The State of Video for E-Commerce Retailers: Q4 2010 Report

The State of Video for E Commerce Retailers: Q4 2010 Report

Sunday Sky released their Q4 2010 research about video in eCommerce. I just managed to get into it and process the info so I could tell you about it. Their research looks at the top 50 online retailers and their use of video marketing in terms of overall usage, YouTube presence and website video seo. We already know that 75% of Super Bowl advertisers this year have YouTube channels, so let's see what the top 50 eCommerce leaders are doing with it.

Before you read on, if interested, we recommend that you read our write-ups of their previous "State of Video in E-Commerce" reports for Q2 2010 (E-Commerce Video SEO Snapshot Spells Huge Opportunity For Internet RetailersEcommerce Retailers Split On YouTube Usage = Opportunity) and Q3 2010 (E-Commerce Retailers – Active In Social Media But Lacking Mobile Video And HTML5.)

A rather large 40% of the top 50 online retailers have no significant video presence. Those that do have it, generally embed them and don't bother with SEO (tsk...tsk...). However, over the last two quarters YouTube views for those top 50 have doubled so well done in that regard. Three quarters of online retailers invest in product-specific videos, demonstrating user demand for these kind of videos and that's a pretty good percentage who are listening.

The State of Video for E Commerce Retailers: Q4 2010 Report

Taking a look at the top ten above you can see that Amazon is simply crushing everyone else in terms of number of videos. Overstock is doing a decent job of it as are HSN and QVC but even they [QVC] are about one-third of what Overstock has in terms of videos. Nike and Cabela's both hopped on the wagon and it seems like they are starting to get it. Meanwhile, Target seems to not quite get the whole online video thing. With the wide range of products they carry, they should be doing all sorts of online video. Granted it won't work for their book and music sections (though I could see some things working there), but lots of clothing and household items could do with some video I'm sure.

Still, a large 40% of the top 50 still have no video probably, though it says less than 10 in the chart. There is no separate category for none, so we'll say they all have none. Only 22% or 11 retailers, have more than 1000 videos. My question to Sunday Sky is, who's number 11? You gave us the top ten and should have at least mentioned number 11 since they had over 1000 videos. Perhaps it was HP, who was ousted from the chart.

Video usage for eCommerce

Sunday Sky found that the majority of online video usage in eCommerce is in product videos. Really that makes sense since it's far cooler to see the product in action than in a static image. Of course, that might not work for some condoms! Just making sure you're paying attention. 40% have videos in multiple product categories

The State of Video for E Commerce Retailers: Q4 2010 Report

Only 28% of online retailers researched had some video on their home page or a video-centric page while 38% used videos to teach the consumers something: how-to use a product, feature lists, technology explanations. Product demos we know work, proved that, I can see how-to videos that educate the shopper as being useful as well. If you have well-informed shoppers they might feel a sense of loyalty to you and therefore buy the products from you instead of another retailer.

Pop Goes the Embed Tab

While 70% of their subjects did embed video, an astounding 66% are using pop-ups to show video! Yuck! That's almost as bad, personally, as auto-play video ads down in the bottom corner of a site with the sound off, plus, not all that great for SEO I hear. 26% have videos that will open in another tab which I also don't understand. Could they not find space right on the product or category pages to include a video player?

I simply removed something at GDN to make room for a video player on the front page and we also have a video-centric page as well as pages for each video. I'm even considering putting video players on all of the game-specific pages as well.

Who's Got their Video SEO on?

Looking at that top ten again in terms of SEO and videos indexed instead of just uploaded we find that Amazon is also the master with every single of their 185,339 videos indexed. HSN also has all 29,620 of theirs indexed while Overstock has a mere 6,310 of their 46,000 plus videos indexed. Also doing well is Nike who have 100% indexed. After those few are companies with less than 1000 videos indexed including Apple, HP and Victoria's Secret who all seem like they would have thousands of videos uploaded and indexed but don't. 46% of the top 50 online retailers still have zero videos indexed. That's just poor work on their parts and only 30% have more than 10 indexed.

So it seems that while some are embracing online video, they don't have a clue how to do proper SEO for it. QVC had an astonishingly low five videos indexed by Google though they have some 17,822 online.

Who tops YouTube in eCommerce?

Surprisingly, Amazon does not top the YouTube chart, HSN does with 72,556 videos in their channel which is around 2.5x more than on their site. In fact, it looks like Amazon doesn't have any videos there. The only real change in this chart from Q3 2010 is that Nike went down and Dell and Toys R Us went up in terms of position on the table.

The State of Video for E Commerce Retailers: Q4 2010 Report

Notes from Sunday Sky on YouTube Usage:

  • Total number of views up 20% during Q4.
  • Significant boost for Target (+409% in Q4), Newegg (+133%)
  • HSN maintains huge lead position in number of videos, each with a link back to the corresponding product page

As I said earlier, the second half of 2010 saw a massive jump for top 50 eCommerce YouTube views to more than 369M for the 6-month period. 45 of 50 of the top eTailers have channels even though over 50% of all of them have less than 100 videos in their channels.

It's a Mixed Bag of Nuts

I find it hard to believe that online retailers take both so little care in video SEO and so little interest in utilizing online video. Plus, it's really astonishing how few of them have even embraced it at all. It seems to me that there must be a major lack of people knowledgeable in online video, its uses and benefits within the top 50 eCommerce firms. That makes me think that perhaps there's room for some business to be done with these firms. After stories about companies launching products with just online video as the marketing and advertising and how much online video increased purchase intent and online video is the most effective online ad format, how can they not be actively seeking to increase their online video usage? Perhaps I need to start looking into who on that list isn't and contact them about some consulting, right Mark?

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Posted in eCommerce Video
About the Author -
Christophor Rick is a freelance writer specializing in technology, new media, video games, IPTV, online video advertising and consumer electronics. His past work has included press releases, copy-writing, travel writing and journalism. He also writes novel-length and short fiction as part of Three-Faced Media . View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • treepodia

    Hi Christophor,

    This is an addendum to the last comment I left here (which is still in moderation).

    Reflecting on the problem of indexing videos, recently published the story of how eParty Unlimited, an online-only party supplies retailer, had all their videos indexed

    eParty Unlimited is a Treepodia client.
    Judging from the testimonial their CEO Jimmy Weng gives our service in the article, they're a very happy client as well.

    ; )
    SEA rep - Treepodia

    • Christophor Rick

      Far be it from me to slam anyone for shameless self promotion :D I do it all that time ;)

  • treepodia

    Hiya all,

    Always a pleasure reading these posts and the comments. Sundaysky is really doing a great service to the industry by putting out these stats for the community.

    Insofar as the problem of non-indexed videos is concerned it's really amazing to see how even those etailers that have adopted ecommerce video, still aren't getting the full advantages they should be from their adoption:

    "Overstock has a mere 6,310 of their 46,000 indexed" - that's only %13.7!

    What this actually means is that %86.3 of Overstocks videos are literally INVISIBLE.

    Such a waste...

    Forgive me while I go all self-promotional here, but this is exactly why we came out with our "Dynamic Video Sitemap" service - Etailers deserve to get the FULL ROI from their video investment, and it's ecommerce-video industry's leaders job to help them get there...

    More on the topic here:

    Cheers all,
    South East Asia agent -

  • Scott

    i wonder if a better metric would be to measure the % coverage of the retailers TOP 500 products by sales volume, rather than total product coverage, as you say, some products just wont need, justify or warrant a video right? If the retailer has 100% coverage of their top 500 products, I wonder what the conversion/viewing stats could be compared to say 25% coverage...

  • Antoine

    Of course, that might not work for some products…like condoms! Just making sure you’re paying attention


    • Christophor Rick

      Yes! Someone caught that! :D

  • zzarate

    nice post C-Rock. I pinged you something sweet.

  • Mark Robertson

    Right Chris

  • Yaniv

    Thanks Christophor! Great post.

    I also wanted to mention the impact of scaling video.
    We looked at HSN who clearly has a clear strategy on video.
    We've noticed that the “80-20 rule“ does not apply for videos:
    When looking at their top 50,000 videos, we see a pretty uniform distribution with more than 44% views for the 1000th video and below. In other words: if HSN had chosen not to scale beyond 1000 videos, they would have lost almost half of their traffic.

    More details in the report.


  • Mark R Robertson

    ping me too, I like sweets - mark AT ReelSEO DOT com