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Consumers expect to be able to access video content as part of their online experience, but websites have to make sure the content fulfils some sort of objective.

It’s no good creating video content for your site without first coming up with a strategy and measuring its performance over time.

Our Online Video Best Practice Guide covers all you need to know about what's happening in online video, including best practice tips, platforms and techniques.

Here we summarise the section that looks at four key performance indicators that make for decent overall objectives...

1. Brand exposure

Whether through search, seeding or social sharing, video has the potential to create massive exposure for a brand.

The most successful videos tend to eschew overt product or brand messages in order to deliver viewing pleasure to their audience – usually humour, surprise or shock. The best videos are carefully crafted to contain subtle cues that encourage people to share them too.

A good example of this is Yeo Valley’s rap video ad that was produced at a cost of £5m with the aim of making organic food more mainstream.

The tongue-in-cheek video helped to achieve a 15% year-on-year sales uplift in 12 weeks and the song was downloaded 27,000 times from iTunes. 

However there are some important choices to make if the purpose of a video strategy is to achieve mass exposure:

  • Focus on viewing pleasures rather than trying to do too much.
  • Make sure it’s easy for people to share the video.
  • Beware the term ‘viral’ – it’s something that can happen to your video, not an inherent property of it.
  • If you have budget to spend on ‘airtime’ (whether TV or online ads), balance spending money on social seeding with paid-for views.
  • It’s easier to get cut-through exposure for people (user-generated content) than brands.
  • Never underestimate the weirdness of people’s tastes.
  • Think about your call-to-action – what do you want people to do if they like the video?

2. Delivering information more effectively

Video is capable of delivering large amounts of information quickly. If you’re talking about a product that someone wants to explore, it’s a step or two short of being able to put the object in their hand.

It adds an additional dimension that it isn’t possible to convey using words or photos.

But competition for views online is now fiercer than ever and viewers have shorter attention spans, so you have to make sure you get the information across in an entertaining and engaging way.

B2B marketers often hide behind the fact that their audience is “serious and conservative” or “they have to watch it because it’s part of their CPD”.

This may be true, but it’s no excuse for producing dry, boring content. Unless it’s relevant and engaging, you can expect dwindling uptake and poor information retention, whatever the audience.

3. Increasing conversions

The organisations that have so far invested the most in online video are retailers, perhaps in part due to the way its deployment can be attributed directly towards bottom-line objectives, such as higher sales.

ASOS is a great example of this – all of its product pages include videos as well as product images.

But it’s not just about metrics; a successful product video strategy needs to think about context as well as content.

Some things to think about when improving sales conversion with online video:

  • What can video do that existing text and images can’t do?
  • Is video better put in the hands of customer (review videos) than the brand (product videos)? 
  • Which products should you try first?
  • Where should the video sit in the user journey?
  • Video SEO is key and be sure to include on-site search in your planning
  • How do you let people know which product pages have video?
  • Does the video contain interactive options to buy the products within it?
  • Should video be on product pages, somewhere higher up, or in an online TV channel of its own?

Virgin Holidays managed to increase sales of Upper Class tickets by 30% by creating a simple video of a presenter suggests that customers consider upgrading their flight. 

If they click through to the Upper Class page, the presenter, dressed as a Virgin Concierge, takes them through the benefits in a warm and friendly way.

The success of the campaign meant that Virgin achieved a 50:1 ROI within three months.

4. Dwell-time, basket size and repeat visit rate

Using video to increase overall site dwell time is about offering the right content at the right time. 

Offering a TV micro-site or video section to your website could provide a great opportunity for deeper engagement with the brand. But to take commercial advantage of this, you need to be able to offer relevant choices to people that enable them to buy. 

Video will by its nature increase page dwell-time, but only if it’s visible and easily accessible. M&S TV is a great example of a feature that has both increased dwell-time and conversions.

It’s a collection of hundreds of films divided into 12 channels with product links displayed prominently next to the player.

Since launching in 2009 it has achieved more than 13m views, increasing basket size by an average of 30% and conversions by 15%.

David Moth

Published 28 August, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1684 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

Blair Keen

Blair Keen, Optimisation Manager at Adobe

Entertaining video aside, I think this post only tells half the story about how to use video to increase conversions.

I think most optimizers would agree that unlocking ROI from this form of content marketing is best achieved through targeting by device and time of day.

about 4 years ago

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Nick Stamoulis

"Beware the term ‘viral’ – it’s something that can happen to your video, not an inherent property of it."

Something I am constantly reminding my clients of. And don't judge your "viral" by anyone else's standards. If your videos normally get 200 views and one got 1,000, I'd say that went viral enough!

about 4 years ago

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Jeremy Stinton, Strategy and Client Services Director at Big Button Media LtdSmall Business Multi-user

@Blair Keen - I agree - Would be great to hear on here some of the ways you have done this with Adobe?

about 4 years ago

Blair Keen

Blair Keen, Optimisation Manager at Adobe

@Jeremy - without discussing client specific details, what I can say is that a number of organisations have noticed behavioural trends in their analytics data which have supported the case for device/time of day targeting of content.

For example, one such organisation who used video on their homepage to explain their proposition noticed that time on page increased significantly between the hours of 8pm and 11.30pm with the segment of visitors using portable devices (iPads mainly). This contrasted sharply with visit dimensions between the hours of 9am and 11.30am where bounce rates were higher, time on page was lower and portable devices were a 'less than dominant' user group.

This sort of data goes a long way to describe the environment in which this organisation's users are consuming their content. Based on this insight, they found that a higher conversion rate was achieved by presenting users with 'rapid consumption' style content during working hours (and without the need for sound which screams 'I'm doing personal research during work hours!') with a switch to a more relaxed, personable, and entertaining method of delivery during hours when the kids are in bed and people are 'multi-taining' on the couch in front of the telly.

And yes [warning - blatant plug...], delivering this sort of targeted experience is just one of the optimization techniques we use with Adobe Test & Target.

about 4 years ago

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Jeremy Stinton, Strategy and Client Services Director at Big Button Media LtdSmall Business Multi-user

@Blair - Interesting stuff thanks for sharing...

about 4 years ago

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