Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Video is the Swiss Army Knife Of Internet Marketing - Mark Robertson, ReelSEO.com

According to ReelSEO.com's Mark Robertson, online video is the swiss army knife of online marketing, and social video can help eCommerce retailers move from conversions to conversations with their customers. I sat down with Mark following his keynote, "Welcome to the ‘REEL’ Web: Why Video Marketing has Evolved Beyond SEO" at Liveclicker’s 2011 Video Commerce Summit in San Francisco last month, to get a high level overview of how social media has changed search, the state of V-Commerce and what tactics and tools eCommerce marketers can harness to move beyond product videos.

Retailers Have Embraced Product Video

Mark says that SEO has evolved over the last 10 years, and now social media engagement enhances SEO rankings, a lot. Universal video search is becoming less effective for e-commerce transactional queries.
"I feel that eCommerce providers, for the most part, have done a fairly good job with online video, and they've embraced product video, specifically. So product videos on their landing pages, which makes sense. It's cost effective, highly measurable and they are there to sell products. But I believe as well, that online video is the swiss army knife of Internet marketing. It really can be used all over the customer life cycle. So, whether it's customer service, whether it's marketing, even recruitment, people are using video."
He included a few statistics in his presentation to illustrate his point:
73% of US retailers feature video on product pages in Q4 2010.   vs. 55% 2009.
# retailers > 1,000 videos on their websites 10% from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011.
⇑ 37% YOY growth in video views for LiveClicker retail sites live with video >1 year.

Source: eMarketer's "Video for Ecommerce" report | Sunday Sky’s “State of Video in Ecommerce Q1 2011” | MediaPost, Justin Foster 7/2011

Mark emphasized that while product videos are great, they don't lend themselves well to social sharing or universal video search. So while they're incredibly important, he says that marketers’ must embrace social video throughout the customer life cycle and produce video that lends itself to social. He cited a number of strategies and video types that can be applied to the video marketing purchase funnel, and a key ingredient to every application is to make all videos sharable.

StrategiesVideo Types
Video Advertising, Video SEO, Live Video Events, Social Video, Video DistributionVideo Commercials, Branded Video, Instructional (How-to) Videos, UGC Videos, Lifestyle Content
Video SEO, Social Video, Video Chat
Company profiles, Product Demos, Video Case Studies, Video Testimonials, Video Comparisons,
Website Video, Video Chat
Product Videos
Website Video
Training Videos, User Generated Videos, Video FAQs, Corporate Image/Culture, Customer Support, Thank you/rewards videos
Video Sharing/Social Video/UGC 
Product Video Reviews/Testimonials

Examples of Retailers Going Beyond the Product Video

He presented a few examples of companies that were doing some innovative work that goes beyond the product video. 

Think Thin
ThinkThin, a health and wellness bar retailer, is providing comment value with its lifestyle web series that features the company’s CEO and Founder, Lizanne Falsetto, called Lizanne Naturally. It's highly produced branded entertainment in the form of a weekly web cooking show that is simultaneous released across all channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), with outreach partnerships on relevant YouTube channels and niche target sites like diet.com.  It's a good example of an eCommerce company investing in online video outside of the product page.
"In challenging socio-economic times, people are searching for authenticity, even in the brands they buy. Consumers want to be given something more than forced advertising. They want community and trust. Producing original branded video content is one way to provide value back to the community and grow brand awareness and loyalty at the same time." - Stacy Bellew, ThinkProducts, Inc.
How does it tie back into sales?
• Carefully - Viewers want value, not a sales pitch
• Indirectly – Brand awareness, Loyalty = soft ROI
• Calls to action
  - “Download the recipe” – takes viewers to product website.
  - ASK: for email information, Facebook likes, etc...
  - Incentive: 20% coupon

Zappos is embracing video like it's going out of style. The eCommerce retail giant sells over 300,000 different products, and began producing product videos in 2009 and soon found that the company could sell anywhere from 6-30% more merchandise when accompanied by videos. In its first year, Zappos exceeded its goal producing over 50,000 videos and is looking to double that in 2011. Zappos also has a YouTube it uses to expose its brand to the public and interact with the community. The channel offers fun behind the scenes looks at Zappos and has a number of blooper reels in its YouTube page. Zappos is a great example of a eCommerce retailer getting it right with video and has developed a broad and comprehensive video retail strategy. 

Zappos Video Strategy
• Product videos
• How-to videos
• Brand marketing
• Internal communications
• Corporate culture
• User-generated product reviews (planned)
• Video reviews
• Customer service videos
“What works the best is the fact that our videos are very real. There is value in being candid. There's an emotional connection that can’t be captured via photograph or text” – Laurie Williams, Zappos.com Video Product Manager
The results have been powerful with an increase in product page conversions and customer satisfaction and a decrease in product returns. Its success can be attributed to an honest, personal, informative approach to its video strategy and a diffusion to all its channels (Zappos website, YouTube, Facebook).

This video is from Zappos' insidezappos YouTube channel and explains how to properly package a return.

Moving from Conversions to Conversations
Mark concluded that eCommerce retailers must embrace social video as part of their overall marketing strategy throughout customer life cycle.
"I really think that product videos are a no brainer, and I honestly believe that every eCommerce retailer should be doing them. I can't think of any logical reasons now why they shouldn't. That being said, I think that there's many other opportunities around that and I think that if eCommerce retailers really want to embrace online video and really excel, they'll be doing video across the customer life cycle and that will lend itself better to social, that will lend itself better to search and helpfully we'll some interesting innovation there."

About Mark Robertson 
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. In addition to running Reel SEO, Mark is a popular web video consultant and has worked on digital-video initiatives with several major brands, including, Zappos.com. He is considered a leading expert within the digital video and search marketing industries and has had the pleasure of speaking at many conferences including Search Engine Strategies, Streaming Media, SMX,  PubCon, Video Commerce Summit, Online Video Platform Summit, Online Video Summit, and more…
Twitter @markrrobertson | Google Plus | Facebook | Linkedin | YouTube


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where's Klessblog?

For many of you who have followed this blog, you may have noticed that things have slowed down here a bit at Klessblog, and I wanted to take a moment to give an update on where I've been and what's happening here on the blog.

Over this past year, the number of posts I've written has decreased significantly, with only two posts each for the past few months, and that's mainly due to an extremely busy work schedule at my day job. For many in the corporate video sector, things tend to slow down in the summer as people cash in on their vacation time and break away from the daily grind. But things actually got busier for me and it looks like that's going to be a continued trend through the end of the year.

Outside of my busy work schedule, I've also been trying to spend more time with my family and less time online. So that's why you haven't heard much from me over the last few months, but that I plan to get back to blogging soon. I've got a lot of interviews I've been working on the last few months, mainly online video conversations with industry professionals and executives, and my goal is to publish each one I have in the works.

With that, here's a quick snapshot of who's coming up on Klessblog:

Many thanks to you all!

Cheers, Larry

Update: I added a few more names to the list of interviews I forgot to include in the original.