While content strategies come and go with each passing year, we are now witnessing a rapid shift in the infrastructure of how marketers craft and deliver messages to their audiences online using video technology. Moving away from the text-based, static platform designed by members of Generation X, the internet as a delivery platform is finally adapting to the needs and inherent expectations of its younger, more prolific users of Generation Y and Z.
The 30+-year-old e-commerce and online marketing systems were designed for desktop computers with large screens and slow processing capabilities, and catered to users with attention spans more robust than many of today’s users. The vast majority of early-stage digital marketers simply used the tactics that worked in the offline world and digitized them to fit on websites. It’s no wonder that banner ads, classifieds, and the odd, high budget commercial were the extent of digital marketing for the past few decades — a time when customer ad recall surveys were about the best ROI metrics marketers had access to.
And while the scale of visitors and money changing hands has exponentially increased, the legacy of these marketing tactics lives on in even the biggest e-commerce ecosystems. While visiting a site like Amazon today feels and looks better than it did 10 years ago, it’s still operating on a content model that predates a unified Berlin.
The Small Screen
Younger buyers have grown up as digital natives, and as a result, are much more aware of the courting tactics brands use online to capture their attention and dollars. Those who have grown up being bombarded by ads and messages their entire lives have adapted by shortening the time they are willing to engage with content and by raising their expectations for engaging media.
A majority of the internet is still not optimized for browsing on a smartphone. And yet, the vast majority of e-commerce dollars flows through mobile devices. Sites that have gotten it right, like the most popular social media platforms, engage Gen Z/Y audiences in a way that is customized, compelling and convenient. Social media platforms, especially visually driven ones like Instagram, have become so engaging and sophisticated, shopping on a comparatively lackluster e-commerce platform can feel like a chore. E-commerce and online marketing need an entirely new buyer experience.
The new rules (and opportunities) of the internet
Digital marketers have found themselves in a situation where complacency is the worst option on the table. Younger generations are influencing both their tastes and preferences on the market, and they have consistently demonstrated and rewarded content that they find valuable and/or engaging. Video content has consistently proven to outperform static text across all markets and mediums, and marketers have been aware of it for years.
The problem lies in the perceived barriers that have kept marketers and brands from utilizing video at the scale needed to reach their customers. For many years, producing (quality) video content was something that could only be contracted out to an agency or paid for in-house in an expensive and time-consuming process.
The time, cost, and complexity of traditional video production simply are not scalable. And although these barriers are still perceived by many, technological advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have been clearing these hurdles for years, allowing access to a simple, affordable, and a scalable video solution.
Artificial intelligence is rewriting the paradigm of video creation for the entire internet. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, new A.I. algorithms can generate stunningly creative videos from static visual and textual content. A.I. videofication is a process that automatically gathers text and images (think logos and products) and generates short videos that capture shoppers’ attention and allow for a more natural engagement with the site.
Videofication doesn’t operate in units of hours and thousands of dollars, but seconds and cents.
The new form of content creation simply analyzes what is written in a product description, for example, and uses that data to guide a process that produces a highly polished and effective video.
By effectively removing the manual processes involved in producing the most engaging content on the web, videofication is a scalable solution for the new internet’s biggest content challenges. Early adopters are gaining access to personalized videos, quickly adapting or multivariate testing, and a real reason for picky users to engage with them.
Already, in videofication’s early stage, we are seeing adoption in a number of industry verticals, from travel experiences, to e-commerce sites and advertising platforms. Small players who adapt to this new way of communicating and reaching audiences have the opportunity to dethrone the leaders who are unwilling to replace their legacy systems of engagement. Right now, it’s truly anyone’s game, and its rules are yours to write.