Google’s Video Gamble

Google invested heavily in the popularity of video with their YouTub acquisition, will it pay off or was it a desperate gamble?

Video is compelling and it is easy to make the comparison between ‘old Media’ television conglomorates and Youtube–video, ads and audience, but another significant trend is playing itself out in the internet world.  Trust is shifting from corporate web sites supported by Google or other search engine services providers and Social Media.

The SEO or search engine entrepreneurs who made huge profits by educating companies about the ‘value of search’ and search engine optimization and later by ‘claiming’ domain names appear to be erroding the value of SEO for brand marketers who find it difficult to displace them from the top Google page rank in ‘organic’ or free search.  Likewise ‘searchers’ or people that look for information or products in search engines have noticed that the same companies who spend heavily on advertising rank highly as the ‘answer’ to their question.  This lack of trust or perhaps credibility related to the search engine ‘results’ has motivated and accelerated the movement towards Social Media to the point where over half of all searchers today by-pass the search engines.

SEO Gurus and Video

The movement towards Social Media and parallel movement away from SEO has dropped the profits for Googles search engine partners and it appears that Video may be the new or re-newed focus.  Since early 2010 the SEO folks that have supported Google in the past 5 years have been nudged towards creating video for YouTube posting and Google offers many courses on how to best create, tage and post video for high search engine results visibility.

Video and Value

While there is almost an unlimited amount of video today it is an open question as to how valuable it is given the time needed to create and support it.  One thing that most people discovered is that content, simple text and images, had to change very fast as the people that needed information or products had changing needs.  Indeed it is very difficult for manufacturers of content or products to keep up to the onslaught of new content needs.

Video takes more time and resources to create and view so the assessment of wether it would add new value is a risky one.

Twitter Innovation

Twitter is the wildcard that no SEO analyst would have predicted as by leveraging the user interface of the mobile phone, essentially an 140 character SMS application, Twitter had a means to avoid SEO spamming and reach a global audience with a familiarity unmatched by the search engines–conversations.

As mobile phones become the preferred Social Media windows, just as the Blackberry is the preferred email window, the relevance of search engines and SEO which delivers thousands if not millions of ‘results’, errodes.  Mobile will undo SEO and change search engine economics very quickly.

Mobile and Old Media

In our experience video is a nice complement to content or product manufacturers and practically valueless to content or product seekers–too much time to find, view and assess.  It does however provide entertainment and an alternative to ‘old Media’.  Companies like Google perform significant analysis before acquiring other companies and business models and we may see whether their YouTube investment was a shrewd buy or gamble in the next year or two.


Nick Trendov 


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