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How video conquered the web and is destroying retail

Wednesday 28 February 2018

ON THE day that Toys R Us and Maplin go into administration digital marketing expert says that online video is partly to blame.

Alex Connock, previously Head of Video at LADbible is now a visiting professor at the University of Salford Business School. He also runs Missile, a digital content creation agency.

In an article published in The Conversation he writes about how online video is changing the worlds of TV, advertising and retail.

Alex said: “Tech disrupts most industries - Spotify and music, Uber and taxis - but at least it has the good manners to smash them up one at a time. 

“Even in this disruptive era, one innovation stands out, because it risks rendering obsolete three major 20th century industries at once - retail, advertising and commercial TV. The culprit? E-commerce video.

“The videos are stylish, usually subtitled (most online video viewing is done mute) and short - and targeted specifically at you. Almost every consumer brand is using them.

“Video is disrupting retail because it works. It makes people more likely to buy stuff than simple product listings or photos, let alone a trip down the High Street and the impact has been seen today with the news about Toy R Us and Maplin. 29% of people in a survey I ran with Ipsos Mori 
had already bought because of it. And as the e-commerce industry surges this year to an astonishing $2.7 trillion in 2018 - including for instance 19% of all Chinese retail sales - video is here to stay. Video itself was 74% of all online traffic in 2017.

“Video is also disrupting the advertising industry, because e-commerce companies are disintermediating agencies and using their own in-house production companies to produce it instead. Fast-growth UK e-commerce companies like online retailer have their own internal teams, making their videos faster, more client responsive and more integrated into the real time management of items than any standard external agency could achieve.

“Most intriguingly of all, e-commerce is about to deal yet another blow to the millennially challenged world of broadcast TV advertising - and change the business models of channels like ITV, already hit by general diversion of marketing budgets to Google keywords, and subscription rivals like Netflix. Hyper-targeted real-time and engaging video, served to the precise audience you want, is a precision tool as differentiated from broadcast TV adverts, as a medieval siege cannon was from a Predator drone strike.

“The attention economy is now measured in the ‘flick’, Facebook’s new unit of time. Anyone who has seen a teenager parsing their Snapchat feed will know how short that is.

“But understanding what drives people during the flick to stay and buy could be one of the most existential questions for retailers, advertisers and TV channels of the next decade.

“Whoever cracks that global creative challenge will become very, very rich. And then lots of brands will fill up their social feed with targeted shopping videos.”

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Sam Wood

0161 295 5361