Will Amazon’s New Feature Reshape Online Advertising?

Image courtesy of variety.com
Image courtesy of variety.com

Amazon is attempting to revolutionize how we conduct our shopping, once again. They have recently created a section called Video Shorts, which offers a cool new idea. Every video on the page contains related items that you can purchase on the side of the webpage. Think of YouTube videos with a related items section on the sidebar. For example, if you were to choose a movie trailer to watch, you will find items relating to the movie. If you were excited about the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, you could type it in to the search to find the latest trailer. While watching the trailer, you can see related merchandise on the side, which can be purchased on the spot.

Image courtesy of amazon.com
Image courtesy of amazon.com

The Video Shorts currently do not share much information about the video itself. One problem that could occur for Amazon is that users of video streams like to see the number of video views, and Amazon does not include that feature. Fortunately, the view feature can most definitely be added in the future. Although this feature is sure to bring in extra income for the online mega retailer, the future application of this into other websites is even more exciting.

Browse through YouTube for a while, and you will see many comments asking what song was playing during the videos. What if you could buy the song, or the album, on the spot? There is an opportunity here for YouTube and other video streamers to bring in significantly more revenue with a similar feature to Amazon’s Video Shorts. Users can have similar products offered on almost every video available.

One reason behind the potential success of this application is the added convenience of the purchasing process. Through the elimination of multiple steps, including leaving the video page, Amazon and other online retailers will receive more revenue through sales.

User priming will also help to increase sales. Priming is a memory effect where exposure to a specific stimulus influences responses to other stimuli. For example, when you see a billboard for Benihana, you probably crave their food. Users will be primed to buy related products while watching the video. Making the purchasing step available while the priming is occurring is sure to incentivize viewers to make purchases.

Here is where things get tricky. Which online retailers would benefit from this? Let’s face it, if every online retailer added this option to their page, sales would remain the same. Retailers need major video streaming platforms for this to work. With Amazon Video Shorts, Amazon is the sole retailer, which makes sense because they are trying to increase their own sales. Amazon also has the unique advantage of offering a popular video streaming service.

When YouTube inevitably adopts a similar idea, which retailers get to place their products on the side of the video? Different departments would require different retailers, and some may even require multiple. For example, Amazon sells physical copies of video games while Valve’s successful Steam platform sells digital copies of games. On any videos relating to gaming, how would the related products section work?

The logistics may be complex, but it is still surprising that this feature has not become available before. While browsing video streaming websites, we are often forced to sit through advertisements before we watch the video. This ecommerce feature would benefit advertisers trying to target specific demographics. Users could also benefit because this feature would potentially make streaming advertisements obsolete. Will video streamers adopt this feature? Will Amazon reshape the way we shop…again? Only time will tell.

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