Microsoft's Videosurf acquisition signifies a DR marketing breakthrough

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As we head into the long weekend, direct response marketers have something to be thankful for. Microsoft has acquired video search company Videosurf, both companies said Nov. 22. The $70 million acquisition signifies an investment by a major player in enabling consumers to “search, discover and watch online videos,” according to a ZDNet description of Videosurf's capabilities.

Microsoft isn't the only major advocate of Videosurf's technology. The technology company recently raised $28 million from Al Gore and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, among other investors.

CNET speculates Microsoft's investment will be used to improve Bing, the company's search engine. “VideoSurf allows users to search for video content around the Web from a host of sources, including Hulu, Dailymotion, Comedy Central, and others.

The site also surfaces content based on what's popular or recently viewed,” the CNET piece said.

The technology, if leveraged properly, would dramatically improve the ability for direct response marketers to reach new audiences. Today, consumers who are interested in a product search by keywords, and if they are lucky they are brought to a product page. More often than not the search drives consumers to a home page, where they click-through to a products page and then on to a product video.

As video search technology becomes more efficient, consumers will be able to search specific keywords and be driven directly to product videos that contain (or are optimized for) those exact terms.

Steve Pimsler, cofounder of direct response agency Karlin and Pimsler, says the acquisition is a win-win for marketers who specialize in video ads.

“Obviously I think the more access that we can get online for direct response is going to enhance the ability for our spots to reach another audience other than TV,” he explained. “Certainly if the video comes up in an indirect search, you win in that situation.”

Pimsler also said driving consumers from search engines directly to videos would enhance a marketer's ability to track who is watching videos, how they found the videos and whether or not they converted.

“To be able to track that there would be tremendous,” he said. “Right now we can track hits but to be able to connect that to search action would be tremendous.”

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