Episode 224 Featuring Alex Bond

Capitalizing on User Generated Videos with Ajay Bam

Capitalizing on User Generated Videos with Ajay Bam

Ajay Bam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vyrill, a video marketing and intelligence platform that enables brands to search for valuable user generated video content for marketing purposes. 

Ajay is a proven and accomplished product management professional, entrepreneurial thinker, and innovator with over 13 years of experience with startups and world class brands in web/mobile product development including native iOS/Android apps, SAAS tools/technologies, digital commerce, payments and enterprise/consumer products.

On this episode we discuss why user generated content is so valuable, what makes a good pitch, how to ensure his AI technology is safe and secure, and much more.


What is Vyrill

Ajay Bam: Hi everyone. I'm Ajay Bam, CEO and co-founder of Vyrill. And what we do here at Vyrill is we're helping brands and retailers and solution providers increased revenue and customer acquisition by leveraging authentic video content such as reviews and boxing videos, how to videos along with influencer and branded content for insights and commerce. 

So at the heart of it, what we do is we're really making all video content searchable and useful. So I'll give you an example. So let's say you're buying a bmw, you're on the website and there are, as a shopper, there are 20 videos on the page. And you are looking for a video with leather seats. Car with leather seats in the review. And I'm looking for a car with child seats. So today of the 20 videos, how do you know which video review is talking about leather seats versus child seats?

Right. So essentially at Vyrill we have solved this problem. We make those 20 videos searchable by analyzing the images, texts, transcript and audio, and we make that searchable in multiple dimensions. Everything from sentiment, topic, scene, demographic, diversity, brand safety, and so on. And essentially we offer a video search bar on top of the videos so you as a shopper can type the word leather seats.

Not only will we find the four videos featuring leather seats but even better we pull the clips together. So essentially we've created a in video search and a video response system to your text queries. You can ask a question or you can make a query, and we respond with the video clip. So in the process, what this does is it dramatically improves the efficacy of making shopping decisions for shoppers.

And more so in a nutshell, you know, at Vyrill we are capturing videos today from multiple platforms. We then analyze and index. And make all video content searchable, and then we enable brands and retailers to act on and action that content by helping them publish that content to their e-commerce side with search personalization and video SEO. 

Alex Bond: No, I mean, that's extremely powerful. And just to make sure that I'm understanding you correctly, so if I'm looking for leather seats, It doesn't just give me back an entire video where that search request is in the video, it actually gives me a clip of where that query is contextualized. Is that accurate?

Ajay Bam: Absolutely. That's exactly it. Right? So imagine, today videos are short, but we also have long form videos right? There are videos that are three minutes to 30 minutes to an hour long. So, just as an example, you know often I watch podcasts and perhaps I'm in an hour long podcast.

I'm interested in a particular section of the podcast. For example, you know, right now the buzz is chatgpt. Perhaps I'm interested in looking for that portion of the video, talking about that, right? So today, the best I have is manually forwarding the video, right? It's a very cumbersome process.

Everyone hates it. It's not very efficient. It's a waste of my time and perhaps my dollars. If I was in marketing. Right. And so that's the problem we have solved. Right. How do you find that portion of the video highly relevant for you as a customer or as a watcher or a viewer of the video content?

And honestly, today, we're living in the attention economy, right? We're watching on average, I think Gen Zs are watching 2.16 hours, spending 2.16 hours of their time watching videos on their phone. Whether it's their content or sharing content or watching TikTok or YouTube, so you know, how do you get the customer's attention very quickly with video. It is really the problem that we've solved at Vyrill. 

How Vyrill works so quickly and efficiently

Alex Bond: And what you've done with the company has been able to give something that is a little more authentic in that process instead of something that is created or synthetic a little bit. And we'll talk about that a little bit, but before we kind of go down that road, I wanted to maybe get a little background on the specificity of the software.

And how that operates in terms of parsing through video content so quickly and efficiently. Because I think that's what really, I can imagine the idea in and of itself is alluring and efficient, but you actually have to have good enough software to do that. So I wanna make sure that we kind of cover our bases there before we talk about the implications a little bit.

Ajay Bam: Sure. Yeah. So today we have integrated with multiple platforms, we have integrated with YouTube. TikTok, Dropbox, Shopify. So we're adding multiple platforms. We can capture videos today from multiple platforms, and essentially after the video is captured, we can then match that video to your product catalog.

For example, if you're a brand. After the matching is done, we then analyze the the audio, text, images, and transcription. So essentially we have trained machines to watch videos. We have 28 algorithms that understand a video. What's in the video and make sense of it. And so we essentially are parsing the video and analyzing in 11 dimensions.

So everything from sentiment analysis. So understanding whether the comments made in the audio are positive or negative in both negative comments, phrases, keywords. Looking at topics, you know, is this a review of lipstick? Is this a dealership video? Or a review of a car and so on? Right? So identifying hundred topics by vertical.

We look at scenes more than 600 scenes in landmarks. So for example, if you're brand in selling sunscreen, you're probably interested in promoting videos in the sun, right? Sure. Those backgrounds can be very interesting and useful. We look at brand safety, which is very, very important for brands, right?

Making sure that there's no nudity file language, or minors in the video that are being featured without permission, right? We look at the demographic, you know, are you featuring the target demographic or are the people making videos? That we captured from YouTube? Are they the target demographic? That you're looking, that you're looking at?

Right. So we look at age, ethnicity, and we capture the age, ethnicity, and gender of all the people in the videos we're looking at, you know, is there music, sound, silence, noise speech, right? Language detection, you know, we detect more than 149 languages. Where possible we detect, even identify the country from where the the video was uploaded.

So many different angles and to analyzing videos. So essentially on the platform, we're one of the first companies in the world where you can rate and rank all your video content with 150 different filters, right, based on your marketing campaign or market research that you're trying to do.

And the beauty is not only can you track your data and capture your data, but you can also track all your competitor data as well. Right? Which can be very helpful, right? It can be helpful for example, we do keyword analysis of the audio, right, to identify SEO keywords, to identify trending keywords, perhaps competitor names and so on.

Mentioned in the audio, right? This is gonna be extremely valuable for brands as they're building their SEO list, keyword list, or their messaging, or if they wanna stand out above their competitors. So in short, we're summarizing. And so we analyze all of this and we give brands the top and the worst 10 video reviews, for example by product which has never happened before.

And the beauty is, you know, we are multi-platform, so it's one stop shop. For capturing all your video content in one on one dashboard, and the beauty is we don't actually host any of the videos. So you as a brand can, we can capture your YouTube content, both your videos, and also your user generated content as well. But we can also capture your agency content as well all your video content and make it searchable.

So today the best mechanism is a lot of customers track video files by file names and excel sheets. It's not very efficient when you have 5,200 videos for a number of different products and campaigns or maybe thousands of millions of videos if you're a retailer. So how can you parse video data at scale, at speed, and capture rich insights? And then action on it is really at the heart of what we do at the heart of what our tech does. 

Different search parameters

Alex Bond: So let's start with the different parameters. So you mentioned that you can search by, for example, leather seats or something like that. But what are, you know, some of the more specific parameters that you can actually search for?

Cause I can imagine if you get too descriptive you'll end up with one video, you know? And if you start too general, you'll end up with every video that's ever been on YouTube. So what are kind of those specific search parameters that companies can search by? 

Ajay Bam: Yeah. And honestly, like there's really four top that are top of every brand and retailers mind, right? So first is demographic, right?

Is it featuring my target demographic? Is the video the right demographic? Right? That's number one. Second is brand safety. You know, is making sure that the video is brand safe from a publishing or a sharing point of view, right? No brand wants a nasty video about them, right?

So, which also leads to the third point, which is sentiment. You know, is it positive or negative? And what are they saying most positive about the product, right? That can be very helpful. And so, you know, those are some of the top things is demographic, brand safety, sentiment analysis. And also relevancy of the topic is very important.

Number four is topic. So you know when you look at different verticals, so for example, in the beauty vertical reviews, unboxing videos and how to videos are very essential. For a brand to drive more lift and convergent in the automotive category, it's usually a review of the car, but also dealership video, an expert talking about giving a commentary on the car.

And car is a very visual product, like people like to see a tour. Inside and outside through of the car and understand the top features of the car. So I would say those are the four key things that you can filter upon and you can leverage on the platform that every brand cares about. 

Alex Bond: So that's cool that you could actually get the information where it's like, these are all kind of negative reviews of the product. You could still review those videos if you wanted to just for say, quality control on the company's behalf, but also not have to promote them at the same time. So you could still use that data. 

Ajay Bam: Yeah. I'll share with you a use case. We recently did, we analyzed for a brand 6,000 videos in less than eight days.

What would've taken them 11 and a half months to manually watch a video and understand it? Oh my gosh. And here's the use case. They were very specifically, they launched two products in the CPG space, in the haircare space. And they were interested in understanding what people were saying about the top, the new product features.

In the product, it was a razor, right? And so for example, on the dashboard, the brand managers, they could search some of the features like what are people saying about blade? What are people saying about battery life? What are people saying about gap or the blade size, right? So the beauty of Vyrill is you can type the word blade.

Not only will we find every comment sentence talking to blade about blade, but even better, you can play all the clips together. So you can actually listen to all the clips about the word blade. What people are referencing and what they're saying, right? I mean, without Vyrill you would have to spend hours digging through this.

With Vyrill, within few minutes, you can instantly watch all the clips together. You know the reason video performs every single time it does really well, whether you're a brand manager or whether you're a shopper, is because you can see the person. The product and the emotions inside the video, right?

So it's not just simply reading something, you know, like a text review where you're reading something and you're not sure whether the person actually owned the product. Here you can actually see the person as they're talking about the blade, they're actually perhaps pointing to the blade right in the video.

That's extremely powerful to actually see that the person owns the product. They're saying they're referencing the product, and here's what they're saying about the product. So trust is very important and, and video increases brand trust. Quite a bit, both with customers and shoppers. 

User-generated content vs. Branded marketing videos

Alex Bond: So why specifically do you think that these user generated videos are more valuable or impactful than branded marketing videos? Is it that authenticity?

Ajay Bam: Yeah, yeah. So let's look at the evolution. I mean, we went from newspaper to radio to television to internet.

To social, to social video to TikTok. More content was created on TikTok in 2022 and 2021 than past, probably the past 20 years. The reason TikTok went Vyrill is it's a very authentic channel or a medium, anyone to play with and and be entertained. So I think at the end of the day, what people are looking for is authenticity.

They're looking for something unique, a unique point of view on something, and they're looking for something that's fun and that's genuine, and that's the reason why TikTok really took off versus platform before TikTok. Right? It's, and also the, the short form, right? So TikTok is very short. The videos are less than 60 minutes or even less than 30 seconds.

So you're able to scroll end number of videos very quickly and be entertained and, and or get something out of it, right, very quickly. So yeah, to your point authenticity matters the most and it matters the most for brands when it comes to reviews, I mean, our focus at wireless is video reviews and how to really help brands understand them. And leverage all that content for product marketing.

So finding, capturing authentic video reviews and then understanding them and being able to leverage them. Authentic reviews have a direct core relationship with your sales. You know, the more authentic reviews, the more likely your sales will go out, because people like to see other people like them speaking about the product and brand. That's very helpful in making purchase decisions. 

API and Integrations

Alex Bond: Before I get too deep down there, I wanted to know where specifically Vyrill is searching for this content. Is it on social media? Is it on YouTube? Is it just the internet at large? I mean, where specifically does your software look?

Ajay Bam: We started with, you know, so most product video reviews today sit on YouTube. Because YouTube has been around for more than 15 years. Reviews also tend to be a little bit longer than 30 seconds. It started with YouTube. We have now integrated TikTok. We have integrated Dropbox. And with Dropbox, brands can upload their own video content that they're producing as well.

And we're continuing to add more platforms, right? We have now integrated Shop Shopify. We're adding, we are adding more platforms in 2023. So, you know, our end goal is if there's a video out there for our brand, we wanna help you find it and we want to help you leverage it to drive your key KPIs. That's really our ultimate goal. So we're getting to, we started with these most popular platforms, but in future we we're looking forward to adding more. 

Alex Bond: Wonderful, and I can imagine there will be the next TikTok or the next Twitter that is being invented right now. You'll eventually implement, you know, you don't know what's around the corner is I guess what I'm trying to say.

Ajay Bam: Yeah, and also the beauty is, you know, we just launched an API where any company in the world can use the API to capture and send a video to us on their dashboard on Vyrill. So it can also be a reverse integration as well, where they're indicating the API to send videos and capture all the insights and then leverage the insights back on their product pages.

So we have a full API toolkit for brands and retailers to implement that and make their content searchable right on their pages. I mean, one of the big things we're solving right now is search is one of the, so we have two sort of components to our product, right? One is the intelligence component where we help you capture and capture insights and intelligence on your content or your competitors.

The other portion of this is the commerce component, right? Once you have found the great videos or you have captured videos, what do you do with it? So we've created a mechanism to be able to publish content to your product pages. If you integrate the api well, the first company to, if you integrate the api.

We can make any video on your website, e-commerce site or mobile app, searchable. And you know, if you think of, if you think of video content, right? It's not just reviews as a brand, you might also have how to videos. You might have support and training videos for your shoppers in, perhaps even in the support and FAQ section.

Of your site so we can help make all that video content searchable. Right? And the underlying tech technology, what we're also doing is we're generating a transcript today. We, we generate about a hundred tags of what's in the video. So today, one of the big problems that search engines have is they don't understand if there's a video on the page, they don't know what's in the video.

And Google is very nervous about brand safety. So even accidentally, if they end up showing, Nudity or something. You know, it can create a nightmare, right? It can be both a lawsuit and a disaster, right? It's just a PR disaster or a ban, right? Country ban. What Vyrill is doing is, you know, we generate the tags.

We authenticate whether the video is brand safe or not. And with the video, when you publish the video, you can now add the transcript. You can add all your tags. Oh, it's in the video, so you can now, for the first time, you can enrich all your HTML video tags. And you can now enable better video SEO so you can now let Google Search engine know that, hey, my video is brand safe.

It features a 19 year old female talking about lipstick. Also, it attach the transcript to it. So Google is now able to read the video. If you, Google is able to read the video, it's able to show the video in your search results, right? Then the process in the long term. You know, I think a lot of people will be even searching videos within with Google search. 

And so we're helping and facilitating improving your video search with your search engines with Vyrill as well. So, you know, that ultimately translates to new customer acquisition. Helping customers instantly find the answers translates to making faster shopping decisions as well. So faster conversion on the on the shopping cart.

And of course, you know, as a brand you can get a lot of insights, you know, what are people searching in the videos, right? If, you know, everyone in a particular car is searching for battery life, perhaps you can even highlight that feature on the video. You can highlight that above the video in your messaging or your promotion as well. Right? So multiple ways of thinking about how you can leverage video content. 

Determining the quality of content

Alex Bond: You've mentioned a few times that part of Vyrill, in my opinion, part of Vyrill's really important software is that not only does it find these videos, but it ranks them. I think there's a lot to be said to having something automatically ranking the quality for you. What's that system to determine what video is more valuable than another? Is it, is it just relevancy or what else is there? 

Ajay Bam: Yeah, so I would say first is of course, highly relevancy, right? And we discuss relevancy in the context of language. It has to be so a language that I can understand as a shopper. 

Alex Bond: It needs to be accessible. You know? 

Ajay Bam: Accessible, right? It has to be demographically relevant. It has to be brand safe, it has to be topical, right? Something that I can find very useful.

But I would say in general, to answer your question, like it really depends, right? It really depends on what your marketing goal is. If your marketing goal is perhaps to talk about a particular feature of a product, maybe then you can showcase video clips featuring different demographic, right? So you're targeting all your demographic, right?

So it can vary, right? If a particular pro brand safety can be sensitive in certain areas, right? So for example, if you're a company in the, in the, in the lingerie space or in, in that case understanding, you know, how much. Skin is being exposed or not. So brand safety can be highly relevant there.

If you're a baby care product company you know, you wanna be mindful of mine being, having minors in the video, right? Or at least make sure that you have parental permission if there's a baby in the video and so on, right? So I would say that beyond the general relevancy of the video, as I expressed before, it really depends on your campaign and what your goals are.

Alex Bond: Okay. So just to make sure, I'm hearing you correctly, the company can actually decide how their videos are ranked exactly without having to rank them themselves. So, for example, if I'm searching for, we'll keep with bmw, I return all these videos and then say I wanna rank them by price.

Like where that's something that's being talked about more in the video compared to luxury or comfort or demographic or something like that. I can divide up those rankings by all these different variables essentially. 

Ajay Bam: Or it could be engagement, right? Maybe you are interested in promoting a video with a lot of likes.

Alex Bond: Someone actually driving it too.

Ajay Bam: So many, so many variables, right? It really depends on your marketing goals. 

Video and music licensing

Alex Bond: So we've talked about the software and actually attaining these videos, and we've talked about what you can do with these videos, but that little middle section that I'd like to dive into a little bit is the licensing. Part or the licensing medium a little bit.

So how much does it generally cost to license someone's video to use for marketing purposes? I mean, can you walk me through that process a little bit? 

Ajay Bam: So, you know, when it comes to video licensing, there are multiple models to licensing. You know, now on TikTok, you can license the video yourself as a brand, right?

And you can then, once it's licensed, you can upload the video on the Vyrill platform. So there are multiple models to licensing. One is it can happen outside the Vyrill ecosystem, Vyrill platform. And you can simply, once it's licensed, you can upload that video and you can then publish that video.

We also have a licensing tool in the platform as well, so we capture the email address of the creator. You can reach out to creators and, and license content as well. A number of brands also work with influencers to license their content directly. I mean, there's a number of influencer platforms. Where you can actually make a video, produce a video, or invite a creator or a sh to do so.

And then of course, you know, when you think of review platforms like the Baar Wise and the YoPo of the world, right? They can run a campaign. You can as a brand, invite your shoppers to upload a video review after a purchase is made right? And by default when you, you know, with a review platform, when you upload a video.

You're giving the rights to the review platform to leverage that video content, how you can license the video and then leverage. It really depends on, again, by, it varies by customer. It can be outside the Vyrill ecosystem or it can be inside the Vyrill platform. We see a lot of licensing is actually already happening before, sometimes if it comes to Vyrill, but it's up to you as a brand to decide what your best model is, business model is. 

Some many brands already have relationship with influencers, agencies, and review platforms. So you, they can just harness that. Instead of leveraging world, you can leverage your current platforms. 

Alex Bond: Instead of having to cold call these, essentially cold call these influencers or people who already made the video and say, Hey, can you sign this contract? We wanna use this video, which I imagine some companies do. It's probably like the hardest or lower on the end. 

Ajay Bam: Our core strength is in video search, right? That's what we're good at. So this can be leveraged across review platforms. Across influencer platforms, content creation platform, multiple platforms and and multiple templates and websites and more. 

Alex Bond: And so my question there is, I mean, we've talked about how you rank 'em in terms of, you know, if there's like a minor involved or nudity involved or specific things like that. And the first thing that popped into my head was music. Because I know that music is a heavily licensed entity, and so let's say I search and I find a video that is perfect.

You know, you have a influencer who's talking about my product. She loves it. She highlighted all the features of what my company would do, but she's listening to a Britney Spear song in the background is it? Is that capable of being scrubbed out of the video? I mean, what sort of editing metrics can you give me?

Ajay Bam: Yeah, so a couple of things, right? So first of all, we're able to identify there's music. So that's good news that you can you first, you know, there's music. Second of all, a lot of music content, video content is coming from YouTube and TikTok videos.

And the nice thing is, yeah, they, YouTube and TikTok make the first strike on the video, so they will actually flag your video if the video is not appropriately licensed. On the platform. So they're doing the first strike. Currently we don't scan the video and, and ourselves, we don't do the, the strike on the music content, but it's something that is already being done on social media, by social media platform. So hence we don't need to do it.

But I think in future, you know, as more content gets uploaded to our platform directly, we might consider looking at you know, music as well and the copyright issue behind that. But at the moment we don't do that. We rely on social media platform, which they do a pretty good job, honestly. 

Alex Bond: I know that YouTube's great at it because it's the easiest way to get your videos non monetized as soon as YouTube says you're not getting paid for it.

But I mean with respect, the other side of the ball is I've seen plenty of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter videos that have music in the background, not because they're being uploaded from that software, from that platform. It's because someone's listening to the song in the background. And I think that kind of scrubs it a little bit.

Ajay Bam: And Alex, I'll also just make a commentary here that. When it comes to reviews our focus is more on less entertaining videos, entertainment, more on reviews. So in our category, yes, there is music, but it's very rare. You know, when someone is giving a review, they're very intense.

They're intentionally, giving a review. You see less music and review videos directly. I'm not saying there isn't. 

GDPR compliance

Alex Bond: So with regard to this AI software, cause that's generally what is powering it right? Is AI software. How do you ensure that that software isn't invasive and only returns pertinent information instead of private data?

You know, I mean I can imagine when you have something so wide scale monolithic, you can actually probably get back some stuff that you didn't really mean to see or didn't really mean to search for. How does that happen? How do you prevent that from happening? 

Ajay Bam: Yeah. So a couple of things. So Alex, let me start by saying that we are GDPR compliant, which means that we only read public video or we read videos that have been posted or shared with on the wild platform. 

Alex Bond: It's not like you guys are going through emails or anything like that, obviously.

Ajay Bam: No, we just don't do that. I mean, we're completely GDPR compliant. So brands can use the content appropriately, right? So if a person can see a video, we can on in public domain like YouTube, then we can also analyze it. So we also will turn off the video if the video has been removed from the internet.

So we are fully compliant with the GDPR requirements. And the beauty is like, you know, the brands are running campaigns or the video review platforms are running campaigns and capturing videos. So they're already capturing the permission in the process to be able to analyze the video and leverage it. So we're not just going anywhere and everywhere and scrubbing data. We don't scrape data. 

Alex Bond: No and I totally expect as much. I just like being informed of all angles. 

Ajay Bam: Yeah, it's a great question, right? And if you think about videos today, right?

They're sitting in three silos, social, mobile, on your device. They're sitting via enterprise firewalls, right? And so our goal at Vyrill is, you know, and believe it or not, 90, I would say over 95% of video content, today is not searchable. And hence it's completely underutilized because if you can find something, how can you leverage something?

I mean, that's why Google is what Google is and so our mission in the world, you know, for wireless is very simple. We wanna make the world's video content searchable. And making that searchable has benefits for you as a brand or as an enterprise. It has benefits for your team.

Increases productivity. If you're able to find what you're looking for and take more actions faster, quicker, it helps a shopper, you know, in the commerce world. It helps you find answers quicker. If you're a company that offers also offers support videos, find helping customers instantly find the answer with the video clip.

Can save a lot of time and money on your support cost, right? And more so I think multiple video is very powerful and if we're able to make video content searchable, it's going to have tremendous benefits. In terms of ROI for enterprises. Customer acquisition, conversion and page engagement.

So I'll give you a quick case study like we've seen with a number of our customers. The moment they put videos up, page engagement increases, two x to five x, we're seeing that they're getting insights on what videos are performing well. But also what views are not performing well, right? That can help you optimize your content strategy.

They might not be performing. It's important to know, for example, you know, when you think of demographic, right? Your target demographic, it's important to know what you have, but it's also important to know what you don't have. If I know I'm missing 10 reviews for these products, you know, I better have great campaigns to capture those reviews.

Because guess what? If the reviews are missing, the customer is going to skip to the next product that has a review. Have you, have you been in a shopper journey where, The product had zero reviews and you're like I, I ain't buying anything that doesn't have any reviews. 

Alex Bond: Sketchy. It feels too good to be true.

Ajay Bam: Correct. So it's important to understand what you have, what you don't have. And then use what you don't have to build your content strategy. 

Alex Bond
Alex Bond

Meet Alex Bond—a seasoned multimedia producer with experience in television, music, podcasts, music videos, and advertising. Alex is a creative problem solver with a track record of overseeing high-quality media productions. He's a co-founder of the music production company Too Indecent, and he also hosted the podcast "Get in the Herd," which was voted "Best Local Podcast of 2020" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, USA.

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