Customer Engagement & The Power of Smarter Video

Consumers are looking for engaging, personal experiences at every stage of their relationship with an online brand. As a result, companies are seeking ways to engage with customers at each stage of that journey, delivering a differentiated, compelling experience that balances information and entertainment, user empowerment and satisfaction.

Due to the customer experience demands, the use of video has shifted from a novelty to a strategic imperative on the Web. Implementing online video however requires a comprehensive strategy to ensure the maximum potential value is realized. What should your smarter video strategy consist of?

Target Potential Customers with Pre-Roll Video Ads
According to e-Marketer, growth for U.S. online ad spending will maintain double-digit growth through 2014, but not all brands are getting the most from their investment.

In recent years, targeting technology has become part of a business' ad spend, as it is effective in reaching the right audiences with a specific messages based on demographics, purchase history, observed behavior and other traits. However, the reality of attracting a prospect to a website does not guarantee a sale or that the average consumer will not interact with your brand several times before the conversion. That's why retargeting abandoners and bringing them back to the site is an ideal way of increasing sales and recouping an otherwise lost advertising investment.

New video technologies takes targeted advertising a step further by presenting qualified prospects and abandoners with video pre-roll ads that are personalized in real time. The targeted message features relevant products based on their browsing history to prospects when they watch a video. Since pre-roll ads are relevant to each viewer, the audience is captivated, leading to higher viewthrough rates, conversion rates, and often above-average order values than traditional banners.

Increase Conversion Rates
Online video commands higher attention and recall from viewers compared to TV ads and as a result, brands realize significant lift in incremental buying. Instead of requiring the user to navigate, scroll and click to access information, video is a one-stop shop for information. Taking less time than reading, consumers are engaged until ready to follow an embedded call-to-action.

Product videos have been proven to generate more time spent by consumers on a site, more return visits, and high click-through rates. Manual video production is timely and costly, however, and can rarely be updated with ever-changing website content, such as prices, seasonal deals and last-minute offers. Automated creation of videos (e.g. for whole product catalogues) on the other hand support regeneration of the videos whenever the website data changes and offer viewers the personal attention and service associated with in-store shopping.

Improve Customer Support
Successful customer relationship strategies start with the first contact an organization has with a consumer and continues throughout the entire relationship.

A company's ability to attract and retain new customers is not only related to its product line, but to the way it services customers and the reputation it creates within the marketplace. It is well documented that those business with video-enabled sites have experienced fewer product returns, decreased merchandising and support costs, greater trust and credibility, and generally higher customer satisfaction.

These factors can also be boosted with first-rate relationship management: satisfied customers build your reputation and recommend you to their friends. To that end, the effectiveness of nurturing practices, including email campaigns, loyalty programs and customer portals, is enhanced with personalization features which engage the customer with offerings that would resonate with him based on his profile, shopping history and browsing trail.

Implementing videos that are personalized based on the individuals shopping history within standard relationship marketing activities can enhance nurturing and retention efforts. Video newsletter open rates, for example, are two to three times higher than a static one. Personalization could be a personal greeting with their name and even promotional offerings based on their browsing history, geography or preference segmentation.

New video technologies address the growing need for online personalization to bridge the gap between live and virtual experiences. Videos create deeper relationships, increase upsell revenue and cause customers to become brand advocates, while encouraging potential prospects to begin their user journey.

The bottom line is that online video creates better experiences for the consumer and offers the most streamlined way to present information in essential touch points with your company. It allows the viewer to relax while the information is delivered without clicks or browsing through a website. For companies that lead the way in adopting a new, personalized approach to engaging customers with video, the benefits promise to be vast.