Exploring Video’s Impact on SMBs: Q&A with Brian Russell of MDS

Nearly 75% of all internet traffic will be video by 2017, according to Cisco, and most of that will be viewed on mobile devices by 2018. Billions of dollars are shifting, as online video becomes one of the fastest growing forms of digital media and the local/SMB space is helping drive this shift.

While conducting research for our latest report, “Local: Online Video’s Next Frontier,” we had a chance to discuss this shift to online video with Brian Russell, COO at Media Distribution Solutions (MDS), the providers of a private labeled wholesale turnkey video solution called BetterVideo. Brian offered some valuable insight into how online video is evolving in the SMB space:

What is sparking current local growth in online video?

There are several factors impacting the significant growth we are seeing in local online video.  The most evident is lower costs.  The digital agencies and media companies offering packages to local businesses are gaining access to high quality video solutions at extremely affordable rates.  Advances in technology have lowered the cost of entry for videographers and new software suites allow for the creation of extremely high quality videos for a fraction of what it cost just five years ago.  Highly scalable video solution providers are partnering with agencies and media companies to deliver a high quality, reliable, low cost solution.

Greater awareness is another key factor.  Media Distribution Solutions is working very closely with our partners to help them build a more “video” educated sales force.  Media Consultants are now able to educate advertisers on the availability of affordable video options and the variety of ways video can be used to help their business.  We are receiving terrific feedback that this education process is making a difference at all levels.

Another factor influencing growth is the surge in mobile video consumption.  As mobile video consumptions soars, locally targeted advertising opportunities grow alongside.  Today’s video advertising products such as YouTube’s TrueView offer tremendous targeting with an easy to understand product, “If the viewer skips your ad, you don’t pay”.  These products are delivering great results across both desktop and mobile devices.  It is dramatically easier for an advertiser to deliver a strong, engaging message on a smaller screen using video than it is with text.  As mobile devices and networks get faster, and video compression technology gets better, we’ll continue to see very large growth in this area.

Lastly, rich Content Marketing strategies that include multiple videos are being introduced to advertisers by their digital marketing solution providers.  These videos are being used on webpages and landing pages, Social Media campaigns, email campaigns, SEO strategies and lead generation campaigns.  Advertisers are no longer viewing video as just a single component, but now video is seen as a key ingredient in many of their online strategies.

What roadblocks are holding back local online video growth?

While we are experiencing tremendous growth, I think there a couple of factors that are keeping video from growing even faster.  The good news is that video is easy to understand, and advertisers can clearly see the benefits.  Products like paid keyword advertising on search engines (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and even Social Media Marketing are sometimes difficult to explain to small- to medium-sized business owners.

I have been fortunate enough to be a part of several successful ventures in the digital marketing space but lately I have said several times, “I love being in the video business, people understand what we do.”  I think it is fair to say that education is a limiting factor, and that the more people know about their options and opportunities, the more likely they are to embrace them.

I would take it a step further though and say that creating solutions that work together and build off the strengths of the individual components would catapult video to the next level.  Online video has an incredible ability to help improve the performance of so many other components of a digital marketing strategy that the development of solutions that truly leverage all of the benefits available through online video will skyrocket growth.

An example of this is SEO. Video content can consistently and dramatically improve organic page rank, but only if it is embedded and indexed properly on the page.  Video can improve time on site and decrease bounce rate, only if it is positioned properly on the page and loads quickly.  Video can produce significant improvements in email campaign open rates and click through, but again this must be done in a way that uses the strength of video – showing some motion.

Yes, we can continue to tell more people about the benefits of video and the different options and price points available, but when we start to weave the benefits of online video throughout all of the other pieces in the digital marketing solution we will truly see explosive growth.

What does the future hold for local online video?

The future looks very bright.  As little as ten years ago SMBs were trying to understand if they needed a website, now it goes without saying that not only do they need a website, but it also must be mobile friendly.  Today many advertisers are adding a single video to their site, but in the future they will have a library of video content to describe their products, talk about their specials, answer frequently asked questions and deliver testimonials from satisfied customers.

As digital solutions embrace all of the benefits of online video and consumers watch more and more video content we’ll see incredible growth in the space.  Programmatic video advertising and the availability of quality local inventory at a reasonable price point will allow local businesses to get their message in front of the consumers they want on the desktop, mobile, and cable TV.

Online video will become a key pillar in the digital advertising strategy of local businesses.

Brian will also be speaking at our upcoming Fast Forward Video Summit in Chicago August 18-19. To learn more click here.

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