When you study and compare brick and mortar and ecommerce, it becomes apparent that ecommerce has a number of distinct advantages over traditional retail. However, it lacks a competitive advantage in one glaring area. Whereas online products must be viewed through the screen of a device, in-store products can be touched and held.
For some customers, this is a big deal. And, while ecommerce businesses can't let customers physically interact with products, they can do the next best thing: provide them with immersive video content.
Video: Ecommerce's Response to Retail
While the sole purpose of video is not to combat retail sales, you could argue that video marketing is partly a response to the deficiency that ecommerce faces when compared to the retail sales environment. Video provides ecommerce businesses with the ability to present products in a visual manner, in order to help consumers overcome the fear of buying something that they've never seen in person.
As the old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." If this is true, then what's a video worth? Is it worth 10,000 words? One million words? Who knows - but it's clear that savvy marketers are beginning to rely less on traditional content marketing and more on video marketing.
Purple: A Case Study on Video's Efficacy
In order to understand fully the impact that video can have in an ecommerce marketing strategy, let's take a look at a recent case study involving the new brand, Purple.
Here's a little background information before delving into the details. Purple is a direct-to-consumer mattress company that's designed an affordable hyper-elastic polymer mattress that provides comfort and support for sleepers of all shapes and sizes. Purple recently concluded a Kickstarter campaign, in which backers pledged more than $171,000 to bring the concept to life, and is now selling direct from its website.
Throughout the launch, Purple relied heavily on video to fuel sales. The campaign's primary video features an in-your-face, yet adorable, Goldilocks character who narrates the wonders of the "raw egg test." The video can be found both on YouTube, as well as on the Purple Facebook page.
While the video has been successful on both platforms, it's interesting to note the differences in view count. While the YouTube video currently has just over 1.13 million views, the Facebook version has accumulated well over 5 million views.
Ultimately, this shows just how powerful product videos can be when published on a platform that's conducive to sharing. When you sift through the comments on Facebook, you'll notice how many users tag others in their posts. This organic sharing reduces the need for excess ad spending.
Five Reasons Why Social Video Increases Conversions
While there's nothing wrong with using YouTube or self-hosted video in your video marketing strategy - in fact, it's advisable to publish videos in as many places as possible - it's clear that social video marketing has more potential for virality and conversions.
Here are some of the reasons why social video marketing is so valuable:
1. Better Penetration
When comparing Facebook with YouTube, you'll notice that the two platforms are going in different directions. While YouTube is on a downward trend, Facebook is attracting more than 8 billion video views per day - a figure that's doubled since last April. But, despite the increased popularity of video on Facebook, it's still easier for brands to connect with users via this platform than it is on YouTube.
"Due to its sheer size, there's a ton of competition amongst videos on YouTube all fighting to be seen," writes Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the biggest names in social media marketing. "When you have a platform with over a billion users, all wanting the same thing (exposure), it's going to get noisy. And it's been figured out. Marketers have ruined it. Because of that, it's much harder to break through the noise which makes hosting your content on the platform much less valuable."
2. Integrated CTAs
Most social platforms that allow for businesses to publish content now have features that enable calls-to-action to be leveraged. This encourages users to visit landing pages and product pages for quick conversions. The implementation of integrated CTA features means that there's less friction between consuming video content and visiting the product page. This prevents unnecessary distractions and leads to better conversion rates in the long run.
3. Conducive to Shorter Content
Over time, the average human's attention span has decreased dramatically. In fact, in just 15 years, our attention spans have gone from a mere 12 seconds to a pitiful 8.5 seconds. This means that consumers are less likely to sit through a 10-minute video than they are a 10 second one.
The great thing about social media is that it's designed for short videos. While a 10-second video promo on a website may seem out of place, a 10-second video clip on social media is fairly normal. This is why more and more brands are taking advantage of Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and other video sharing platforms.
4. Consumer Acceptance
Using video on social media causes very little disruption. Whereas a video advertisement on a website may frustrate the end user (because he or she isn't expecting it), a video in a user's social feed is totally normal and warranted. This natural acceptance means that video content is better received.
This is particularly true when it comes to product demonstrations. Have you noticed how popular food preparation videos are on Facebook right now (such as this one)? People love the idea of being able to learn something in a short period of time. As a marketer, you can use this to your advantage. By finding clever ways to demonstrate products, you can drive conversions with minimal effort.
5. Ability to Boost Content
While many brands thrive on organic shares and traffic, social platforms like Facebook also allow marketers to boost content through paid advertising and placement. This can be a great way to reach a large number of users even when your social networking circle is relatively small.
The Role of Video in the Future of Marketing
In case you haven't noticed, we're transitioning away from standard marketing and moving into what industry leaders are referring to as "experiential marketing." This term refers to the consumer demand for two-way interaction and total immersion.
While there are plenty of different ways for brands to invest in experiential marketing, video is by far the most powerful and promising medium for immersion. It engages multiple senses and rectifies the disconnect between in-store shopping and online shopping.
"Now is the time to get started with social video marketing," says marketing expert Dominique Jackson. "Video has been on an upward trend for a while now, and it's not slowing down. Break out your smartphone or camera, get some ideas together and start creating videos to connect with your audience on social media in a new and exciting way."
In the future, if you want to maximize engagement and develop a marketing strategy that's forward thinking and modern, then you need to consider video. In particular, you need to think about social video and how it drives conversions. Keep these five reasons in mind, and don't be afraid to explore new opportunities as they emerge.