Fan Page Generator, which builds custom landing pages for Facebook fan pages, debuted in late 2009. At first the landing pages offered featured text and pictures to help companies distinguish their Facebook pages from the garden variety.
But Fan Page Generator's business changed dramatically in early 2010 when the company started working with AOL StudioNow, which helps companies produce and syndicate online videos.
“It really transformed my ability to do my business, let alone the product that we provide other businesses,” said Jason Deitch, CEO of Fan Page Generator. “The platform behind it allows me to keep my eye on where the video is in the process. I can see any video at any point in time; I know if it's been delivered. I know if it's been approved and if there are any issues in the editing.”
Fan Page Generator made online video part of its core product soon after AOL last January acquired StudioNow for $36.5 million in cash and stock and added StudioNow to AOL's Seed service, which is a content management platform.
AOL StudioNow is also expanding its efforts to help companies produce and syndicate online videos, particularly in the small-and-midsize sector, according to David Mason, CEO of StudioNow, a division of AOL Advertising.com.
“That area of the business has really picked up as [companies in the SMB market] look to create more localized-product videos and customer testimonial videos,” Mason said.
He added: “We've reached a tipping point, enabling SMBs to create high-quality content at significantly lower costs and have that content promote their businesses in all of the different places they're using to reach potential customers, like their website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, online business directories and trade sites.”
According to a study released last year by Google and Forbes Insights, titled “B2B Trends in Mobile & Online Video,” 54% of U.S executives share business-related video with colleagues at least weekly.
The in-person survey, which took the pulse of 306 senior executives at U.S. companies, found that 65% of executives have visited a vendor's website after watching a video and 53% have conducted a search to locate more information.
What's more, 42% made a business-related purchase after watching a work-related online video, while 51% of executives younger than 40 years old have made a business-related purchase after viewing a video. Additionally, the survey found that 35% of executives contacted a vendor whose b2b ad showed up in an online video.
“Peer recommendation is an important part of [b2b] purchasing,” said Lauren Fisher, an analyst at eMarketer. “A documentary approach to help communicate product reviews, provide instruction or customer testimonials could potentially be powerful.”
Mason said that about 50% of AOL StudioNow's business is via partnerships with att.com, Citysearch, Dex, ReachLocal, YP.com and other online business directories, whose sales agents make the video platform available to customers and prospects.
Once an order is placed, StudioNow taps into its network of nearly 5,000 videographers to find talent in the specific market. The videographer then partners with the business to shoot whatever type of video the business needs. StudioNow manages location shoot scheduling, mapping of merchant locations, project notes, media libraries for uploading content, revision management features and sharing capabilities.
Mason said that demand among SMBs for the company's video services has grown 50% in 2011 compared with the previous year. Prices range from $800 to $1,500 for a one-shot deal.
CitySearch and the other online business directories may incorporate the charge into their online-video listings packages; these packages include information on how long the video will be posted and how prominent it will be within a business category.
“It all depends on what value the directories place on those listings that have video content,” Mason said. “They might let you keep that video listed forever because they see it as a great content for their users.”
Fan Page Generator's Deitch stressed that AOL's documentary-style approach and high-production values are resonating with prospects.
He said that in the fourth quarter of 2010 revenue grew fivefold compared with the year-earlier period.
“Now when people say, "Why would I want to pay you $2,900 for your product when it seems like I can get the same thing for free?' It's real easy to say, "Do you have someone who goes on location, does a 90-minute video shoot and gives you the ability to show a tour of your office along with testimonials of your clients,' ” Deitch said.
AOL StudioNow is currently working on a new product that will align the video platform with inventory on AOL Advertising, Mason said. The software would package the video-production component in geo-targeted ad campaigns offering guaranteed monthly impressions.