September 02, 2010
by Mark Robertson of REELSeo.com
So, you’re thinking about adding product videos to your ecommerce site. Once you’ve made your decision you’ll quickly realize there are a fair deal of things you need to consider in terms of the implementation of your video solution. In order to help you figure out what you should be looking for, I’ve compiled the following list of points you should address in order to ensure that your video solution works for you.
1.) Video Production Method
ecommerce video product Things To Consider When Choosing An Ecommerce Product Video Solution The type of video production you want to use is probably the biggest decision you’ll have to make. Generally speaking, your options are as follows:
* Create your own videos in-house
* Use your manufacturers’ videos (assuming these exist)
* Community videos & consumer generated content
* Outsource to a professional video production company
* Automated product videos
As a business owner your responsibility is to guarantee the highest possible ROI from your video investment. From this perspective, combining your existing videos with automated ones may be your best option:
* You get the biggest bang for your buck – more videos for less $$
* Enables you to update your videos easily and frequently to reflect changes to your products and offerings.
* Some platforms include an analytics panel allowing you to monitor your videos’ performance
Automated videos are offered by several companies. I recommend that you check out Stupeflix, Activate Media Group and Animoto.
2.) Content Delivery Network – CDN
Whereas users watching video for entertainment may at times tolerate slow streaming & poor delivery, this is far from being the case for ecommerce videos. Users have zero patience for poorly delivered content when you’re trying to sell them something. Your providers’ content delivery network must be reliable – period. Be sure to check whether your provider offers high bandwidth and guarantees smooth streaming around the world.
3.) Pricing Model
Video platform price models abound. In order to ensure you have a clear understanding of your billing and can control your expenses select vendors that offer you a fixed price or one that’s tied to usage or performance. Some vendors that offers a risk-free pricing model where you only pay for videos that were actually viewed by your audience. This type of pricing model is often referred to as Pay Per View and is based on the same principal as Pay Per Click .
4.) Integration & Deployment
Before finalizing with a vendor ensure you understand the integration process required to add the videos to your e-commerce website. If you’re only adding one or two videos this needn’t be a major consideration, but if you’re going to be adding hundreds of product videos to your site, you really want to make sure you don’t have to add code to each product page individually.
The easiest integrations for large scale video integrations are based on addition of code to your product page templates. A parameter for the SKU can be used to automatically match the right video to the right product. This type of implementation also means that adding new videos will not require internal resources.
5.) Analytics & Measurements
By now good analytics are already widely accepted as being vital to any etailers success. More than just having a feeling for the site’s overall performance it’s important to have a good understanding of how every component on the site is contributing to its overall success. This is true for your new video component as well.
The basic requirement is that you have some form of reporting tool offering you information on video views which you can then correlate to your sales data. Some vendors provide advanced analytics that already tie these details into the platform, including measurements for your video’s conversion rates, comparisons of CVR for visitors who watched video and those who didn’t, and support for A/B testing of multiple video versions per product.
6.) Offsite Video Syndication
Video content destinations are among the most popular sites online today. So much so that Youtube is now ranked as the world’s 2nd most popular search engine and the 3rd most visited site on the web. To fully realize the ROI potential of your video investment you may want to syndicate your video content to outside video destinations. This can not only provide you further exposure and increased traffic, but can also have a great impact on the visibility of your video content across search engines. Some ecommerce video platforms include automated syndication to the major video sharing sites as an optional feature.
7.) Search Engine Visibility
Closely related to the former point is the issue of your video’s SEO. Ideally, you will want to be sure that your own video content is picked up by search engines for your own website domain. It’s easy to test the success of this effort, so make sure to choose a vendor that can show you proof with examples from existing clients.
8.) Share/Like Option
You may want to harness the social web to your benefit by adding options to share and Facebook “Like” your videos. This is a great way to further disseminate your content and create interactivity.
Remember to run A/B testing to see whether a clean video, with no “distractions” provides better ROI.
9.) Mobile Compatibility
The mobile web is exploding literally while you’re busy reading this.
With Google’s Android phones alone being sold at a rate of over 65,000 units per day more and more shoppers surf the net from their cell phones every minute. Your videos must be available to mobile devices: iPhones/ iPads, Blackberrys, Androids are a must in my opinion.
10.) Advanced Utilization of Video
It’s always smart to re-appropriate your existing content in as many ways as possible. Check if your vendor supports embedding videos in email campaigns, video banners, and video galleries, in order to maximize your existing video content and expand your reach.
This list is in no way exhaustive but it should serve as a starting point for prioritizing how you select your ecommerce video vendor and identify the solutions that best match your needs.
March 30, 2010
By Sean Ashcroft
iPlayer began life, uncertainly and largely unloved, in October 2005 as Integrated Media Player. Now, though, it is an established part of the BBC firmament.
Currently, over 400 hours of video is encoded a week for iPlayer, using a 60-strong server farm.
Programming that’s fewer than seven days’ old can now be viewed on virtually any platform, including Windows, Macs, Linux, Nintendo Wii and selected mobile phones (including iPhones).
While rights agreements mean iPlayer programming is unavailable as streams or downloads to non-UK users (aside from news and sports highlights), the BBC admits “it is aware of demand for an international version”. A case of watch this space, perhaps.
Like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player is available via the broadcaster’s main website. Until September 2009, ITV Player used Microsoft Silverlight, but then followed the lead of both iPlayer and Channel 4's 30 day catch-up service 4oD by switching to Flash.
All of ITV Studios' shows – and the majority of independently produced shows – feature on the service, but, sports, movies and imports don't.
In December, ITV announced it is to launch an ITV Player Facebook app. As well as catching up on missed programmes, users can recommend their favourites to friends, be recommended programmes directly via the app, and discover how compatible their likes and dislikes are.
Founded in March 2007, Hulu is an online video service that offers TV shows, movies and clips at Hulu.com and other online destination sites in the US. Hulu says its mission is to “help people find and enjoy the world's premium video content when, where and how they want it”.
Ad revenue comes from the ad impressions generated from Hulu.com, video streams from its distribution partners’ websites and from the embeddable Hulu video player.
Hulu says it has every intention to make its growing content lineup available worldwide “sometime in the future”, but adds there “is no timetable” regarding such expansion.
US-only video on demand service Fancast is a division of Comcast Interactive Media, and is popular for its extensive library of current and archival television shows, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Family Guy, The Young and the Restless, and South Park.
As well as offering instant access to TV shows, movies, trailers and clips, it serves up editorial and blog coverage, with in-depth recaps and analysis on the world of television and entertainment.
Unlike Hulu, which hints at plans for overseas expansion, Fancast declares “we do not have the rights to stream content internationally and must limit viewing of full length content to the United States”.
Launched in November 2006, 4oD allows internet users to stream or download programming shown within the past 30 days on Channel 4, E4 or More4, as well as content from the National Geographic Channel and FX (UK).
As of April 2009, the Flash-based service became fully available to Windows, Mac and Linux users.
Some content is available free of charge, while other programmes and films – including archive programming – is charged 99p per standard programme or £1.99 per film on a per-download basis.
Rights agreements mean 4oD is available only in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Bought by Google for $1.65 billiion in 2006, Flash-based YouTube is video on demand with a difference, because much of the content is user generated – although a deal of it includes movie and TV clips, as well as music videos.
YouTube’s Partnership Program is a revenue-sharing program that allows creators and producers of original content to earn money based on cost-per-impression advertising. Before August 2009, the Program was open only to professional program makers or very popular accounts, but is now open to anyone.
Videos uploaded to YouTube by standard account holders are limited to ten minutes in length and a file size of 2GB. Partner accounts are permitted to upload videos longer than ten minutes.
Vimeo was created by filmmakers and video creators who wanted to share their creative work, along with personal moments of their everyday life. As time went on, like-minded people came to the site and built a community of people with a wide range of video interests.
A year ago the site announced it had surpassed 1 million uploads, and that 10 per cent of these were HD, leading it to claim it was “the world’s largest repository of high-definition video”.
As of March 2009 Vimeo had more than 2 million members and an average of more than 13,000 videos uploaded daily.
Metacafe attracts more than 47 million unique viewers each month, with nearly 11 million of these in the United States. It specializes in short-form original content from new, emerging talents and established Hollywood heavyweights alike.
Metacafe does not allow any video to be posted – only those that “amaze, inspire and make viewers laugh”. This is not a video site for news stories, personal videos or webcam chatter.
In January this year, Metacafe announced content partnerships with NHL, Sony and Warner Music (among others), designed to appeal to 18-34 year-olds, by adding TV, movies, music, sports and video games to the mix.
Veoh, launched in 2004, offers free access to TV and film content, independent productions, and user-generated videos, including those from YouTube. Its idea is to turn “the vast universe of Internet video into an easy-to-use, personalized experience”.
Veoh is a open platform for content publishers of all sizes and sophistication “who want to reach tomorrow's television audience”.
Currently more than 100,000 publishers use the service to connect with a global audience of more than 28 million.
In addition, Veoh's publisher optimization program gives publishers tools to help them raise awareness of their content and cultivate viewing audiences.
sevenload is a global social media network for Web TV, videos and photos. It was founded in 2005, and its current community is comprised of 20 country portals, with users from around the world watching TV content, music videos and Web TV shows.
It allows users to upload, tag and organize video content, and then share this with other users.
sevenload also positions itself as a provider of cross-media marketing and advertising solutions. Its
business to business services include the development and production of IPTV based internet platforms, media libraries, branded video platforms, as well as online communities based on its core technology.
March 30, 2010
By Sean Ashcroft
Running a successful internet TV station is something an increasing number of organizations are looking at – everyone from existing broadcasters to entrepreneurs and local authorities are eyeing this market as one that has huge potential.
But while online video sites as a business proposition has obvious appeal, there are challenges, too – not least of which is mastering a broad range of technical skills and marketing knowledge.
“The biggest challenge is that you need to be really competent in a broad range of areas,” warns David Ingram, author of ‘The Internet TV Book: How to Set Up Your Own Station’, currently the sole book on this subject.
Among the business and technical challenges involved in establishing an online video presence are:
– Getting the business model right;
– Identifying your audience and what they like to watch;
– Revenue sources, advertising, sponsorship, subscription, phone-ins, etc;
– Attracting that audience through internet marketing and search engine optimization;
– Making informed choices when buying camera and computer equipment
– Impenetrable supplier jargon;
– Making deals for content;
– Partnering with other web sites;
– Building a web site to launch the station;
– Building a virtual studio;
– Learning the art of scheduling content;
– Monitoring new entrants to market.
Ingram also cautions those from a mainstream broadcasting background not to apply TV rules to online: “People must remember that while TV is all about broadcasting, the internet is better to suited to narrowcasting; it’s far better suited to niche content.”
He adds: “The business-to-business magazine market provides a good parallel, because this sector serves defined audiences that need expert information on particular subjects, and this has real appeal to advertisers. Broadcasting is more the populist glossy magazines, whose audiences are far less defined, and far more fickle.”
Ingram cites video property reviews as an area that might be a viable topic for a niche TV station.
“A channel like this could offer video tours of houses worth over, say, £750,000, and charge people £500 to have their house featured. This would have audience appeal, as people could narrow down their new-home choices without even leaving their own house.”
The real problem people have with making money out of internet TV, says Ingram, is that they don’t understand the business model.
“Because of my book I speak to a lot of people who want to start internet TV services, and nearly always their big concerns are about the technology and the running costs. What they should really be concerning themselves with is the business model, and how they can attract an audience.”
Among the key questions Ingram says should be asked are:
Do you go with video on demand and monetize this with advertising?
Do you have a paid-for membership model and drive toward guaranteed income.
What’s the nature of your content? Will it be video on demand, or an online TV station?
“People get the business model so wrong.” Says Ingram. “A while back the London Tourist Board scrapped its video service because of low traffic. The reason they had low traffic is they targeted a British audience. Why? They should have been going after English speaking audiences in the US,Canada and Australia. It’s a fundamental mistake.”
Ingram also cautions that the key when devising and shooting content is to always be asking what the consumer benefit is. “If it has limited appeal, then why bother,” he says.
Asked about the future of video on demand services, Ingram said he sees them as “an evolutionary dead end”, adding: “People who watch programmes want to skips ads, which is why they live-pause or record on their own TV. The only reason people watch video on demand is because they’ve missed a programme.”
And then there’s advertising. There’s certainly money swilling around online video – but this is mainly in the US. Internet market research company eMarketer projects that by 2011 online video will be attracting $4.3 billion a year in the US alone, but in the UK the picture is far less rosy, says Ingram.
“Until recently, advertising revenue was almost impossible to get [for internet TV services], because here we’re geared to large media buying companies, who deal with large clients with large budgets. Plus, for the best part, media buying agencies simply don’t understand online.” Another barrier to ad revenue is that in the UK, online video lacks an equivalent to the British Audience Research Bureau, which quantifies TV audiences.
“This is something advertisers really need, but for online there’s no such hard audience data to show advertisers.”
There are also technical challenges with internet video.
“When video is encoded for internet use you lose 99% of the information, which means you have to be very careful how you set up a scene,” says Ingram. “It’s the rule of three: include only three elements at any one time – you can’t have complex scenes, because things just get lost.”
P R E V I O U S P O S T S
- Activate Media Group Merges with SundaySky - The Global Leader in Automated Video Production
- Shop.org 2010 Annual Summit Reflects Purposeful Use of Technology and Renewed Focus on Customer Expe
- TED Talks: Chris Anderson: How Web Video Is Driving a Revolution in Global Innovation
- Roundup of eCommerce Video Marketing Statistics - Impact of Online Video on Sales
- The New eCommerce Reality: Every Company is a Media Company
A R C H I V E
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