Video sells: why ecommerce needs video marketing

30th December 2016

How will you reach and convert more consumers in 2017? With 78% of people watching online videos every week, and 55% every day (Brandwatch), video content is good place to start. But brands need to be strategic to cut through with the right content at the right time and always be ready to prove ROI.

The ideal is to combine the power of interactive video with a suite of video content from top-level brand showstoppers to inspire and raise awareness, product videos to offer purchasing reassurance, and how-tos which are helpful and answer consumers’ problems. Understanding your audience will inject your creative with the right emotional resonance to motivate behaviour and build a long-term relationship. In this blog, I’ll go through each of these essential types of video content for ecommerce with examples of good practice and advice for your own brand.

Sales and content meet in shoppable video

One of my top video marketing trends for 2017 is ecommerce and interactive video, which really pulls video marketing and sales closer together than ever before. Shoppable video is not new, but with technological advances, ever more effective targeting and social networks offering this opportunity, it’s becoming increasingly enticing for brands. Consumers too will be expecting greater levels of interactivity and relevance from branded video content. Interactive video can also make a real impact by integrating with sales software and website tracking so that brands can get a deeper understanding of their audience and results.

Cosmetic brand, Charlotte Tilbury’s partnership with retailer, John Lewis, provides a good example of combining relevant, quality content with an ecommerce functionality. “Project Confidence” is a series of shoppable videos following a women’s journey to achieve what she wants with the help of Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup collection.

In one film, a bride-to-be who has recently lost her mother, asks for help for her big day and Charlotte comes along to offer a personal consultation. The video follows our recommendation to “think like a publisher” with stand-alone content, but this becomes doubly powerful for ecommerce ROI with the click and shop functions. A bride’s narrative will elicit an emotional response in the target audience to encourage people to click and add the featured products to the shopping basket. There are no pushy sales messages here, and the fit between shopping and content feels natural.

These interactive campaigns can be a marketer’s dream, packing a high ROI punch. One recent successful shoppable video campaign came from high street fashion retailers, Ted Baker, achieving a 32% increase in sales. This video worked because it prioritised creative storytelling drawing on a spy movie theme created by director Guy Ritchie, and integrated the campaign themes offline in their stores too.

Content raises awareness

As we’ve seen, even with interactive video, it’s not all about the hard sell. Video content can also be used to build brand awareness and trust, and inspire consumers to find out more.

Patagonia is a brand which understands content marketing and uses it well to reinforce its  brand identity of buying quality clothing that last forever. It made the bold move of offering consumers ‘a repair rather than replace’ mantra.

A recent campaign asks consumers to tell the story of their favourite piece of clothing from the brand featuring their outdoor lifestyle in “The stories we wear” series.

Their customers are also encouraged to share their stories too via Instagram to develop a brand community, which is important for this alternative company.

High level brand content can also drive sales as well as awareness. A successful social media stunt for sports brand Under Armour features model Gisele Bundchen as she works out. In real-time, the community is invited to comment on her. These posts, which can sometimes be negative, are screened behind her as she boxes, often contrasting with her focus and determination.

The pain point turns around research that shows that women fear being perceived negatively when exercising. The aim was to increase brand awareness and sales in women, and this Facebook campaign led to 5 billion media impressions, 42% increase in traffic to the website, and an increase in sales to women of 28% (The Drum). This demonstrates that clever creative that hits the audience’s fears and desires can drive shopping basket clicks as well as video views.

How to maximise shopper intent

When you don’t know how to do something from wiring a plug to baking a cake, where do you look? Turn to your mobile to search if you’re like me. And we’re not alone, 91% of people turn to their phones for help when doing a task, and 67% of millennials feel that they can find a YouTube video about anything they want to learn (Think with Google). When someone is searching for how to do something, this signal of intent is a huge opportunity for a brand to answer the query and help out.

With nearly 1/3 of millennials saying that watching a how-to video has encouraged them to make a purchase, it is also an effective strategy to encourage customers down the buying cycle to purchase.

Here is a good example from AO, which uses video content well across its channels. People will be searching for recipes for “how to make the perfect Christmas cake”, and this collaboration with Bosch is useful for the audience but also showcases the products on sale.

Product videos

When viewers are actually on the product pages of the website, video can help to build reassurance and push to conversion. Staying with AO, here is an example of a product video.

Although it appears on YouTube too, on the AO website it is hosted on their own platform to discourage exiting and keep the focus on the sales channel. Product videos need to be as close to the point of purchase as possible, showing features and benefits and offering a final reassurance to the consumer.

Product videos can take a number of formats. For instance, catwalk videos for fashion brands can bring the product to life and act as a size guide. Online fashion retail brand, Asos includes such a video with all their products.

Product videos can also demonstrate how the purchase will make a difference to the consumer’s life. For Virgin Pure T7 water purifier, we showed how it becomes part of the family’s everyday life.

For most ecommerce brands, product videos will comprise the bulk of video content. These need to be good quality and relevant for the brand and audience. This should be combined with ‘hub’ content such as how-tos and then fewer top level brand films. All of this content needs to hosted at the various points of the customer journey, including a brand website, external platforms and social, ready for when potential customers are looking out for what you offer.

In 2017, we predict that interactive video will really help to give your content and sales figures the edge. Our guide is to harness audience insights and data on your target audience, and use that to produce creative that encourages those clicks on your checkout.

Contact us to find out more about interactive video now and get ahead of the competition.

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