Interview with Brian Russell of Media Distribution Solutions; Behold the Power of Video

August 11th, 2014 by Search Influence Alumni

MediaDistributionSolutionsLogoImageIn early 2014, we partnered with Media Distribution Solutions to deliver their best-in-class video solution to our customers. The BetterVideo platform has enabled Search Influence to scalably deploy custom, 30-60 second, high quality videos in our search engine optimization packages. Video dramatically increases the time spent on websites, improves social sharability and customer engagement. Earlier this week, our VP of Sales and Marketing, Kelly Benish, interviewed MDS COO Brian Russell on the growth of their company, the evolution of their platform and the importance of video.

Media Distribution Solutions / BetterVideo


Brian Russell

Interviewee: Brian Russell

Title: COO

When were you founded?

We founded Media Distribution Solutions in 2006, the same time we founded Metrix4Media (a Search Engine Marketing company).

Where did M4M go?

M4M was acquired by Hearst Corporation in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. (Sorry, Hearst is private and I cannot disclose the terms of the deal). Metrix4Media is still operated today by LocalEdge as the SEM platform.

How did you come up with the idea for your company?

In 2006 our CEO was approached by a technology group that had “the next big thing” in video. After spending some time working with their technology, we felt there was an opportunity to bring video to small and medium sized businesses through some of our prior partners. We had a relationship with the team at LocalEdge and knew that they are always pushing the envelope in terms of what they offer their advertisers. Up to this point, the cost of video had just been too high for SMBs to consider it, but through our technology, we were able to make it accessible and extremely scalable. These were still the very early days of video, prior to the overwhelming popularity of YouTube. Partners like LocalEdge and For Rent Media Solutions were pioneers in offering video through our BetterVideo platform. Over the years, video has evolved from our early, proprietary video codec, through Flash, and now to industry standard H.264/MP4 format. We continue to see advances in compression, which will further fuel the consumption of video on mobile devices. We are still seeing incredible growth as several other large media companies are now embracing video and leveraging the work done by the early adopters.

What solutions do you offer?

Video is our core, but there are many different flavors; from top of funnel awareness videos, which are a critical piece that allows the business to not only describe their offering, but also “tell their story.” This gives them an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition. The cost to produce high quality video content continues to fall, and business owners are realizing they can create more videos; testimonials videos, products and services videos, as well as more actionable videos for specials or seasonal offerings. The high value of video content is giving their site incredible lift in search results—the more video, the better!

Where do you see MDS in the next 5 years? What do you predict your evolution will look like?

Driving them to the future is video advertising. Google/YouTube rolled out TruView and Google Adwords, where an advertiser can target geographically and demographically who sees their video advertisement. This allows them to show relevant, local content to people that have shown interest.

What have been some of the challenges in scaling out your video solution?

BetterVideo has experienced the same challenge that other digital advertising solutions see, how to scale, yet serve the needs of the local small business owner. We have addressed this by the appropriate application of technology in key places. We still believe that an experienced video editor needs to play a role in the creation of every single video we produce, but we have automated processes to remove manual, repetitive tasks and allow or video editors to spend their time doing what they do best, creating exceptional videos that allow our advertisers tell their stories, promote their businesses, and deliver strong ROI.

What types of videos provide the highest engagement level?

Engagement levels come from relevancy. A person will be engaged with a video that is relevant to them—either through search results or some level of targeting. People are searching to find the answer to a question… How do I do this? How does that work? How do I fix this? Where can I get a great pizza? If they can be shown a video that shows them the answer to the question they have asked, they are very likely to be engaged. We read the studies and know how engagement drops off at certain points in a video, and we produce every one of our videos to deliver key information to overcome these “drop off points,” allowing advertisers to connect with their audience.

What are the benefits of video for a small business?

Small businesses get to tell their stories and showcase their specialties. They get to find a way to put themselves out there to show viewers their store, their people, what makes them different. Video offers them to opportunity to show viewers why they should do business with them. It really gives them a chance to showcase the value of their business. Video testimonials are the sweet spot for SMB’s. Reading a review is great, but seeing a review really allows the business to show what the consumer has experienced.

What are the verticals that benefit most from Videos?

Hotels and apartment properties love video because people really want to see where they are going to stay or live. They want to see the location, amenities, etc., so this is an extremely hot niche. A lot of service industries such as landscapers, pool builders, and general contractors see a huge benefit because video allows them to showcase their best work. Garage door repair, plumbers and HVAC companies have a list of things they’d like to you try before you call them—video offers them a great way to show you what you need to try before you call. The additional benefit from these types of videos allows these professionals to establish themselves as experts. A consumer will show loyalty to a business that saved them some money by showing them how to fix something simple on their own and will trust that business when they have something larger than they are uncomfortable handling on their own.

Anything else I should know?

Never underestimate the value of quality production. It’s so easy to shoot video and post it now, but video is an important part of your business and should be considered a critical component of your brand. You want to make sure you put your best foot forward. A professionally produced video allows a company to showcase their business and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Some Video Examples:

Dominion Enterprises – For Rent Media Solutions:

Hearst Media Solutions – LocalEdge: Ellis Eye and Laser Medical Center

Concentra / Humana

Product Video