We’ve said it before – online video is hot! Unfortunately, it’s not hot for everyone. Some videos go viral and get millions of views while others simply sit in cyberspace with minimal views.

To date, more than 100 hours of video content is uploaded per minute, and more than 1 million unique visitors, making a significant impact on Youtube – the second largest search engine – isn’t that easy anymore. Since creating, producing, and promoting a video requires an investment of company resources, it better be really good.

For most companies, the on-site product video has transformed the company-customer relationship. Product videos are directly responsible for increasing the overall customer experience and boosting sales across e-commerce sites. Incorporating an effective product video needs careful implementation on testing specific core elements aimed at yielding an optimal performance and increasing the bottom line.

The first step in video optimization is knowing your market.

It sounds pretty obvious, but identifying specific strategies for each industry should be the most fundamental step in creating a video marketing campaign. Recently, ComScore, conducted a study showing that nearly 87% of Americans watched over 50 billion (with a b!) videos online. Video consumption at that level raises a few questions, specifically what are all these Americans watching, and why? What video content was so enthralling that caused these Americans to spend quality time on any specific video? What made that video so intriguing to cause them to watch until the end? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what could be done to duplicate this content in order to enhance the customer experience? Without understanding these critical behavioral patterns of the audience, the company will find it difficult to succeed in its video marketing efforts. Embarking upon this data aggregation process will provide valuable information for a company. Ideally, this critical market research should be performed BEFORE considering the production of new video material or modifying existing content.

Ok, Target Identified, Now What?

Once the process of conducting extensive market research is complete, what should emerge is a clear, effective tactical guide or pattern that will be targeted for that industry. These core points should serve as the basis for creating content focused around increasing the number of lead conversions.

Here are the 5 primary variables in improving a product or service video.

1. Make a Great First Impression

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for a viewer to evaluate a site or product. In this short time, the potential customer is making an opinion about the product or service based on the appearance, content and value of the site.

With every repeat visit, the evaluation continues, and an impression of the company will be defined. These first impressions are nearly impossible to reverse, so make sure that the initial encounter sets the tone for the future of this potential sale.

Converting a customer on the initial encounter is possible, all it takes is to provide them with quality content and proving value. A recent study of the University of Glasgow’s Voice Neurocognition Lab indicated that with voice alone, people get a first impression within half a second. If that’s the case, let’s consider the main characteristics of a video: it contains visual elements and voice. As a consequence, a company needs to drill down to secure a real understanding of why viewers not only visited a specific site, but what will cause them to repeat their visit. If the lead doesn’t convert on the initial visit, does that mean the entire piece has to be scrapped? Or could be it be that the product requires multiple impressions before conversion? Perhaps the video isn’t the problem, but what is being asked of the viewer (Call to Action) isn’t clear.  When optimizing video content, these issues should be raised during the pre-marketing and post production phases.

For the purpose of example on how a small difference can make a tremendous impact on first impressions, we look at NetQuote. With over 25 million customers serviced, to date, they stand as one of the most trusted lead generation companies for online insurance. Even with all this success, the company was confronting extremely low conversion rates on the landing pages- their first point of contact.  After attempting to clarify the CTA’s, NetQuote decided that it was time to review the initial point of engagement between the user and the company. The company quickly realized that there was a fundamental challenge in being able to explain their value over their competitors in a succinct manner. Editing and reproducing the landing page campaign would be cumbersome and a drain on company resources. As a viable alternative, NetQuote enhanced the initial ‘meeting’ point between the company and the user by adding animation that guided the user through the process.

Ex

By adding a simple character that not only welcomed the user but provided clear instructions, the company saw a 13% increase in conversions the very next day!

2. Triggers and CTA’s

If the CTA’s are so important why should a trigger make such a difference? According Master New Media, Robin Good claims that there is an inherent similarity between triggers and CTA’s. A trigger, is anything that clearly shows the user that a video is there and that a there is value in taking time in watching to learn more about the specific product.  Essentially, the placement of the actual trigger, its look and what is being asked of the viewer are at question.

Sample questions relating to triggers include:

●    Will the video play as soon as the user opens the site?

●    Is the play button apparent? Will it trigger a response from the user? Is the play button prompted effectively?

●    Location, location, location! Where is the video placed on the site? Above or below the fold? What side of the screen?

A recent article on SocialTriggers discusses the impact a simple trigger can have on the number of views and conversions. In that same article, Derek Halpern stresses the importance of adding a play button, which is the simplest modification that will almost guarantee a higher response. Interestingly, changing from a text based CTA (“Watch this) to a visual trigger yielded a 500% improvement in click-throughs, according to a recent post on the Vodio blog.

Comparing_the_2

Here are few examples of triggers:

 A. Visual trigger, encouraging user to follow the eyes of the baby   

See the full article here.

Eg

Image credits Vidyard

B. Another visual trigger, incorporates text and visual, instructing the viewer exactly what they should do next: 

CTA

C. A trigger using words that are related to the product being promoted

Click_here

Image credits 

3. The Sound of Music

Another uniquely unassuming factor in video conversion is music. Yes, the quality, tone and beat could sway a potential customer and his behavior.  Music does not only that directly impact difference emotions among users, but it can change user interest if the music doesn’t resonate with the viewer. Companies should be careful when selecting a specific genre of music that either supports or hinders the message of a product. Changing the music could evoke different emotional response among different target audiences.  It could be that music may not even be necessary to the target audience? The only way to determine these issues is to run some simple A/B tests.

In order to really grasp this concept of musical impact on user response, we can look at the classic Disney movie, Pirates of the Caribbean as an example  With a simple switch of the soundtrack, with another one from the same movie, the difference in viewer engagement can be outstanding. 

Moddb

Courtesy of moddb

4. Lost in Translation?

An extremely common challenge is creating one video that will speak to multiple audiences, including  non-native English speakers. The highest drop rate among viewers, according to Robin Good  is among those who opt not to watch the entire video because they are distracted by the disruptive language differences. Two simple solutions for this are to 1. test all product videos with native speakers, and 2.  include subtitles that explain the flow of the video.

Looking at the Link4U’s French affiliate site can articulate this challenge.

Video optimization

The company realized that the language would pose a significant challenge to some viewers. Rather than redoing the entire site, Link4U simply replaced their main ‘explainer video’ with an on-site animation that spoke the language of the local audience.

5. Just the Facts, Ma’am

Unfortunately, many companies make critical business decisions based on assumptions, rather than cold hard facts. Especially with product videos, data should drive all decision making. And while assumptions may be helpful, they don’t provide the proof necessary to make real changes that will impact on user behavior. Results that are supported by facts are fundamental to the process of video optimization.  Testing and retesting can substantiate all claims and offer real value for the company.

About the author: Mordecai Holtz is a digital marketing consultant and community manager. He helps Toonimo by raising awareness of their custom animation platform and the benefits of empowering web businesses to engage, guide and convert visitors using onsite animation and behavior-based triggers with A/B testing. Mordecai can be reached on Twitter @toonimo

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