MasterNewMedia
Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Add Multimedia Links And Embeds To Your Website With One Click: Apture Reviewed

Apture is a new tool for bloggers and online publishers that can add interactive multimedia links and embeds to their site with a single click. Apture takes the traditional act of linking to a whole new level and provides your site with greater functionality and depth by providing your reader with the opportunity to browse related off-site content without ever having to leave your site. So in essence, Apture can potentially increase your reader engagement. And best of all, it is completely free.

apture-review-intro.jpg
Photo credit: Apture edited by Andre Deutmeyer

Links are the currency of the web. Any self-respecting blogger... independent publisher... website owner knows this. But when you are trying to maximize your readers engagement with your site, linking (and sending them away) to content elsewhere on the web seems to be a counterproductive process.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could link to outside content, but still keep the eyeballs on your site?

That is where Apture comes to play. Apture gives independent publishers the power to find and incorporate relevant multimedia items, such as video clips from YouTube, photos from Flickr, Wikipedia articles, music, podcasts, and much more from around the web directly on to your site with a single click of a button. You can also bring new life to old content you created by using Apture to upload that content from your computer and embed or link to it on your pages. Readers can then access these linked items without ever having to leave your site.

By doing this, you can increase reader engagement time with your blog or site by providing your readers with a deeper, richer web experience. This in turn can help you monetize your content by keeping your readers on your blog.

Still have questions about Apture? Continue reading below for the full review.





Apture Overview

Apture is a free next-generation linking tool that allows you to add a wealth of multimedia links to your site. Once installed on your site, you can create Apture links by simply highlighting the word or phrase that you want linked and then selecting the relevant media.

Traditional linking creates a link that opens up in another tab / page, sending visitors away from your content if they want to view that link. But Apture changes the game. Rather than sending visitors away, links built using Apture open up in new interactive windows that can be repositioned anywhere on the page, or enlarged to fullscreen, allowing your visitor easy access to the content behind the link without ever leaving your site.

Apture further extends the traditional linking by allowing you to combine multiple sources of multimedia content together in one place. Each Apture link can be associated with content plus related media, enabling you to build a web of off-site information accessible without ever having to leave your site, and help your users learn more about the topic you are writing about.

If you have existing links to Wikipedia articles, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, and other common web destinations on your website, Apture can automatically go through your site and create Apture links out of them with Apture Auto Link, saving you time and effort.

However, Apture is more than just a linking tool. Apture allows you to quickly and easily embed new media to your post / existing content. Using Apture you can add new videos, pictures, documents into a page without having to log in to your CMS backend. Once embedded, you can resize the content to best match your page layout, and add a caption to introduce it.

Installing Apture is as easy as pie. And if you use Blogger or Typepad then it is even easier - one click will set you up with Apture. For other CMS platforms (like WordPress, Drupal, MovableType) installing Apture is a straightforward process if you follow the step by step instructions provided to you by Apture. You only need one line of code to bring the Apture experience to your website.

Finally, Apture offers unique advantages for large publishers. For publishers like The Washington Post, Apture can serve as a new opportunity for commerce and advertising because you can display advertising within the Apture window that pops up when a visitor hovers over the link. By virture of the way Apture works, these ads are guaranteed to appear at the center of your visitor's attention - an Apture window only appears when a visitor hovers over the link, indicating interest. Apture splits the revenue from these ads 50/50 with the publisher.





Key Features

Apture key features revolve around their next-generation linking service, providing your site visitors with a wealth of information without ever having to leave your site. Apture succeeds admirably. And the approach Apture takes is so innovative that there really is no direct competition for their service at the moment.

Features include:

  • Wikipedia Links
  • Video Links
  • Audio Links
  • Image Links
  • Document Links
  • Easy Media Embeds to published pages
  • Related Media option allows you to connect multiple sources of media to a single link
  • Auto Link
  • Content Monetization (Advertising) for large publishers

Below is a graphical tour of these key features with details about how they work.



Wikipedia Links

apture-wikipedia-link.jpg

Apture allows you to easily link to any Wikipedia article. Link any article that you want by highlighting the word or phrase that you want linked. Apture will then open up a pop-up from which you can choose the Wikipedia article that you want linked to the term. Apture tweaks the display of the Wikipedia article so that it displays beautifully within the pop-up box.





Video Links

apture-video-link.jpg

YouTube is by far the easiest video sharing site to grab videos from, but as long as you have a web address, you can link to any video that you want and share it through Apture. If the video you want linked is sitting on your local drive, Apture also has an option to upload content and link that instead.

In addition to the ease with which you can link video, Apture also provides a nice feature that allows you to select the video playback start time and end time so you can show your visitors only the part you deem the most relevant.





Audio Links

Audio links work similar to video links. As long as you have the web address of the audio file, you can link any bit of audio that you want through Apture. Like video links, you can also choose to upload audio and link that instead.

Similarly, with audio links, you can select the start time and end time of the audio track so that the portion of the track that is most relevant to your reader automatically plays.





Image Links

apture-image-link.jpg

Apture makes linking images simple too. Like video and audio linking, you can link any image to Apture if you have the web address for it. If you don't have a specific image in mind, Apture's built in search of Flickr, Yahoo Images, and Wikipedia Images makes finding and linking images a painless task. Or if you choose to, you can upload content from your local drive and have that display instead.





Document Links

Apture allows you to easily link PDF or other documents using Scribd iPaper technology. This allows your reader to access the article you are linking and read it without ever having to leave your site. The one problem that I noticed with this is that if you set up the Apture link for the document, there is no easy way for the reader to directly download that document anymore if you would like them to be able to do so.





Media Embedding

If you want to quickly embed media (video, audio, images) into your already published article without logging into your CMS backend, you can do so with Apture. Apture allows you to embed new media almost anywhere into your article with a single click of your mouse. You just point to the spot on your page that you want that media embedded, click, choose the media that you want (via search or web address), and presto... you are done. Although the media you embed through Apture will probably not fit your site layout as well as, say, one that you do through your backend, Apture is an excellent solution for embedding media quickly and easily without having to work with HTML.





Related Media

The capability to link multiple resources to one term or phrase is, perhaps, your greatest advantage with Apture. Traditionally, when you link something you can only have that link pointing to one location. But now with Apture, you can provide multiple types of media for you reader to enjoy... all linked to the term or phrase. So if there is a picture, video, and a Wikipedia link that you want pointing at the same term, you can do that with Apture.





Auto Link

apture-auto-link.gif

Apture Auto Link is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than having to manually go through your old posts and create Apture links for your content, Apture automatically goes through your post and changes popular linking destinations (like Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, and more) to Apture links. You can control which types of links that you want Apture to automatically convert through your Apture Dashboard. By default, all the links are selected, so if there are certain types of links that you do not want Apture to convert, then all you need to do is deselect those options.





Content Monetization (Advertising) For Large Publishers

apture-wapo-ad.jpg

Unfortunately, Apture only offers content monetization options for large publishers like the Washington Post (the above image is from the Washington Post) for now. Larger publishers will be able to serve ads within every Apture pop-up.

These ads could potentially have a higher click-through-rate than other display and contextual ads because as Apture argues, these Apture ads are going to be displayed where the reader is focusing his or her attention. The ads are all cost-per-click (cpc) types. And like Google, Apture will take a cut of any ad revenue that the publisher makes from those ads. Hopefully, Apture will soon extend this option to smaller independent publishers as well.





Pros and Cons


Apture Review - In Brief





Editor's Comments

Apture is a very functional solution. Other similar linking solutions like Snap fall short when compared to the functionality that Apture provides. Snap in many ways works like Apture. Snap provides pop up windows that link to videos, Wikipedia content, photos, etc so that visitors can view that content without having to leave your site. But unlike Apture, Snap previews are much more limited.

When selecting the content that you want the link to point to, Apture really has few limits. Snap is limited to only those 'Snap Shots' that are presupported. Apture allows you to link almost anything, even content that you have stored on your local drive. Furthermore the Apture 'Related Media' function is great. More than once I have wanted to link multiple pages / media / content to the same term. And Apture is the only platform that allows me to combine multimedia content from around the web, together on one link.

Furthermore, I am not aware of another tool that allows you to embed multimedia into your website as easily as Apture does. The ease with which Apture allows you to embed new media into your post is great. The one shortfall of this, however, is that the media you embed may not fit always as cleanly into your page as media you embed through your CMS backend.

One of the major complaints that I have seen about Apture is that it adds unnecessary noise to a web page. That complaint is understandable. I myself hate the unwelcome pop-ups that occur when you accidentally scroll over text-link ads. But the difference with Apture is that Apture actually provides relevant, interactive content to the viewer... not irritating irrelevant advertising. So despite the annoyance that the unsolicited Apture pop-ups may generate, the added functionality and information that you provide to your readers are well worth the cost.

These factors make Apture a unique product and well worth checking out. Apture is free, so go give it a shot.





Additional Resources




Do you see any mistakes? Would you like to share your own experiences with Apture? Please leave a comment below.




Originally written by Andre Deutmeyer for MasterNewMedia and first published on December 2nd 2008 as Add Multimedia Links and Embeds To Your Website With One Click: Apture Reviewed.

 
 
 
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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, December 2 2008, updated on Friday, February 26 2010


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