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Data Mine: A New Study on Product Video Performance Yields Gold for Sales and Marketing

Invodo is a content provider in the retail/brand space. The company hosts an analytics-focused web platform for its clients’ products pages, and helps create the video that goes on those pages as well. If you’ve seen the shoe demonstrations on Zappos, that’s what I’m talking about.

Invodo captures data on viewing and buying behavior, and then works out statistics that demonstrate the ROI of product video. Clients can see how customers are responding to particular products, and also how changing the video can influence the buy rate. How useful is that?

It’s all very fabulous. And, not surprisingly, very expensive.

However, Invodo puts out an annual benchmarks report designed to attract new clients. And it’s chock-a-block full of info treats that can be of help to sales and marketing departments in companies of all sizes. And this, my friends, is free.

In this first of several blogs dissecting the 2015 Product Video Benchmarks Report, I’m going to focus on the overall trends in product video and what that means for your video program. Yes, all companies at this point need a budget for their video program. It’s part of sales and marketing, and, thanks to studies like this one from Invodo, the value of this is no longer debatable.

Top findings:

Brands and retailers are adding more product videos to their sites. In 2015, Invodo clients added 41% more videos to their sites than they did in 2014. Even as the inventory of video increased, viewer rates remained the same, indicating that consumer appetite for product video is far from topping out.

While it might be tempting to say “Okay, that’s Invodo clients, and they have the money to spend on creating that kind of inventory” and then ignore it, unfortunately that’s the old ostrich sticking its head in the sand. The trend, and more importantly, the RAISED EXPECTIONS of consumers exposed to the sales and marketing programs of the volume-based retailers who have cash to splash affects everyone.

If clients come to your site expecting to see product video and they do not, they’re going to click elsewhere. And while they might come back at some point, just as likely they’ll be sold through a video experience they found somewhere else.

The question is how to create video inventory that reflects your brand and doesn’t break the bank. The most important aspect of this is to correctly match the value proposition of your brand to your video budget. If your company’s success comes from lower-cost volume sales, then your budget for video can be lower than if your brand is higher-end. The least expensive option would be taking a high-res still image you probably already have and flying in some text describing key attributes. And on the other end would be a video shoot with lighting set ups and heavy editing in post-production.

Mobile video consumption has reached a tipping point. Until last year, video viewership was desktop-focused. But last year, mobile devices accounted for 45% of all video views—way up from 29% in 2014. And specifically in Q4, mobile video views exceeded desktop views, leading the Benchmarks Report to conclude “product video on mobile is now essential to overall performance.”

It’s quite possible that 2016 will be the first year that mobile views outperform “traditional” viewing platforms of desktops and laptops. If you look at total year-over-year growth, mobile views grew 150% in 2015, while desktop views grew 25%.

This has a couple of implications for product video. First, the various elements within the video have to be easily seen on mobile devices. You need more close-ups and fewer, more impactful words on screen. Second, if brevity ever was the soul of wit, it’s in video—and never more so than in video viewed on a mobile device. Anything longer than 30 seconds is deadly (this will be covered in the next blog post).

And third, you can’t keep it short and tight if you’re wishy-washy about your product story. Nothing can be everything to everyone. Stay tightly focused on your primary message, and your videos will reach your market.

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