YouTube’s Secret Sauce: How to Reach, Engage, and Enchant Audiences

Why do Brands Struggle on YouTube?

YouTube is dominated by creators, instructors, and seemingly everyday people. As opposed to major media platforms such as AppleTV, Netflix, Amazon, and others, YouTube has enabled people to create and develop content and find audiences around the world.

How were creators able to grasp and develop this platform, while the brands lagged behind?  Even today, only a handful of brands create consistently good content on YouTube and use it effectively in their marketing strategy.

Author, lecturer, industry expert Greg Jarboe joins Matt to talk about the power and influence of YouTube.  From the beginnings of curated video to the explosion of content that is uploaded every day, Greg provides the essential ingredients to engage and enchant audiences through video.

In case you didn’t know, YouTube is technically the 2nd largest search engine in the world.

  • Over 2 billion monthly logged in users! Why is this important? You can view YouTube content without an account.  
  • Average of 1 billion hours of content watched a day
  • 60-minute average mobile session
  • 500 hours of video uploaded every minute
  • Over 576,000 videos uploaded every day


Greg Jarboe: [00:00:00] And the first question they ask is that’s great. But do you have any video?

Matt Bailey: [00:00:10] Oh yeah.

Greg Jarboe: [00:00:11] And we didn’t. And my son was working for me that summer and looked up and said, “Dad, that’s no big deal. I can create a YouTube video this afternoon.” So I went back to the editors of, you know, these, these top national media, and I said, “Well, uh, uh, I got a YouTube video. Will, will that work for you?” All five of them said, yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:00:37] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:00:38] And when the story broke, we were page one on Yahoo news. We were page one on ABC news. We were page one on the Huffington post. We were page one on CNN.

Bumper Intro-Outro: [00:00:57] Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:24] Well hello and welcome back to another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup and today’s guest, I, I’m really excited about this because, uh, Greg and I go back a number of years, uh, as with many of the other interviews I’ve done here, Greg is I would say one of the premier and probably one of the earliest into the, the search engine optimization or digital marketing.

And he literally wrote the book on marketing on YouTube. And so my guest today is Mr. Greg Jarboe, Greg, how are you doing today?

Greg Jarboe: [00:01:59] Good man. How’s everything out there in Ohio?

Matt Bailey: [00:02:02] Oh, it’s a, you know, gray and rainy, which means we’re in winter and that will last another six months.

Greg Jarboe: [00:02:10] Oh, okay. Alright.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:13] Greg, I, you know, I’m sure, you know, some of the listeners may know who you are, but for those that don’t, could you give them maybe a quick snapshot of your background and, and really what led you from, you know, journalism to YouTube?

Greg Jarboe: [00:02:27] Oh, that has been a, what do they call that? A long, strange trip?

Matt Bailey: [00:02:32] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:02:34] Well, I did start off as a journalist, believe it or not, as the editor of a newspaper. You remember newspapers? I know it’s very retro. And at one point in time, my wife said if we’re going to afford to have a family, you can’t be a journalist anymore. You’re not paid enough.

So I crossed over into the dark side, I went into public relations and I worked in a high-tech PR in Massachusetts at a Wang Laboratories that did general, I became the director of corporate communications at Lotus Development Corporation back when Lotus 1- 2- 3 was the best selling software package of its era.

And from there, uh, segued into becoming the director of corporate communications at Ziff Davis, which published PC magazine, PC week, and PC computing magazines. And then, oh, that takes me to like 1999, I went off to become the VP of marketing of a dot-com and then the dot-com bubble burst. And, um, I was unemployed and looked around and the first people who would hire me was a SEO firm.

And I had actually used SEO at a WebCT and thought it was particularly effective, but I didn’t do it myself, I hired a guy to do it for me. And suddenly I found I had to do it for clients. So in 2002, um, I was, uh, learning the trade as the chief marketing officer for Backbone Media. And then a funny thing happened. Google in September of 2002, who launched something called Google News.

And the president of my company said, “Jarbo take a look at it and see if there’s anything we should know about this, you know, do with it, whatever.” And I started doing some searches in Google News and I found, oh my Lord, there were press releases in the results among the 4,500 news sources that Google News crawled and indexed and ranked were Business Wire, and PR Newswire, and GlobeNewswire, and PRWeb.

And I thought, oh my Lord. I spent, um, a lot of years in high-tech PR, I know how press releases work. I’ve just spent the last year, uh, honing my skills on how SEO worked. I’ll bet there’s a way we can crack the code and learn how to optimize press releases and turn that into a service. So I took it back to the president of my company and I said, you know, I think this could be a big deal. And he said, uh, no, Greg, that’s your thing. That’s not my thing.

Matt Bailey: [00:05:41] I think there were a lot of people in that same timeframe with those same ideas that were told very similar things.

Greg Jarboe: [00:05:49] And so I thought about it for about a month, and then I called up an old friend of mine, who I had worked with at Lotus Development Corporation. And I said, “Jamie, check this out. I think we can figure out how to optimize a press release that it gets high rankings.” And he said, “Yeah, big deal.” And I said, “But, but, but, but, but that would mean visibility.” And he said, “Yeah, so what?” And, uh, he was the head of a direct marketing firm at the time. He said, “Now, if you could put a link in that press release and take people who read it to a landing page on a website, then you’d have something.”

Matt Bailey: [00:06:30] Now we can count them. Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:06:32] And I went, “We could do that.” So I quit my job. He sold his company. We started SEO PR in early 2003 and started optimizing press releases initially for SEMPO the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, and we were able to track 21% of the organization’s revenue. Revenue.

Matt Bailey: [00:06:57] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:06:58] For the first quarter that they existed back to three optimized press releases.

Matt Bailey: [00:07:03] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:07:04] And then in early 2004, I got hired by a little regional airline called Southwest Airlines. You may not have heard of them, but they’re down in Dallas, they’re a wonderful company, and we started optimizing press releases for them, and we were able to track $2.5 million in the airline tickets sales back to a series of count them for optimized press releases.

Matt Bailey: [00:07:32] That’s great.

Greg Jarboe: [00:07:32] And you know, everyone thought, “Oh, Jarboe, we know who you are. You’re the SEO PR guy.” And, uh, you know, that was a good ride for a couple of years. And then in 2006, we hit a wall.

We were doing some work for the Christian Science Monitor, and we were trying to optimize a press release and promote a story about one of their reporters, a woman named Joe Carroll, who had been taken hostage in Iraq and held for 82 days and thought every day she was going to die the way her driver and translator had on the first day.

And suddenly she got released and she came home, and she wrote 11 part series on what it was like to be a hostage thinking that you were going to die any day. And the, uh, editor in chief of the Christian Science Monitor decided that because the story was going to break in mid-August and everyone was on vacation, that it might need some special secret sauce to promote it.

So I got hired to optimize the press release and, uh, pitch the story, uh, to a variety of, uh, media, uh, in advance of this series breaking in August, 2006. And I called editors at oh, uh, CNN and the Huffington Post, and, you know, a variety of other places, including believe it or not, the human editor at Yahoo News, and people don’t realize that Yahoo News actually has human editors in addition to their algorithms. The human editor has actually determined what’s on page 1 of Yahoo News.

Matt Bailey: [00:09:14] Uh, huh.

Greg Jarboe: [00:09:15] And the first question they ask is, “That’s great. But do you have any video?”

Matt Bailey: [00:09:20] Oh yeah.

Greg Jarboe: [00:09:21] And we didn’t, and my son was working for me that summer. Technically that’s my middle son, I got three, but alright.

Brendan, Brendan was working for me that summer and looked up and said, “Dad, that’s no big deal. I can create a YouTube video this afternoon.”

Matt Bailey: [00:09:37] Aren’t kids great? I find myself right now, learning, learning from my daughters.

Greg Jarboe: [00:09:42] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:09:43] About some of these things and the things they show me. And I guess what they don’t like is the, you know, like there’s this wealth of experience, so let me tell you how that works, but that is, that is great, uh, that he could turn around a video, “I’ll do it today.”

Greg Jarboe: [00:10:00] So, so I went back to the editors of know these, these top national media, and I said, “Well, uh, uh, I got a YouTube video. Will, will that work for you?” All five of them said, yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:10:17] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:10:17] And when the story broke, we were page 1 on Yahoo News. We were page 1 on ABC News. We were page 1 on the Huffington Post. We were page 1 on CNN. We ended up driving 450,000 unique visitors in the first 24 hours to the Christian Science Monitor website. They got a million page views.

Matt Bailey: [00:10:41] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:10:42] Which was 7 times higher than their daily average, because not that I had optimized the press release, nobody was even talking about that. It was because we’d knocked off a YouTube video the previous afternoon.

Matt Bailey: [00:11:00] Ah, yeah.

Greg Jarboe: [00:11:02] And it was like, you know, today happens to be epiphany, but it turns out that’s when I had my epiphany that said, “This video thing has legs.” And I started focusing on, on YouTube. This was back before it got acquired by Google later in 2006.

Oh, in the fall of 2006, Google acquired YouTube for, oh, you know, billions of dollars. Uh, actually it was $1.4 billion size, so I shouldn’t round up. I’ll, I’ll stick with the facts because they’re extraordinary enough as it is. And I’ve been riding the YouTube, uh, horse ever since.

Matt Bailey: [00:11:40] Absolutely. That is, I love that story because it shows the not only the progression of digital and how it affects different industries, but also just the, you know, the technological aspect of it as video has become more and more accessible with broadband, with compression, with being able to distribute it and how YouTube changed how we viewed videos. I love to tell my kids that, you know, we used to have to download videos in order to watch them.

That, that 42nd video that you can have instant access to it, it took me 5 minutes to download and then I’d watch it, laugh, and then go to the next one. Uh, and YouTube revolutionized that whole thing.

Greg Jarboe: [00:12:28] It did, and, uh, we’ve got to remember that at the time YouTube was, uh, turning the world on its head, it turns out Google had a competing product. It was called Google Video, and Yahoo had a competing product, it was called Yahoo Video. And oh, by the way, AOL had Singing Fish. I mean, it, it wasn’t like YouTube was first to the dance, YouTube just ate all their lunches, and, you know, the rest is history as they say. Google had to acquire them, even though they had a competing product because, you know, “Google Video, what’s that?”

Matt Bailey: [00:13:07] Well, what was it that made YouTube, or enabled them to eat their lunch? What was the event that made that happen?

Greg Jarboe: [00:13:15] Ah, well, okay. Now you want the secret sauce?

Matt Bailey: [00:13:19] Let’s go for it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:13:20] Okay. So here’s, here’s what YouTube did that the other video search engines didn’t do. All the other, uh, players in the market, uh, Google Video, Yahoo Video, Singing Fish, were trying to crawl the web, index videos of them, put them, you know, where they could be then searched for and found. You know, it’s, it’s the search engine view of the world.

Matt Bailey: [00:13:47] Right, right. Collect and process. Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:13:51] Yeah. Well, it turned out that meant that in order for them to find it, um, the poor people who were uploading it had to spend oodles of time creating metadata so that the search engines would say, “Oh, this is a video. Oh, that’s what it’s about. Oh, okay. I guess I should index this from the video search engine.”

What YouTube did was say, don’t worry about that. We’re going to put all the videos here. We’re going to host them on YouTube. And when you do a search, we’re going to find the relevant video for you, and we’re going to crawl the headline and the description. And oh, by the way, YouTube, uh, took a look at the tags on the video while Google has always sworn off meta-tags, you know, “We don’t run out of them. We don’t pay any attention.”

Matt Bailey: [00:14:41] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:14:41] YouTube said, look, it’s hard enough to figure out what the video is. Yeah. Yeah. We’re going to look at the tags. So the first thing that YouTube did was make search easy, but then they did more.

Matt Bailey: [00:14:54] Hmm.

Greg Jarboe: [00:14:55] And this is where they then crossed over and became a social medium, because after you watch the video, you could share it.

Matt Bailey: [00:15:05] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:15:06] And it was simple to hit a button and share it to Facebook, or believe it or not, back then share it to Myspace. I know, I know, but that was true. Back once upon a time that was big. You could, you could share it to Twitter, etc. And so YouTube was a hybrid. It was not only a video search engine, and it is still the world’s second largest search engine behind only Google, if you just count searches conducted per month, but it is also the worlds, well, depending on how you define it, first or second largest social media.

And the reason why it’s, depending on how you define it, it’s Facebook is out there saying, “Oh, we’re the world’s largest social media man.” And the answer is okay, based on what? “Well, we’ve got a 2.3 billion average monthly users.” And it’s like, oh, okay. YouTube on the other hand has over 2 billion registered users per month.

Now that’s, that’s apples and oranges. You could watch a YouTube video without being a registered user.

Matt Bailey: [00:16:16] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:16:17] So YouTube is sandbagging. And that’s why some of the data you’ll see from places like, uh, Pew actually showed that there are more people who are watching YouTube videos, um, in the United States, in the UK, and Canada, in most of the countries of the world, except of course, China, than go to Facebook.

Facebook actually has a smaller audience, but because they calculate their size and everyone just takes the number without examining it. People have this mistaken assumption that maybe Facebook is bigger than YouTube, it’s actually the other way around. Whatever. They are, both ginormous. At anywhere north of 2 billion users a month, that’s a third of the world’s population. That’s huge.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:10] It is. That is amazing. Well, and yeah, Facebook uses the monthly active users as a, as a primary index, but I think that’s an important distinction that you brought out. Uh, I know on one of my devices, I use YouTube without logging into it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:17:25] Right.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:26] Uh, because that’s where I do my research. That’s where I do, that’s where I want the, the non-filtered use. But yet it still adapts to what I’m doing on that device, even without an account.

Greg Jarboe: [00:17:38] And marketers, one of the big, missed opportunities by, by most marketers is you can take a YouTube video and embed it on your website, because YouTube has what is called a distributed player.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:51] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:17:51] And not only then can people come to your website, look at your page, watch the YouTube video on the page, on your website, but YouTube will then record that view and watch time over in YouTube and you get credit for it in two places.

Matt Bailey: [00:18:08] Well, and that’s one of the things that was so revolutionary about YouTube.

Greg Jarboe: [00:18:12] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:18:12] Is instead of sending a video through the mail or newsgroups or whatever, now it can embed it…

Greg Jarboe: [00:18:19] Yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:18:20] …on my blog, uh, or, you know, wherever. Anyone can watch it, it produces a link back to YouTube which, you know, the, the, the double whammy of this whole thing of what it enabled people to do, it just, I, it, it was just amazing. Whoever came up with that strategy was just a genius because it gave, I love it. It gave people what they wanted to do. They didn’t know they needed it, but once they had it, they loved it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:18:46] Yeah. And that then is the secret sauce. And so if you want to know the magic formula for being successful on YouTube today, there are three parts.

Matt Bailey: [00:18:57] Oh, here we go.

Greg Jarboe: [00:18:58] Part one is you got to discover the video. In other words, that’s the video search part. Part two is you’ve got to watch the video and that’s been a key part of the YouTube algorithm since the fall of 2012. And, uh, watch time, if somebody starts watching your video and goes, “Ugh, gah, I’m outta here.” And they bounce out of there at, you know, 10 to 15 seconds, which by the way, half of your viewers, well then that sends a signal to you, to decide, “You know, they didn’t really watch this very long. It must not be a very good video.” Uh, and so getting watch time is the second ingredient to success.

And then the third one is, uh, did people like it after they watched it? Did they share it? Did they embed it? Did they do other things with it? Be included in a playlist? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:20:00] So the simple formula for YouTube success is you’ve got to create videos that get discovered, watched and shared.

Matt Bailey: [00:20:01] That is a great, great formula. I love that, because you have been involved in this, like I said, you literally wrote the book on YouTube Marketing an Hour a Day. I will reference that even though it’s…

Greg Jarboe: [00:20:12] Oh, oh, oh, oh, that I, I have to stop you here. I’ve got to tell your listeners.

Matt Bailey: [00:20:17] I knew this was coming, so that’s the setup.

Greg Jarboe: [00:20:19] Do not buy my book please. The first edition was published in 2009 in August. The second edition was published in November of 2011. And if you think about it, I just told you the algorithm changed in the fall of 2012, that means that my book is out of date. The advice that I gave you was true way back when a decade ago, but it is so out of date, the only chapter in the book that isn’t woefully obsolete is chapter one, which is a short history of YouTube. The good news is they haven’t changed their history, but everything after chapter one, I might as well be talking about, you know, a distant planet or a galaxy far, far away.

Matt Bailey: [00:21:09] It is amazing how quickly things have changed. I would say, but what hasn’t changed is creating content that people want to see. And from a business standpoint, I mean, YouTube, I think has been one of utter mystery for some people, and yet it seems that some businesses were able to very quickly figure out, “Here’s how we can use video.” And it transformed them. I mean, you, you gave the Christian Science Monitor example of coming up with video and from a journalistic standpoint, it enabled that. But what about businesses or even B2B businesses? How, what was that transition like of learning how to use video in marketing?

Greg Jarboe: [00:21:52] Well, I would love to give you an optimistic appraisal of how businesses have all figured it out, but most of them haven’t.

Matt Bailey: [00:22:02] Oh, no.

Greg Jarboe: [00:22:03] In fact, here’s some hard numbers that you can chew on. In the last 30 days, okay, so we’re, we’re, we’re talking from basically, uh, early December, uh, through early January, the last 30 days, 8.5 million videos have been uploaded to YouTube by 1.1 million different accounts.

Matt Bailey: [00:22:29] So there’s a little bit of competition.

Greg Jarboe: [00:22:30] Oh but, but, that’s, I’m, I’m just setting a baseline. Now, now, now here’s the bad news. Okay. 6.9 million of those accounts are what I would call influencers or YouTube content creators. And less than 90,000 or a incredibly small percentage are brands. In other words, YouTube has been a wonderful opportunity, but the people who took advantage of it are basically, uh, you know, whatever you want to call them, YouTube stars? They were the kids who said, okay, I can go out and do almost anything. And they did.

Matt Bailey: [00:23:14] Right. I saw a graphic or an article about this. I think it’s, it’s not the 80/20 rule. It’s closer to the 95/5 rule. That 5% of the creators account for, I think it’s like 80% to 90% of views.

Greg Jarboe: [00:23:31] Yeah, that’s probably true. And those, uh, creators by the way, are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by monetizing their video content with advertising.

Many of them are growing up to become small media companies in their own right. And that’s where the action is on YouTube. Brands by and large, now I may have to get on my soap box here, don’t get it. There are exceptions to this rule, but by and large, the vast majority of brands think YouTube is where you repurpose your 32nd long TV commercial.

Matt Bailey: [00:24:08] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:24:09] Oh yeah, upload it to YouTube. Uh, okay. Right. That’s exactly what everyone is looking for. That’s what they want to see. Wrong. And as a consequence, “Oh look, we aren’t getting many YouTube views, so this must not be a viable platform.” And the answer is it’s incredibly viable for people who are creating content that is unique and original and compelling.

In fact, the term I’ve borrowed from a friend of mine, Guy Kawasaki, who I used to work with at Ziff Davis, is enchantment.

Matt Bailey: [00:24:46] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:24:47] There are some videos that will enchant you, and that can be inspiring, that can be educational, that can be entertaining, and that can be enlightenment like, uh, documentaries or enlightening.

And there are people who are making it. And I, I recently wrote an article for Search Engine Journal, where I actually took a look at the top 10 most watched videos on YouTube of 2020. And just for the heck of it, I went through each one, watched it, by the way, it takes three hours to watch the top 10.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:24] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:25:25] Because the average one is about 15 to 20 minutes long, you know, who, whoever sold this notion of “Oh, make snackable content,” you know, was also, uh, selling snake oil on the side.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:38] Well, I’m going to jump in real quick here because that hits a point that has come up very often that people don’t have long attention spans.

Greg Jarboe: [00:25:47] Hah.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:47] That and yeah, I, you hear this all the time that we’ve got to get people where they’re at. They only have a two second attention span. It’s the goldfish analogy that they bring up.

Greg Jarboe: [00:25:58] Well, if your target audience is goldfish, then, then, well here, let me give you some advice. The point is it’s not that the people have short attention spans. These are the same people, by the way, who are binge watching shows on Netflix.

Matt Bailey: [00:26:14] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:26:15] So, you know, excuse me, you know. What they have a, a short span of, is patience.

Matt Bailey: [00:26:23] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:26:23] If you’re creating corporate propaganda that is boring or self-serving, you know what? I got lots of other options on YouTube. In fact, as the number I just shared with you, there’s about 8.5 million other new videos that are just been uploaded in the last 30 days. I don’t have to sit here because it’s too hard to get up and change the channel on TV. I can click away.

Matt Bailey: [00:26:50] Exactly.

Greg Jarboe: [00:26:50] And that’s, that’s where the misnomer comes in is, “Oh, they have short attention spans.” No, they just have a low, low threshold for crap.

Matt Bailey: [00:27:01] Yeah. Yeah. Quality content.

Greg Jarboe: [00:27:03] Yeah. But if you create really good stuff, again, one of the videos, so it was the most watched videos of the year was, uh, about a video game and it was 44 minutes long.

Again, it was an anomaly, um, most of them were in the 15-to-25-minute range. Only one of them, the shortest of the top 10 was 7 minutes long. It was the other anomaly. So again, this is like, excuse me, stop coming up with things that you’ve heard somewhere and go do your own research because that’s not what’s working.

Matt Bailey: [00:27:41] Right. And that’s, that’s absolutely amazing. I, you know, I can see the content that I consume on YouTube, the content my kids consume on YouTube, and I will say that the vast majority of what we’re consuming is videos that are longer than 30 minutes. And I’ve been amazed, especially at some of the channels my kids watch where like movie reviews or things like that, where they’re breaking down a movie for 30 minutes or longer.

And you’ve probably seen this as well. We’re now watching YouTube on the big screen. We’re watching it on our TV. It’s not something that’s just on the phone or, you know, on our desktop when we have time, it’s now I find ourselves watching TV shows that we can’t access anywhere else.

Greg Jarboe: [00:28:27] Yeah. Over the holidays. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have Netflix. Boy, I think I’ve seen everything there I want to see. But I also have YouTube, and you know what? They had all the original James Bonds with, uh, Sean Connery.

Matt Bailey: [00:28:42] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:28:43] On YouTube for free, and I’m sitting there watching them on my television on YouTube and oh, by the way, they’re an hour and a half to two hours long.

Matt Bailey: [00:28:53] That, and yeah, that has been the, I think the biggest dynamic change is YouTube moving from the small screen to the big screen and people are now watching it in their living rooms.

Greg Jarboe: [00:29:06] Well, and, but, but let’s go back to the small screen because it turns out 70% of the watch time on YouTube is still coming from mobile devices.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:14] Right. Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:29:15] And the average mobile device, a YouTube viewing session on a, let’s say a smartphone is 40 minutes long.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:25] Oh yeah.

Greg Jarboe: [00:29:26] So, uh, again, this, “Oh, they’re goldfish.” Is like, um, have you met one of them lately?

Matt Bailey: [00:29:34] Oh, I, you know, prime example is my daughter. She gets ready for school. She’s got her phone, her headphones in, and she’s listening to a YouTube video. The entire time she gets ready for school. Uh, and, and probably even in the, you know, in the ride to school, she’s listening to YouTube, watching it. It’s become just a part of the, I guess, where you and I may have had the Walkman on, uh, at that point, it’s been replaced with YouTube.

Greg Jarboe: [00:30:00] No, no, no, no, no, no. You had the Walkman on. I’m even older. We won’t go there. We won’t go there.

Matt Bailey: [00:30:09] Nope. Nope. I just have to remind myself as a parent though, that I did the same thing. It was just a Walkman. I had the headphones on constantly, listening to things and she’s doing the same thing. And so I need to be patient about this and not, you know, it’s just a different medium.

Greg Jarboe: [00:30:24] Yes, yes. You had the Walkman. I had this huge boombox on my shoulder, so yeah, I, I, this, this, this is like the, the evolution, people are now wearing earbuds, but yeah, now I’m back there in the misty mist of the pasty past lugging around this huge thing.

Matt Bailey: [00:30:42] I had one of those too.

Greg Jarboe: [00:30:43] Oh ok.

Matt Bailey: [00:30:44] Maybe not as, yeah. Oh yeah. You either went big, or you went, yeah. You either went big with the boombox or, uh, you had the Walkman and that yeah. I preferred the Walkman because there’s, you can do things with it. You don’t have to carry it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:30:56] Well.

Matt Bailey: [00:30:56] Like luggage.

Greg Jarboe: [00:30:57] Both you and I grew up in the Midwest where we had the space to walk around with a boombox on our shoulder and it wouldn’t really cause a riot or whatever, but anyhow.

Matt Bailey: [00:31:09] Yes. Yes. Everyone else had to listen to what you were listening to.

Greg Jarboe: [00:31:12] Right.

Sponsor: [00:31:15] If you are a regular listener of Endless Coffee Cup, well, you know, I love coffee. If you are listening for the first time, then the name of the podcast should be a big clue. I love conversation. And I think that we have a lot to learn from each other. If we only take the time to sit and talk over a cup of coffee, maybe we’ll come to a resolution, maybe not, but at least we’ve learned from each other. It’s in this spirit that I’m happy to announce a regular sponsor of the Endless Coffee Cup. A coffee sponsor, In Care of Coffee is a coffee company that is unique in the market. They are directly tied to the communities that produce coffee and ensure that the proceeds go to the coffee farmers, the local producers, and their communities.

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Matt Bailey: [00:32:46] So how have businesses been able to utilize YouTube? Let’s, let’s talk about the ones that maybe have figured it out.

Greg Jarboe: [00:32:53] Ok, so like I said, there are exceptions to the rule and some of those exceptions and let’s, let’s just take the B2B one because that’s the one that always, “Oh, but it won’t work in B2B because YouTube is a consumer platform, right?”

And the answer is, well, there’s a lot of people there, but that’s like saying a lot of people use telephones, so I guess, uh, a phone call is a consumer, uh, communication and business, uh, people, uh, particularly in sales would never use a phone, right? Get real.

And so it turns out one of the B2B clients we’ve worked with in the past, in fact, you and I have both taught at Rutgers University. So one of the things that Rutgers does is it offers custom education programs. One of the custom education programs I put together was for a company in the state of Washington in the town of Bothell. And when I told my wife I was going to Bothell, she said, “You’re going to a brothel?”

But anyhow, the, the company is called Sonosite, and they make medical devices, portable ultrasound devices.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:10] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:34:10] Their customers are hospitals, their system costs several hundred thousand dollars, so this is not a consumer purchase. Okay, it’s not a pregnancy test. This is a hospital equipment. The average sales cycle, when we started was like nine months to evaluate these portable ultrasound systems, uh, before a hospital would decide to make a purchase.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:36] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:34:37] And we took their YouTube video channel. We optimized it, we worked with them on the strategy for the kind of contents that they were creating, et cetera. And a number of things happened. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, from a, um, uh, measurement perspective, uh, we went from having fewer views and GE Healthcare, which was our primary competitor to having more views than GE Healthcare by a factor of four.

So, okay, okay. People were watching this stuff, but the important thing was the people who were watching this stuff were watching content that was basically how to do heart surgery.

Matt Bailey: [00:35:20] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:35:21] Using a portable ultrasound device to, you know, guide you. And it was like, excuse me, that’s the hot video? And one of the things that the company saw was that their average sales cycle, which had been nine months before their YouTube channel got optimized, shrank down to seven months.

Matt Bailey: [00:35:42] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:35:43] Because in every business-to-business buying situation, there is a committee and invariably somebody in the committee misses the meeting where the salesman comes in to do the demo and, you know, things take time, blah, blah, blah. Oh, by the way, you’ve got to get the buy in from the doctors who have their own opinions about what the hospital should be using, blah, blah, blah.

And all of a sudden, the fact that, oh, these videos are now available. The decision makers on the committee could catch the demos. The physicians in the hospital could figure out, “Is this going to be hard to learn how to use?”

Matt Bailey: [00:36:23] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:36:23] “Oh, wait, they’re going to show me how I can use it in this setting and that setting and oh cool.”

And they accelerated their revenue, their annual revenue by a double-digit, so I think it was in the low double digits, 11%, 12%, something like that, by basically shortening the sales cycle using video…

Matt Bailey: [00:36:45] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:36:45] …to help with the process.

Matt Bailey: [00:36:47] That is powerful, and that’s where I’ve seen businesses excel, and I like to go back and, and, and give it, I give credit to the show Dirty Jobs. You remember that?

Greg Jarboe: [00:36:59] Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:36:59] Because this guy is, Mike Rowe is doing the most mundane, dirty jobs, but people were, to use your word, they were enchanted. They wanted to see behind the scenes and someone slogging it out, doing something that nobody sees. I look at that show is still on repeats and people are enchanted with it.

And that’s, that was my message about YouTube is, what are you doing behind the scenes, maybe in how you put things together, how you build it and then how do you use it? And that’s the formula that I, Sonosite used is here’s what it looks like in live fire. Here’s what, here’s what you can do with it, and that’s what people want to see. How, how do you make it and how do you use it?

Greg Jarboe: [00:37:48] So they’ve been incredibly successful. They went on to get acquired by Fujifilm for close to a billion dollars. But again, they are the rare exception. Most companies go, “Video? Oh, uh, uh, yeah, I’ll get an intern to work on that.”

Matt Bailey: [00:38:06] Right. Or just, yeah, upload what we’ve already got. That’s, that’s what people want to see.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:11] Take the TV commercial, throw it over the fence.

Matt Bailey: [00:38:13] Yeah. Well, and I think a lot of that may have been driven by Geico. I think at one point many years ago, they were just throwing their commercials on YouTube and kids were going and watching them because they were so entertaining.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:25] Well, let me, let me share a secret about Geico though.

Matt Bailey: [00:38:29] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:29] Because I’ve examined their stuff. I have not worked with them, so this is not like my divulging, some secret that I signed a non-disclosure form on, but they did a series called the Unskippable Video.

Matt Bailey: [00:38:42] Yes. Great series. Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:44] Brilliant theories, but the theory behind it was videos should be short.

Matt Bailey: [00:38:48] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:49] And we’re going to create one that is so short, you can’t even skip it because guess what? At, at the five second mark, you can click, skip ad and, um, jump past your video to go to the thing you actually want to watch. And so their videos were, were shorter than five seconds.

Well, they actually created a series of these, six of them. Only one actually got lots of views. And part of that was because they were advertising it extensively, in other words, they were putting a huge purchase behind it, so it gave the impression that, “Oh, wow. Look at all the views that this video is getting.”

And the answer is actually, no, not really, one of their other videos that they had created for the YouTube channel, which featured a little pig going, “Wee, wee, wee,” all the way home.

Matt Bailey: [00:39:43] Right. That’s it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:40:00] What’s actually getting more real views, organic views and being shared more frequently than the so-called short one that they hyped, um, that was “unskippable.” So, uh, you know, that was a head fake. A lot of people bought into that myth.

Matt Bailey: [00:40:04] Yep.

Greg Jarboe: [00:40:05] But again, they didn’t dig down and say, “Well, let’s take a look and see how it works and why it works. And oh, by the way, it doesn’t work.”

Matt Bailey: [00:40:13] Well, and that’s what, one of the, uh, unskippable labs, one of their studies they did, I believe it was with a Mountain Dew ad, where they had the short, the regular 30 second, but then they did a recut that was, I think, well over two minutes and it was like an extended version of the ad with a music soundtrack, and it was fun. And notice that the views were higher, the engagement was higher on the extended cut. And that’s what people were sharing, and also, more people were watching it on big screens.

Greg Jarboe: [00:40:48] And, and then they did follow on research, and they found that people not only remembered the video better at higher rates but were more persuaded to purchase the damn product than the short stuff, which was only for, “a burst of awareness.” So again, you know, it’s like, what are you trying to do? Tease me or get me to buy your damn product?

Matt Bailey: [00:41:11] Right. Oh yeah. Actually, actually meeting the goal that we have for marketing.

Greg Jarboe: [00:41:17] “Well, you can’t, you can’t use video to sell stuff, can you?” It’s like, uh, yeah, actually a lot.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:24] Well, and that was one of the statements that I think was most impactful for me when I watched that, is, is someone saying, “We don’t know what works on video, we’re still learning because it’s video to TV to video on YouTube. Internet video is still such a new thing that we’re trying to figure it out.” But yet you have these content creators creating billions of hours of watch time.

Greg Jarboe: [00:41:49] Yeah, the content creators are all worth watching and studying because they’re willing to take the experiments to see what works and what doesn’t work and learn from it.

Most big brands are in the, “Oh, it’s probably going to cost money. So let’s just be as safe as possible and do what we did last week. Again.” And as a result, there isn’t as much experimentation, there isn’t as much risk-taking, and there isn’t as much learning about, “Oh, that’s surprising. That worked way better than I thought it would.”

Matt Bailey: [00:42:22] Yeah. Yeah. It’s a longterm proposition, and I think a lot of marketing calendars don’t account for that.

Greg Jarboe: [00:42:28] Well, oh, well. And all that was true before Coronavirus hit.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:34] Oh yeah, absolutely.

Greg Jarboe: [00:42:36] Talk about risk adverse behavior today. It’s like, you know, don’t do anything unless it’s absolutely guaranteed to work 100% of the time. And it’s like, um, okay.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:50] Well that’s not marketing.

Greg Jarboe: [00:42:51] Well, you know, actuarial tables work like that in insurance companies.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:57] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:42:57] So I can tell you how long your company has before it dies, uh, if, if you try to stick to your knitting, uh, when the rest of the world is changing rapidly.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:07] It, it’s, it’s amazing how things have changed, but yet, watch time on YouTube has gone crazy. And so many of the creators have seen either traffic double, I think about, you know, my wife has been following a yoga channel and in January she signed up for, you know, the, the app and she’s a follower. And just seeing the amount of both views and subscribers to the channel almost double, maybe triple.

Greg Jarboe: [00:43:38] Well, particularly during the lockdown during Coronavirus pandemic.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:43] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:43:43] Yoga is one of those categories that literally took off. People were stuck at home. They weren’t going to the gym anymore. And, well, what do I do? I know I’ll do yoga and well, what do I do? What are the, what are the poses? Uh, YouTube was one of those categories. There were others, but I can’t tell you how many people learned how to make sourdough bread by watching YouTube.

You know, so again, there were huge categories that took off and by and large, most brands missed the boat.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:16] Absolutely. Uh, cooking, yeah, like you said, with the sourdough, cooking, and that’s one of the things I think we’ve been teaching a course here. And, uh, one of the things you pointed students to is the Google Trends to look and see what areas have been affected by Coronavirus and the pandemic and the amount of people looking for cooking, looking for, uh, business ideas and just different areas that have just gone crazy now that people are at home, and they have time. I think sewing was one, these are big brand areas.

Greg Jarboe: [00:44:49] And there are brands or category, product categories in Southeast Asia. So both you and I have been also teaching in Singapore. And one of the things that we’ve seen in Southeast Asia is that again, with more people spending time at home, they are buying more kitchen products.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:07] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:45:08] And so if you’ve got anything that people are going to be using at home for their own cooking, that’s where the spike in sales are happening. And oh, by the way, before people want to buy it, they want to see a demo, or they want to hear a friendly person explain to them, “Not only can you use it for this, but you can use it for that.”

You know, show me, show me, show me, show me.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:33] And, and I think part of it too, Greg, is that a content producer can develop something like that and have fun with it. Whereas I think many times when we talk about corporate video, you, like you said, it’s, you know, actuarial table. I want it to succeed. And it’s, I think in large part, it ends up getting driven by a committee who doesn’t know how to have fun.

And that’s what people ultimately are on YouTube to do.

Greg Jarboe: [00:46:01] Well, invariably it’s the committee doesn’t want to take risk.

Matt Bailey: [00:46:05] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:46:06] And the entrepreneurial YouTube star puts it out there every day.

Matt Bailey: [00:46:12] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:46:12] And not everything works, but you know what? They bounce back the next day with a new video. Now that’s, that’s another thing that we see is that the really, really, really successful brands on YouTube, and I’ll take the labor out. There are brands that are successful on YouTube, like Red Bull or Lego. They are creating 10s or to 20 videos a day. A day. And most brands, if they upload a new video a month, think they’ve been busy and they have no idea that, you know, pardon me, if you’ve got something that people want, they’ll come back again tomorrow.

Matt Bailey: [00:46:58] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:46:59] This isn’t a, a once in a blue moon kind of proposition. This can become must-see, you know, not TV, but, you know, well, if you were watching it on your connected TV then yeah, maybe even must see connected TV.

Matt Bailey: [00:47:14] Well, and it hits the algorithm, especially the more frequent you publish. And that’s one thing I find so interesting about YouTube is you go and what you see is completely unique to you, based on your viewing habits, based on who you’re subscribed to. And so the more you’re publishing and the more people are watching, the more YouTube will feed them your videos.

Greg Jarboe: [00:47:40] Oh, and I’ve learned this the hard way. I have grandchildren and they do come to visit now and then, uh, although not, not so much lately because we’re maintaining our social distance, but, uh, when they were visiting, they would come and they would watch oh, Peppa Pig, or they would watch, well, let’s put it this way. Their viewing habits were different than mine.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:03] Yes. Yes. I know exactly where you’re going.

Greg Jarboe: [00:48:06] But, uh, when, when the grandkids would then leave, for that next several weeks, it’s like the suggestions on, “Oh, you were watching a lot of this, you know, can we show you more?” I was like…

Matt Bailey: [00:48:19] Absolutely.

Greg Jarboe: [00:48:20] …no, they’ve gone.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:22] Absolutely. That’s, that is one of the biggest contention in our house, is you do not watch YouTube on someone else’s account, because everyone has such unique tastes and they follow different people. And it, my wife, you know, hers is all yoga and different things. And one of the kids watched their Minecraft video on her account. And so at dinnertime, that was the topic of conversation.

It’s, “You need to watch YouTube on your account, and do not do that because,” and oh, it was just such a, I knew exactly where you’re going with that and it has become so personal.

Greg Jarboe: [00:49:01] Yes, yes, yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:49:04] So, oh my goodness. I can’t believe how much time has, uh, very quickly gone through. What’s the secret sauce Greg? Let’s get into you, you know, you talked about the algorithm changes and we’ve, we’ve seen a couple of changes just in the past few years. What is, let’s, you know, we’ll save it to the end here.

What, if you’re getting into YouTube, you know, you kind of gave that, that three-pronged view, but let’s, let’s dig into this a little bit. What, what are some of the aspects that I need to know about the YouTube algorithm and, and creating a channel?

Greg Jarboe: [00:49:38] Sure. So I’m going to divide it into three parts again, because that’s what I said. You got to discover, watch and share. It turns out today, we’re talking January 2021, so, you know, this is always subject to revision. Big why? Algorithms change, that’s why, but as of today, I would say about 70% of the algorithm is weighted on watch time. So your first priority, absolute priority is to make video worth watching.

[00:50:00] And what does that mean? Well, that means don’t worry about how long it runs. When you’re done telling your story, stop. But don’t worry if your story runs longer than you’ve been told it should.

Matt Bailey: [00:50:29] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:50:31] Focus on telling a great story. If you’re in the middle of teaching someone the secret to success, no one’s going to say, “Oh, I’m sorry. You’ve passed the three-minute mark. Um, I don’t want to learn the rest of how to be successful.” Right? So make your story compelling. And again, that’s 70% of the algorithm, is going to take a look at, you know, you hook people at the beginning, and that’s one of the editing techniques.

Um, tell people what you’re going to tell them before you tell them. You know, give them a preview that lets them know that, yeah, yeah, this, this video may run for, you know, 15 to 20 minutes, but boy, um, you’re going to want to hang in there for the, for the full amount, because this is stuff you’re going to want to watch.

So content first. Content foremost, and storytelling is wonderful because stories have ups and downs and surprises and setbacks, and you know what? All that then keeps people with you over an extended period of time. So that’s step one.

Step two is then you got to help people discover the story. So that’s then the optimization part, you know, if you’ve got a bad video, no amount of optimization is going to save your butt.

Matt Bailey: [00:51:57] That is good advice all around, Greg.

Greg Jarboe: [00:52:01] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, but if you’ve got a great story, then it’s about Joe Carroll who writes for the Christian Science Monitor, and she was a hostage in Iraq, you know what? I just figured out what the words in your headline, in your description, and in your tags ought to be. And yeah, uh, your headline can be up to a hundred characters long, but only use about half of them.

If you’ve got a headline that’s about 50 characters long, that’s the sweet spot. In your description, you can sneak in 5,000 characters or roughly 800 words in your description. Boy, if your description is running north of 400 words, you probably got too much, but 400 words is, boy, a whole lot more than one or two sentences and say, “Well, I guess I’m done.”

And when it comes to your tags, believe it or not 20 to 30 tags is okay. In fact, you might even be able to go up to 40, depending on how many characters are in your tags. And don’t use one word tags. That’s like saying, “Hi, I still live in 2005.” It’s, it’s like, no, 2 word tags, 3 word tags, 4 word tags, even 5 word tags…

Matt Bailey: [00:53:12] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:53:13] …are appropriate in the mix these days. And again, if you start sprinkling 20 to 30 to 40 of those, now people can begin to discover the great story that you’ve told. And then last but not least, is the share. And that gets you to the end of the video where you’re going to get to your call to action.

What is it you want people to do next? And, uh, if you’re a storyteller, it may be, I want you to watch another one of my videos and get another story. So your call to action at the end might be in your in-screen to say, “Here’s another video, uh, that you may want to watch if you liked this one,” or again, if you’re a brand, it may be, if you really think this product is interesting, click on this link, we’ll take you to a landing page on our website. But, you know, give people a thing to do next.

Please subscribe to my channel, whatever your call to action is, watch more videos, subscribe to the channel, visit my website. Uh, and that’s the last 10%. So, so if 70% is your content and 20% is optimizing it so it gets discovered, the last 10% is give them a good call to action.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:27] That is fantastic. I love it. Greg, it has been probably one of the fastest hours I have done on this podcast. I have always, I always enjoy talking with you.

Greg Jarboe: [00:54:38] Well, scientists say that the earth is spinning faster for some reason, so.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:42] I agree with that.

Greg Jarboe: [00:54:43] Maybe that’s having an impact on the time here.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:47] Well, Greg, I would love to have you back on and for the main reason of, we talked a little bit about creators, but not specifically about creators.

And that’s one of the things I noticed over the Christmas season, I went into Best Buy, and I was looking for, you know, some gifts and also some equipment. But one of the things I noticed in Best Buy is that all of the audio and video equipment was being marketed to vloggers, content creators, YouTubers, it was being sold in packages and everything was targeted to those people who wanted to be a YouTube personality, a podcaster. I was amazed at the emphasis on being a content producer.

Greg Jarboe: [00:55:38] Well, uh, again, I’ll just say I’d love to come back. Uh, I would love to talk about it, and oh, by the way, that’s where the bulk of the YouTube content, uh, is coming from today. As I told you, 6.9 million content creators have uploaded a video in the last 30 days. And that radically changes the world. I remember when the world went from 3 television channels to what, 57 television channels?

Matt Bailey: [00:56:09] And only 4 were pretty good.

Greg Jarboe: [00:56:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, uh, now imagine millions.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:16] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:56:17] Millions of YouTube channels, and that’s, again, one of the reasons why, if your stuff isn’t really enchanting, they have lots of options.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:29] Oh, you’re not kidding. And that’s, you know, having teenagers that is like great research grounds for me, uh, because I, I love to find out what they’re watching, what they’re listening to, and, you know, almost like they’re, you know, they are treating YouTube like a podcast. They’re treating podcasts like YouTube. It’s, they’re getting information that they love, that 10 years ago, it would be very hard to find much less access.

Greg Jarboe: [00:56:57] Right. And let me then leave you with this fun little suggestion. If you want to see a video that is done really, really, really well in the last 30 days, go take a look at a Google Year In Search 2020.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:14] Ah.

Greg Jarboe: [00:57:15] It has 237 million views.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:22] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:57:23] And excuse me, I used to think SEO was a geeky little niche that there were only about, you know, 20 of us. Oh, wow. Wow. And so that’s another one of the so-called exceptions. There is a brand, Google, who gets it. Well, they actually went and bought YouTube, so.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:43] There you go, yep.

Greg Jarboe: [00:57:45] Yeah, they got it. But the answer is, you know, they’re telling a story, the story just happened to be the year in search.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:53] It’s very compelling and they do great, great work. I mean, they’ve got a mountain of data to sit on, uh, and analyze and they’ve got people to do it, but the way they produce it to tell a story is just phenomenal.

Greg Jarboe: [00:58:05] Yeah. So it’s doable, but yes. Love to come back and talk about the content creators, and know only a really, really, really small percentage, um, become gazillionaires.

But I know a lot of people who make more than a hundred thousand dollars a year as a YouTube creator, and boy, that’s a good gig.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:27] Oh yeah. Absolutely. One thing I’ve realized is that, we’re just starting that show already. Uh, people don’t realize the work that it takes to do that. That it’s not just shoot a video and put it on the, in YouTube. There is a lot of work behind the scenes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:58:41] There is a lot of work. It also helps if you are focused on a target audience. If you know who your target audience is, then all of a sudden, your work gets focused and you are much more likely to connect with that audience than if you have a vague, fuzzy idea of who your audience is because you probably never, never, ever will connect with someone because you’re just, you know, you’re one of millions of channels. Why should I watch you occasionally?

Matt Bailey: [00:59:15] And that’s just great marketing advice.

Greg Jarboe: [00:59:17] There you go.

Matt Bailey: [00:59:18] Alright. Greg, thank you so much. It’s been a joy to talk with you. I always enjoy connecting with you and, uh, hearing, uh, some of the stories of, uh, you know, the history and how it affects us now. And, uh, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on board today.

Greg Jarboe: [00:59:32] No problem, Matt. Thank you.

Matt Bailey: [00:59:34] Alright, thank you. And thanks again, listener I really appreciate you listening in and I look forward to seeing you again on the next Endless Coffee Cup podcast.

Featured Guest:

Greg Jarboe

CEO & Co-Founder, SEO-PR

LinkedIn: Greg Jarboe | LinkedIn

Twitter: Greg Jarboe | Twitter

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