Video, video and video are three most important words to web marketers. Yes I am riffing off of the three most important words to retailers (location, location and location), but there is little doubt online video is online marketing’s next big thing. ** Put video on social networks here **
What is online video?
Online video covers a lot of ground such as:
- Videos a company places on its web site.
- Videos a company places on social networks.
- Video a company places on Television.
- Video a company places on mobile platforms.
In my last gig as Director of E-commerce we successfully placed video on product pages tripling conversion (conversion is webspeak for customers taking a positive action such as buying or subscribing). I don’t like messing with product pages. Product pages are too close to shopping carts. Product pages require very careful experimentation and testing. Improving product pages can offer a BIG benefit, but the opposite is also true. Lower abandonment rates even a little and an e-commerce web site makes more money. Our first effort to add video to product pages failed. We started with a long (five minute) loud video and watched conversions tank. The first video didn’t last a week.
Next we wrote a two-minute script about product features and customer reviews. The script was factual – no selling except by our customers (in the quoted reviews branded as coming from our “buzz team”). It is easy to appear to be shouting on a product page. Most customers visiting product pages are close to conversion, so a light touch is best (true for all web marketing). Web sites can’t directly sell anything anymore. Consumers are jaded and cynical. Your site may earn trust eventually by making few promises and more than keeping any promise you make. Best to create a platform where customers sell each other.
We hired a female narrator asking her to keep her voice smart, interested and engaged but factual. We wanted to avoid the “used car salesman” problem. We also decided NOT to feature a person. We hired a hand model. Featuring a person would be hard to keep the QVC salesmanship out. We didn’t want to deflect attention from the product. The product was the star.
Testing, script writing and shooting (with an excellent firm in Virginia RHED Pixel) took a year. First holiday selling season results exceeded expectations. We understood limits of what we knew. After a year of testing we knew how to increase conversions by placing a specific type of video on product pages. Placing video on the home page or category pages was something we knew NOTHING about. I left before we had a chance to test video on category or home pages. There is a video formula to increase conversions for every major web page and for every business. Video is compelling and will increase conversions if used correctly. There is little question that every web site must develop a successful video formula.
Online Video Aids E-commerce
Many of those using online video to drive e-commerce and sales initiatives find it highly effective at increasing customer engagement and time spent on the brand website (53%), as well as sales conversions (35%). Twelve percent say online video in e-commerce helps reduce product returns, customer service calls and shopping cart abandonment.
Ref: Marketing Charts Brand Managers Use Online Vide
Videos for Social Networks
If your company isn’t creating and placing videos on YouTube fire your marketing team. YouTube comes with arcane rules and regulations like Google. Understanding what works on YouTube will take time, but your company MUST create and play videos on YouTube. The product videos we created in my last job could go on a YouTube “channel”, but product videos can’t be the main thing. YouTube is about strange pet tricks, stupid human tricks and mash ups of everything possible. Enter the YouTube world with standard marketing (only) and your company looks out-of-touch and stupid. Create some “viral videos” for YouTube; viral videos are videos, usually humorous, people want to share. Once you’ve created viral videos you may balance your YouTube “channel” with other videos (such as the product videos we created). Plan on creating three to five videos specifically designed for YouTube’s sensibilities.
Videos will take over Facebook too. Facebook’s culture is different than YouTube’s. Your company can mention every video you’ve created, but company’s will find creating videos with a Facebook sensibility important. Facebook replaces YouTube’s gag humor with intimacy and tribal community character. Your Facebook followers feel connected to you and your brand. Anything you put on your Facebook page should further the relationship, further customer conversations your company is having.
Social networks are conversations not lectures. When you place videos on Facebook and YouTube expect followers and comments. Some comments will be helpful, others venial and mean. Listen carefully, respond and make sure responses live on many social platforms. It is important to understand how to respond to a social media criticism.
You can’t argue with social media critics. Arguing is a no win game. You can let social media critics know you heard them and are acting on anything actionable they brought to your attention. When responding to social media critics are specific. Don’t say, “we will take your feedback under advisement” as responses like this sound like typical BS evasion. Say, “we appreciate your feedback on ** company name’s ** wifi policy and are in the process of a wifi review with a decision planned for Friday December 12th.” If you commit to making a decision by a specific time then make sure you follow up on or before your commitment. If you decide NOT to change whatever your critics complain about be appreciative, explain fully and share your decision process. Sharing information about decisions in an open and honest way is social media marketing must. Evade or duck and you provide fuel for social media critics hurting your company’s brand and prospects. Evade and duck and you wear the BIG A on your chest instantly condemned to any and all crimes. Your company must embrace a new transparency or accept being denounced and ridiculed on social networks (believe me this doesn’t help sales). The sooner you and your company realize your brand and prospects are in THEIR hands not YOURS the better your social media marketing becomes.
Videos for Television
Is television the new print? Advertising on television is expensive. The days when television or any single marketing source could carry a marketing message to the waiting masses is over. We watch less TV. We watch more Internet. If your company is brave (or foolish) enough to create television ads make sure to support your ads with web sites, blogs and social media. Create a short “behind-the-scenes” version of your ad, behind-the-scenes play well on social networks.
Why don’t ads play well on social networks? Social nets are conversations not lectures. Television ads tend to be lectures. Including a URL and simultaneously placing your campaign on YouTube, Facebook and other social networks breaks down the “lecture” problem (a little). Television ads will be in service to web sites not the other way around in the very near future. TV ads are conversation starters. Currently television advertising tends to be “brand lectures”. Few outside of your building care about brand lectures. Surround TV ads with social media marketing and you may find positive Return On Investment (ROI).
Videos for Mobile
Is your cell phone the next big thing? Many marketers think so, yet there isn’t a clear understanding of how to create mobile marketing. Cell phone need supporting mobile sites and social media. Chances are your standard site looks BAD on most mobile phones. Mobile sites need special servers and formatting at the least. They also need strong calls-to-action and a limited choice. Mobile marketing may be the next big thing, but understanding what works is developing as I write this. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t spend a lot of money on mobile marketing until the fog clears.
Search engine spiders don’t “see” video content. All web marketing appeals to people and algorithms (math). Since search engine algorithms can’t “see” or “understand” video content surrounding videos with keyword dense titles and descriptions is important. Google’s purchase of YouTube is good news for video marketing.
Your site is in trench warfare over its top 100 keywords. Video can help you win page one placement on Google. There are less video content competing for top Google page placement than written content. This “less video content” truth will be corrected soon. Want page one Google placement on a highly competitive term and your site is nowhere to be found currently? Videos are your best bet. Video can be a “beachhead” for search engine marketing (SEM). Page one listings make it easier to create more page one listings.
Helpful Resource: Brand Managers Use Online Video (Marketing Charts)
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