If you’ve been following this blog over the past 2-3 years you’re well aware we’ve been talking about the convergence of mobile and video as the web’s future for quite some time now. Turns out we’re not the only ones who see things that way. The two largest players in online engagement today are YouTube and Facebook, and though each has its own approach, they’re both focused primarily on this paradigm.
With over a billion users and more than 300 hours of video uploaded every minute Youtube still reigns supreme in the kingdom of online video. From the perspective of online retailers one of the most interesting youtube phenomenons is product related user and brand generated content. It’s a simple reality that regardless of what you’re selling the odds are there are already youtube videos out there that relate to your product, and some of those might actually be excellent marketing pieces that could be very valuable at helping you drive sales. If you’ve ever tried locating them though you probably realized very quickly what a massive challenge it is to locate these needles in the Youtube haystack.
I recently ran into a great post by Jen Farley over at video-commerce.org discussing the limitations Youtube has as the sole platform to service your ecommerce operations.
Jen lists some strong arguments such as the inflexibility of the youtube player to custom options, nonexistent automated distribution, and limited analytics.
We Have A Unique Insight on Video in Ecommerce
Working as closely as we do for ecommerce giants such as Walmart, Cnet, and Lenovo, allows us to add one further reason which becomes evident at scale: The cost of creating and curating a video channel on youtube with individual videos for each and every product is impossible to justify even for some of the largest vendors on the web.
At 500+ Products Video Content Must Be Automated to Remain Up-to-Date
For any ecommerce vendor providing 500 products and up the only route to sustain a dynamically current video library encompassing every product in a constantly evolving catalog, is via content automation technologies like video and voice over generation.
The Next Generation of Content Marketing is Already Here
These are merely two examples of emerging content personalization and automation solutions we’re seeing coming into the market. Technologies such as dynamic upsell product matching, cart retrieval widgets, content suggestion and matching, and of course retargetting advertising…
Earlier today I bumped into an interesting article by Pete Prestipino of websitemagazine.com regarding the considerations that led etailers to select how and where they publish their ecommerce and product videos.Pete’s article provides some very interesting graphs sourced via Compete.com that follow the absolute numbers of Unique Viewers for a wide range of video providers throughout 2013. The data includes such veteran players as Dailymotion and Metacafe, alongside new kids on the block like Instagram and Vine (which we mentioned in our tips list from a few weeks back).
Absolutes Might Be Off, But Relations Are Reliable
Like much of Compete’s data, the graphs are especially interesting when one considers that while the absolute numbers given might be wrong, the relative positions of the platforms in comparison to one another are probably accurate.
How Do Smaller Video Portals Compare to YouTube?
All the platforms covered are in essence pretty much just the “long-tail” of video, with the truly interesting question being how they compare to the twin elephants in the room: Youtube and Facebook.
One indicator would be running a Google Trends comparison (The rationale for the selection below is that these terms are entirely unambiguous insofar as they relate ONLY to online video):
As the graph above clearly indicates, at a ratio of 92:~1/0 (as of January 2014), Youtube’s dominance is complete.
Syndicating Product Videos Manually is Hard To Justify
Given the above results it’s easy to understand why for most SME operators, who’re already dealing with limited time for marketing, it’s hard to justify the effort required to appear on all the platforms.
A possible caveat might be those businesses that target a particular niche demographic that tends to flock to the newer platforms (For example Instagram’s demographic is quite clearly defined as young adults – Over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35)
Automate your Product Video Syndication
Since there’s really no value added in repeating the process of video submission across multiple platforms manually, but the ability of milking long-tail value is to a great degree one of ecommerce’s greatest strengths, the obvious solution is to automate the video submission process. This is one of the many ecommerce video services we’re happy to assist you with…
In part 1 of this series you got a quick introduction to the history of online video which documented how both content and technology progressed in tandem to allow for increasingly innovative and creative programming.
These developments were critical and proved Bill Gates correct when he commented that in the digital world “Content is King”. Increasingly it became clear that video reigns supreme.
So let’s begin with 2006, where we left off last time.
Google buys YouTube
On the 9th of October 2006 Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. It was Google’s largest purchase to date and it raised eyebrows because YouTube was far from being profitable at the time. What made it attractive were its 19 million monthly viewers. In Hindsight it’s easy to see that Google was getting ahead of the curve with this purchase clearly foreseeing the internet’s potential to out-space television for consumers and advertisers.
Flash overtakes downloading
Flash player technology overtakes the practice of downloading files as the industry standard for viewing online video.
YouTube used as a political tool
John Edwards bypasses traditional TV outlets and announces his candidacy for the US presidency on YouTube. He is the first, but not the last, do to so. From this point forward, political candidates begin to integrate video content in their campaigns via blogs and websites.
Ustream is launched and offers the opportunity for users to produce and broadcast live programming just like TV stations. In essence, the viewer now has the capacity to become their own network TV news anchor. Look out, BBC!
Netflix starts offering titles via streaming
Netflix, the DVD by mail subscription service, takes notice of online viewing trends and makes the pivot towards offering titles via streaming video.
iPhone puts video in our hand
The iPhone is introduced. The world’s video content is available at our fingertips.
Hulu begins retransmitting on-demand content from major television networks. Now, you no longer have to rush home from doing errands and risk missing the first five minutes of your favorite program. Families everywhere come closer together as TV remote related fights become obsolete.
Introducing the Streamy
The popularity and creativity of user generated online video is acknowledged by the International Academy of Web Television at its first ever “Streamy” Awards.
The awards recognize the best in web TV production in a variety of categories including directing, writing and acting. As you might have guessed already, the entire awards ceremony is streamed live.
U2 make streaming history
Over 10 million viewers stream U2’s 360° Rose Bowl concert held on October 25 in Los Angeles California. It is the largest streaming event to date, and allows the 97,000 in attendance to connect with U2 fans across the globe.
Millions worldwide bypass traditional media outlets and use their computers and mobile devices to surf over to Ustream to watch every second of the Chilean miner rescue. It becomes the year’s most-watched Ustream event.
A new streaming record is set as 400 million watch the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. U2 fans demand a recount.
Today, more than half of the world’s population enjoys watching TV, videos, movies, and live events online. Producers of major events have taken notice and incorporated this technology into their broadcast plans. For example, nearly every 2012 Summer Olympic event was streamed.
It’s not unreasonable to assume that the number of online video consumers will undoubtedly increase as the market share for smart phones increases. Cisco predicts that by 2016, 86% of internet traffic will be online videos. Better technology, especially increasing bandwidth, will provide for a superior viewing experience enticing more viewers online. Ultimately, it will be the convergence of technology and content that will give the consumer the freedom to choose what content to watch and the options when and where to watch it. This will make online video a serious alternative to watching TV or going to the movies.
So, as the The Buggles sang in their early 80’s hit “Video Killed the Radio Star” will online video bring on the demise of the traditional TV or movie star?
One will have to wait and see. Most likely, online…
Guest post by Jose Collazo
For some time now our development team has been hard at work on perfecting a system that enables etailers to capitalize on the advantages presented by mass distribution of videos to dedicated video sites. Earlier this week we finally launched our new Video Distributor service which we feel makes an important addition to our offering of low effort, high return, automated ecommerce video solutions.
What is it?
Video Distributor is an automated, scalable and inexpensive service for ecommerce vendors that’s capable of rapidly uploading all a vendor’s product videos to YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, Dailymotion and other video sites. One of Video Distributor’s mot important features is that it allows vendors to link to specific product pages on their site from the videos uploaded thus generating “deep links” to the vendor’s site.
How can it be used?
We’re offering Video Distributor both as a stand-alone service package and as an add-on service for our Smart Video Platform.
Video Distributor increases visibility and improves search rankings
Video Distributor ensures product videos are viewed by as many customers as possible across multiple video distribution sites and improves search rankings for our customers’ products. Here’s how it works:
People watch videos primarily on video sites
The past few years have seen video emerge as the most popular online medium. So much so that Youtube is today the world’s second most popular search engine! Google and Yahoo have been aware of this trend for years and actively promote it by offering video search explicitly.
The huge availability of video content encourages us to search for video content for all our queries, including any pre-purchase product research we’re engaged in. The thing is that we all tend to watch video primarily on the major dedicated video sites. This means that vendors neglecting to make their videos available on these sites are missing out on an increasingly popular exposure opportunity.
Here at Treepodia we were eager to find a way to help our customers capitalize on this traffic and Video Distributor is how we did it. Because it automatically uploads vendors’ videos to all the major sites the vendors needn’t worry they’re missing out on the action any longer.
Using video linkage to boost SEO
Search Engine Optimization has always been, and still remains to a great extent, dependent on link building – the creation of high quality relevant off-site links leading back to the site’s pages. From an SEO perspective well ranked videos located off-site on dedicated video sites (those that don’t classify their outgoing links as “no follow“) and deep-linked back to a particular page on the vendor’s website, are a very desirable proposition. Our new Video Distributor provides this as a service for every video on your site and the SEO results have already been tested and proven:
Video Distributor secured a top Google ranking for ElectronicShopping.com for its “Morphy Richards smoothie maker” while for WellPack.fr the platform secured a top Youtube result for the query “Kenwood Robot Chef“. Our longtime client Mr. Shmuel Gniwisch, the CEO of top jewelry sites Ice.com and Diamond.com, was kind enough to particiapte in the pilot phase of Video Distributor and has provided us with the following testimonial:
“We’re thrilled with the results we’ve seen using Video Distributor…Our organic search rankings are much higher now that our product videos are available on the major video sharing sites, and we’re experiencing an increase in traffic to our site in part due to customers linking directly to product pages from YouTube.com and other video sharing sites. Searching for white gold solitaire earrings already brings up our video (Ice.com) first”
For more details about Video Distributor, the Smart Video Platform, or any of our other services please feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help…
JUST PRODUCE IT!
Now that I’ve paraphrased both Fight Club and Nike I guess it’s time to explain:
The point I’m going to make in this post is that instead of procrastinating and postponing producing your first video, why not commit to:
Make your first video today!
Don’t spend a ton of cash on production. You can create decent quality videos by stitching together a few photos and adding in music and narration. There’s no need to buy any expensive software – you can produce video with free tools like Google’s Picasa or Videospin. Internalize these two simple facts:
Producing a single video these day is EASY and you can do it for FREE.
A narrated slideshow looks and feels like a video to your audience, and more importantly, has the same impact:
A 60 second product video based on a slideshow backed with narration simultaneously addresses the learning needs of different types of people. It WILL have a positive effect on your sales conversions.
These videos are effective because the voice-over narration attracts auditory learners – who absorb information best when hearing it ,while the visual cues, such as bullet point slides, work well with visual learners – who absorb information best when seeing and reading it.
For both types of learners the dynamic aspect of the video draws attention to the content because human eyes are designed to follow movement.
If you Embed it they will watch
Anyone care to guess where that movie reference comes from?
Actually it’s from a corny (literally – the movie is about a field of corn) Kevin Costner film that is very much in the “Just do it” spirit of this post.
The point of the reference is that once you have a video on your site it’s guaranteed your visitors will watch it (at least for a few seconds -whether they stick with you is a question of how compelling you are and how long your video is).
You may rightfully ask:
“O.K. But how do I get my video on my site?”
Well, there are a ton of ways to do this but I’m going to offer you just one - use YouTube.
It’s not that other options aren’t great, it’s just that I’d rather you get busy uploading than start procrastinating by comparing the pros and cons of different services. Not to mention YouTube is by far the most successful video service online today:
Get busy uploading!
- Uploading a video to YouTube is free and simple. Here’s a short clip explaining how it’s done:
- Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube all you need to do is embed it on your site:
Congratulations, You’ve added your first video to your site!
Now that you have video on our site, it’s important to follow up by meticulously examining your site’s stats and check how your video enhanced pages are performing.
Here are a two basic A/B test you should run:
- Page performance with video vs. without.
- Prepare another version of your video and compare performance for version A vs. version B
Ideally you should repeat this cycle continuously:
Shoot > Uploading > A/B test > Optimize > Shoot
Scale is an issue…
The time cost involved in committing to this type of effort for every product in your inventory tends to be such that, although you’ll definitely see results and increase your bottom line, at some point you wont be able to keep up. Especially if you’re inventory consists of more than just a few select items. That’s where Treepodia comes in. Our ecommerce video platform automates the entire process outlined in this post. We’ll boost your entire product catalog with auto optimized video enhancement in 24 hours or less. Furthermore we operate on a Pay-Per-View model guaranteeing that you’re only paying for videos your clients actually saw. Contact us now to learn more : )
While the main gist of my writings here have to do with the world of video and eCommerce, I think that the overall world of online video, and how people are using and relating to video as a medium, is very relevant too.
That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the Marketing Sherpa blog post “Blogger Video Sharing Data.” It delineates, in detail, how, when, and where bloggers are using video in their posts.
Marketing requires analytics as much as content
What I like most about the article, however, is the attention given to measurable metrics.After all the need for good statistics in any marketing effort, i.e. how are viewers interacting with the content, is probably as important as the absolute need for good content itself.
One of the biggest benefits of advertising (or doing anything) online is the ability to generate statistics. How many people actually saw the page on which your video appeared? How many clicked on it? Where do they live?
The level of detail that we have access to these days is unbelievable. All one need do is look at one’s Youtube Insight panel to obtain demographic data that would have been completely impossible to collect even 3 years ago. According to the Marketing Sherpa post this was exactly what was done in order to generate the report discussed, but on a very grand scale:
“Sysomos analyzed over 100 million blog posts from July to September 2009 to measure bloggers’ video sharing. The report breaks down the bloggers’s demographics and the services they use.”
What the data reveals about video sharing
The information delivered includes amazing facts such as that in the US, “81.6% of bloggers use YouTube to embed or link to video.” Well, that maybe we could have guestimated, but there’s no way we could have guessed New York is the top city for video sharing via blog, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago.
Interestingly, when ranked by state, California ends up as the most video-sharing-via-blog state, followed by New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.
How old are video blog sharers?
The age breakdown wasn’t very surprising to me – turns out that almost 63% of those sharing videos on their blogs are young adults between the ages of 20 and 35, followed by a very distant 25.9% for those 35 to 60.
Back to the basics
But beyond these trivia details my greater point is that online EVERYTHING is measurable. This is perhaps the most amazing promise online marketing delivers on: no more stumbling in the dark, no more “Maybes”, “Perhaps”es or “Possibly”s – just simple measurable and actionable figures that anyone can obtain and use.
This is more than just interesting, it’s the kind of stuff advertisers must know to remain effective and reach their target audience as it migrates online in ever greater droves.
Never checked out Youtube’s Insight?
Why not get the lowdown by watching this 2.5 minute video from Before and After TV:
A recent article in Internet Retailer states that:
“62% of U.S. adult Internet users watch videos on YouTube and other video-sharing web sites.”
Check out the cool welcome clip Youtube offers newcomers:
What are the implications?
- People are getting used to watching online video.
- People have come to not only enjoy online video, but to trust it as a medium.
Or In the words of Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-founder of YouTube:
“Clip culture is here to stay:
Short clips are voraciously consumed and perfect for watching a wide variety of content.”
What does this mean for ecommerce?
These high levels of acceptance and adoption are making video a de-facto must-have for eCommerce sites that wish to remain relevant in the online environment.
Quoting Internet Retailer again:
“Online video has emerged as a key component of successful online retailing that can not only engage consumers and lead to sales, but build store traffic and reduce customer service calls.”
The article gives examples of high-end, full productions videos such as Sears has done for back-to-school season with Disney star Selena Gomez but also delineates how different types of product videos, for different budgets, have proven effective for all level retailers.
…But video isn’t only for “the big boys”
You don’t need to be a mega store like Sears with a mega star like Gomez to see results from the addition of video.
A case in favor is EyeBuyDirect, One of the webs foremost suppliers of eyewear and a longtime Treepodia client, whose CEO Roy Hessel reports having:
“an overall 30% increase in product page conversion rates” with the addition of online videos.
How about you?
With videos impact on ecommerce and social media kpis so blatantly obvious it’s time to ask yourself what are you waiting for?