Marcia Favale, Founder & CEO of digital video streaming, advertising, marketing and eCommerce platform, Blingby, shares the inspiration and vision for her company’s “advert-less” platform that’s proving to be a big disruptor in retail and several other markets.
Video marketing has become a dominant force for retailers, both online and in-store via kiosks and digital displays, and there’s plenty of research that touts its effectiveness. According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a 200-300 percent increase in click-throughs. Unbounce reports that including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80 percent. And 46 percent of users take some sort of action after viewing a video ad, according to the Online Publishers Association.
As impressive as those stats sound — especially when compared to traditional advertising, Blingby (pronounced “Bling Buy”) was started on the premise that video’s potential has been greatly underutilized. Founded January 2014, Blingby is more than digital advertising and video marketing; it’s an advert-free video content streaming and native ecommerce platform that’s bringing shopping, travel, and entertainment together in a new and innovative way.
To get an idea of how it works, consider Justin Timberlake’s popular video, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” When Blingby’s bbStream technology is added to the video, it becomes a whole new viewing experience. Starting with the opening scene, the camera pans to Cindy’s Coffee Shop, and at the same time a thumbnail image of the restaurant appears below the video. Clicking on the image gives the viewer several choices, including a “Tourism” button, which when clicked launches the restaurant’s website, revealing where the restaurant is located, the menu, and even enabling viewers to book a flight and stay at a nearby hotel if they want to. A few more seconds into the video, we see a waitress in the restaurant dancing to the music. During this four-second clip, a screen shot of the waitress’ dress and her sneakers appear below the video. Clicking on the dress opens up another tab, revealing more details about the dress (i.e., Campbell Crafts 1950’s Limited Edition Diner Dress – Pink) along with purchase options. And, this is just a short snapshot of how Blingby is revolutionizing retail.
I recently spoke with Blingby Founder and CEO, Marcia Favale, to learn more about the inspiration and vision behind her company and below are some highlights from our conversation.
What was the inspiration for Blingby?
Favale: While giving a lecture at Oxford where I studied and from where I have several degrees,
I was talking with my daughter about where we should go for vacation over spring break. As we were searching online for ideas, I recall thinking about how tedious the process was and starting pondering what could make it easier, more intuitive, and more engaging. Having a teenager who’s into music videos, I began thinking about how that experience could be combined with other online search experiences – booking a vacation, buying a new outfit, or watching the news — while maintaining that same emotional connection. I had seen a similar concept where brands and retailers use photography to create fashion lookbooks that try to help customers see what the product looks like in a real-world environment, but I had never seen anything like this with video.
I shared my visions and invited Rob Stanicic, a friend who also studied at Oxford and has more than 20 years’ experience in business development, enterprise technology, and information engineering, to partner with me and then we developed a proof of concept and cofounded Blingby. After the first year, we raised money and launched an iOS and Android mobile app with the goal of making our offering as omnichannel as possible and applicable for B2C and B2B uses.
What are the primary goals of your technology?
Favale: We wanted our technology to bridge the upper, middle, and lower parts of the sales funnel as naturally and organically as possible. One principle we applied to the development of the platform was that it had contribute to — not detract from — the emotional experience of the video. That’s why, for example, users don’t click directly on a video and go immediately to a landing page where they’re presented with pictures and pricing. Not only would that be too distracting, it would feel too salesy, which is always a turn off. Instead, as users watch a video, they are presented with options, and they can do research at the end of the video or click on an item below the video while it’s running to see additional information without leaving the main page or interrupting the video flow and emotional experience. It’s all about giving users choices, allowing them to select what they find most interesting at the moment they’re interested in taking the next step to go from watcher to participant.
How successful has the platform been?
Favale: We’re consistently seeing a 100 percent completion rate – and 0 percent bounce rate – on videos that use our patented bbStream and bbVideo Curation Process technologies. And we’re seeing engagement rates up to 500 percent, which means, for instance, that someone watching a three-minute video on our site or a third-party site where our technology is embedded, continues researching items and information presented in the video 18 minutes after the video has ended. Additionally, we’re finding interest in our platform appeals equally to all demographics and we now have users in 185 countries.
What are the different ways businesses and users can engage with Blingby?
Favale: Businesses and consumers can view Blingby-enabled videos at blingby.com, through the Blingby Facebook page, or via our mobile app, which is available through the Google Play and iTunes app stores. Businesses also can embed our bbStream technology on their websites for a more exclusive, native interactive video experience.
Are there any additional features retailers should know about?
Favale: Blingby has detailed analytics capabilities that enable retailers to know which channels and which items users are most interested in. Additionally, besides working with prerecorded video, Blingby works with live streaming video and provides users the ability to watch a live streaming and purchase items and more at the same time through the bbStream. The technology is platform agnostic, too, and It’s architected as an omni-channel offering. You can see it on third-party websites, Facebook, and on Blingby.
To see it first hand, check out fashion industry icon Veronica Webb’s lifestyle blog, http://www.webbonthefly.com/experience this Friday, April 7 at Noon EST with Dr. Oz Garcia, the famed nutritionist. During this event, which will be powered by Blingby, she’ll be sharing her personal experiences as a model, fashion expert, beauty lover, traveler, lifestyle influencer, entrepreneur, mother, and wife. Viewers can learn more about the things that interest them the most during her presentation with Blingby’s assistance. Other viewing options for the live event, include: