Mark Robertson, Founder and CEO of the The Online Video Marketer's Guide, ReelSEO.com, recently presented the session, Welcome to the 'REEL' Web: Why Video Marketing has Evolved Beyond SEO, at Liveclicker's 2011 Video Commerce Summit. While he was at the summit, the online video guru sat down with 2011 Video Commerce Summit Conversations Host, Larry Kless, President and Founder of Onlinevideopublishing.com, and gave his take on why product videos are essential, but not enough for eCommerce marketers.
Current State of eCommerce Video
Mark has spoken at Liveclicker's summit the past 2 years on specific video SEO practices. This year, instead of going tactical again, he decided to share a higher level perspective of video SEO search and how social media is playing a huge part in it.
Overall retailers are doing doing a fairly good job of embracing video, product video in particular. One of the statistics presented in his session said that:
"73% of US retailers feature video on product pages in Q4 2010. Which is up 18% from 2009.”
This makes sense since product video is usually more cost effective, highly measurable, and does the job of "selling" the product. In general though, Mark felt that retailers were not using video enough throughout the customer lifecycle. He made the analogy that:
"online video is the swiss army knife of internet marketing. It really can be used all over the customer lifecycle, whether it's customer service, marketing, or even recruitment.”
Examples of Retailers Going Beyond the Product Video
Product videos are incredibly important to eCommerce websites, but they do not necessarily lend themselves to social sharing and universal video search. Mark cited a few examples of retailers going beyond the product video to harness the power of online video in different areas of the customer lifecycle.
ThinkThin, a health and wellness bar retailer, recently created a separate lifestyle web series featuring the company's CEO and Founder, Lizanne Falsetto, called Lizanne Naturally. It is a once a week branded content cooking show that is very well produced, and is a good example of an eCommerce company investing in online video outside of the product page. It also is featured on relevant YouTube channels (http://www.youtube.com/user/diethealth), and syndicated to niche target sites like diet.com.
The question that arises with this type of video is whether it will not only be good for search and social media traffic, but will it also tie back to product purchases?
- Very carefully. Viewers want value in the content not a sales pitch.
- Indirectly through brand awareness. ThinkThin rationalizes that loyalty = soft ROI.
- Interactive calls to action:
- "Download recipe" link takes viewers to product website.
- They offer incentives for a 20% off coupon.
Mark cited Zappos as an excellent example of a retailer using online video to its fullest potential. Not only does the company have more product videos featured on their site than any other retailer, but they also have the most comprehensive video strategy in retail.
Zappos Video Strategy:
- Product videos
- How-to videos
- Brand marketing
- Internal communications
- Corporate culture
- User-generated product reviews (planned)
- Video reviews
- Customer service videos
They even have a blooper reel on their YouTube page. It is really amazing how the company has embraced video over the entire customer lifecycle and purchase funnel. Zappos has experienced good results from these practices in the increase of product page conversions, the reduction of returned items, and the increase in customer satisfaction.
Here is an example of a customer service video Zappos did on how to return a purchase:
Go Beyond the Product Video
Ultimately, Mark's point is that there are so many more opportunities in retail online video to explore outside of the product video. Product videos are a great first step, and essential to the eCommerce website, but in order to excel, marketers need to embrace online video all throughout the customer lifecycle. If eCommerce marketers want to use video to increase search traffic and social media engagement, they need explore other types of video formats that lend themselves better to this type of environment.