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Out of Focus – The digital gap between online video and sales

Compelling evidence suggests that video is playing an increasingly pivotal role in consumer decision-making – and hence online video marketing should be a major focus of advertising and marketing budgets.

Among the tsunami of data is a recent report demonstrating how shoppers are 73% more likely to buy a product featured in a video. Work by Forrester Research reinforces this trend, highlighting how one minute of video equates to 1.8 million words – that’s the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages.

While few would argue that video is a powerful marketing tool, the challenge is accurately recording and measuring its impact.

We’re all familiar with the cycle of creating a brilliant video, uploading it on YouTube, adding relevant tag words and then sharing it across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – and hoping it will go viral.

We tend to justify and quantify their success by the number of views, likes and shares – but shouldn't we be doing more? What is the true return on investment? Is there a way of finding out how viewers actually visit or purchase something from your website?

With email marketing we have ‘call to actions’ and measure click-through rates. With websites we measure the number of pages viewed, the length of time a visitor stays and bounce rates.

By contrast with video we seem to just hit and hope. Instead, we need to start analysing how viewers watch and engage with videos. The focus shouldn’t be on ‘bigger picture’ issues like an average of minutes viewed – but instead analysis of the data of every view.

Imagine the benefits if we could access data about drop off points – the stage in the video where you start to lose our audience. Are viewers muting the video and at what time? What referrer is working better for you? Do you get more views from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube or from your own blog?

But to achieve this we need to start making videos interactive and engaging.

How many potential customers are being lost because after watching a fabulous piece of content, they can can't find the correct website? Or they forget to search for a client because they’re distracted by something else on the phone or tablet they're using to watching your video.

In today’s digital age, viewers are hungry for instant information – but their impatience means they’ll quickly move on if they can't easily find answers.

The key is to make it easy by adding on-screen, clickable links to videos – and tracking these clicks right through to a sales conversion. Until this is done, we aren’t getting a true picture of how effective your marketing strategy is – and at the same time we’re making life difficult for potential customers. The key is to make your videos into mini websites that can provide the viewer with more information, directly from the screen, no matter where it’s being watched.

Once you have the ability to capture and analyse the data, you can make it work and help improve the ROI.

A good starting place is conducting split-tests, comparing different videos – or possibly even the same video – on different web-page layouts and analysing how they perform against each other. After analysing real-time viewing data, it’s possible to boost a video’s engagement by up to 40% by doing something as simple – yet significant –as changing its location on a webpage.

We all want to use videos to drive sales – but the best way to kick-start the process is to bridge the digital disconnect between an information-hungry public and websites.
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