Wildfire Adds YouTube Video Contest Capabilities

Social firm also considering mobile video possibilities

Social marketing company Wildfire has run more than 7,000 video contests in the past 12 months, but none ran through online video mainstay YouTube. That won’t be the case over the next 12 months, as Wildfire adds the capability to its portfolio. Wildfire expects to run its first video contest on YouTube in April but declined to disclose which brand will be launching the campaign.

Wildfire has run video contests on Facebook for brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Sony, Western Union and Dairy Queen, but Tom Rikert, director of product management at Wildfire, said YouTube offers a more content-oriented experience than Facebook.

“Facebook’s first order of business is connecting with your friends, where on YouTube, the first order is connecting great content,” he said.

The expectation is that a consumer who comes across a brand’s video contest on YouTube will stick around to check out other contests posted on the brand’s YouTube channel. Rikert said those 7,000 video contests that run on Facebook garnered more than 6.5 million visits but that brands can expect more reach and virality on YouTube because video is more centric to the platform than on Facebook.

Brands will be able to run Facebook and YouTube video contests simultaneously and independently, but Wildfire founder and CEO Victoria Ransom said she recommends clients link cross-platform contests in order to compare the two audiences.

Ransom said video contests represent the “first step” in Wildfire’s overall YouTube offering. She declined to discuss further plans but said, “Obviously if you go to YouTube brand channels, video contests are one of the things that brands can be doing there but not the only thing.”

Rikert hinted that the company is looking at YouTube’s mobile possibilities.

“We’re already doing mobile. We’re already doing video. And we have the analytics to also show how effective that mobile channel is, so we’re really excited about the potential,” he said. “We’re not announcing anything today, but that’s an area we’re excited about.”

Wildfire has 13,000 paying customers including 30 of the top 50 brands on Interbrand’s 2011 list of the best global brands.

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