Online Video: The Year of Scalability

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videowall_smallADOTAS – Last year provided some solid showings in terms of online video as many brands began to understand and adopt online video on their websites. In 2011, these online businesses will continue to find ways to attract online visitors in order to boost conversion rates and directly impact their bottom lines through online video.

Online businesses understood the value of video in 2010. They created homepage videos, how-to videos and select product videos. They made progress in video adoption, but it’s evident now that they have just gotten started.

In 2011, online businesses will realize the power of solutions that enable scalability for video usage. If, for example, today’s average website has 5% video coverage of its online catalog, we should expect this number to grow dramatically in the coming year.

More and more websites will mass-enable their product pages with videos in order to leverage its many benefits, including enhancing the customer’s ability to relate to the company on a more personal level, as well as the opportunity to upsell and increase website stickiness. In addition, e-businesses will seek out scalability in order to take greatest advantage of videos’ power to increase traffic through search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engines rank videos high on search results, and the competition for video spots in search engine results will only get tougher in 2011. Online businesses will start investing more in order to promote their videos on the internet.

Optimization will help user interface changes to make videos more accessible, development work to make videos more exposed to search bots, scaling videos in order to reach long-tail keywords and automating video production in order to have video available as soon as new products are introduced.

Video advertising and personalization are also expected to be two exciting trends on the internet in 2011. We’ve already seen brands transferring budgets from traditional channels to online advertising but many of them repurpose TV commercials or simply avoid video and produce display ads.

As social media grows as a mean for brands to communicate with their audience there’s no doubt that we’ll see more video ads, as pre/post-rolls, as video banners or even distributed directly in personal newsletters in 2011. Many brands have conquered the technologies that enable them to personalize the messages, images and content visitors see on websites.

This year, online businesses will extend that practice to video with the help of automated solutions. The effect will be dramatic; every user will get a different video, created on-the-fly, reflecting special offers based on his or her past interactions with a website. This trend will enhance the value of video and feed its overall adoption across markets.

Finally, we’ll see online video go mobile broadly, as brands work to capture the customer’s attention in as many places as possible. Video’s multi-platform capabilities will enable online businesses to reach visitors wherever they are, fueling the importance of video catalogues to consumers who, for example, might use it on handheld devices to aid comparison shopping as they browse in physical stores.

HTML5 will play an important role in the expansion of video display to iPads and iPhones in 2011, but businesses should keep in mind that they should adapt their offerings to best suit mobile devices. Screen size and interactivity differ on mobile products, and video offerings should be modified to meet the needs of mobile users.

Looking back at 2010, the market saw substantial adoption of online video. However, it’s apparent that online businesses have just started reaching for video’s true potential. With scalability, optimization, advertising, personalization, mobility and more features still on the horizon, this year’s journey in video will be even more impressive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Justin,

    Interesting question… what is the primary value of ecommerce video regardless to scale? Is it SEO boost or conversion rate increase? Does video drive engagement or does it help strengthen the brand? Whatever it is, scaling the video, amplifies that value.
    If we know that video works, more video works even better.

    Yaniv

  2. The thing is, I am not convinced video does always work. I don’t think you, I, either of our companies, or anyone else out there will ever be able to confirm one way or the other in every case, if for no other reason that when video is applied to products with a low # of pageviews/conversions, not enough incremental data is yielded to prove or disprove its effectiveness.

    One thing I do agree with you on is that video does tend to amplify behavior. One thing I’m not sure we agree on is whether this amplification is always positive, which was part of the motivation behind the question re: conversion impact.

    In our own research (and I’d guessing SundaySky’s, but I really don’t know) we find a wide variation among video performance when it comes to conversion impact. Some videos are off the charts in terms of driving incremental purchases, but others have the opposite effect. We have some good ideas based on empirical evidence as to why this is, but the truth is we’re not always sure. It is next to impossible to assess the aesthetic differences among infinite creative styles in a purely rational manner, and to then analyze that against all products (maybe you’ve figured out a way ;-).

    I think you know I’m not really convinced right now that automated video is carrying the torch forward for e-commerce video in terms of quality of output. But I do think automated video has an important role to play in the industry and that automated video is not going to go away. I also think the quality will continue to improve and become more compelling. And the personalization component is really interesting, especially if Google begins to consider automated video to be “video spam.”

    But to stop pontificating, and get to my real point, I guess it would be “who cares what the quality is from a conversion point of view if automated video drives incremental SEO benefit?”

    If a video is not actually viewed, thereby negating any impact of its production quality, but it does appear in blended search results and can be shown to drive incremental traffic, then it would seem to me that the whole argument around production quality becomes meaningless. And, for now, I don’t really see any way that a retailer could instantly get tens of thousands of video thumbnails listed in blended search in the same amount of time as automated video could provide. It’s just that I think it’s important to measure the positive and negatives of ‘video amplification’ and that it is something for retailers to be aware of when merchandising dynamically with video on their pages.

    Anyway, sorry for the long response ;-)

    Justin

  3. Long comment, let me try to address the main points:
    1. Video SEO is indeed a big driver today. I’m glad you agree we are carrying the torch on that front.
    2. We definitely see that video does drive people to make more buying decisions. Assuming the implementation is right and people do get to watch the video.
    3. There is no reason Google will look at automated video as spam? Why would they? Are they looking at PHP generated web pages as spam? Isn’t most of the web dynamically generated these days?
    4. Personalization is indeed going to be a big thing in the next few years.

    Yaniv

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