Video - and Online Video Platforms - Are Essential For Customer Engagement

Nick Barber

Video conveys emotion unlike text and can show features and functionality unlike any picture. That’s why retailers see nearly triple the conversion rate on product pages that have video versus those that don’t. Entering what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls “this new golden age of videos online,” companies and brands need an enterprise-class online video platform to deliver the video experiences that drive customer engagement.

 

In The Forrester Wave™: Online Video Platforms For Sales And Marketing, Q4 2016 we looked at nine vendors in the space--Adobe, Brightcove, IBM, Invodo, Kaltura, Ooyala, Qumu, uStudio, and Vidyard--and scored them against a list of 39 criteria.

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Videoconferencing Delays Cost You Millions

Nick Barber

Videoconferencing technology has the awesome power to connect teams separated by oceans or internal silos, but it’s still not frictionless. Technical difficulties that delay videoconferences account for millions of dollars a year in lost productivity. In our brief Start Your Videoconferences On Time, we take a look at some best practices to avoid productivity loss. Inside the report is an interactive calculator so that you can customize the scenario to your business and build the case for change.

 

 

From 2013 to 2015, the prevalence of web- and videoconferencing use by global information workers grew 40%, according to Forrester Business Technographics data. But companies have multiple VC vendors or don’t deploy it universally and that contributes to technical difficulties.

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Video Helps Your Customers In Their Moment Of Need

Nick Barber

Your customers use apps like Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, and Facetime to hold video calls and you should be using video to connect with them, too. In our report Now You See Me — Video Chat Improves The Customer Experience we found that retail, financial services, healthcare, and other verticals embrace video chat as a way to serve customers in their time of need and as a way to drive measureable ROI.

The cultural and technology barriers to easy video chat have come down in recent years. A UK-based bank deployed video chat for its advisors to use with high net worth clients. These clients, who are typically older, are just as familiar with video calling as their younger cohorts--they use Skype and Facetime to talk to children and grandchildren. On the technology end, a key enabler for video chat is WebRTC, which allows browser-based video conversations without the requirement for downloading plugins. A key driver to adoption is reducing friction.

UK footwear retailer Schuh expanded video chat by deploying it to mobile and increasing the number of video agents by 20% in two years. Video is now Schuh’s busiest customer service channel, eclipsing phone and text chat.

Video chat is useful across the customer journey. Agents can answer questions about a product, they can use co-browsing to help a customer navigate a site or find an item and they can answer questions about how to use a product once purchased.

Video chat endpoints diagram

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Short Form Product Video Can Be The Key To Converting Customers

Nick Barber

Marketers have a great arsenal of tools to drive conversions and now short form video needs to be part of that mix. Invest in it now to differentiate your business. Historically, video has been expensive to produce and manage, but that’s changed. It no longer costs a fortune to produce video content. In fact, some retailers added video production to their existing photography process and they’re using the same equipment. Online video platforms can track the performance of videos across multiple sites--not just your own--and how they influence customers. Because of this, video ranks among the top new initiatives where retailers plan to invest in 2016.

 

 

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Microsoft Stream Hopes To Shake Up EVP Market

Nick Barber

Microsoft Stream, the company’s enterprise video platform (EVP) bolted onto Office 365 could shake up the EVP market, but don’t jump in head first just yet.

 
 

Video used to be the domain of media and broadcasters, but now enterprises from healthcare to financial services have reason to be doing video. They can use video to connect internal employees and external prospects with the CEO during a live event. Or maybe HR needs to establish a centralized training channel.  

 

It makes sense for Microsoft to move into this market more robustly. It already has tens of millions of users on its Office 365 email and productivity suite so video is a logical step.

 

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Win Hearts and Minds With Livestreaming

Nick Barber

Over the next few weeks US voters will focus on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and their running mates at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Their messages will carry well beyond traditional TV with the help of livestreaming. The Republican National Convention in Cleveland will provide a 360 livestream. This will be one of the first high profile events streamed in 360 degrees. Twitter announced a deal with CBS to livestream the conventions whenever they are in session.

 

Image: Facebook Live has a map of every current live broadcast globally.

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Launch Your OTT App Faster

Nick Barber

When was the last time you watched OTT programming? If you’re a millennial there’s an overwhelming chance (89%) that you watched it in the last week. Amazon’s vice president of video wants to capture 100% of OTT services in the US and integrate them onto the Fire platform. That means Application Development & Delivery Professionals need to respond to and support this trend.


Amazon's Michael Paull speaking at NAB 2016. 

OTT or over-the-top lets you watch video (repurposed television programming or otherwise) through an app or device like a Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire or game console. They’re big with cord cutters, cord nevers and cord shavers as a way to reduce cost and increase selection. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, Michael Paull the vice president of digital video at Amazon discussed discussed an OTT push for the company, where he revealed his goal of signing up 100% of SVOD (subscription video on demand) services in the US.

As an AD&D pro you cannot ignore the implications of OTT. You need to answer these questions:

  • Will you partner? Amazon made it clear that it’s making a big push to consolidate OTT players. It has 30 US SVOD services on its Fire TV platform and it’s hoping to grow. Partnering can mean growing your audience, but splitting your revenue; surrendering about 30% is standard. 
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4K Applications Beyond Plain Television

Nick Barber

As we wrote in “Don’t Ignore 4K Like You Did 3D” the 4K format will be an important driver for technologies beyond just sharper TV shows and movies. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference I went hands on with the Mevo, a 4K camera that outputs a 720p feed and turns your phone into a control room. A single Mevo creates multiple shots and lets you cut between them or pan around the frame instead of moving the camera.   

Cameras and technologies like this are important to note for AD&D pros, because they may have to support them for internal company meetings or for external productions. It could mean a new workflow for producing video or perhaps beginning to support more frequent live broadcasts.  In my report I detailed how a single camera like this could replace multiple pan-tilt-zoom cameras, saving enterprises expensive hardware investments.  Here’s my demo video of the hardware and software that will be out this summer.  

And while we’re talking about 4K, let’s not forget that 8K is on the horizon, albeit a distant one. Canon had an 8K prototype television at its booth. There was even a magnifying glass so that you could see video in even more detail. One thing you didn’t see were pixels. Japan’s public broadcaster NHK is already piloting 8K broadcasts with a resolution of 7,680 x 4320 pixels in the coming years. Is there more after 8K? That seems to the maximum that our human eyes can discern so likely no.   
 
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4K Means More Than Just Cooler Movies

Nick Barber
The 4K revolution is coming. The format, which boasts four times the resolution of full high definition, will impact more than just the media and entertainment industries. 4K in the operating room could consolidate the myriad of displays into a single one thanks to the increased resolution. For sales and marketing it can create more convincing virtual reality experiences. And in enterprises it can enable better collaboration and reduced camera hardware costs for video conferencing. 
 
Read my full report on 4K.
 
With its increased resolution, 4K can make the picture look better, but the format creates specific challenges for online video platforms (OVPs) and content creators. 
 
The higher bit rates and larger files create a delivery problem that OVPs and a new codec can help solve. The format also requires more storage and specialized hardware for production and decoding. Android devices will play an important role in the 4K ecosystem because its chipset supports hardware decoding of H.265. 
 
4K will quicken the growth of virtual reality by delivering more immersive and lifelike experiences. With a higher resolution native video file, the resulting sliver delivered in VR will be higher resolution as well. 
 
 
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GoPro: What Happened To The Content Marketing Child Prodigy?

Ryan Skinner

GoPro’s like the preternaturally gifted kid at Content Marketing High. Its community of content creators churn out viral video clips like butter, and its online audiences are second only to Red Bull’s. The product’s actually a viral video machine, giving it this absurd business, marketing and content strategy alignment:

But all is not well with the valedictorian of Content Marketing High. Its market value has been decimated in the last half year, as its stock crumbled to less than 25% of its former self.

Given that this brand is such a content marketing wunderkind, anyone interested in content marketing has to ask himself: Is this a demonstration of content marketing’s impotence? I’ve asked another content marketing influencer, who wouldn’t really answer the question.*

My colleague, Ted Schadler, has the consumer electronics savoir-faire to diagnose GoPro’s real problem: The product has not become a mass market product; it’s been embraced almost exclusively by extreme sports stars and wanna-be’s.**

Powerful consumer electronics brands cannot
grow on snowboarders and skydivers alone.

GoPro’s success documenting inhuman feats by death-defying daredevils has come at the expense of documenting the content that real people might want to create from a first-person camera.

The brand is adjusting to the market headwinds by investing in its software, making it easier for anyone to upload and edit video footage. Democratizing its storytelling to appeal to everyman should get as much focus.

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