Video Essentials

Avoid ‘Epic Fails’ When Selling with Online Video

Using online video to sell products and services is a natural fit, but think it through all the way.

Consider tech retailer Best Buy, said Chuck Hudson, co-author of the HTML5 Developer’s Cookbook, speaking at the Streaming Media East conference. Hudson displayed a Best Buy product page for an iPhone that showed three informational videos. Good idea, right? Yes, but the mobile version of that same page didn’t offer any videos.

What Best Buy is missing is that many shoppers in its stores do research on their phones just before making a purchase. Every company selling online should be aware of mobile shoppers, but brick-and-mortar retailers especially.

ChuckHudsonQR codes, which shoppers can scan to see online content such as a video, are another area for potential failure. Hudson noted that in 2010 Chevrolet paid to put a QR code on Danica Patrick’s NASCAR race car. While it made for an attractive promotion, how were people supposed to scan it? Even when the car was standing still, few people could get close enough to the car for a picture. Similarly, FedEx has QR codes on the sides of many of its trucks. That seems like a wasted effort though, as it would be hard to scan a truck while it’s moving.

Placing product videos on a company web site is great, but be careful where you place them. Hudson noted that one company put helpful videos on a promotional page for a product, but not on the product page itself. So when customers are ready to buy and need a little more encouragement, there are no videos around to help.

Hudson offered tips on what types of videos are the most effective for ecommerce. Keep videos one to two minutes long, he said, to better hold the shopper’s attention. Avoid using photo montages for product videos, as they look cheap. If you don’t have the resources to create your own videos, link to manufacturer videos.

When placing videos online, put them “above the fold,” meaning at the top of the page so they can be seen without scrolling. Try a combination of video styles to see which your customers prefer. A/B testing is underused online, but it’s a big help in determining what works and what doesn’t. Test videos on a variety of platforms to make sure they play like they should. Finally, verify video return on investment (ROI) with your video host’s analytics and with an independent third-party to be sure you’re getting the results you need.

Watch the address below and download Hudson’s presentation.



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