The digital retailing experience is nothing like shopping at your favorite community store or the familiar highway mall. No longer is there a simple buyer and seller business relationship. These days, consumers have the opportunity to interact with retailers, in addition to traditional venues, in a variety of virtual ways via web and mobile apps, social media sites, and Blogs. At the same time, consumers have the ability to receive ‘push’ alerts from retailers on new and sale merchandise directly to their mobile devices and can easily access a wealth of product information with a few click of a mouse. It is indeed a whole new and exciting playing field for both retailers and consumers alike with abundant offensive and defensive plays available to both sides!
Online Video Trends and Opportunities
Over the last ten years online video has matured from an obscure hobby among the populace into a sizeable and profitable market created around a thriving ecosystem of content creators, publishing platforms, and an array of enabling technologies, services and smart devices Currently, we are witnessing the continual and growing consumer interest in online video and the analogous investment by brands and retailers to exploit and target segmented audiences with sticky monetized content.
Within this digital setting, the retailer class is paying attention to the unending demand for new and imaginative lifestyle-centric videos with a direct electronic path to e-commerce sales and revenue. This trend is an extraordinary opportunity for retail executives to leverage their video production capabilities and assets in an attempt to significantly improve their online sales performance.
Conventionally, the most fashionable way brands and retailers monetize video assets is through advertising, the video content itself is free, but money is made by selling ads before, during, or around the video experience. Recently, we have seen the emergence and acceptance of video annotation where video objects are made clickable with displays of meta data, graphics and links to e-commerce thereby adding a valuable new tool to a content creator’s tool box.
Life Style Segmentation and Monetization
There is a widespread sentiment emerging among retailers and other sectors that ‘lifestyle’ is seriously influencing video content context production and placement. Segmentation based upon way of life interests is resulting in attractive and successful personalization of video content. We are in many ways returning to the theoretical view of 1 on 1 marketing with an online personalization line of attack, albeit, with a better likelihood of victory in its reincarnation!
In this regards, there is a bona fide requirement for content creators to obtain the technical capability and tools to link video displayed products and associated metadata to e-commerce and social media sites. For instance, if you are watching a Big Bang Theory episode and are keen on the bizarre shirt Sheldon is wearing you may desire to identify the brand and where it can be purchased. Choices for the consumer could include pausing the video to display the product data and e-commerce link or waiting to view the product data at the video’s post roll. Also, the capability to record consumer product ‘Likes’, publish product comments to Facebook, and announce video viewer only product sales during or at video conclusion would definitely be marketing pluses for retailers.
Online Video Monetization Examples
Recent market intelligence reveals that growing consumer lifestyle video demand is a prime force driving brands and retailers to adopt new and creative ways to monetize online video activities. As retailers get serious in accepting video as a strategic medium to reach targeted consumers, they will need to fully identify with and appreciate the key technologies to support this valuable revenue impacting approach. Topical Nielsen study reveals that streaming video is now the second most popular and common online activity, trailing only social networking and video web viewing is up over 20% while mobile video viewing is in excess of 200%.
A successful monetization approach, by and large, represents a mosaic framework supporting an array of customized and fully integrated technical components. Some examples include:
- Online videos made clickable with select objects (products, locations, and other items) annotated with associated metadata, creative graphics and links to external sites.
- Online annotated videos embedded within other annotated videos to further highlight targeted consumer lifestyle interests via projects, locations, interviews etc.
- Video player with two viewing displays incorporating (Display 1) annotated video and (Display 2) another annotated video, and / or a combination of Power Point slides meta data, creative animation, graphics, and links with external sites. In this approach, both displays would be synced improving the richness, visual, and cognitive experience for the viewer.
- Online web and mobile sites designed and developed with imaginative and integrated visual effects including use of creative animation and graphics, annotated videos, and links with external sites and / or live events.
Adware, Viewers & Monetization
Over the years, consumers have adopted clever techniques to steer clear of viewing TV commercials and web displayed adware! Will people also avoid viewing annotated videos because of their subtle commercial implants? The jury is still out on the reaction of the population to the pros and cons of people investing scarce time in viewing annotated videos. However, what is known is that consumers will characteristically search for and view ads they favor and are associated with their life cycle and purchase patterns. Also, it is believed, that ads that don’t resonate, entertain, engage or lack relevancy will be avoided at all cost! People by and large will choose ads that they want to watch and hopefully will include annotated videos.
Monetization Challenges & Decisions
Realization of the benefits of video monetization is predicated on the successful development and execution of a formal strategy. Strategy building encompasses an array of business and technical elements that form the basis of the strategy. The key questions typically addressed in a monetization strategy are outlined below:
Subject Matter Understanding:
- Are both technical and business stakeholders suitably conversant on the variety of visual video and online annotation effects and techniques used in the monetizing video process?
- Has ample information been gathered to support that annotated videos will be acceptable to the company’s target audiences and their end users?
- Has sufficient analysis been completed that validates that widespread use of annotated videos will have a positive and quantifiable impact on the company’s product sales and revenue?
Enterprise Strategic influence:
- Is the annotation value proposition in alignment with the corporate marketing strategy and financial plan?
- Has the competitive landscape been analyzed to identify key competitor current and future plans and decisions for the use of annotated video?
Video Design & Standards:
- Has annotation visual effects types and styles been agreed and documented as standards?
- Is there a company process to create annotated video design specifications and development work orders in a professional and quality-centric manner?
Video Touch Points:
- Has research been completed and analyzed on the ease (or difficulty) for viewers to interact with annotated videos and web and mobile sites segmented by user age, computer literacy level, profession, life style interests and other viewer characteristics?
Video Production & Support:
- Will the video annotation process be an in-house or an outsourced business activity?
- Have online video platform (OVP) providers been identified capable of supporting annotated videos?
- Are all known technical issues and problems typically associated with online video use identified, plotted within a risk management framework, and mitigated as to potential negative outcomes?
- Have the technical platform(s) and device(s) to support the company’s annotating videos been identified?
- What delivery mode(s) for viewing the company’s annotated videos will be used? (Corporate web and mobile sites, Facebook and other social media sites, reseller site, Blogs etc.)
Consumer expectations in the digital space are at an all-time high and companies are under pressure to keep customers happy and loyal to their brand, improve profitability and maintain or obtain a competitive market advantage. With this said, in the era of the smarter and empowered buyers, retailers need to grab the’ brass ring’ quickly and demonstrate through their innovative technology use that they understand and are reacting to market demands.
In conclusion we will leave all with a topical Peter Drucker quote:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”