Ecommerce Video Into the Cart

Internet retailers are discovering video's versatility and how they can be used as more than just replacements for product page photos. Today, ecommerce brands are seeing the real value that videos can bring to their SEO programs, social media campaigns and mobile strategies, as online shoppers have become primed to watch more video, not to mention create their own to share with their shopping peers. Below are some predictions for video's future impact on the ecommerce world.

Curated commerce opens its arms to video: Sites like Polyvore and Pinterest have quickly grown massive audiences by allowing users to "curate" their own collections of images based on whatever categories they choose: wedding themes, fashion, home décor, celebrities and musicians, you name it. It makes sense that these sites will welcome video "pinning" and encourage users to add videos to their collections in the future.

When Pinterest launched, it didn't allow brands to offer pinboards, but the social site announced in Nov. 2012 that it would offer business accounts. This change makes it the perfect time for online brands to create Pinterest pinboards and a presence on other curated commerce sites, as well as to take advantage of their video capabilities.

Big changes in video SEO: Forward-thinking ecommerce businesses understand that adding product videos to their websites can help raise their SEO profile, since Google has shown a preference for videos in its search rankings. However, ecommerce businesses that indiscriminately add videos to their sites and consider their job done, need to think twice.

Sites like Google and the Google-owned YouTube are continually retooling their search algorithms for video, seeking the best ways to present information that their users want. For instance, in Oct. 2012, YouTube announced it would rank videos based on "watch time," offering higher rankings to videos that are watched for longer periods instead of just those viewed for a few brief seconds. Expect video hosting sites to continue to make changes in their search algorithms, as they figure out consumers' insatiable appetite for video.

Videos find their way into digital marketing: When you've gone through the expense and trouble of creating videos, you want to use them as much as possible. Expect to see more merchants broaden their video use beyond their product pages. For example, they can add videos on social networks and SEO landing pages, create more robust YouTube or Vimeo channels and include video snapshots in email newsletters.

Maximize Video's Exposure
Video is an area of immense, yet relatively untapped, potential. One of the reasons is that few existing solutions truly enable brands to maximize their exposure. Startup vidIQ, a SaaS-based enterprise-level audience development suite designed to help YouTube marketers increase their views and subscribers, hopes to change that. What makes the vidIQ platform so interesting from a brand marketing perspective is that it incorporates most, if not all, of the essential elements of a successful video campaign. The platform offers a database of relational YouTube search trends that recommends the best tags, listening tools to help accurately identify influencers, an analytics engine to break down viewer and engagement metrics, automation mechanisms for scheduling videos at the optimal time and collaborative workflows, so marketers can work with other members of their team on the platform. vidIQ already successfully manages more than 10 billion views, primarily serving agencies, larger networks and global brands, including AOL, Mondo Media and Revision3.

Videos will gain in popularity in expanding ecommerce markets: Brazil's ecommerce market, for example, is booming. It grew 26 percent in 2011 with similar results projected for 2013. On the other side of the globe, China's ecommerce sector is expected to triple in size over the next three years. Savvy ecommerce businesses in these hot markets will adopt the strategies that have been used by companies in established markets (e.g. the U.S. and the U.K.). Since video has proven useful in helping online businesses attract visitors and improve conversions, we can expect the same in these fast-growth markets. 

Videos replace product images: Static product images are outdated, because they don't engage modern consumers and tell a product's story adequately. The space that still photos takes up on your product pages is valuable real estate, so what you place there should work harder.

Videos can do so much more than pictures to capture a consumer's attention, which is why we expect to see more ecommerce businesses replace photos with videos in 2013. Even simple slideshows composed of still images are far more engaging and can impart more information to help close a sale.

Mobile sites exchange product pages with videos: When shoppers using mobile devices are browsing for products, particularly if they are doing price or feature comparisons at a brick-and-mortar location, they are less inclined to scroll around a mobile product page to find the specs or feature descriptions they need. On the other hand, videos have become easier to watch on mobile screens, thanks to greater bandwidth and better compression technology. Plus, if executed well, a video will include all the details that a mobile shopper needs, such as price, color and size options and availability. Ecommerce businesses will find it makes sense to offer videos, rather than product pages, to mobile customers.

Brands encourage user-generated videos: Since consumers trust their peers and want to hear their genuine opinions, videos created by customers will often have more impact than brand-made videos. Therefore, ecommerce companies will make a greater effort to obtain and incorporate user-generated videos into their websites. Fortunately, YouTube is helping. In Dec. 2012, the website introduced its Capture app, which lets users share videos directly from their iPhone screens.

ALSO READ: Video Startups to Watch
Which up-and-comers are changing the way ecommerce businesses use video? Find out with Website Magazine Guide on Video Startups to Watch in 2013.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melody King is the VP of Marketing and Sales at Treepodia and is a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership. She has 13 years of experience in IT, focusing the last seven in ecommerce.