metrics, analytics (streams, engagement, completion rates, conversions, etc) and customizations, you can also download the videos from the contest (either singly, or in a batch process) and then do whatever you want with them (provided you stated the company’s rights to do so with that content as part of the Terms and Conditions of the contest). That means you could then later do remixes or montages of the winning videos for marketing during the contest or wrap up videos after the contest.
It’s always important to look at a service from all aspects. When I have an interview with someone I always like to get the viewpoint of how it benefits the publishers, content creators, advertisers, etc. In the case of Launchpad6, I wanted to get the viewpoint from the contest owner as well as the contestants.
It’s always nice to know how you are doing in a contest and, thanks to Launchpad6′s unique combination of technologies, you can even better your chances of winning some of the contests (depending on the rules of the contest of course). You, as a contestant, can check ranking of videos, Likes, votes, comments, engagement-including load, play and finishes. This could give you invaluable information on where drop off in your video entry is occurring and, if allowed by the contest, rework and re-upload it. On top of that you can also work on sharing your video entries and getting more of whatever you need to win, views, comments, higher ratings, etc.
In addition to all of that, you also have a profile page and a social feed that shows all of your recent trophies acquired, etc. So you have a lot of information at your fingertips which makes for better, longer engagement with the site and the brand.
As I said, I have done some writing for Launchpad6 (full disclosure and all that) but I have also used the service for a contest. Having watched them grow and expand their offering over much of this year was interesting for me. I got to see how they were continuing to expand and take in feedback and improve the service to what it is now. It is much improved over what it was when I started talking to them and even when I ran the GDN contest. The new, streamlined, automated setup is light years ahead of what it was in the past and the dashboards for both contestants and controllers is another excellent addition.
In talking with Aaron about where Launchpad6 is heading, he had mentioned some future plans to continue expansion of the contest offering as well as looking to take their technology and turn it into more of an OVP that leverages the current technologies (a lot of which is open source like Open X ad server) and turns it into a more white-label offering for brands that want to quickly and easily create a video-based site or even complement their current online presence with video or create unique video sites for specifics products in the company.
Right now, the contest platform revolves around the user-generated content, but with their next step forward the service could offer the same platform without the contest aspect but with all the comments, social network integration, ad server capabilities and video serving.
In talking with Aaron I think the ultimate goal is to eventually offer a full-featured video CMS for those who want to have video content on all platforms (PC, mobile, connected TV) but control and monetize themselves instead of revenue sharing with a video platform like YouTube. The final vision of Launchpad6 probably includes a full CMS, microsite builder, facebook app, mobile site and a connected TV site. That could certainly take a lot of the work out of getting your video content in front of as many consumers as possible.