- Amazon is inviting a select group of its merchants in the pet supplies, baby products, housewares and electronics categories to join a test program to produce short promotional and instructional product videos timed to hit the website by mid-December for peak holiday shopping, per documents reviewed and reported on by Bloomberg. The goal of the video push is to prevent holiday shoppers from leaving Amazon's site for YouTube and Facebook to find product-related content.
- The Enhanced Brand Content video pilot program is geared toward smaller merchants in a wide range of categories that don't necessarily have large marketing budgets. The Bloomberg report provided two examples of videos posted via the program, including a demonstration of Coffee Gator's French press coffee maker and a "how to wash your face" video from a facial cleanser.
- The test program is also part of a larger plan to get more promotional videos on Amazon's website. Last week Ad Age reported that Amazon has been offering brands "premium" product pages for the last month that cost $500,000 covering all the participating brands' products. Features include wide-screen videos and interactive multi-media displays on those pages. Bose was cited as an early adopter of premium product pages.
YouTube is a popular destination for consumers looking for product-related content, such as how-tos, unboxing videos and user reviews. Amazon apparently wants a bigger piece of that action. A 2015 Google/Ipsos MediaCT report found that U.S. consumers watched 60 million hours of unboxing videos on YouTube and 64% of consumer electronics shoppers watch related product videos on the platform a week before making a purchase.
The Enhanced Brand Content video program could be valuable for Amazon because the holidays are its busiest time of year, with online sales expected to increase by as much as 21% to $114 billion this holiday season, according to Deloitte. The move also reflects Amazon's push into becoming more of a marketing and advertising platform as opposed to just a site for buying things.
Amazon has been actively taking steps to become more of a major player in digital advertising by executing a strategy similar to Facebook in looking for ways to keep people on its properties rather than skipping around social media and Google properties like YouTube. The Enhanced Brand Content video pilot program is clearly designed to keep shoppers on the e-commerce site and away from YouTube and Facebook. Given the importance of video content in digital advertising, it's easy to see how videos created by the program's partners could be turned into paid spots at some point.
Earlier this month, a CNBC report based on five anonymous sources from major advertising and media companies revealed that Amazon has been speaking with industry insiders about ramping up its advertising on video content, including how it would address brand safety issues and add original sponsored content from video creators and companies in a move to more directly compete with YouTube in digital content.
A recent indication that Amazon's advertising clout is growing was a study by ClickZ Intelligence and GroupM's Catalyst that found 63% of companies advertising on Amazon planned on increasing their budgets on the website, a higher percentage than for Google (54%), Facebook (53%) and both Twitter and Bing (less than 30% for both).