In 1981, the first music video shown on MTV was the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
Nowadays, over 30 years later, EyeViewDigital tells us that using videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86% and Imavex reports landing page conversion increases over 130% when video is added. Sounds like it’s time for a new hit, “Video is the Conversion Star.”
But it isn’t that simple: video isn’t exactly joining the ranks of certainty of “death and taxes.” Before you go changing all of your landing pages, it is wise to explore both the benefits and the costs involved.
The good side of video on landing pages
1. People will watch more than they will read, so a bigger part of your message will resonate with video.
Have you ever met someone with the attention span of a goldfish?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. However, as of 2013, the attention span of an average adult is 8 seconds. You’ve not only come across these goldfish-minded individuals, you now have to optimize your landing pages for them!
This means that not only do you have 8 seconds (or about 20 words) to capture the attention of your visitors, but you need to re-capture it every 8 seconds. Otherwise, they get sidetracked by checking their email (which is done on average 30 times an hour), checking their mobile phones (the average is 150 times a day), or checking out some cat video that was shared on their social networks (social sharing doubled from 2011 to 2013). Still, we fuss over our landing page messaging, weigh every word, and consider every punctuation mark.
Yet research shows that users are likely to read only 20% of the words on a page. That is 1 in 5 words. Conversely, we learn from Wistia that the completion rate for a 30-second video is close to 90%. These numbers tell us that larger portions of our message are more likely to get through to more users by using video.
2. People will stay longer on your page if they watch a video, so bounce rate will be reduced with video.
According to Google Analytics’ benchmark averages for bounce rate, average bounce rates for landing pages are 70-90%. When a video is integrated properly in a landing page, people stay longer, click on it, and don’t get counted as a bounce.
Reducing your bounce rate has many benefits. Most importantly, your company and products get bigger exposure. Also search engines give preference to pages that are more relevant to users. Lower bounce rates are one way to prove to bots that your page is applicable to users and not spam.
3. People trust a human face or voice more than they trust the words on your page. Humanizing your company with video goes a long way in building trust and credibility.
The Internet has given rise to a world of faceless anonymity. Paradoxically, it has given rise to a deep-rooted need for trust and credibility. As customers, while we are pleased that there are many companies we may never have heard of that can meet our needs, we crave a way to verify their identity. We need proof that we can trust them.
There are many ways to increase credibility on landing pages and strengthen user confidence: trust seals, customer testimonials, and clear contact information have all proven to be effective. Additionally, video increases user trust. According to Octoly, 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their purchase decisions.
4. Video has many SEO benefits.
Many online marketers view Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as an important tool for getting traffic. They will advise you to invest in SEO and stress the importance of meta data, headers, content, and site maps. Though these basics are the fundamental building blocks of SEO, video also plays an important role. According to a Forrester study, “pages with video are 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results.”
Additionally, video goes a step beyond getting your page listed in SERPs; it actually makes your result get more clicks! An aimClear study shows that search results with video have a “41% higher click-through rate than plain text.” Embedded video content can increase traffic by up to 55%, according to this infographic. Video gets your page listed higher in organic search results, gets more people to click on your link, and brings more traffic to your page overall.
5. Competitive benefits
Marketers and businesses are constantly looking to improve results, and be ahead of competition. In the same infographic, we learn that 92% of mobile video viewers will share a video with others. By reaping the social sharing benefits of video, we gain socially proven market share and compete more effectively.
Despite the benefits of using video, a surprisingly high number of companies still fear it. According to Kantar Media, only about 24 % of national brands are using online video to market to consumers. Being among the early adopters of video on landing pages is a good way to be ahead of competition.
Research and studies keep showing that there are many benefits to using videos on landing pages. In that case, we should (perhaps must) add videos to our landing pages. So, we are left wondering, what are the drawbacks?
The bad side of video on landing pages
Videos are not a guarantee. Simply adding animation to a landing page will not necessarily deliver results. When done right, it can have a great impact on conversions, but there have been many case studies of videos on landing pages that were simply not done properly.
Before adding videos on your landing page, test every change you make to fully analyze its effects. While tracking conversions is the most important factor, you may also want to track heat maps, mouse movements, scroll patterns, and other customer experience elements.
In this landing page example, shown on the Unbounce blog, the version with the video actually lowered conversions by 64%. We can hypothesize that this is because the video is located at the bottom of the page or because the CTA comes before an explanation. With customer experience analyses, the reasons become more evident. Nonetheless, in this example, video was not a rock star.
In another study, found on the ConversionXL blog, two landing pages for Brookdale Senior Living, a senior community, were tested. The first featured an image and the second featured a 56-second video in which many elderly people talk about their positive experiences with Brookdale.
In this test, the page with the image outperformed the video. The company thinks this could be for several reasons:
1. Visitors were already familiar with the brand and the video acted as a distraction.
2. Visitors wanted a quick and easy way to convert.
3. Visitors had slow internet connection, which cause uploading problems.
4. Visitors were afraid of new things (like an auto-laying video) and bounced off the page.
This experiment shows that video is not right for every audience and every landing page. Therefore, you need to make sure you know your target audience and offer solutions that suit them and lead to conversions.
To video or not to video?
While there are many companies whose conversion grows significantly when they add video to their landing pages, there are also companies who experience the opposite effect. While it is impossible to tell in advance, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Carefully consider the target audience of your landing page and assess their demographic information, place in the buyer journey, and behavior to assess if video is suitable.
2. Start small. Do not change your entire landing page strategy right away. Start with testing one landing page with a video and see if it works.
3. Monitor and test everything. Make sure you understand the customer experience on your landing page and track metrics to help you understand what is, and isn’t, working.
The overall trend certainly points towards video success and as such, you should consider using this highly engaging feature. However, landing page videos may or may not be right for your specific use case. That’s why you should try it out and see whether video really is your conversion star.