One of the biggest buzz-inducing topics at Vloggercon this weekend was the concept of product placement in online video content and how this ability to incorporate an advertiser’s message directly into the story might offer vlogs the greatest chance of winning traditional TV advertisers.  There are a few shows, like FrenchMaidTV or 88Slide that I think will succeed in the short term with making this happen.  But apart from being able to integrate products more fully into vlogs – this still does not take advantage of the unique benefits of the Internet.  What if products that were placed in these videos could be clickable?  See something you like, and just click it to get more information in real time, side by side with the content you are watching.  I met a few folks from the Netherlands (like Naftalie from Noterik) over the weekend that are working on technology that will enable this.  I know there are also several other startups working on a similar concept here in the US.  Despite the growing activity of people downloading video content to watch on non-connected portable media devices – such as the ipod, I think this technology has huge promise to change the way that advertising and product placement is done.  Here are three reasons why I think clickable video represents such a huge opportunity:

  1. Offers instant gratification for our consumer society – see something online that you like, and find out more about how you can get it right away.  This fits perfectly with our consumer society and the need to find the perfect product right away, as soon as we see it.
  2. Built for the multitasking generation – people are online simultaneously with doing many other activities these days, and watching video online is no different.  Clickable video allows you to let people interact with what they see while they continue to watch a video.
  3. Represents a non-intrusive and measurable standard – no more having to watch a 30 second spot as "payment" before seeing a video.  Clickable video represents a model that both advertisers and viewers can live with.  Don’t want advertising?  You’ll never see it if you don’t click.  Want more data beyond the impression?  Tie clicks all the way back to purchase to get these numbers.  This model could even enable pay-per-click ads in video.

I can’t wait for one or two companies to emerge with a winning technical solution for this.  From the vibe at Vloggercon, it’s clear I’m not the only one.