Waitrose: Leading the way with online channel Waitrose TV

A new report by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) reveals that 75% of advertisers expect digital video to be as important as TV within five years. That’s a big prediction, but the statistics speak for themselves: digital ad spend was up 15% in 2013 and video spend up 68%. Within that, fmcg is the biggest-spending and the fastest-growing sector to use pre-roll in the UK, up 18% year-on-year.

This seems a logical development of the way advertising is planned, as online spend is more accountable and targeted. Consumers now regard video as a highly compelling, mainstream medium. Recent research by content agency Seven showed over 40% of consumers were able to recall, on prompting, seeing a specific original branded video online.

Content has always been key to real engagement with consumers. It is essential to bringing websites to life, especially when those websites are acting as ‘catalogues’. Waitrose is leading the way here with its online video channel Waitrose TV. It has also announced a new ad-funded programme, Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose, in partnership with Channel 4. Its latest online sales numbers show growth of 79% on the quarter. That testifies, at least in part, to the benefits of using video correctly.

The opportunities for brands and retailers to work together to inspire and inform their audiences are enormous. I believe retailers, in particular, will learn the craft of communicating in video and adopt the trade of the media owner.

Video can benefit every online product and category page, guiding buyers and helping convert engagement to purchase. ASOS has done this well for some time while Marks & Spencer’s newly designed website, with content and video at its heart, is another example of the investment that retailers are making.

But it’s not just about online usage. Video content can drive engagement and purchase in-store and in outdoor spaces via digital screens. It can create a position from which to advise and engage the consumer through new and existing channels, delivering in a big way for both the bottom line and brand perception.

Tom Laidlaw is CEO of Videojug Networks