Brand videos now regularly feature in social media feeds, as marketers increasingly use the medium to engage consumers on Facebook and Instagram.
However, video can do more than increase general engagement on social platforms themselves.
According to a recent report by Animoto, social video can have a direct influence on purchasing decisions, with 64% of consumers saying that a marketing video they watched on Facebook has led to an online purchase in the past month.
So, why does social video lead to more conversions? And what can marketers do to maximise this? With stats from Animoto’s report, here’s a bit more on the subject, followed by four ways marketers can increase conversions from video.
Millennials are hungry for social video
Today, a whopping 86% of consumers are said to watch video on social media a few times a week or more. This rises to 96% for consumers aged between 18 to 34, with 75% of millennials saying they watch social videos once a day at the very least.
Obviously, this might also relate to non-branded videos, such as those posted by friends and family, however it does appear that the lines between commercial and non-commercial content are blurring – perhaps due to greater levels of acceptance.
Animoto found that more than a quarter of all consumers would be happy to see social video from both local businesses they don’t know as well as large brands they regularly buy from.
Social discovery and proof
So, why has the appetite for brand videos increased?
One factor is that users are now turning to platforms like Instagram and Facebook for inspiration and discovery – not just entertainment.
Instead of passively consuming content online or actively seeking out ecommerce sites, users are turning to social media platforms for shopping inspiration.
While imagery is also undoubtedly effective in this sense, the immersive nature of video seems to further increase interest. Research suggests that after seeing a video featuring a product, consumers are 46% more likely to search for it online.
Meanwhile, social video can satisfy consumer’s desire for peer recommendations, with online channels acting as a great source of social proof. PwC found that 45% of online shoppers say reading reviews and feedback on social media has influenced digital shopping behaviour.
Videos involving influencers can be one of the most effective ways to prompt this, with advocacy from an authentic and influential source helping to drive purchase decisions.
However, even if the video content does not necessarily involve any direct social proof (if it is an standard advert, for instance) – comments, shares or user engagement can still act as endorsement, in turn helping to drive click-throughs and conversions.
Native user behaviour
Lastly, and perhaps rather simplistically, social video can be effective simply because it reaches users in the environments that they are already in. Brand videos have become an intrinsic part of the social media experience, with people consuming content as they scroll instead of actively seeking it out.
In this sense, Facebook video drives more engagement and purchases than any other network. And according to Animoto, marketers are clearly taking note – it found that 67% of marketers paid to boost or advertise video on Facebook in the past 12 months.
So, while we’ve established why social video might help conversions – what can marketers do to maximise the chances? Here are just a few ways, along with some brand examples.
1. Give viewers a next step
Regardless of whether it is a behind-the-scenes style of video or a standard ad – a clear call-to-action or next step is vital, especially when it comes to in-the-moment conversions.
Social video can lead to purchases at a later date, but a good CTA can help to drive users away from their native platform and onto an external ecommerce site.
Macy’s is one retailer that makes great use of Facebook video, continuously using it to drive interest in specific collections. Here it uses eye-catching content in conjunction with the call to action of ‘walk this way’. This is likely to be effective in the context of a news feed, where the user’s attention is up for grabs.
2. Think about length
According to Animoto’s survey, the length of a video can also impact whether or not a viewer takes action.
First, it doesn’t take long for the viewer to decide whether or not they will watch a video until the very end. 43% of consumers say they decide in under 15 seconds, while 73% decide in under 30. Consequently, videos need to be as engaging as possible from the very beginning – slow or dull intros can result in viewers clicking away almost immediately.
Next, consumers say that videos one minute or longer are the ideal length to influence purchasing decisions, with videos between 30 or 60 seconds being more useful for learning about a brand.
This suggests that viewer investment could be the key to conversion. In other words, once a viewer has dedicated more than a minute of their time to watching a video, they will be more inclined to find out further product information.
Kate Spade has been experimenting with long-form shoppable videos, which are deliberately designed to hook consumers into a story. Running over several episodes, the brand is able to ensure that the videos resonate, which could help increase the likelihood of conversion.
3. Know your target market
Does social video work for all ecommerce brands?
According to a study by Deloitte, certain retail categories work better than others, with 56% of shoppers more influenced by social media when it comes to baby products, while 40% say the same for home furnishings, and 33% for health and wellness.
This can also impact what channels a brand chooses to focus on.
One retailer that utilises social video is Kiddicare, using its YouTube channel to consistently post reviews and demonstration videos. However, it does not place the same focus on Facebook or other social media platforms. The reason for this is its understanding of its core target market, with mums in particular increasingly relying on YouTube videos for parenting help and advice.
By recognising this, and posting helpful and informative content here on a regular basis, Kiddicare aims to ensure that the brand will be the first port of call for parents looking to buy kids and baby products.
4. Make it mobile
Finally, with 82% of millennials saying they watch social video content on mobile devices most of the time – mobile optimisation is vital.
This means ensuring features like text overlay, and creating videos in a square or vertical format. Animoto found that 26% of consumers are less likely to finish a video without a vertical format, while 39% are more likely to finish a video with text.
Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled its new ad format, Collection, specifically designed for mobile commerce. It works by giving consumers who click on an ad 50 products that are relevant to them.
For Tommy Hilfiger, who tested the new format to allow social users the chance to buy direct from the runway, it has proven to be a success. The fashion retailer saw a 2.2x higher return on ad spend and 200% increase in return on investment from the ads.