Brands have had a love hate relationship with websites for the last 15 years or so. Go back to the 90s and the luxury brands like Chanel and Porsche wouldn't even consider having a website. It wasn't "on-brand" and many companies actually felt that a website cheapened their carefully crafted image.
Fast forward ten years, brands embraced online and the landscape changed quite dramatically. We had wonderfully created websites with imagery that showed the product at its best. With a simple buying process, the focus was on usability and the user experience - all be it a static one.
Technology has moved on. Access online is available through a multitude of channels: PCs, mobiles, tablets and TVs and the online experience is no longer a static medium. As the video on demand revolution takes hold, retailers are seeing the opportunities video provides to enhance their brand.
Video can be integrated into a website in three different ways: through video-sharing websites such as YouTube or Vimeo, via video platforms such as Brightcove, Vzaar or OOyala or through self-hosted solutions.
For businesses, choosing the right solution is an exercise that must be included in a well-planned online video strategy that encompasses the limitations and challenges of each delivery method.
In most cases, a third party video platform proves to be a better solution since they can remove a lot of the headaches associated with bandwidth and provide tools to manage videos as well as help content owners build an improved user experience since they offer proven, ready-made players or interfaces.
However, using video sharing websites also presents several obvious challenges, as listed below:
• Videos must be viewed on third party websites or bear third party branding
• Content is harder to monetise as options are limited
• Most platforms provide very limited analytics
• Video quality is usually low
• Ads from unrelated brands or even competitors may appear on content
• Video length is usually limited
The opportunities that videos on websites present are, however, plentiful. Through syndication, sharing and viral costs are greatly reduced and they become a powerful marketing tool. Increasing and deepening the users' engagement with brands.
They are more impactful with viewers - a real attention grabber and the increased visibility on the internet is great for SEO. Users can interact with the content and potential e-commerce opportunities open up as videos can help sell products/services.
I foresee an explosion of video content over the next few years especially with the rise of connected devices. An increase in video content means an increase in monetisation opportunities. It also means, however, that it will be more and more difficult for users to make sense of all the content presented to them. Intelligent content recommendation based on user profiles and social network is the next frontier for video.
With the recent introduction of the first industry backed online video metric (UK Online Measurement Company & Nielsen) companies are reacting to growing importance and benefits of including video on websites.
A recent Informitv.com article provides some idea to the extent of how video traffic will grow. They predict that by 2015 there will be:
• Nearly three billion internet users
• Twice as many network-connected devices as people on the planet
• Internet traffic will quadruple (driven mainly by online video)
• Online video traffic will increase by seven times
E-commerce was once thought to be the death nell for the high street shop. It wasn't. People like to use their senses when buying - look, touch and so on - particularly when buying clothing. Video commerce stimulates the visual sense and makes it real. While we can't yet bring touch into the mix this is the closest retailers can get to making online shopping a very real experience. As more brands embrace Video Commerce so shoppers will come to expect this technology as standard. If a site doesn't have video they may simply switch - or in this case click - over.
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