It’s brutally hard to stand out as an ecommerce brand these days, because there’s so much competition out there. At any time, a prospective customer could spot a better deal elsewhere, or simply get distracted by some shiny new piece of digital media and forget all about their retail interests. This means that sellers must forever be on the lookout for ways to improve.
In recent years, a lot of focus — and rightfully so — has gone towards video. More and more merchants are fleshing out their content marketing strategies with videos about everything from their brand identities to their charitable goals, using that instant impact to full effect. The core of this tactic, though, is creating product videos to really push those all-important conversions.
As you’d expect, of course, some product videos are better than others, with plenty being outright bad (even counterproductively so on occasion). The sensible question to ask is this: what goes into a great product video? What do you need to include to maximize the return on your investment? In this piece, we’re going to set out the answers. Let’s get started:
Great production values
The very first thing you need to cover in your checklist is the level of your video production, because it’s vitally important. Even if everything else about your video is great, sloppy visuals and fuzzy audio will ensure that no one takes it seriously. You’re trying to convey the quality of your product, after all, and the quality of the video needs to mirror it.
If you’re featuring live-action footage, you need strong and even lighting, good framing, stable camera motion (if any), clear sound, and a high resolution. If you’re using animation (which can work exceptionally well and requires less setup) then you need highly-skilled animators, artists and storyboard designers. In either case, you also need top-notch overlays where appropriate.
An eye-catching thumbnail
Videos can autoplay in certain circumstances, but most of the time the page visitor will need to click to start them going, so the thumbnails they initially present really do matter. A great product video will have a thumbnail that immediately draws the eye and earns a click — so how is this done? Well, the first key is clarity: it has to be obvious what the video features.
That means that the product needs to positioned front and center, and that there needs to be ample negative space around it to ensure a strong contrast (you can even include multiple shots of the same product, as VAT19 did for its Gummy Bear video thumbnail). One option is to include the title of the video in large (usually bright) text, which will work even more strongly if you use a shot of the product being used.
The product in action
Picturing the product being used in the thumbnail won’t mean much if the video starts and the product is only talked about — there needs to be a match between the two. Now, bear in mind that this doesn’t mean you need live-action video, because you can depict the product being used through simplified animation. Which approach you should use will depend on the context.
In many cases, you’re trying to clearly communicate how the product works — perhaps it’s a new concept, probably something from the tech world — in which case animation is a great idea because it can cut through anything extraneous. If the concept is familiar, though, then being able to show the real product in use is great for reassuring the prospective buyer.
You’ve surely heard of the acronym KISS, meaning “keep it simple, stupid”, and that certainly comes into play here. It’s not that you’re expecting viewers to be stupid, though. Instead, you’re recognizing that any given person watching your video could be very familiar with the product, somewhat familiar with it, or completely unaware of what it does — and if they haven’t seen anything about the product before, it’s a bad idea to get too complex (simple is memorable).
It shouldn’t be too hard to adhere to this requirement: just think about how well your script would work if you had no idea of any of the concepts involved beforehand. Would it give you the introduction you needed? Would it make you want to buy the product being featured, or would it leave you highly skeptical? Cater to the unfamiliar, but in such a slick way that there’s value on offer for people who know the basics already.
A strong call-to-action
The point of your product video is to convince the viewer to buy the product — and sooner rather than later. And even though there will already be at least one major CTA present whenever you have one of your product videos featured on its corresponding product page, that won’t be the only situation in which you use those videos.
What if someone views one of your product videos on your YouTube channel, for instance? Or embedded in a third-party blog post? If it sells them on the product but doesn’t lead them to convert, they might just forget about it, ultimately constituting a massive missed opportunity. So ensure that every product video culminates in various links to relevant places: the product page, your main website, and even your social media accounts. That way, if they’re interested but not yet ready to convert, they can stay inside your marketing funnel.
Offering fantastic product videos is a formidable tactic for picking up more interest in your products and generating more conversions, but it isn’t easy to do. When you work on your videos, ideally with some help from professionals, keep these things in mind and confirm that they’re all in place at the end.