Monday, 27 September 2010

The Changing Face of Online Videos

The Internet is changing and so is the way we use it. Only a few years ago watching videos online could be a very frustrating experience. Long download times and poor quality videos when being streamed online made many people think that video wasn’t best suited to the internet.
When compared to a TV, it used to be a hands down competition that TV far out performs online videos. The size of the screen and the far superior quality has had the television leading the way, until now.

A technology just being rolled out is the introduction of internet TV, Google have just released Google TV and Apple are not far behind. A simple box that will plug into your current TV and then you’ll have the huge multimedia choice the internet can provide. No longer will you be restricted by a limited number of channels or timetabled listings but the ability to watch what you want when you want.

Predictions forecast that within three years time, an impressive 90% of all bandwidth used will be for the use of online videos. This isn’t hard to believe as videos are becoming more and more popular, not just for entertainment but as an important business tool.

The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is extremely poignant, as then, what’s that make a three minute video worth?

Videos are very helpful for businesses trying to sell their products and services. A video that will automatically start playing once you arrive on a website is far better at holding the viewers attention than an image or animated gif. As a visitor you’re eyes are instantly drawn to the video and for this reason it far out performs any standard image based web advert.

Videos that just play from start to finish are already seen as ‘passe’, the really interesting and engaging videos focus on user interaction. Some interesting examples out there include an interactive video CV, this video allows you to navigate around the video in a similar way one would navigate a website. Each separate section delves into the selected area of education or expertise, all sections are short videos filmed by the individual in question. Another impressive example found was on a companies website under the about us section. A video shows all the employees standing in front of you, by selecting certain individuals you animate them allowing them to speak and explain their job, likes etc. These new types of user interactive videos are definitely effective and allow the user more choice to feel part of the experience.

User engagement is a necessary tool for successful websites of the future.

Recent interactive video campaigns of note include Tippex’s ‘Shoot the bear’ video. The user gets to change what the hunter and bear do by entering a verb of choice.
An amusing advert that uses human interaction to great benefit. Old Spice also had an extremely lucrative video campaign involving an American football player in various different scenarios, the catch being that all the situations were dreamed up by members of the public.

There really are no limits to the possibility of interactive videos, the more original and innovative the better, they also have the potential to revolutionize user reviews and testimonials for all manner of products, experiences and services. An interesting and truly interactive future lies ahead.

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