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In February, Charles Laughlin and I toured western Europe to meet with interesting mobile and local search companies. One of the more memorable meetings was with Brownbook, the U.K.-based site that is lowering the barriers for SMBs to establish a presence and advertise online (see past write-up).

This morning, I received a note from CEO Dave Ingram about a new video ad product the company is bundling in with its suite of services (one of the main discussion points of our London meeting). This will offer SMBs a range of video styles such as pan and scan, interview, etc., from 30 seconds to three minutes.

The price point at the low end will be GBP12 a week, including distribution on Brownbook, 50 online video sites and classified site Friday Ad (Brownbook’s corporate parent). On an annual basis, this roughly equals the $1,000 sweet spot at which many U.S. local media publishers are selling video. Brownbook is also letting SMBs keep the videos for their own use.

Interestingly, Brownbook claims that the presence of video in ads or SMB profile pages increases response rates by 5x to 9x, and increases conversions 2x. This is similar to performance metrics we’ve heard from North American companies selling video such as and eLocalListing (both claim 3x increase in clicks or calls).

This measurability and lower cost versus comparable offline media (i.e., television, radio) has been a big driver for online video demand at the local level. This was examined in our video forecast released last summer.

Brownbook will offer video initially in Sussex and Hampshire, U.K., with plans for deployment across the country over the next few weeks. As it has a footprint in the U.S., Canada, U.K and Australia, the company will be looking for localized video production partners to expand to each of these regions.

You can watch the promo video from Ingram here. Also check out an example of one of its videos here — a Sussex grocer specializing in, among other things, “fresh local quiches and pork pies” (mmmm).

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