Thanks to the advent of high-speed internet, brands have access to a powerful element that serves as form, function, and content: video. Video offers a level of interaction with a brand’s web presence that humanizes the experience and endears users to see the website more as a collection of other people, than distant, digital figments.
As you can imagine, the impact can be impressive. There are many ways that video can shape online marketing.
In thirty seconds, a particularly quick reader may scan through a paragraph, possibly two. If a writer is especially talented and succinct, they can impress upon the reader a sense of purpose and tone with this much text.
However, compared to what a video can convey with the same amount of space, the written word pales in comparison. The idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” springs to mind. While the ratio may be slightly lower than that, the concept surely applies.
In thirty seconds, a well-crafted video can display a brand’s story, connect to the target demographic, evoke emotional response, and inspire. Brands are using videos in the backgrounds of their websites, on their about us pages, and across their social media campaigns to communicate with consumers and users in efficient and evocative ways.
Video conveys meaning so effectively because it draws the attention in a way that static content never can. But why – and how – do videos accomplish this? If a user has their speakers muted, can a video still warrant enough of a response to focus attention?
Than answer is yes. While audio content in a video adds layers of meaning, it’s the movement in the video that hooks users and makes them focus. Humans are hardwired to automatically process stimuli that moves. It’s one of the evolutionary ticks that marketing teams can effectively use to capture user attention and engagement.
Videos can convey meaning and grab attention simultaneously. This leads many web designers and brand developers to lean heavily toward video content. It’s important to note that the right videos and images are the key to brand effectiveness. Some videos are less efficient than others.
Understanding ‘why’ brands use videos, is not the same as digesting ‘how’, they use them, and the how matters. How video is used can engender the attention of users across the web or turn them away just as simply. It’s easy on the wrong side of the equation.
Below are a few of the more prevalent uses of video in marketing and, most importantly, a guide to emulating and applying them effectively.
Background and Header Video
Like the name implies, these videos often display as an introduction to the website and sit beneath the navigation elements. Switching from a static image to a background video can improve conversion rates at high levels. Some research shows that over a 100% conversion increase is possible with video implementation.
The content of the video matters is what matters, not just the placement. Remember, users will pay attention to something that moves – and if that something proves irrelevant, you’ve wasted their time. Background videos that boast the most success are short, high quality, and introduce the user to the brand identity. For instance, if the brand is a kitchen supply company, an effective background video might show chefs working in the prep areas and patrons enjoying meals in different situations. This would convey to the user that the brand can, and does make these things happen.
Alternatively, if the video header for the same company were to display a supermarket, it wouldn’t feel very relevant. The less meaningful the background content, the less it will engage users. So before making the switch and anticipating those sweet conversion rates, make sure the video you want to use satisfies both purposes: drawing attention and conveying meaning.
Online shoppers want to see how a product works in a relatable way. Video offers websites an excellent and, as discussed above, efficient way to accomplish that. Product videos can be used as background headers for individual product pages (or as the main page, if that’s the company’s flagship) while simultaneously being applicable in individual posts.
Using video for a product showcase has a few advantages. In addition to providing relatable content, it also suggests to users that your company has invested the extra money, time, and consideration that a professional quality video requires. In turn, users perceive that your company values the product and will value their business.
One of the most interactive and useful features that video can offer is providing a tour guide. There are two forms of tour guides covered here: the first is an overlay of a person or character guiding the user, while the second is a virtual tour, which navigates the user through an offline place or product.
In the first example, tour guides can offer effective guidance and humanize an otherwise detached process. For instance, a cosmetic brand may rely on user input to create custom products. A tour guide could both display the problem and walk the user through each stage of the required input, explaining concepts that might become overwhelming in a textual format.
The second kind of tour guide, often called a virtual tour, is usually composed of short clips filmed at location. These tours can provide quick visual access for potential renters, guests, customers, and other users to view the real-life counterpart of the described venue or location, and decide if they want to proceed further.
Plenty of Options
There is no limit to use of video online. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, which is gaining momentum as video content becomes more affordable, user-friendly, and streamlined in culture. The potential applications extend to the all areas of digital interaction. A few additional areas of video use that are common are highlighted below:
- Customer testimonials. These videos bolster trust with users instantly, if they’re authentic. Brands that feature customer testimonials invite the public to see how their product or service has impacted users just like them, and their boost perceived credibility.
- “About us” pages. Users often trek to this page because they’re curious about an organization’s mission, history, or members. Brands that include detailed views into their operation immediately add an additional human element to their website.
- “How to” videos. Headlines that start with “how to…” are popular for a reason – people love to get useful information. Brands that offer these videos for users provide preemptive customer service and build brand loyalty with engaging content at the same time.
Video Matters – A Lot
Ready to create great visual content that can move hearts and minds (and your conversion rate)?
When you’re planning your next video piece for a website, bear the following in mind:
- Make content meaningful.
- Make content relevant.
- Produce high-definition video.
- If using audio, allow the user to easily mute it.
- If you enable autoplay functions, mute them automatically.
- Be considerate to mobile users in your design. Autoplaying videos and video headers don’t play nicely with most phones.
- Keep your video under two minutes: it gets more engagement that way.
- If you make your video full screen, keep it short and sweet. This will be better for bandwidth.
We’ve touched on some of the key components of video use in this post so far, but video is like any other element of user experience. It must be meaningful and carefully applied to reap the most rewards.
Author’s bio: Stephen Moyers is an online marketer, designer, avid tech-savvy blogger. He is associated with Los Angeles based SPINX Web Design Agency. He loves to write about web design, development, online marketing, social media and much more. Apart from writing, he loves traveling & photography. Follow Stephen on Twitter & Google+.