Google is boosting video with new video carousels

Over the past few days, we have begun to see a new and powerful feature in Google search results.

Instead of showing video results as before, they are now presented in a video carousel. This means that  searchers see three videos in a box, with the ability to scroll and see additional videos. (Note that Bing rolled out a similar feature weeks ago!)

The following carousel, for example, now appears in searches for “Apple”:

This is the one appearing for “tootsie rolls”:

These video boxes also impact how people see important topics like GMOs:

Interestingly, this new video box doesn’t just appear for topics where video is an obvious result; we are also seeing video carousels on page 1 for many of our clients. For example, we see it for Fortune 500 companies and their CEOs, hedge funds and their managers, hospitality brands, financial institutions, and high net worth individuals.

The videos in the carousel are sourced from sites like YouTube as well as the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Yahoo Finance. In many cases, the videos are being sourced from the brand’s official website as well.

Google has just given brands the equivalent of $1,000s in free video advertising – if they know how to leverage this new feature!

Some thoughts on what this means:

  • With more clicks going to video than before, brands that weren’t previously harnessing the power of video will want to consider an appropriate strategy.
  • Brands that have preferred video content should use best practices to ensure their preferred videos appear prominently. This is likely to require an ongoing effort, as the algorithm governing the choice of videos is new – not the one that determines the order in Google’s video search.
  • This is a reminder to brands to ensure that their onsite video content is being properly crawled, cached, and indexed.
  • The thumbnail image of a brand’s videos is now part of the first page of results. This means that it is time for brands to revisit these and to make them optimal for branding and to attract clicks.

There are still some kinks for Google to iron out. In a few cases, we saw the same video appear multiple times in the carousel, sourced from different sites. We also noted that Google hasn’t yet connected the video carousel’s content to related brands. (For example, for Target, which has an active YouTube channel, none of the six videos shown were related to the brand.)

Overall, we believe that this feature, harnessed optimally, can be valuable for brands seeking to expose visitors to engaging content. Our goal is to help brands tell their story online and video is often the best way to do just that.

If your brand or executives could benefit from having a better control of their online image, we are happy to discuss how we may be able to help.