Category Archives: video

How to add chapters to YouTube videos

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Adding chapters to online video makes everything easier. Your users get a better experience and you, as a creator, get instant feedback on what parts of your videos your audience is most engaged with. This post does not touch on the measurement benefits of video chapters. Instead we will save that for future posts on video analytics. In this post, I will walk you through how to add chapters to your YouTube videos using a free Vinja account and embed the final version onto your website.

The final product looks and behaves like this:

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If you don’t already have an account, you can create one for free at


Find the video(s) you want to use

For this demo, I am going to start with this Michelle Phan interview from Code Mobile 2014.

I can easily find it onusing the built-in YouTube search bar at the top of the right-side column.

Pro tip: If you know the YouTube URL, just paste it in the search field and only that video will appear in the results.


To select this video, I drag it over to the left side of the screen where it becomes part of the project.

Pro tip: If you are using multiple videos, you can still drag them over and sequence them as needed.


Create chapters

Once the video(s) you want to use are in the project, click on the compose tab to bring up the preview editor.


The first thing you want to do is click the orange create chapter marker below to create your first chapter. Every time you click this while the video is playing it will create a new chapter at that point in the video. I prefer to let the video play through once or twice and add the chapters I need before editing the chapter names on the left side, but that is just a preference.

Pro tip: You can increase or decrease the speed of the video play up to 2X, which can expedite this process.


From here, you can fine-tune the chapters. Move around in the video by dragging the orange time market and to adjust the start-end of each chapter you can either drag the markers under the video or you can double click on the timestamps in the list on the left to manually enter a new one. You can also edit the names of the chapters to something more informative. If you created chapters that you didn’t want, you can delete them here by clicking on the trash can symbol, or in the list on the left side.


Publish your video

Once you are satisfied with your video click on the publish button at the top of the screen. You can always go back and adjust your chapters or make changes. You can view your newly chaptered video by clicking on the view live button that appears once the video finishes publishing.

Embed your videos

Embedding is easy once the video is finished. On the customize tab you can copy both the project link and the embed code to paste into your web page. You can also customize the player and preview the video on different devices.

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Vinja’s responsive player will keep the video looking and performing excellently no matter what viewport your users are using.

Bonus: Publish timestamps back to YouTube

If own the video you just chaptered (that is, you have sign-in credentials to the YouTube channel it’s on), Vinja also lets you post your newly added chapters (time stamps and titles) back into the video description

To do this click on the small YouTube icon next to your project in the compose tab. With that, your chapter titles will be indexed by Google on YouTube or any other site(s) you embed you Vinja Video.


I hope you found this tutorial useful! If you have questions or want to showoff your chaptered videos, drop them in the comments below.

Breakdown of the State of the Union

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Few hour-long videos are more densely packed than the President’s annual State of the Union speech to Congress. I know how hard it is to condense several weeks of start-up company activities into a board deck—but I can’t fathom the challenge of delivering a status report for the entire country spanning an entire year, never mind the political stakes and international spotlight.

While countless days and weeks are spent honing the speech to make it flow—and to keep the live viewing audience from tuning out—breaking it down makes it easier to browse and share. Conveniently, Vinja’s chaptering function makes it easy to identify and tag key elements of the speech, while maintaining the continuity of the whole.

Here’s a 31-chapter breakdown of President Obama’s speech, presented in one of our new ‘overlay’ players (click the bullets on the right to browse, select and share the chapters—and note that the White House logo clicks to more information at

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Contest Leverages User-Generated Video

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The Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest provides an excellent example of a larger trend and strategy of big brands leveraging consumer-generated video. ULTA Beauty uses Vinja video to drive product sales from customer-generated YouTube videos. GoPro has done a brilliant job of helping consumers put their video selfies on steroids. And Red Bull is a publishing empire for user generated action sports video that also happens to sell a beverage.

But when Doritos started its Crash the Super Bowl contest nine years ago it was one of the first examples of brand-sponsored and -driven user-generated video. And Doritos was bold enough to present it on one of the world’s biggest stages. Carrying on that tradition, this year’s entries are some of the best ads seen yet and in only the second year since the brand opened up the contest to a global audience, 40 percent of the finalists come from outside of the United States.

Doritos recently unveiled the 10 consumer created advertisements that have been selected as finalists for the annual “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. PepsiCo’s popular snack brand has presented some of the most talked-about Super Bowl commercials of all time and for the ninth consecutive year the brand will turn over the global stage to two bold fans who have created homemade Doritos ads. For the second year in a row, Doritos has opened up the competition to fans around the world and this year’s finalists include a record four advertisements from outside of the United States.

The grand-prize winner will is guaranteed $1 Million, as well as an opportunity unlike any other in the history of the contest: a chance to work as a contractor for a full year onsite at Universal Pictures in Hollywood.

The 10 finalists, hailing from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were selected from nearly 4,900 submissions representing 29 countries around the world. Two of the 10 television commercials will be selected to air during Super Bowl XLIX, the championship game of the National Football League in the United States, which is viewed annually by more than 100 million people around the world. The grand prize winner will be selected by fan votes on and the other advertisement that airs will be selected by the Doritos brand.

We’ve used the Vinja Player to make the 10 Crash the Super Bowl finalist ads—along with a few other entries—easier to browse, view, share and track. Check them out for yourself:

Which Top Retail Brands Make the Cash Register Ring on YouTube?

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Vinja was founded on the premise that video is the cusp of transformation; and our mission is to accelerate and shape that transformation on behalf of our business customer. But we recognize that other companies are building software that provides brands with data and insights to make a significant impact on their videos’ performance on YouTube.

For example, Pixability is an ad buying and video marketing platform for YouTube. We have been big fans of their industry studies since the first one was published in August 2013. One of Pixability’s latest industry studies takes a close look at the top 100 retail brands over the 2014 Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. The biggest winners and losers on YouTube might not be who you’d expect.

Overview of the top 100 Retail Brands’ Performance

The top 100 retail brands added more than 76 million views from Nov. 19 – Dec. 2 (Black Friday/Cyber Monday), vs. only 24 million in the first weeks of November. More than 64,000 new brand subscribers were won. There were 1.1 million total Black Friday engagement instances across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube likes and comments.

Two-thirds of all Black Friday/Cyber Monday views went to just two channels: Walmart and Foot Locker. Only 19 of the top 100 brands published highly successful (>100k views) videos during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday retail period.

Brands still compete aggressively for Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales

As anticipated, cost-per-view (CPV) spikes coincided with both Black Friday and Cyber Monday as brands competed for scarcer consumer dollars this Thanksgiving. A representative fashion retailer, shown in the chart below, experienced a 51% spike in CPV on Friday and a 70% spike on Monday relative to the prior week average, due to the weekend’s popularity.

Pixability chart

What type of videos performed this Thanksgiving period?

60% of the most highly viewed videos were those published after November 1st, but some months old legacy content picked up 100k+ views. Not all popular content was holiday-centric: Foot Locker, Dunkin’ Donuts, CVS, and HEB all enjoyed strong channel performance, even with their lack of specific focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. How-to videos enjoyed strong resurgence and long shelf lives – surprise hits were Michaels’ arm knitting video from 2013, and Nordstrom’s scarf advice video classic from 2012.

Did different industries experience dramatically different performance?

Big Box Retailers: Walmart was a dominant force this year, but Target and Kohl’s also gained significant amounts of new views, subscribers, and shares. Amazon’s channel performance during just the first two weeks of November matched Target’s overall performance for the month, including Target’s holiday-specific efforts.

Fashion and apparel: Victoria’s Secret, Gap, and Foot Locker all performed strongly this year.

Food: Dunkin’ Donuts represents a fascinating outlier in the 2014 dataset. DD ranks among the most viewed channels and is the only restaurant brand in the top 20 for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  Rival coffee chain Starbucks stayed out of the fray.

Walmart was the big winner

Walmart ranked first with 39 million views (3 times more views than the second-place channel), 11,000 new subscribers, and 13,000 Facebook shares of its top 14 videos. A comprehensive strategy with varied content contributed to success. This included a national campaign-linked video, Walmart-centric content, gift-buying advice, and in-depth product discussions and demos.

Walmart successfully capitalized on YouTube’s versatile format with varied video lengths, embedded links, social media, flyouts, and the other engagement-drivers below:

  • Banners pushing subscriptions + subscribe button
  • Flyout with link to
  • Long-format capitalizes on pay-per-viewer pricing
  • A huge library of holiday content – not just ads
  • Rich metadata with links to brand’s homepage

Foot Locker’s celebrity campaign generated huge interest

Foot Locker was this year’s surprise comeback king with 12 million new views earned during led by four wildly popular “Week of Greatness” videos. The retail brand also generated best-in-class engagement: 9,500 new subscribers and 350,000 Facebook shares amplified its impact.

In fact, Foot Locker led the top 100 retail brands for the period in Facebook shares, Tweets, and comments. It’s worth noting that Foot Locker ignored holiday-specific ads and focused on demand gen for its core audience.

Some brands that you wouldn’t expect invested heavily in Black Friday 2014

Dunkin’ Donuts was the third most-viewed channel of the brands reviewed for this holiday period with 4.3 million new views, but the limited diversity of its content (product-focused TV spots) led to non-existent engagement on those viewed videos.

HEB, a grocery chain located in Texas and Mexico, picked up 1.2 million new views by posting ads starring the San Antonio Spurs. In contrast to Dunkin’ Donuts, HEB enjoyed solid Facebook shares and likes, meaning its celebrity content was strongly engaging the brand’s viewers.

CVS gained more than a million views during this year’s big retail weekend, although the timing may have been coincidental; the majority of the views were of ads publicizing the company’s recent decision to stop selling tobacco products in stores.

Classic brands got organic views over the weekend

Apple enjoyed strong channel performance with 2.8 million new views, the 9th strongest-performing brand channel according to views gained. Apple’s highest-performing content was a series of TV new ads plus older videos promoting phones and tablets now once again relevant to shoppers.

Victoria’s Secret gained 7,600 new subscribers for its channel, making it the 6th most viewed channel during this Thanksgiving period. The company’s strongest piece of content? Highlights from last year’s VS Fashion Show, posted in December 2013.

Relevant product news performed well; forced seasonal content, not so much

In contrast to most of the other brands who built up to a Black Friday-specific campaign, Amazon had its strongest view gains (over 2.4 million views) in the first weeks of November, coinciding with its introduction of Echo. Amazon’s new ad for the Amazon App also performed well, debuting to more than 300,000 views in the holiday period.

However, Amazon did not invest in retail holiday-specific videos or advertising in 2014. The company has made a lukewarm effort with regards to other date-specific content, including Thanksgiving how-to videos, but content completely unrelated to what Amazon doing what Amazon does best hasn’t been overly successful for the online retailer powerhouse.

What might happen if a retail brand combined their data and insights with our software?

According to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of retail ecommerce sales worldwide, retail products and services purchased on the internet are $1.316 billion in 2014. By 2018, retail ecommerce is forecast to grow to nearly $2.5 trillion.

We recently shared the story of how ULTA Beauty, a global leader in consumer cosmetics, was using Vinja’s cloud-based software to create “Shoppable Video.”  Imagine what might happen if they and other retail brands combined Pixability’s data and insights with Vinja Video’s ability to segment their YouTube videos into product-oriented “chapters” with synchronized links to product purchase pages that let viewers continue to watch the videos while they browse the product page. Now, that would be an interesting development that all of us should be looking forward to seeing in the coming year

Shoppable Video

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ULTA Beauty, a global leader in consumer cosmetics, recently launched #ULTAHAUL, featuring videos posted by guests (i.e., customers) who come home with a “haul” of merchandise that they share with followers one product at a time.

Haul videos–the non-geeky first cousin of unboxing videos–started to get the attention of online retailers last year, spiking in 2013 during the week of Black Friday.  But based on stats from Google Commerce haul videos are here to stay with over 5.6 million hours of haul videos viewed in 2014 (through September):

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But ULTA took haul videos to another level by using Vinja Video to segment the videos into product-oriented ‘chapters’ with synchronized links to product purchase pages that let viewer continue to watch the video while the browse the product page.  Click here to see a live example on ULTA’s site.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.12.45 AM

In a recent investor call, ULTA’s Chief Marketing Officer, Dave Kimball, described their use of Vinja Videos as “ground-breaking” new technology to Wall Street in a recent investor call.

Excerpt of ULTA Beauty Investor call, 10-15-2014

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Video of, by and for the Web

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marketingStatistics regarding the web’s transformation of video distribution boggle the mind—over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute; video is over 66% of all traffic today (on a path to 80% 2018); over 50 billion online video views in the December 2013 in the US; and so on.

But despite the web’s upheaval of video distribution, video presentation has changed remarkably little over time.  True, the YouTube video “store” has orders-of-magnitude more videos than its 1990s Blockbuster counterpart, but the way we select and interface with video content remains largely the same: all we can do is just scan title-level information (i.e., name, description, picture, duration), and play, pause, fast-forward and rewind the linear content.  

Meanwhile the web has transformed not only the distribution, but also the production and presentation of the once print-only media of text, graphics, images—from desktop publishing to a screen into finely-tune instruments of audience targeting and interaction. How?  In large part by loosely coupling content, presentation and analytics—enabling a highly dynamic ecosystem of localization, personalization, profiling and commerce driven by big data.

It’s about time for web video to stop working like VCR and start working in concert with other web media.  When it does, the medium of video, and the web itself, will never be the same again.

To work like—and with—the rest of the web, video needs to become more:

  1. Discoverable: the contents within a video need to be presented in a way that humans and search engines, alike, can understand and consume.
  2. Browsable:  viewers need to be empowered to choose what parts of videos to watch—in any order they choose—just as they do with web pages.
  3. Interactive:  consuming video needs to be an active process of engagement, not just a passive viewing experience.
  4. Dynamic: video needs to be responsive to the context and device within which it’s presented—and, ultimately, personalized and localized.
  5. Trackable:  publishers (i.e., anyone with a web page) need to know not just that a video was viewed, but also how, by whom, for what reasons and with what results.

To be clear, we’re not talking about video produced for entertainment or art. The web won’t personalize Gone with the Wind any more than it did Hamlet. But when it comes to information-oriented content—whether it’s public or private, or B2B or B2C—the medium of video must, and will, change.

Vinja was founded on the premise that video is the cusp of transformation; and our mission is to accelerate and shape that transformation on behalf of our business customer. We’ve recently taken our first steps on this journey by releasing the public Beta of our cloud-based software, open to all.  We’ve started with the simple notion that adding chapters and tags to videos will make them easier to find, browse, view, share and track.  Over time, we’ll be layering on more functions and value that make video a true, first-class citizen of the web.

Please join us on our journey—and help guide us with feedback and suggestions early and often!