The maturing of the integration of video across platforms is creating exciting marketing possibilities for reaching tech-savvy consumers.
— By Karen White
The convergence of television and mobile technology is producing new market dynamics and exciting marketing opportunities. This is particularly true in the use of video across platforms as consumers are increasingly able to free themselves of the television and still watch favorite shows on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. As consumer habits and preferences change, so must marketing approaches. There are many implications for businesses that want to remain competitive, including the need to develop advertising campaigns for a variety of platforms and to make use of new video technologies like augmented reality. Eventually, there is likely to be total integration of television and online video advertising so grasping the possibilities now is critical to sustainable competitiveness. Video across platforms gives marketers the ability to access a broader market and reach consumers who want their information quickly delivered in an entertaining manner and on their own terms.
It should be noted that many companies make the mistake of concentrating on one source of digital media for video. This can be a costly error because, as video technology continues to advance, a large mobile market segment may never hear the message. Companies need to understand the importance of diversifying communication and marketing methods to reach a technology experienced marketplace.
Moving Down a Path towards Convergence
Traditionally, advertising budgets for large corporations were largely committed to television marketing directed at a captive audience. Nielsen recently reported that each month consumers still spend almost 147 hours watching video on television. Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, provides market research, insights and data about what people watch and what people buy. Obviously, some of the time is devoted to commercials. Nielsen also found that consumers are watching 12 hours of video online each month using various devices. The shift from television to video advertising is accelerating towards a point of convergence to a “platform-agnostic video path.”
Technology advances are rapidly changing consumer viewing habits. The company using mostly traditional advertising methods is likely not reaching many of the desired viewers. Even television viewing habits are changing as the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) makes it possible for people with busy lifestyles to record their shows and fast forward past commercials during playback. Viewers are also taking advantage of on-demand services and are watching their favorite programs on a variety of mobile devices rather than on television. Television technology is adapting as it becomes increasingly integrated with wireless and broadband technologies. To reach the greatest number of consumers requires accommodating these dynamics.
People are watching their favorite programs from streamed video sources like Hulu and Netflix, and a growing number of other sources. Hulu gives a glimpse of where video advertising convergence is headed. It is an online video service that streams television shows, movies, and clips, and the free version is ad supported. For a small subscription price, viewers can watch premium programming on smartphones, internet-connected televisions, set top boxes, game consoles, and tablets. There are commercial breaks, but there are choices-based advertising formats that let consumers choose which ad they want to watch.
Integrating Video and the Real World
Since 2011, more smart phones have been sold than personal computers. More people are “tapping” on mobile phones and tablets, instead of “clicking” on personal computers. Video across platforms does not stop at merely running commercials online. Tech developers have integrated apps (applications) and video, and increasingly, augmented reality is used to personalize the marketing experience. One of the issues Nielsen said still troubled consumers was the lack of the “human touch” in the automated selling and buying process using digital ads. Augmented reality addresses that issue.
Businesses of all sizes are developing apps. When customers and potential customers download a business app, the consumer is taken directly to the website where products, services, slogans, and logos enter the consumer’s world. Modern mobile phone and tablet computer technology already have all the components for interactive technology. Many companies are using augmented reality to greatly enhance communications and marketing by adding a personal touch to the experience. Augmented reality allows the viewer to become a part of the video by combining a real-world environment with computer generated images. Tap the app, and the consumer is taken to an augmented reality video where the real world and the digital world unite. Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
Companies are using augmented reality in a variety of ways, including for virtual tours and product reviews. Audi created augmented reality owner manuals for cars. Home furnishings giant IKEA has developed a mobile phone app that lets customers place IKEA products in their real-world rooms by using a smart phone. It is possible to rearrange furniture and room accessories in a three dimensional space with 360 degree views. Innovations like this sell more goods, lower the number of product returns, and enhance customer satisfaction.
Going Online in the 21st Century
Augmented reality is still an emerging technology, but there is no doubt it represents the next wave of video technology. The more mature technologies offer numerous opportunities for businesses to use digital videos to advertise, enhance brand recognition, engage customers, and deliver higher quality customer services. Web-based videos are used on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, websites, smartphones, and other mobile technology. Companies can also use video across platforms to attract new talent, improve staff engagement, enhance employee performance in the field (i.e. sales videos or repair manual videos), and give staff access to training anytime and anyplace. Ultimately, the value proposition of using video across platforms is economic and flows right to the bottom line.
Closely examine your video marketing and communication strategies and ask: Is the business reaching its entire market segment? Chances are the answer is “no” if video is not used to attract and engage technically competent consumers. Talking about topics like augmented reality has a tendency to make the technology seem like it is primarily applicable to companies with large advertising and software budgets. However, video across platforms can be as simple as producing a YouTube video that can be accessed on multiple devices. Video technology is easily available to all business of all sizes.