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Startup profile: 43 Digital

Caroline Baldwin

43 Digital is a video technology agency which helps brands monetise and gain visibility from video content through web search.

The startup provides companies with a platform which offers both visibility for its video content and analytics to measure success of campaigns through key performance metrics.

“No one has ever really capitalised on the opportunities to combine the technology with the methodology to achieve page one recognitions [on Google search]. We started to fill that gap by providing a tech-led solution, and the outcome is page one video content,” said co-director Stuart Burford.

What are the benefits for IT buyers?

Burford said demand for this technology has come from businesses buying into video, but videos are not optimised for search, so company videos do not rank highly on search engines such as Google.

“Basically video content is a black hole to Google. Part of the methodology is in a submission process, so Google can understand it. We have to distribute and syndicate the content, which widens the digital content of the video footprint,” said Burford.

Once these search processes are put in place, Google can recognise the content and tell it is from an authoritative website, and can then reward the video by giving it a higher rank in search.

“No one else to our knowledge is about to do that,” he said.

How does the technology work?

As well as providing SEO expertise, 43 Digital offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product to allow companies to enhance, host and measure the performance of individual videos. The platform, called Vidais, can also enhance videos by embedding links that allow customers to be taken to other web pages. This can help companies to monetise a video – for example, if a brand is advertising clothing, a link to buy the clothes can be added.

“They benefit from increased click-through – massively more traffic than text-based. Once they’ve completed that circle, they can click on content,” said 43 Digital’s other co-director Gary Jennings.

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While platforms such as Brightcove provide features such as embedded information, 43 Digital claims to stand out by being “mobile first”, allowing embedded functionality across devices (iOS and Android) as well as social networks.

“We wanted to future-proof it, so additional developments make the platform current and valuable for our clients. We have in development functions to pull content directly into Facebook – an application which will retain the embed functionality and calls to actions intact,” said Jennings.

How will the technology work in a typical corporate infrastructure?

43 Digital provides a managed service - companies can upload their own videos and edit the embedded functionality, as well as have access to video management software and a dashboard.

Users access the dashboard online, which provides the performance metrics based on individual requirements.

“It the company is e-commerce based, at a glance you will see in terms of revenue: where it’s been shared, it they’ve got affiliates. We have hooks in to all their analytics, which provides full transparency of the actual return on investment that’s being achieved,” said Jennings. “However, companies can’t manage page one positions – that’s down to what we do.

“We’ve been able to secure a great team of guys we’ve worked with over the years, video specialists who thoroughly understand what Google needs, real veterans from SEO and search marketing, as well as operation guys also who are taking charge of the content and distribution.”

Who is the target market?

“A lot of clients are coming to us with problems around visibility,” said Jennings. “Because they’ve already invested in video content, but are not getting the visibility. The ideal client for us is one who has a video of a high quality but doesn’t have the best search presence.”

43 Digital has clients in a range of sectors, including gaming, travel, insurance, serviced offices, mobile and telecoms, but the company is seeing the most interest come from retail and e-commerce, with clothing company Thomas Pink using the system to improve its Google page rank.

“Some companies are very focused in the area of e-commerce and are driven for revenue, wanting to monetise the videos with a revenue outcome, but for other companies it’s from a branding perspective to increase their visibility,” said Jennings.

Background of the startup

The company began in 2012, when the co-founders Burford and Jennings met at the Stevenage Business Technology Centre – a council-supported, government-funded programme. The incubator is an open plan office for entrepreneurs that provides hot-desking and networking.

Burford had a background in luxury marketing and Jennings in search, and after meeting at the incubator, they combined their talents to develop 43 Digital and from there the extension to Vidias.

The company now has 12 employees and is still based in Stevenage.


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