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Video SEO for Ecommerce

Written by Terry Van Horne   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 13:08

The case for Ecommerce Video is improving despite the tracking and difficulties of indexing it. I recently talked to Jason at WorldMusicSupply about the video campaign we started in early 2007. Although the videos have been viewed over 14 Million times with over 300,000 channel views the sales and revenue have not been as good as expected.

The Case for Video

Overall the traffic to the WorldMusicSupply site from the videos has been good. The sales and conversion from video traffic has not been as high as hoped. I continue to monitor WMS SERPs because I have more insight into them after 4 years of checking them almost daily .

WMS had done very well ranking for many competitive terms in the top 5. Considering their competitors are their product manufacturers and a big offline chain that also owns 3 of the top 5 properties in the query space they held their own. Shortly after we started adding video Google added the Universal Search.

Immediately the WMS videos were in the results. The problem was back then they often knocked higher ranking pages out of the SERP. This was a result we had not considered. That is when I realized webmasters should be careful about the query spaces they target videos for inclusion in the results.

Video a Conversion Catalyst?

In the ReelSEO post Videos sell products Mark Robertson touched on some important benefits of videos in ecommerce solutions. Embedded videos improve conversion. I would go a little further and say the most successful products for video ecommerce include personal interaction with the product or the sale process benefit from a "how to" video of the product or service.

Although overall product videos are a strong sales tool, not all video displays are created equally. The three main ways most e-commerce sites choose to display video to site visitors are via a link, as a “watch video” icon, or embedded in the actual product page. While all methods are effective, embedding the video player in the product page will generally generate a higher view rate.

Mark also provided an example from a leading vendor in the realm of ecommerce videos (resource currently under review), if you add a simple link to video from any given product page, you can expect something between a 5%-15% video view rate, while a video player embedded on the same page will deliver a view rate ranging from 10%-35%. The bottom line is pictures sell and video sells so, however, all indications are embedded videos do far more than links to video.

The Voices Case study illustrates a lot of ways in which video and other techniques were used to improve conversion by over 400%. Videos are best for giving instructional and how to info and often these can play a positive role in the sales conversion process.

Demonstration videos
Often, the biggest obstacle facing a prospect is that they don’t understand what they are about to sign up for. Voices.com overcame this obstacle by adding clearly communicated demonstration videos.

Engaging shoppers with interactive video is an excellent post with examples of some great ecommerce video examples. The post outlines 4 tips for video ecommerce that I also believe are keys to successful ecommerce videos. It includes 4 tips I have edited somewhat here to provide more concise reasons for using these tips as the basis for including video in the sales process. Mostly I disagree with the use of the phrase only use because marketing is never that cut and dried.

  • Use video when you are sure the viewer will want to engage. Video doesn't help in every area of the conversion funnel use tip 2 and 3 to choose where you use video and then use tip 4 and measure the results to verify the best places for including video have been chosen for best conversion.
  • Use video when it adds value to the shopping experience. Although a lot of information claims video is a boost to conversion you may not want the video on a details page as it may be a distraction. In that case adding an add to cat linked hotspot would make a lot of sense.
  • Make video easy for the shopper to understand. Don't take for granted that users understand how to use complicated video features like hotspots or clickable links. If possible be sure give them prompts to these features.
  • Measure!! Use Google analytics and try to promote videos where you get information on audience engagement and other actionable metrics

The Video SEO Opportunity

The charts below illustrate the trend in demand for video and related SEO and design skills are on the rise. With huge growth in the field in the future one has to wonder if the disciplines implementing video are prepared for the increase in demand.

Video is distracting to users in the buy funnel and for SEOs they are difficult to get discovered and indexed. are just a few of the considerations for designers and SEOs.

SEO and designers will need to step up their use of and understanding of optimizing and adding video to websites because as thesesurveys have found videos are in high demand in the plans of new sites. This is not a big deal for SEOs it's pretty straight forward whereas for web designers and programmers video implementation will require learning a few new skills or bringing new people on with those skills.

The proportion of the top 50 US online retailers offering videos jumped 378% in 2009 over the year before, according to a Forrester study, “Online Retailers’ Adoption of Online Video Content Is Ahead of Consumers’ Preferences,” published in November 2009. Last year over two-thirds of the biggest online retailers hosted videos.

The adoption rate is poised to climb further, as revealed by a February 2010 Multichannel Merchant survey. Among the two-thirds of respondents who indicated they were planning a site redesign in the next 12 months, some 42.3% said they would add video to their site. That makes it the second-highest priority, well behind social media tools but ahead of other popular Website enhancements including customer reviews and personalized recommendations.

“Retailers are making the case that videos boost their sales conversion rate, a measure of the increase in the percentage of shoppers who make a purchase after viewing a product video,” said Mr. Grau. “Retailers also claim videos reduce shopping cart abandonment rates and lower product return rates.”

Ecommerce Video Platform

Treepodia is an ecommerce platform for video. It includes tracking and production of video based on your product catalogue and internal A/B testing for the less savvy. I have never used this product however, the video quality looked acceptable with the bonus that the costs are fixed to views and therefore a good way to try ecommerce video without spending a lot of money. ie: nice way for site owners to dip their toe in the water.

Final Thoughts on Ecommerce Video

There are many opportunities ahead for Digital Asset Managers Video SEOs and designers capable of using video effectively in the sales cycle.

The reasons video is gaining popularity with site owners is the need to meet the new expectations of users in an ubiquitous internet environment. This is an evolution not a revolution so start learning now and catch the biz that will be generated by this new media!

What are your experiences with Videos? Have any case studies to share? Sound off in the comments and we might just cover YOUR experiences in a future edition.

 

Comments  

 
0 # Mike Darnell 2010-07-08 09:12
Hi Terry,Cool article and it's really decent of you to mention us (Treepodia).

You asked for case studies - it's a small world... We actually provided Mark Roberson wit data from one of our case studies for one of his posts & now I'd like to do the same for you.

You can check out one of our latest posts based on data for our Fashion Industry clients for Q1 2010.
In a nutshell video increased CTR by 134% on average - the full post is here:

http://blog.treepodia.com/2010/06/video-increases-conversions-by-134-for-fashion-industry-retailers-q1-2010/

Would love to talk to you some more - I'm now following via @treepodia...

Best,
Mike
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0 # Russ Somers 2010-07-08 13:38
This post pulls a lot of great information together. It drives home that video, like many other assets, delivers multiple benefits: SEO, conversion increases, reduced returns.

Full disclosure: I work for Invodo, a full-service eCommerce video provider for Internet 500 retailers. Much of what you cover in your post fits with what we learn working with our customers, which is why our deployments are typically an embedded player or, in some cases, an overlay player - either of which outperform a link by a wide margin.

There are separate best practices for optimizing for conversion (type of content) vs optimizing for SEO (unique content, video sitemaps, metadata). Blending both can be a challenge, meaning that you have to start with business goals.

Excited to see you covering video so comprehensively here and happy to continue the conversation - feel free to reach out to russ at invodo dot com if you'd like to talk further.
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0 # Terry van horne 2010-07-08 22:06
Mike, sorry about the spelling mistake, corrected now ... I would be very interested in any case studies you wish to share. The one on apparel was very interesting my last inhouse job was at an apparel company.

Russ, I totally agree on the need for a biz to start with good goals that match the companies needs and will be in definitely be in touch!
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0 # Sterling Mckinley 2010-07-13 18:08
Good points...Soon all companies whether big or small will realize the importance of video
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0 # website 2010-07-26 04:58
SEO and designers will need to step up their use of and understanding of optimizing and adding video to websites because as thesesurveys have found videos are in high demand in the plans of new sites
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