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Video On The Mobile Web

January 25th, 2011 by clif Bookmark and Share

The mobile web presents fantastic opportunities to interact and forge strong bonds with customers of all types, and any video marketing strategy needs to consider how to reach the mobile web if it wants to achieve maximum success.

Think how a series of short videos detailing the pluses and minuses of various TV sets could aid a buyer standing in a Best Buy. No longer would you be dependent on extensive, pre-shopping research, which, at it’s best, is an abstraction when compared with staring at the actual unit and experiencing its performance.  You also wouldn’t find yourself at the mercy of the in-store salesman and his spiel. You would be liberated by an objective voice to make an informed choice based on your needs and pocketbook. Videos like this could be a great way for a cable company or other pipeline provider to build rapport with prospective customers. Maybe even Best Buy should try it.

On the other hand, if you’re Sony, mobile video would be an ideal way to get a last pitch in before the consumer puts down their credit card. Perhaps you could offer incentives (think discounts) that would sway their buying decision, or add value to their purchase by linking it to a bundled value on several products.

The possibilities for video on the mobile web are truly endless. Regardless of whether you sell products or services, nothing makes a stronger connection with your customers than effective video.

If you’re a business thinking about deploying video, realize that it’s more than a marketing tool — it’s a customer relations strategy. Here are a few things to take into account when considering mobile video.

First off, standards for delivering video over the mobile web are still up in the air. For quite a while, the de facto video standard has been Adobe’s Flash. Apple has worked very hard to change that.

There are two big issues with Flash.

First, Google’s spiders can’t crawl Flash, so your video content only gets factored into your SEO via your sitemap, metatags, or, if you’re really committed, transcripts of the video incorporated into your website’s back end.

Therefore, Flash, in and of itself, cannot help boost your page rank. The importance of coming up on the first page of a Google search is impossible to overstate. No one goes to page two.

Second, Flash can take a great deal of time to load because it requires a plug-in to be viewable. This takes you off your page to view the video. Despite this, the majority of web video is still Flash video.

Apple and Google (Apple in particular) have been pushing for the widespread adoption of HTML5 as their answer to Flash. In fact, it’s a war.

The advantage of HTML5 is that video becomes part of the programming structure instead of requiring a plug-in the way Flash does. The result is faster and smoother video play that is Google friendly in terms of SEO.

The main drawback to HTML5, at this point, is that it only plays on Apple devices and some using Android. In all, only about 38% of the mobile market can be reached with video using HTML5. If you’re looking to reach 100% of those mobile devices  (And really, who isn’t?), using HTML5 will still require you to have a separate player to deliver your video in the Flash format.

This gets complicated in terms of programming and can increase the cost of video delivery because you have to support more than one platform to reach 100% of market with each format and the respective codecs that skin your video. As it will be some time before the format wars are over, this is an unavoidable inconvenience, but one that is worth it when you consider the penetration of video.

There are also turnkey solutions to this conundrum like Brightcove, a company that can handle all your video needs seamlessly, but also charges for the use of their proprietary player. While these charges are scalable depending on features and use, they can be considerable.

Nonetheless, whether you have your web developer program for Flash and HTML5 or employ a third party solution like Brightcove, it is critical to start thinking about and implementing a video strategy.

Over 51% of all searches are now video. Companies with strong video strategies made two billion dollars over the past Christmas holiday. Two billion! It is no longer possible, given these numbers, to sit on the sideline.

The technological hurdles to mobile video can be overcome, and, since mobile is where the web is moving, if you don’t already have one in place, start working on a video strategy to boost your revenue and thrive in this environment.

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