In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is tapping even more into online shopping and entertainment, so are e-businesses. Many have adapted by accelerating their digital-transformation plans; others are ramping up fast. Doubtless, although the tactics vary, video capabilities are garnering a lot of attention—and for good reason.
Currently, Cloudinary boasts a customer base of 7,000, with 800,000 users managing visual media on our AI platform. A remarkable trend indicator is that, between April and June, the overall video platform’s bandwidth grew by more than 140 percent. Many brands, such as Bleacher Report, Mediavine, Nintendo, Fiverr, Guess, Hinge, Finalsite, Outbrain, Salsify, and Taboola, are interacting with their audiences in a more in-depth and authentic manner through video. Of significant help is AI, which greatly simplifies cross-channel, resource-intensive workflows and collaboration in real time.
As background, the answers to these questions are illuminating:
- What motivates brands to step up their video initiatives?
- What exactly are brands doing with video?
- How exactly does AI help in streamlining the operations in a video-rich digital strategy?
The online user experience is all about attention. Given that the human eye is naturally drawn to visual content and that we remember such content much better than text, the “attention economy” is directly connected to and fostered by the “visual economy.”
According to SEMrush, 38 percent of retailer traffic originates from organic search. So, first and foremost, brands must ensure that they rank high in search results. That’s a complex undertaking, but a fundamental guideline to keep in mind is Forrester Research’s finding that content with video is 50 times more likely to make it to the first page of Google’s search results.
Why? Because video masterfully captures and retains viewer attention, and user experience is a priority factor for generating search-result rankings at Google. Specifically, video does the following:
- Captures attention by satisfying the desire for visual media and promising more details and insight than that from image galleries.
- Relays a complete brand story that differentiates you from the competition, with the flexibility of conveying many important messages in a single interaction.
- Transmits information efficiently through images slated for your narrative. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the average person takes more than three minutes to read a thousand words. The math just adds up.
- Tells stories visually and in depth, placing the viewer in the room where it happened by replicating the in-store experience in the e-commerce channel. For media companies, such as Bleacher Report, video plays a critical part in luminously showcasing the energy and excitement of in-game highlights and the emotion in athletes’ reactions.
- Builds trust and inspires confidence in the brand or purchase. The e-commerce channel’s capability that enables, through video, the sharing of user-generated testimonials and reviews amplifies this benefit.
Videos play a key role in product galleries, reviews, social-media advertising, and peer-to-peer messaging. The so-called “dark-social” conversation apps are where 77.5 percent of links are shared. To capitalize on that trend, many brands are coding URLs to unfurl with intelligent video previews to increase conversions from high-value peer recommendations.
Besides product demos and user reviews, brands are innovatively creating videos to visually tell shoppers entertaining stories. For example, product-unboxing footage has become massively popular, with more than 900,000 monthly searches on YouTube alone.
Similarly, brands are focusing on interactions with shoppers rather than regarding them as “touchpoints.” Many patrons are actively participating in the process as an enjoyable experience. In response, brands are affording them more control over the videos on e-commerce channels. For example, you can delve into any detail from any angle in 360-degree videos with a 4K-zoom capability. Furthermore, with shoppable videos, brands can showcase a series of products in a single flick, inspiring shoppers to browse the related product pages while watching the video.
Managing video to boost engagement with consumers is a complex task, requiring profound technical expertise. Gratifyingly, AI is becoming more mainstream to alleviate the operational complexity and improve the velocity and accuracy of videos by enabling smart search, workflows, and optimized storage. Teams and individuals alike can then collaborate or work independently to deploy videos for campaigns, landing pages, or promotion conduits.
In particular, AI performs two critical tasks:
- Optimally and responsively displays videos through automation according to the viewing device, browser, or channel, also taking into account the related bandwidth. Ultimately, AI delivers media in the most efficient format at the optimal quality and resolution.
- Detects the subject in an image that is most likely to capture a viewer’s attention as a basis for automated resizing and cropping of the video.
As video opportunities in e-commerce continue to emerge, Cloudinary will introduce features to help our customers avail of them efficiently. For details on our video platform’s current features and the ways in which we help brands grow their business through video, check out our pricing plans, including the free tier.