Can online video drive sales?

Can online video drive sales?

Can online video drive sales?

In a recent conversation with Adam Burns, chief editor @ MeetTheBoss.TV I shared my thoughts on why and how online video is not just a primary engagement touchpoint for brands and consumers but also a fairly significant sales channel that drives both brand equity and sales. Video is unique, the only channel that provides information and entertainment at the same time. This has become more prominent and simplified with technology innovation for instance the recent expansion of instagram to online videos. Here is a quick peak:

Adam: Today: the million dollar question… can online video directly drive sales? For Mayur Gupta, the global head of marketing technology and innovation with consumer goods giant Kimberley-Clark, online video offers a unique opportunity…

Mayur: I believe it’s one channel that provides information and entertainment together and that’s what makes it very different from let’s say the conventional print content or anything that we publish as brands.

Adam: He has a point. So, before we get to the direct value, where does Mayur see innovation happening in this unique channel?

Mayur: I think it’s starting from creation, how easily we can actually create video content.  It’s how easily we can actually consume that content and how do you market that content and make it available to the consumer, and the capability to share that content of course, you know, the social platforms and the social network. This is where it changes the landscape a little bit.  The power of video as a lead generation channel as well as a sales channel. I think we’re all going to see tremendous amount of evolution in all these five.

Adam: Who do you think is doing online video at the moment, doing it really well and why?

Mayur: Clearly he brands that look at video not just as another content type, they don’t just look at it as okay, we’ve got to – we have to create content, and we have to create some really compelling experiences on video.  The brands that are actually using it as a primary channel where video actually becomes part of the core digital strategy, they look at video to be part of the consumer journey in a lot of different ways.  I think those are the brands that are going to make a huge difference, and they actually are.

I’ve seen a lot of some amazing engagement models in the automobile industry, whether it’s Ford or Fiat.  I’ve been close to Fiat, for instance, in some of my past life.  I think they’ve done some incredible work with some of the new brands they’re launching.  We all witnessed the Dorito campaign during the Super Bowl.  I think that showed not just the power of video, but it showed how video could actually be used within the consumer journey within the broader digital span. So combine video with the power of social and community management, you know, staying on top of real time, what’s going on within the landscape within the environment, and responding to the consumer within their own world.  I think that’s where the brands are able to do that and really connect the dots.  They are the ones who are going to be successful.

Adam: So the million dollarquestion… Does online video directly sell products?

Mayur: So simple answer is absolutely, yes. Video is no longer a one-dimensional channel of communication.  It allows you to engage with that experience.  It allows you to interject and intercept the experience and take it.  So it’s almost converting into a pull in terms of content rather than just being a simple push where you don’t have any control as a consumer.  So to give an example, I’ve witnessed a lot of at least five or six different technologies that actually now enable you to engage and inject e-commerce transaction points and call to action within actual video.  And you know, we as part of our innovation efforts, we are on our way to introduce some of those.

And we will actually witness some really compelling experiences where you may be watching a video without realizing the kind of products that are part of the video.  And one of the things that you realize as a marketer is, again, the biggest challenge is how do you make it seem less for the consumer where you do not make the consumer jump from one channel to the other.

I think we are in a world of delivering that seamless omni-channel experience where if I like something, I don’t want to create my journey to go elsewhere and make that transaction or make a decision, and that’s where I think video is tremendously important, and I think all of us are probably waiting to see what happens with Apple TV and if it really delivers the promise that we’re expecting.  But I think TV’s innovation is kind of hand-in-hand with how video online evolves, and obvious state in the future is going to be for us to be able to make those kind of transactions and e-commerce decision, combined decisions, right there. And you do that today as well on video, on TV.  In fact, when you actually see some of the shopping channels, the challenge is you’ve got to create your journey, pick up a phone, and make an 800 phone call to make the transaction.  But I think both online video and TV are absolutely on their way to bridge that gap to make it absolutely seamless and a really, really compelling experience.

Adam: You’re only allowed three metrics for your online video.  What would those three metrics be?  And then kind of as a little addendum to that, a fourth metric, which is perhaps not widely known, but you yourself think, “I’ve got an awful lot of value out of that one.”

Mayur: I think the very obvious ones are going to be partially the number of views you’ve got, which can be misleading, especially in video because it doesn’t always tell you whether you just watched a glimpse of it and you dropped off, or you stayed on to watch the entire video.  And I think one of the key factors for me has always been a click through rate.

So key for the brand is how do you create that experience to trigger an engagement to trigger a behavior, and you can measure that by click through rates, making the user do something, do something that we would like them to do.  And that should trigger an action, and that action could be conversions.  So very simply, it could be views, CTRs, and conversion rates.  But if you ask me something crazy that I would love to be able to measure and really this is where I get really excited about innovation that’s happening in the retail space.

And I think that’s where video is going to tremendously grow, and we’ve already seen snippets of that.  I think the recent bombing attack and the role that video played, I know it’s not directly analytics, but it shows the power technology has in parsing video.  So if you take that, you know, retaining one and – we’ve actually been exploring some technologies now to totally understand and measure and analyze consumer behavior when they are in an a retained environment. And video has got to play a key role.  You know, whether it’s about generating heat maps to see where are your consumers staying and spending most time in what aisle, and which other aisles that do not have any presence.  And those kind of analytics can be really innovative, really insightful, and very informational that can create some actionable data points for brands, for consumers, for retailers to influence the way they sell, to influence the way they manage their shelves to make it a much more compelling and optimized experience for consumers.

Adam: And we spoke earlier about all the different ways a video can – it’s moving towards a pull medium as much as a push medium, and all the different ways it can be viewed.  That must create challenges in the publishing, the hosting, the distributing.  How do you deal with the technical side of that?

Mayur: Again, I think the reason why that kind of a question excites me is because I’m a marketing technologist, and working in a leading CPG organization, one of the things we’ve come to realize is we’ve all evolved into this space of cloud computing and SaaS solutions where there’s so much opportunity out there, and as brands, our goal is – our intent is to leverage a lot of those capabilities.

So whether you talk about platforms like YouTube, Vimeo or Brightcove.  You know, they’re all cloud-based solutions.  I think the increasing amount of bandwidth is playing a key role in simplifying the integration touch points.  Secondly, I think most of these guys have pretty global footprints in terms of having caching layers and so on to make their performance a lot more optimized and relevant for the consumer.

And I think one of the key aspects that’s changed it again, and I give credit to Steve Jobs for a lot of stuff that we’re all going through in our daily lives today.  And I think the evolution of mobile devices encouraged if not directly impacted the way video has evolved.  Because again, we’re no longer sitting in front of our laptops and TV stations to watch video.  Most of the video if you look at analytics, a lot of the video, I believe, is 60 to 62 percent video is actually watched on mobile devices. If I was looking at some of the metrics, I believe 80 percent now of web users within North America are actually viewing online videos.  So I think the technology platform has played a key role, but for me, it’s been the simplicity at which anybody can create, edit, and publish content very similar to, I think, the way we’ve been doing it.