You'd have to be living under a rock to not see the huge impact online video is having across the web.
The question is – is the rise and rise of video all it's cracked to be?
Well, yes, and yes, according to recent metrics from comScore.com. Their research has recorded that more than 160 million U.S. consumers watched online video clips in August, with Google sites (including YouTube) grabbing the lion's share of attention.
And take a look at this!
Other findings in this research showed that:
- YouTube had 120 million consumers log on during this time
- Viewers consumed 9.7 hours of online video – on average!
- 81% of US consumers watched an online clip
You read that right – a whopping 81% watched an online clip. These sorts of percentages clearly demonstrate that online video can't just be considered a fad.
And Hulu.com (a relatively new kid on the video block, but now with a PageRank of 8) managed to captivate consumers for just over an hour on average. You can imagine the numbers these guys will pull when they can stream from outside the U.S. as well!
It's not just online video that's taking over the web at a rate of knots. Mobile video is racing along at around the same pace as online video. In fact, many web viewers are accessing the same sites through their cell as they do through a PC or laptop.
So how does this affect us marketers, you ask? Well, to begin with, Forrester Research recently released a report predicting online video advertising spend will reach $7.1 billion by 2012. Again, big numbers that suggest that this is a medium that's really working for people.
And a study from Yahoo, Interpret LLC, Warner Bros. Media Research, Havas Digital and Omnicom's PHD discovered that 28% of consumers are more likely to watch online video ads than one on their TV. That's also a percentage that's not to be sneezed at. My guess is it will keep on growing.
Another recent finding is that almost a third of the total time spent online these days is with online video. That's HUGE, by anyone's figures.
And if a recent study by Marketing Sherpa is anything to go by, you'd be crazy not to be getting more involved with online video as a marketer. Why? Their study showed that featuring a video in an ad can increase responsiveness by 49.5%.
Measurement of response rate increases through different mechanisms
Given that I've deliberately set out to stun and amaze you with all these recent facts and figures (you knew there was a cunning plan!), there's now an obvious question that begs to be asked.
And that's: “If you're not into online video yet as an affiliate marketer, why not?!”
For starters, using video can help deliver a much fuller experience for your web visitors, which will translate to a better bottom line – if you do it right.
In fact, video can:
- Increase your customer's ability to understand or relate to what you're talking to them about
- Increase the perceived credibility of your site
- Give an up close and personal demo of your product's best features and benefits
- Help you interact with your visitors on a more personal level, and begin that all-important relationship-building
However, don't just assume that because you whack a video up on your site your conversions will increase overnight. You need to have a few things covered first to make videos work for you well.
So how can you make the most of the ever-increasing trend towards online video?
Here are few tips to make sure your videos help maximize the opportunity you have with this.
1. Give the length of the clip
While a web page can be read at leisure, a one minute video takes one minute to watch. Videos take up “real time” – they force your web viewer to fit into the time frame you set.
One of the things likely to be going on in a web viewer's head when they come across a video they're interested in is: “How long is this going to take me?”
For example, if you visitor is just about to race out the door, and finds out that the clip they assumed would only be a couple of minutes is actually a whole lot longer, that's annoying and is likely to cost you visitors.
Make sure you clearly label each video length beside the clip.
2. Get specific and stay relevant
What's your clip actually about? If your viewer is still deciding whether or not they're going to watch your clip, you're going to need to do something that calls out to them and drags them into the content.
What are you offering your viewer in exchange for their valuable time? Let them know what value they're going to get out of watching your video. Don't just put a video on your website because you think you should – make sure that you have it there for a specific reason.
Your video content should be directly relevant to the topic that is on that particular web page. If it's not, you risk losing people who feel that you've deceived them.
Not a smart move when you're wanting to increase someone's interest!
For example, perhaps your visitor can get a close-up demo of your product in action. Or a great testimonial from someone who's bought your product who talks about the results they got from it.
Make sure you let the viewer know before they start watching just what they'll get out of doing so.
3. Make Video An Option – Not A Requirement
Offer the choice of video as one of several options to access your content. While video works well with some web visitors, some people will always prefer to read a web page. And still others will want to listen to an audio.
This is because everyone has a different learning style preference. What this means is that you don't want to automatically play your video when your web visitor arrives at your page.
You can find out more about different learning styles and how these affect how we learn and receive information at http://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/ .
Let your visitor decide the specific way they want to be informed of what you've got to offer.
That way you'll have everyone's learning style covered!
4. Show The Download Status To Your Visitor
A video can be slow to download – that's one of the downsides of this particular medium. It all depends on the size, quality and speed of your viewer's connection.
The frustration and impatience some viewers will experience with this process will cause them to click away.
You can minimize this happening by making sure they know exactly where they are in the download process.
For example, show the “loading” icon next to a timer, or provide a countdown mechanism that shows approximately how long your viewer has to wait before your video magically appears before them.
You can also tells them the approximate time the video will take to load based on their connection type. These are little things that can make a big difference between losing or keeping your visitor.
5. Treat Your Visitor With Respect
The great thing about using online video as a medium is that you as an affiliate marketer do not have to be hamstrung by the usual offline constraints that traditional TV commercials have.
You're far from limited to the usual 15 or 30 second commercials. In fact, you're likely to find that different avenues of marketing such as product demos, testimonials, and video introductions work much better in this medium.
For example, a three to four minute video clip as you talk about your area of expertise, tell a story, or outline a problem and its solution, can work much more effectively than a traditional sort of “ad”.
You've got the opportunity to avoid the obtrusive and annoying, so don't blow it with your visitor. Value the time they are giving you, and don't waste it on things that are not relevant to that particular page or the topic at hand.
Remember that most web users are not initially looking to buy – they're looking for information. You can create clips that are extremely relevant to your viewer, and give them all the info they're looking for to guide them towards making a buying decision.
5. Stay Ahead Of The Game
One day soon, it's highly likely that video will be just like email newsletters. Once upon a time, you could attract newsletter subscribers pretty easily, because few people were publishing them.
Nowadays, you actually need to pre-sell your newsletter as well as your content, because newsletters are a dime a dozen. As we saw earlier, video is becoming more and more common throughout the web, and this is something that is only likely to increase in volume.
This means more competition for those eyeballs.
You can use various ways to make sure you maximise your opportunity with video, and make sure you give your visitor every encouragement to view the videos that you provide.
For example, you can do this by using video headlines, sub-headings, descriptive tags, thumbnails, and play buttons. A visual thumbnail in particular can act as an effective “teaser” for your video content that can help draw in your viewer.
So – now you've got some effective ways to make sure that your online videos have the impact and results you want them to have.
By implementing each of the elements and methods we've discussed here step by step, you'll find these combine to give your videos every potential to boost your website conversion rates.
Look out next week for Part 5 of this series: “How To Create A More Interactive Site With Guest Interviews.”
Photo Credit: jcoterhals