I remember a conversation I had with Amazon in 2010 for a client and how important Amazon thought video was, even back then for product sales. Fast forward to today and product video is an even more important part of your conversation optimization strategy for every eCommerce site and with social media.
As retailers, we need to use every tool at our disposal to help people make purchasing decisions. A lot of sales are lost due to apathy on both sides of the cash register. You need people to care about your product and you need to care about your product and the marketing of your product.
The main problem with buying a product online is that you can’t touch the product. A video is a way your bridge this gap.
The best videos, product or not, have people in them. We, as humans, connect with other people. It is the way we were made. Other benefits of having people in your videos are that it gives your product scale. It helps us see ourselves using the product.
The second ingredient to a good product video is place.
Here are 11 product video styles you should consider when creating your video marketing strategy. Some of these styles don’t have industry-wide names but, once you get the general idea, you will recognize them.
Your product on a plain color background. These videos are best for when you a trying to save money. We can’t always afford to do everything we would like with our marketing efforts.
Here’s why this isn’t as effective: It is better to put your product in a real environment because a place is part of your product story. A good location and set design are expensive, so style is a great way to show off your product on a budget while also giving your product some of that much-needed human interaction.
These videos may or may not have a voice over. Professional voice over, while less expensive than it was 10 years ago, still adds to the cost, especially when you consider someone will need to write the script. Some brands who sell in multiple countries will opt for no voice over to save money on creating multiple versions for each language. This is understandable if budget is an issue.
Real World Location
This style of video is very simple to the plain background style except it adds a place. Having a place brings context to the product. For example, you use a lawnmower in the backyard. It helps people visualize your product in their life.
How To’s and Tutorials
These videos are the most popular style of video on social media. They are a non-salesy way to show off your product while giving people the information they need to make the decision to purchase your product.
They also help reduce call volume to customer support. Because, if they watch the video before purchasing, it lets people know what to expect. If they watch after the purchase, it gives them the answers to the questions they may have in a way that is easy for them to access.
There are many styles of How To videos. Having an expert on camera to show them what they need to know is the most effective because of the people connecting with other people thing I talked about earlier. This also gives a face to the company.
However, these videos can also be created in a style like you see on Facebook. Where, for example, someone shows you how to make loaded potatoes and really all you see is the kitchen counter, the process of making the recipe, and the oven.
Adding an expert or a host to talk about your product has the added benefit of giving a face to your company. Home improvement shows are a great example of this, as they have an expert who shows you the product being used.
This style of product video usually tells some kind of story, often a day in the life of a person or family and how your product is part of that day. Cinematic shots lead us through the story. This style of video is great for showing your product in a movie-like way.
This is what you may know as an infomercial. Say what you will about infomercials but they work. Direct response videos are very formulaic which can help if your team doesn’t grasp creative concepts very well. They’ve worked for a long time.
There are many different styles of direct response videos. It just depends on what is right for your product and target audience. When you think of infomercials, you may be thinking of the 30 minute versions that are on TV, but they don’t have to be 30 minutes long. A 30 – 60 second video about your product should be enough time to give people the information they need.
Hybrid Product Video
This is my favorite style of video. One, because I love to watch creative videos and two, because I love to make creative videos. Creative Product videos combine the creativity of brand videos (think Super Bowl commercial type videos) with what works about infomercials; which is the selling formula.
They are also built on a very strategic social media marketing plan. The downside is that creativity is expensive. Audiences love them, so the brands that are willing to take the risk on this type of video are rewarded for their efforts to stand out from the rest of the sameness we see in the product video world.
If you have a physical product, I don’t think this is a good investment because they don’t include the human element that’s needed for a physical product. However, if you have a viral product, this is something you should consider.
Just be aware that we have found that these videos don’t convert on social media as well as videos with real people in them. The market has also been flooded with cheap explainer videos which is making viewers less likely to watch them.
This is just like it sounds. It is when someone records a video about your product. These videos are great for building trust about your product. Consumers love user-generated content because it feels authentic.
Many brands are paying influencers to create this type of video. Influencers are people on social media with a following similar to your target audience. Brands have embraced influencer marketing in a big way with more and more ad dollars going to influencers. Influencers are not just Hollywood celebrities they have audiences of all sizes.
There is also a group of what is called micro influencers. These are people with a smaller targeted following that can help you reach your target for a smaller budget.
This is where someone records their experience opening the box of your product for the first time. Showing each individual step of the process to the camera. These videos are surprisingly popular and there are YouTubers who have built a very good business around this type of video.
This is when someone tests the durability of your product through a series of destructive tests. This style of video was made popular by the brand Blendtec, whose “Will It Blend?” series showed how powerful their blenders were. This series was created by Blendtec but it has inspired a lot of people to make similar videos, mostly because destroying stuff is fun to watch.
How To’s and Tutorials are popular as user-generated content, but shouldn’t rely on them as your only means of video marketing. The product quality is usually poor and it is easy for them to fail to get to the point across or miss important points.
Review videos, video testimonials, comparison videos are also great forms of user-generated content.
There are other styles of user-generated videos but these are the most recognizable.
People often turn to YouTube to get more product information. Make sure your product is there but also make sure you have the right videos for your product listing.
I know some online retailers don’t allow for much flexibility when it comes to your video. Make sure that you have a landing page that you control that ranks well in the search engines and your product video is set up on YouTube for search so people find the right information about your product.
What style is best for your product? It all depends on what kind of product you have and your target audience.
You will probably need to do some research look at what is working for products similar to yours. Be careful, though. Your competitors are probably just chucking stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks, with no real plan for what they are doing.
Make sure you define the goals for your product video strategy before you start the creative process. This is a process best done with at least the advice of an expert, if not having an expert help you through the entire process.
Make sure you know where you want the video to appear. Not every product will benefit from a video but make sure you do your due diligence to find out if what you believe about this is true.
Make sure you test your ideas and then tune those ideas to what your target really wants. Make sure the type of eCommerce video you create is helping you reach your goals.