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'Shopable' Content: The Next Big Thing for Online Video or a Flash in the Pan?

We all love a good bit of video content. Whether in the office, on the move or at home with our family and friends, we enjoy being entertained and this is unlikely to change.

2012 has been a huge year for online video content. First there was Kony 2012, then Bodyform's Bodyform Responds and finally, the most viewed video of the year -- PSY's Gangnam Style. 2013 looks set to be even bigger.

2013 will not just be about the must view videos though. It will be about offering us another way to buy the things we want. Like with ASOS -- which gives us the chance to buy the things we see our idols wearing -- the videos being produced in 2013 will enable us to get easier access to the items we want to buy.

Sounds good, but is it really?

As one of the new breed of video makers, I love that there are new innovations out there. However, all too often, as both a part of the industry and a consumer, I wonder why a company has made a particular video clip.

New technologies, such as 'click to buy' that turn regular content into 'shopable' content, where with a single click you can go from the video clip straight to the relevant page of the site (see ASOS' campaign here if you're unfamiliar with it) will be great. However, my fear both as a consumer and a video maker is that this new technology will be priorities over the content's quality. When you consider that, whilst 90 percent of all shopping still takes place in-store, digital now influences more than 50 percent of all sales it is clear that the quality of the content is far more important than the technology behind the video.

When I watch a video I want to feel like I'm getting added value - entertainment, additional experiences or an insight into the brand behind the scenes. I don't believe I'm alone in this. Indeed, you only have to look at the popularity of the growing number of "making of" films and clips about product provenance to see that showing more of a brand's core values can be as effective, if not more so, than using new technologies to make their video more shiny and bright than their competitors.

There is one question I ask when I go to watch a video. This is also the question I ask when creating a video for clients. The question - Why would I/consumers want to watch it? Far too often brands make the old mistake of thinking about what they should say rather than why any audience would want to listen. This is where they need to focus as we enter 2013.

Of course, new technology that makes it easier to get the things I want has an appeal but this is, and should be, an added benefit, not the focus of the content. In 2013 I would far prefer to brands to invest in building a stronger relationship with me. Indeed, giving me more content that I will enjoy as I would any TV programme or film, will make me far more likely to go and find additional information on that particular brand and seek out ways to buy from them.

Those brands that create compelling video content that shows they have thought about why I should engage with them (and why I should engage with them again and again) will be the ones that get my attention in 2013. They will also be the brands that I will look to to offer me 'shopable content' when the time is right.

For me that time is not now. As the advertising legend John Hegarty puts it, I'm the 'audience' not the 'consumer' and as such I want video content whose purpose is clear and offers entertainment and additional value rather than just the latest, shiniest clickable technology.

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