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April 25, 2022

Ajay Bam, CEO and Co-Founder of Vyrill: How Viral Video Will Transform the Shopper Experience

Written by: Satta Sarmah Hightower
"All these trends around shopper behaviors, COVID trends, [and] Amazon trends, all of this is leading toward video. I strongly believe that the future of commerce will start with video, and it'll end with video." — Ajay Bam, CEO and Co-Founder of Vyrill

Take a look at most product pages on Amazon or even a brand’s own website, and you’re likely to see more video content — both user-generated and branded.

During a time when consumers have flocked to ecommerce, video allows them to get a near-bird’s-eye view of a product.

Shoppers are also developing their own content.

Today, consumers are creating post-purchase videos on more than 35 platforms in 89 languages, giving brands an opportunity to tap into user-generated content (UGC) to drive discovery and conversions.

Ajay Bam, CEO and co-founder of Vyrill, an in-video search engine, is at the forefront of helping brands leverage viral videos to engage consumers, shape their content strategy, and drive revenue.

Bam joined a recent episode of the "Unpacking the Digital Shelf" podcast, "Leverage the Power of Authentic User-Generated Video Content," to share how his platform is putting quality video content at brands’ fingertips — and giving them powerful first-party data to optimize their marketing campaigns.

Going Vyrill

Bam and his co-founder, Dr. Barbara Rosario, created Vyrill in UC Berkeley’s Skydeck Incubator program. In July of 2021, Vyrill won the TechCrunch Battleground Contest, an early-stage pitching competition, in which it bested nine other companies.

Vyrill solves an ongoing problem for brands: how to quickly surface relevant video content and deploy it in their marketing campaigns.

The platform’s launch came at an opportune time. Consumers are increasingly shopping online and seeking more content to inform their buying decisions.

Bam says the pandemic really furthered the need for more video content.

"Video is really shaping customer shopping behaviors. What's happening now is that shoppers are now — as ecommerce sales grow, and as more people are resistant to actually walking into a store and are shopping online — more and more shoppers are actually consuming video content pre-purchase," he says.

They’re also creating video content post-purchase — whether it’s reviews, unboxings, or how-to videos. Nike, for example, has more than 29 million videos on YouTube and 95% of it is UGC, Bam says.

The Amazon Effect

Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, several other factors are driving the push for viral videos and UGC — namely Amazon.

Amazon now has more than 250 million video reviews on its platform, Bam says.

"They're now leading all their product pages with video. So what's happening now is, as far as the shopper is concerned, the shopper is now going to expect videos on product pages," Bam says.

But it’s not just Amazon that’s making consumers hungry for video. Video often outperforms text. In fact, 85% of millennials say they’ve purchased a product after watching a video about the product, according to Marketing Dive.

"The reason is the shopper can see the product, the person, and the emotions inside the video. It really increases brand trust by 20X." — Ajay Bam, CEO and Co-Founder of Vyrill

Helping Brands Level Up Their Video Content

Viral video content is a valuable asset for any brand, but it’s difficult for brands to make sense of massive amounts of video data online.

Vyrill largely addresses this challenge by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to match millions of videos on YouTube and other online sources to a brand’s product catalog by product, category, brand, competitor, keyword, and hashtag.

With AI and machine learning, the platform does this at a scale that’s humanly impossible.

Vyrill analyzes videos in nine key dimensions, including positive and negative comments, sentences, keywords, and phrases, as well as demographics by age, ethnicity, and gender.

The platform also analyzes social media engagement for videos and flags videos for foul language, nudity, and other factors that might violate brand safety.

Once Vyrill has done its analysis, it works with brands to help them license and leverage vetted viral video content for product marketing.

Vyrill also has a Shopify integration, which uses QR codes to allow brands to easily engage customers with UGC and branded video content on their product pages.

"You can be in-store walking inside Target, and you could scan the QR code on the product. We can launch the video experience or you could be on the product page online. Essentially, we help brands add all the videos to their product pages, and we make in-video search possible," Bam says.

He adds that in-video search is part of Vyrill’s magic. A consumer can search for a particular product feature within a video — let’s say, leather seats inside a car — be taken to that specific part of the video, and use this information to inform their car-buying decision.

This is just one example of how Vyrill provides a comprehensive solution for marketers — from discovering video content to rating and licensing content and making branded videos searchable on product pages.

All of this helps brands accelerate the shoppers’ journey and drive two core key performance indicators (KPIs): revenue and engagement.

Driving Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) for Brands

Vyrill is already driving great results for brands.

It enabled a beauty brand to map all its video content on YouTube for 150 SKUs. This helped the brand create an accurate inventory of its video content, identify which products lacked videos, and determine which content was most popular by category.

Vyrill also conducted sentiment and demographic analysis to help the brand understand what consumers were saying about its products and the diversity reflected in its own branded content. In addition, Vyrill provided competitor insights to help the brand assess how its content measured up against its rivals.

The brand used all these insights to improve its video strategy, ultimately discovering that UGC content drove 10 times more engagement than its own branded content. This led the brand to shift its budget to licensing and producing more UGC content, such as sponsored reviews and unboxing videos.

Vyrill has also worked with a password security company to find all the top influencers who are talking about its product. The company engages these influencers to produce more videos, then licenses this content and publishes it on its product pages. The result? An 18% brand lift.

Bam says Vyrill’s tracking metrics indicate videos can increase page engagement by two to five times and increase conversions from 10% to 68%, depending on the product brand and category.

That’s a compelling enough reason for brands to integrate videos into their product and online shopping experiences.

The Future of Video Ecommerce

Video content will shape the future of ecommerce in several ways.

With platforms like Vyrill, brands will be able to access a rich source of first-party data they can use to deliver more relevant messaging, drive product and influencer marketing campaigns, deliver brand innovations, and cultivate more authentic customer relationships and greater customer trust.

With Amazon now welcoming videos on product pages, brands that want to build and maintain their competitive advantage will need to find an effective way to source, rate, analyze, and deploy videos for their marketing initiatives.

"Every brand — even if they don't have videos today — should be thinking about video at some point, because it's a given that customers are going to expect videos," Bam says.

"All these trends around shopper behaviors, COVID trends, [and] Amazon trends, all of this is leading toward video," he says. "I strongly believe that the future of commerce will start with video, and it'll end with video."

For more details on how to improve your brand’s video strategy, check out the rest of this episode of "Unpacking the Digital Shelf."