Video is a new buzzword in the online industry. Clients are talking about it, industry bods are talking about it, and a whole host of online video streaming ‘specialists’ seem to have appeared out of a poof of a dry ice machine. And with Google Universal just around the corner, indexing videos along with news and images in the main search results, it’s no wonder why.
Here at I-COM, the use of video in websites is nothing necessarily new. We’ve been doing it for ages – incorporating help and advice videos into clients’ websites, and with our own website www.i-com.net containing mini-videos in the place of header images.
But how significant are videos in websites? Are they just a short-lived fad, soon to
become a particularly short frame in amongst a myriad of other in a cheesy, backing-tracked montage sequence?
The important thing to note here is that videos are no use if they are simply for video’s sake. Particularly good use of videos as spotted by the eagle eyes at I-COM include product demonstrations and ‘call to action’ as implemented by Barack Obama on his campaign website.
Another one of my particular favourite uses of video online are the catwalk videos for individual items of clothing on two of the UK’s largest and most well-established fashion retail companies: ASOS.com and Next.co.uk. With a clear view of the front, back and side view of the product (albeit on a particularly slim and gorgeous model), it is an infinitely more realistic view of the item than provided by yesteryear’s 2D photograph. What more could a clothes-mad account manager want from a fashion e-commerce site?!
But is the buzz surrounding videos for these uses simply down to the novelty factor? Surely the all important ingredients of price, product variety and product quality still apply? Whether or not videos will prove their worth in terms of conversions – ie. converting visitors to the site and therefore video viewers into actual purchases – remains to be seen. One thing’s for certain - with 1.31% of all UK internet traffic in March ‘08 being attributed to YouTube, it seems that Britain’s love of video is here to stay.