As cutting-edge retailers consider various strategies for educating and engaging online shoppers, they are recognizing the success of video streaming sites such as YouTube, and have begun integrating product videos into their e-Commerce storefronts.
In fact, consumers are gravitating to YouTube and other video-focused platforms, according to comScore research: As many as 85% of U.S. consumers viewed an online video in April 2012, with the average person watching 21.8 hours of content per month.
Underscoring these trends, Invodo, a provider of video merchandising solutions, released a series of white papers that highlight current trends and best practices in video marketing. For example, in the white paper, titled: Watch This! The Online Retailer’s Guide to Video Merchandising Success, the company analyzed how retailers leveraged Invodo videos to educate and engage shoppers throughout the online shopping experience.
“Retailers are becoming more sophisticated and now understand the potential business benefits of using video on their web sites,” Craig Wax, CEO of Invodo, told Retail TouchPoints. “Given the growth in video viewing, as reported by comScore, merchants need to leverage this growth by creatively merchandising videos on their sites and making sure content is seen by target consumers.”
To gauge the effectiveness of e-Commerce video content integration, Invodo calculated the average view rate — or the ratio of video plays to page views — among a selection of its retail customers, including Lenovo, Moosejaw and Sports Authority.
By collecting and analyzing view rate samples from March 2012 to June 2012, Invodo pinpointed several best practices for optimal video marketing, including:
1. Provide concise calls to action: Including actionable messaging, such as “click to view” or “click to play,” allows consumers to better understand what they’ll receive from the online experience. In fact, retailers that published videos with more descriptive calls to action (CTAs) accumulated an overall view rate of 6.16% ― a notable increase from videos with no messaging, which received only a 4.75% view rate.
“While merchants may think placing a play button on a video may be sufficient, our research results show they need to have some form of textual call to action to clearly explain what action they want consumers to take,” Wax said. “By integrating text into a visual icon, retailers clearly convey that a video is available.”
2. Make calls to action larger: Overall, larger CTAs generate an 8.14% view rate, versus smaller messages, which garner a 4.07% view rate, according to Invodo.
While this tactic seems “relatively obvious,” Wax explained, “most retailers don’t take advantage of larger calls to action. Either merchants don’t realize the impact, or there are web site constraints prohibiting them from making these upgrades.”
3. Place videos at the top of emails and web sites: To ensure videos are easily accessible and capture visitor attention, retailers must publish content right upfront, Wax explained. Research findings revealed that videos published “above the fold” ― visible without scrolling ― received more view rates (5.24%) than videos placed elsewhere on the web page (3.43%).
Along with placing a video above the fold, Wax noted, “retailers must address the merchandising to be included on each page to complement and draw attention to videos and encourage people to play them.”
Making Video Mobile-Friendly
As retailers increasingly utilize video to educate online shoppers, smartphones and tablets will play a more pivotal role in driving views and piquing interest, Wax reported. Due to the portability of mobile devices, “video is becoming even more important for retailers to convey product features and benefits to consumers as they browse their smartphones and tablets in stores.”
Overall, mobile visitors are three times more likely to view a retail video than consumers using desktops or laptops, according to the study. Moreover, the research indicated that while only 5.5% of retail traffic generated by the Invodo solution was derived from mobile devices, mobile visitors accounted for 14.3% of all video views.
Based on research results, Invodo determined fives best practices for mobilizing e-Commerce videos, including:
1. Integrate mobile, video and advertisements; 2. Connect the dots between email, mobile and videos; 3. Make videos easily accessible via social networks; 4. Use 2D codes as a portal to access mobile videos; and 5. Put a local spin on mobile videos.