While 2012 might have been the year of mobile, Web workers should note that online video’s popularity was steadily rising as well.
In fact, video hosting platform vzaar saw record growth last year, with sales increasing 48 percent from January to December 2012. According to vzaar chairman Gareth Cadwallader, the monetization of video content was one of the strong drivers for 2012’s growth.
“We have seen a surge in the amount of companies using video subscription services to generate profits and enable commerce,” said Cadwallader. “One of the key developments within vzaar's platform has been the move to integrate VAST 2.0 compliant pre- mid- and post- roll linear commercials.”
Security concerns also drove companies to make the move to paid-for-hosting platforms, according to vzaar CTO Adrian Sevitz.
“By developing enhanced security features such as Signed Keys to prevent videos from being embedded anywhere that the user does not want them to be, vzaar are ideally placed to serve this growing market,” said Sevitz. “Security is not just about access but also about control of the Brand. Branding control is essential to any business using video as a way to market their brand. In 2012 vzaar introduced branded video pages that allow subscribers to customize video pages to their own specification.”
Other business features available through the vzaar platform include Multi User Accounts for managing multiple subscriber profiles, Bulk Uploading for up to ten videos at once, Multi Language Player-Support and Video Watermarking.
"2012 represented an important achievement not only in terms of the numbers but also because they reflected a healthy split between new accounts and existing customers who signed on for larger and longer term contracts," said Jim Henry, vzaar vice president of sales. "With the continued rise of online video, global demand for our platform will continue to drive significant growth for us going forward."
Over the past couple of years, there have been major shifts in consumer purchasing patterns. New technology has made the buying experience more interactive more often.
With more touch-points come more opportunities to create an engaging experience with the consumer, but it also means there are more pieces to take into account. Consumers expect to be able to engage with a brand consistently through every channel, all the time. They want to be able to shop online via computer, smartphone, tablet, as well as in-store, and have a universal experience.
How do you create engaging content?
With all of these moving pieces, how do you keep your brand consistent across all channels while keeping up with the continuously evolving consumer? By keeping them engaged no matter what channel they’re using.
Utilizing rich media content such as photography, 360-degree views of the product, and online video are ideal ways to achieve consumer interaction. On average, consumers spend 48 seconds on a website with only text. But add video to the mix and the consumer spends up to five minutes and 50 seconds – making video more than five times more effective than text.
Having a consumer spend more time on your site is fantastic, but the ultimate goal is conversion. When selling products online, it’s important that the consumer feels comfortable and confident the product is what they are looking for.
Providing images, more views, demo videos, and different color options is one way to increase the consumer’s confidence and decrease the number of returns. Take Zappos, for instance: By using video demos of items on product pages, the online retailer was able to increase sales by 6 to 30 percent.
Why is consistency important?
Since consumers aren’t just making online purchases from a computer anymore, it’s important to ensure that creative content is compatible and consistent from mobile devices, tablets and laptops. Over the last three years, mobile video traffic has increased 5,000 percent, providing great opportunity for online retailers to remain competitive with compelling visual content.
One best practice for creating engaging visual content is to shoot the products once and use that content across several platforms. For that reason, online retailers should consider creative agencies that have the capability to shoot high-quality content and repurpose it for multiple deliverables including still images, 360-degree product views, interactive catalogs and online video.
This strategy helps to create a consistent brand message while also reducing the cost of production, as online retailers aren’t required to pay a separate fee for each set of visual content they have created. This approach also provides a one-stop solution for online retailers who are then able to use the same imagery and content for direct mailing campaigns, email blasts, marketing collateral and even social media campaigns.
Another approach is solving the issue of device compatibility. Some devices aren’t compatible with certain software such as Adobe Flash, so it’s important to find a creative agency that also understands the technical concerns that go into offering rich media content. In this instance, HTML5 is often the best solution for cross-device compatibility.
How do I know if my strategy was successful?
The final component of a successful e-commerce strategy is measurement. The digital content is brand-consistent and the video and imagery is compatible on all devices, but are the customers making the purchase?
Conversion is measurable by comparing visits per product before visual content was added with those after. For the products that included 360-degree photographs, were fewer products returned? If so, it’s safe to assume that the ability to view the product from multiple angles allowed the consumer to better decide that the product fit their needs.
Or, did demo videos better explain a product, leading to an increase in the number of purchases? All of these factors help online retailers create an emotional connection between their products and the consumer, as well as increase confidence in their purchases.
Whether you’re working in luxury brands, women’s clothing, consumer electronics, home goods or food products, interactive visual content is necessary to drive the website user to purchase your products. By creating consistent and compatible multimedia content, online retailers gain the interest of the consumer as well as increase their confidence in the product and brand.
About the author: Jason Arena is the vice president of brand strategy and marketing at KSC Kreate.
Dailymotion, the second largest video portal on the Web, has partnered with social micropayments platform Flattr to create the first global-scale, socially funded video network.
The partnership allows online video creators to be paid for their content directly by individual viewers, presenting new opportunities for bloggers and others to monetize their videos.
“By empowering video creators to take control and earn money from their work, no longer will online video be limited to an unpaid pursuit,” says Dailymotion managing director Roland Hamilton.
This is the largest-scale implementation of crowdfunding for online video, with traffic numbers and user volume substantial enough to determine if social funding has a future as a viable revenue model for video on the Web.
Video creators on Dailymotion can import a Flattr button directly onto their channels and each individual video. Flattr users, who make a monthly donation ranging from a few dollars to several hundred, click to donate funds directly to the creator.
Each month, the number of total donations from each Flattr user is calculated, and payment is divided evenly among all recipients the user has chosen. Recipients also register for Flattr accounts to receive funds, which they can then donate to others as they see fit or withdraw to a bank account.
Web video hosting service vzaar has launched a new video page design feature that enables businesses to maintain brand consistency across all of its online channels.
The design patterns, colors, text, titles, logos, links, special offers, etc., around the vzaar video player are all totally customizable. In addition to building upon any of the three customizable templates, designers and other creatives can also import a color scheme, background and logo straight from a Twitter account.
“Branded Video Pages serve as a home base for your video content,” says Dan Rees-Jones, head of customer support at vzaar. “Every video receives a totally customizable webpage available immediately upon upload that is designed with one purpose: to showcase your work. This is extremely valuable to any business with video to share – they do not need to build an entirely new page on their own site to deliver cuts to clients for approval, share content on Twitter and Facebook, or circulate company training videos internally.”
In addition to customizing the portfolio page, vzaar gives businesses control over how the video player itself looks – its quality, colors, borders, dimensions, etc. Online businesses can also add and superimpose subtitles, embed calls to action, logos, images, and social network sharing tools, as well as control how their customers interact with the video.
“It’s great to have an instant video page up and ready to share the second a video upload completes,” says Shaun Sinnott, director of online marketing at TopGolf. “It took no time to reskin the pages to be perfectly in line with the TopGolf brand, and we expect to get a lot use from them, particularly when sharing videos on social media.”
Click here to see more details on how Branded Pages work and how to implement the new feature.
Online video solutions provider Invodo has released some new data about the use of video on retail sites during the first holiday shopping spree of the season. Invodo customers such as Verizon, Office Depot, Crocs, L’Occitane and others showed a significant rise in the number of consumer views during the Thanksgiving weekend, and some of the key points of data are below:
• Overall, there was a 337-percent increase in Black Friday video views over last year
• On Cyber Monday, there was an 897-percent increase in video views over last year
• Video views on Cyber Monday in 2011 were 2.5 times the number of video views on Black Friday 2011. It is the preferred online shopping day, and video seems to be a preferred form of gathering product information for online shoppers
• On Black Friday, Facebook accounted for 50 percent of the sharing of videos among users, with email at 36 percent and Twitter at 14 percent
• On Cyber Monday, Facebook and Email were even at 43 percent each. Twitter was at 14 percent
• For both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers’ overall rating of the videos they viewed was 4.2 out of 5 stars
A common thread among consumers’ comments on the videos they viewed was that the ability to see a product demonstrated was enhanced through video, enabling comparisons to people in size, in terms of seeing how the material in apparel moves, and seeing the features demonstrated. This led to clear enthusiasm in the comments, which explains why video can be a strong driver of conversion for ecommerce retailers.
The second annual Video State of the Industry Survey from Adap.tv and Digiday has found that brand advertisers who bought online video ads this year are planning to increase their budgets for 2012 by 47 percent.
For brands that didn’t purchase any video ads in 2011, 84 percent say they will include digital video in their campaigns in the last quarter of 2011 or in early 2012. These figures correlate closely with the experience of Wooshii.com, a network of thousands of the world’s top video makers and animators.
In the last six months, the average spend on video projects on Wooshii has risen by more than 60 percent.
“Budgets have been increasing quite dramatically this year and they are likely to continue growing in 2012,” says Wooshii CEO, Fergus Dyer-Smith. “Businesses are now looking to spend serious amounts of money on online video. Everyone is buying into the fact that online video advertising is a very cost-effective way of spreading a brand message.”
The survey found that brands are diverting funds away from print advertising and broadcast TV advertising in order to focus on online video.