Consumers love online videos. Particularly for e-commerce sites, videos provide more in-depth views of products – for example, showing how an appliance or tool operates, how a watch or other jewelry looks on an actual person, or how to assemble an item that’s delivered in parts and pieces. In turn, online merchants are responding with more videos of varying types, in the hopes of creating stronger engagement with site visitors and a greater likelihood of a purchase.
But one of the most important aspects of online videos that many marketers overlook is knowing if the videos they’re creating and posting are doing their business any good. For example, are they delivering ROI? Are they driving more clicks and conversions? Are they being spread on Facebook, Pinterest and other sites? Measurement of video’s impact on the business is important, yet many e-commerce businesses may not fully understand how to tie video views to the bottom line.
Below are some useful measurement and analysis mechanisms that can help you determine if your videos are attracting viewers and boosting conversions. While it may take some time initially to set up a measurement system that works for your business, once it’s established, it should run on its own. You can also ask your video solutions provider to work with you to create the right form of measurement and analysis.
Establish control groups: The most efficient method for measuring the impact of videos is to compare the actions of shoppers who see videos to the behaviors of shoppers who don’t see videos when visiting a specific product page. To do this, you must set up a control group – that is, a group of visitors who are not shown videos when they click on product pages. This group will see the same product page, but it will not contain a video. All other visitors to the page will see video and be able to view it.
How large should your control group be? It depends on factors such as how much traffic your site receives, and how quickly you want to see results. The longer a test is run, the more accurate the results will be.
By creating a control group, you can see isolated information about how video affects the visitor, since all other variables should be the same. You can then look at the impact of video on conversion rates by comparing the conversion rate of the control group with the conversion rate of the video group.
You can also use the control group to measure the effect of the presence of video – whether it’s viewed or not – on conversion rates. Often, just the appearance of video on a webpage increases conversion rates, even when the video is not clicked on and viewed. To obtain this measurement, simply look at the number of page views for products with videos, compared to the overall number of video views, and then look at the number of page views for the control group. This can show you if the higher conversion rate for the pages with videos is partly derived from visitors who didn’t even watch the video.
Another metric to measure with your control group is time spent on site, including how many pages are viewed by each group, along with the amount of time spent on each of these pages. You may discover that video keeps shoppers on your site longer, and that they’ll visit more pages. Higher engagement is desirable because it turns into more sales.
Run A/B testing: While using control groups shows you the benefit of e-commerce videos, it can’t tell you the effect of different variables within a video. Videos have many elements for which you can conduct A/B tests – for example, background music (and which style works best), voiceovers (whether to add it or not; male or female voices), and different calls to action (such as free shipping).
In order to conduct A/B tests, you need more than one video version per product. You can’t accurately A/B test anything between different products, since shopper behavior for two separate products won’t allow for a true comparison. Once you’ve created two versions of a video, place them on your site so that each version is shown to a percentage of your visitors. Then you can see which variables have the biggest impact. To get a close reading, it’s best to test one variable at a time.
For your website, you may find that minor changes in video elements can make a big difference. For instance, one of our retail clients added a “play” icon to the first frame of every video thumbnail image. After A/B testing thousands of page views, we noticed that the addition of the icon significantly increased video views. This seemingly small adjustment to the video player had a healthy impact on the retailer’s sales.
Measure indirect benefits of video: While the overall impact of video on the bottom line can be measured, there are also some factors that are harder to measure, yet can be informative.
For example, videos can be a good tool for strengthening brand reputation. Video makes your online storefront look more professional and trustworthy, giving shoppers the confidence to buy. There’s also a social marketing benefit, since video is often shared and liked on social networks. And when added to your other marketing campaigns – like email, retargeting and paid search – video can generate higher response rates and click-throughs. All of this can add up to greater ROI of your video efforts.
When you’ve spent time and money to add video to your site, it makes sense to see if it’s giving you payoffs. Measuring and testing is an ongoing process, but the benefit is a better online experience for your customers, a stronger reputation for your brand, and ultimately, a solid boost to your bottom line.