Ask any campaign manager, union organizer or issue-group advocate if they would like video testimonials from their supporters or members and the answer would be an unequivocal yes.
When it comes to gathering that video, though, the answer gets more complicated. Live streaming options like Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope are increasingly popular among campaigns, but archiving the video for future use remains a challenge. It’s possible to have a website designer create a video upload page or for a campaign to hire a videographer to produce clips for a YouTube page, but that can be costly and time consuming.
This is the “pain point” where Countable.us wants to enter the campaign market. The San Francisco-based startup, which has been around for about two years, offers clients a way to gather user-generated video which can be repurposed in a variety of useful ways – even if the production value rates as a supporter holding her or his own cellphone in a poorly lit room.
"Part of the advantage of content like this is its authentic, natural wildness," said Bart Myers, Countable's founder and CEO. "It puts a real face to a candidates' supporters."
Countable's website and app also hosts online debates and offers groups a way to submit supporters' emails to lawmakers, but the company wants to expand its niche through its video uploading service, which is being marketed to campaigns and advocacy groups through countablecampaigns.com.
After clients sign up, they can drop lines of code onto their website to create a video upload link. Countable's staff review the videos and filter those with, say, nudity. They don’t screen based on the message in the video. Prices for the service run from as little as $500 a month to a $5,000 minimum for a major campaign.
The videos can be displayed on the clients' Countable page or repurposed for digital ads. Advocacy groups including No Labels, the National Resources Defense Council and Washington Conservation Voters are current clients, according to Myers, who has also been pitching the service to sitting members of Congress.
"It's a testimonial model," said Myers, who notes that users with privacy concerns can opt out of having their videos shared. "We're very good at capturing people's stories on video. A video maintains its truth, its passion and then gets re-shared."