This month ON24 announced a new offering designed to help companies get more value from their webinar recordings. The optional value-add service (supplementary license charges apply) is known as ON24 Demand, and it actually goes a bit beyond my simple description in the first sentence.
I spoke with Mark Bornstein and Mark Szelenyi about the new functionality. Both gentlemen are vice presidents at ON24 (M.B. leads Content Marketing and M.S. leads Product Management). They showed me a demo to help me get a better grasp of the capabilities and applicability of ON24 Demand.
Over the past few years, ON24 has devoted much of their attention to the use of webinars/webcasts for marketing purposes. Sure, they are perfectly happy to support investor relations, online training, corporate communications, and all the other use cases for webinars, but marketing and lead generation benefit from extra value-add capabilities that make a large and sophisticated platform stand out over more "bare bones" competitors. ON24 wants to offer those value-adds and make themselves an essential marketing tool above and beyond the basic delivery of real-time web conferencing.
One of the ways in which they are trying to help business marketers is by boosting the visibility and usefulness of recorded or archived content for on-demand consumption. Customers were already able to create a custom portal featuring archives of past live webcasts and webinars. ON24 added automated tools to improve the search optimization of those assets and make them more "discoverable" to search engine indexers. So one tool would use automated voice-to-text to create a rough transcript of what was said in the webinar and then use keyword indexing to bring it up in search results on those keywords. Another tool can do similar indexing based on text placed on PowerPoint slides used in the webinar, so those terms become searchable as well.
ON24 Demand has now made it possible to add images and video clips as content elements to be shown in a customer's content portal along with webinar archives. That's nice, but it's really just a necessary step to get to the meat of the new offering.
The fun part of the announcement centers on creating new content from your webinar archives. Recording a full 60-minute live webinar and serving it up as a big audiovisual replay of the entire session is commonplace. Media specialists know they can convert recordings to a standardized format and read it into a video editing tool such as Camtasia, Sony Movie Studio, or Adobe Premiere (etc, etc, etc) for editing and production of new video files. But those programs can have a steep learning curve and are often overkill for marketers wanting a quick and easy way to put together a shorter snippet from a recording.
ON24 Demand fills the need for such a simple interface. You take your webinar recording and use a combination of simple time slider bars or "nearest second" time codes to mark the start and end of a clip you want to save. You can mix and match these clips with other content such as uploaded video clips or image files. The software lets you drag and drop the pieces to create a complete content flow (it stitches the pieces together with simple fade effects that cannot be overridden… Remember, this isn't supposed to replace full-featured video editing suites).
The result is published as an MP4 audio/video file that can be placed in your ON24 content portal or can be stored and accessed from your choice of server. The benefit of using the content portal is that you get built in tracking, registration, and reporting that is a standard part of ON24's setup.
Potential applications include teaser clips from past webinars that are used in the promotional materials for new upcoming webinars. Or short explanatory content pieces that can be used on company web pages. Or leave-behinds as deep-dive follow up content for people who want additional information after an introductory presentation. Content marketing is an insatiable user of content pieces, and this should help many companies generate extra assets without requiring advanced expertise and time sinks.
Definitely worth a look, particularly for existing ON24 customers with a library of recorded webinars to draw upon!