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The Invodo Data Mine: “Short and helpful” should define your video program

In this second look at Invodo’s 2015 Product Video Benchmarks Report, we’ll focus on the data that informs the kind of video a company should be producing. And that can be summed up in two words: short and helpful. Not quite nano, but certainly micro and certainly snackable.

When those two attributes are in play, video does what it’s supposed to do—increase buy rates.

For a long time it’s been clear that video directly affects sales, and for 2015 Invodo pins that influence at 1.68x, meaning people who have the opportunity to watch product video are 1.68 times more likely to make a purchase.

What Invodo calls video influence differs from video buy rate, and this distinction is important when considering the device on which your video will be viewed the most versus where the purchase will actually occur. More people will watch product video on mobile devices (and decide to buy there), but will actually go to a desktop to make the purchase.

This is less an issue with video than it is with the inconvenience of the mobile checkout line. Filling in shipping, billing and payment information is still more of a hassle on mobile devices, whereas the old fashioned keyboard makes short work of that drudgery. This will no doubt change soon, and Invodo’s recommendation is that companies should focus on providing a smooth purchase experience for mobile devices in order to encourage higher buy rates on the same devices where the customer was sold on the product.

And now for the two major takeaways that should influence the video you produce in 2016:

Video length influences engagement. Overall, engagement levels are quite good, with 62% of viewers watching to completion (which Invodo considers anything past 80% of the video’s length). Within this category, videos that were between 16 and 30 seconds long average the highest completion rate, at 75%.

That said, the average video length last year was 31 to 60 seconds. And that makes perfect sense, since those videos were produced with an eye on the trend at the time. Those videos were shorter than they would have been if they were created in 2014, but they’re now longer than they should be in 2016. And those extra seconds dropped completion rates to 70% in that category.

That said, “too short” does exist. Average completion rates of video in the 1-15 second range were just 54%. It’s understood that the purpose of product video is to cover important attributes and information, which is very hard to do with any real impact in less than 15 seconds. And when you factor in the second major attribute video needs to have–helpfulness—“too short” is definitely detrimental.

It looks like 15-30 seconds is the sweet spot. That’s where we’ve landed, and this most likely will remain true for the foreseeable future.

Video quality impacts buy rates. Invodo asked the viewers of its clients’ videos to rank the helpfulness of the video on a five-star scale. Last year, the average video received 4.2 out of five stars. In general, videos rated at least four out of five stars had more than twice the buy rate of videos rated three stars or less.

Quality clearly plays a role in convincing customers. And Invodo defines quality as “helpfulness”—does the video give customers valuable information that helps them make decisions?

So take a look at your analytics. What are the completion rates on your videos? Is your target audience watching more than 80% of the video 75% of the time? If so, you’re in good shape! If not, it’s probably an indication that your production values are off, either in length or quality.

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