NEW YORK, United States — “Moving image is the future of fashion communication.” It’s a mantra we’ve been hearing from influencers across the industry. Indeed, the number of unique viewers of online video has increased 10.5 percent year-over-year, according to The Nielsen Company, from 127.6 million unique viewers in February 2009 to 141 million in February 2010.
With this kind of reach and rapid growth, it’s no surprise that both fashion brands and publishers are investing in short digital films shot by some of the world’s best photographers and directors.
But while these videos have proven to be powerful and cost effective vehicles for creating emotional connections and buzz online, it’s been difficult to directly tie them to sales figures — until now.
Thanks to a tool called Pokeware, which lets consumers explore and shop products featured in a video, brands can better track and monetise their video content. “Viewers who are interested in elements within the programming (an article of clothing, or an accessory) can explore these items just by clicking,” said Quynh Mai, the founder of Moving Image & Content, a New York-based company that creates and distributes video content and has exclusive rights to deploy the Pokeware technology in the luxury, fashion and beauty industries.
Pokeware has previously been used by powerful media companies like MTV, ESPN and Paramount Pictures. But in March, London-based magazine Dazed & Confused used Pokeware to embed product information about clothing into a video trailer for its March issue.
“On every printed page of a magazine, there is always a credit telling the consumer what the subject in the image is wearing, and sometimes how much [it costs] and where to buy it. Dazed did the same thing, but the content was video and the medium was online,” explained Mai.
“Pokeware helps shrink the distance between desire and consumption down to one click,” she said. Indeed, the technology has the potential to transform glossy short films and videos into highly engaging virtual storefronts.
While sites like Fashionair have broken ground in the way they present shopable products alongside associated editorial content, Pokeware can make the integration more seamless than ever. The tool can also help brands track consumer interaction and performance metrics like click through rates.
But Pokeware isn’t the only player in the video “hotspotting” and metrics marketplace. Clikthrough enables users to browse and buy products like Dior jeans, Adidas trainers and Alexander McQueen sweaters that appear in music videos, while Conciseclick has created interactive videos for Estee Lauder and Mattel.
That said, what makes Pokeware particularly interesting is this: on their website, Moving Image & Content claims that “once affixed to our partner’s content, Pokeware cannot be separated from it, regardless of where and how it is distributed … across all digital media.”
While YouTube runs click-through advertising of its own and generally disables videos that connect to outside urls, with the proper deals in place, this is the kind of technology that could turn a viral video into a virtual shopping spree.
Robert Cordero is a contributing editor of The Business of Fashion