Thursday, September 25, 2008

Generic local business videos: will these work?

Local business directory site MerchantCircle has teamed up with Spotzer to offer small businesses semi-customized video ads. These ads are displayed alongside the company's details on the MerchantCircle site. You can see an example of these ads on this listing for Jump Palace in California.

Although we like the idea of offering businesses the ability to add videos to their business listings on the Nelso sites (check out this video for the Museum of Communism in Prague), we wonder if the generic videos that MerchantCircle is providing will be effective.

Take the case of the Jump Palace ad mentioned above. The entire text of the voiceover for the ad is "Looking for something a bit more entertaining?", and then the name and address of the company is shown on a black background for the last few seconds of the ad. What exactly this company does or why I should buy from them is not mentioned, because this ad was not made specifically for Jump Palace - they simply chose from a catalog of pre-prepared ads with generic voiceovers, and then added the company name to the end of the ad.

Will these work? Do users like video so much that they'll watch a video that really has nothing much to do with the company being advertised? Probably yes. We find it hard to believe that MerchantCircle and Spotzer would bother with these kinds of videos/ads if they didn't work. Users must like them for this campaign to make sense. According to MerchantCircle, more than 2,000 businesses have put together these generic business videos, so obviously businesses like them.

We find this very encouraging. We have started to offer businesses professionally produced, custom-made videos, and for the attractive price of free. If generic ads will appeal to consumers, then our custom produced, information-packed videos should perform even better.

Via Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide

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