Amazon has been offering its customers the opportunity to upload video product reviews for years, but peruse the site and you'll see that text reviews still dominate, with only a scattering of videos. No doubt recognizing how powerful video has become, it looks like Amazon may be putting a new emphasis on video product reviews. In an email I received yesterday from the company (which millions of other Amazon customers are likely receiving as well), the subject line read "Review your recent purchases at Amazon.com," with a large callout:
"New on Amazon! Grab your video camera or webcam and add video to your customer review. Click on "Review this product" above to upload a video or find a different product to review"
To be accurate, video reviews aren't a new feature on Amazon, though clearly they haven't been used much; for the 3 products I had bought, all had a healthy number of text reviews, but none had any video.
Amazon is smart to be doing this, as users are getting more and more accustomed to watching video online and on mobile devices. Video offers the same valuable authenticity as text, but with the added benefits of seeing the actual product, while also getting a better sense of the reviewer himself/herself. This improves trust in the reviewer, which in turn improves the validity of the review itself.
Video reviews have been around for a while, and EXPO is the heavyweight in the space, having created an entire network around them. The company has also done some interesting research showing the effectiveness of video reviews in driving sales effectiveness. I'm guessing Amazon has also tested the value of video reviews and this is contributing to their renewed promotion.
(If you want to see what a video review looks like on Amazon, check this one out, about half-way down the page)