Who or what influences your decisions?

Originally posted by Tracy Walker

Who do you trust online? Is it brands, your friends, members of your community? Who influences you in what you buy, endorse, follow or like?

Would you prefer to be guided by a search engine algorithm from Google or by a friends 'Like' on Facebook or a 'Follow' on Google+?

Most of us now use community or consumer sites in one way or another, whether that's to check on hotel reviews via Trip Adviser, or simply using YouTube to check out the latest 'choon' from a band playing at a local venue. Other peoples' comments already influence our decision making process in one way or another.

In our increasingly lazy society do you think that video is going to outweigh our capacity to actually read online? Would you sooner watch a video to tell you about the latest innovation in digital cameras, or read a 3,000 word article? If brands get it right, video can convey a must buy, a not-to-be-missed opportunity, or even a life-style choice – you simply just have to connect with the viewer.

Let's face it most people only have time to read simple sound bites or chunks of information. We read the news online in summary form rather than buying a tabloid. Most people can only be bothered to write in 'txt spk' rather than formulate a full sentence in any media, let alone text messaging.

How much do you think video is going to influence our daily lives, our choices and our endorsements? Personally I strongly believe in the power of the visual and interactive engagement through video. In fact the CEO of YouTube recently claimed that 90% of all Internet traffic will be video in less than 5 years’ time. We are already seeing brands becoming more aware of this, by placing advertising at the beginning of music videos and film trailers. They can already see a benefit in this type of interaction.

However, this will largely be dependent on the rollout of strong Wi-Fi and broadband connections. The use of mobile and tablets will increase, leaving the use of laptops and PCs behind. So the demand for on the move video and TV streaming will become more relevant.

At the end of the day, people still sell to people. It is about making brands more human and engaging with their audience by using video and clever online interactivity. The continued use of personalisation through digital marketing will enable much more connection.

Sadly we are living in an increasingly listless age and although video will be an important influencing factor in marketing in the future, I do wonder if we will suffer as a result? Will we somehow lose the human touch and become more isolated in our virtual worlds? Let's hope not.