If, as people say, a picture is worth a thousand words, smart marketers should realize: A video could be worth millions.

As more and more brands begin to incorporate video throughout their omnichannel customer journeys — and a growing segment of shoppers come to expect them — there’s never been a more important time to employ some video tips and tricks into your ecommerce strategy so that you can stand out in the crowd.

But how can you convince your colleagues to embrace a comprehensive video strategy for your marketing campaigns? And once you launch, how can you ensure you’re getting an appropriate return on your marketing dollars and efforts — or maximizing your potential to emotionally resonate with your customers and prospects?

This post will review some of the basic benefits of a video-focused strategy, as well as some established best practices that will allow you to reach your content’s full potential.

Why Video?

If you or your team are skeptical about the power of video, consider this: A 2020 HubSpot report highlighted that video was the top content type being produced in content marketing programs, passing blog posts for the first time ever.

This finding represents a major shift in strategy and customer expectations. So, what exactly is going on here?

Customers Are Watching More Videos Online Than Ever Before

Renderforest research found that 90% of people watch videos on YouTube, 51% watch videos on Facebook, and 38% watch videos on Instagram.

With online video, your reach has enormous potential at a fraction of the cost of a traditional television ad buy, for example.

Customers Love Using Video to Shop

A 2019 Google study found that more than 50% of shoppers believe online video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to purchase. In the same survey, 55% report they’ve even used online videos to help make purchase decisions during an in-person shopping trip.

Videos Are Like Candy To Search Engines

Have you noticed how video results have slowly clawed their way up to the top of your Google searches? Search engines know that customers expect, appreciate, and seek out videos when making queries online.

With the right search engine optimization (SEO) practices and enhancements (more on that later), videos can go a long way in securing a higher page rank for your brand on relevant search terms.

They Increase Your Engagement and Conversion Rates

Seventy percent of businesses report that videos boost brand awareness, according to the RenderForest study. And 83% of marketers say that videos help to generate more leads.

Important Video Tips For Your Next Campaign

While the power of video to move product, win over customers, and enhance your brand’s prestige may seem obvious, not every brand or product team will see the same level of success.

That is to say: Executing an effective video campaign can be difficult — but often much easier when you plan carefully and adhere to some established best practices. A few top video tips include:

1. Know Your Audience

Before you decide on the right length, tone, theme, style, and message for your video, determine the kinds of shoppers you want to target. Consider asking yourself the following types of questions:

  • What speakers would appeal to this customer segment?
  • Is this segment looking to learn more about specific products or our brand in general?
  • Where would the video most likely reach these customers? Which channels should we leverage and prioritize?

Once you answer some of these initial questions about the scope of your project, you’ll have a strong foundation and direction for your upcoming shoot.

2. Include a Call to Action (CTA)

If you work in brand content development, you’re likely well aware of how important it is to provide a clear call to action for your customers. Video is no exception, and considering its power to increase conversions, it should be a no-brainer to include a helpful CTA to help customers along the sales funnel as they enjoy your content.

Remember: Your CTA doesn’t have to be a direct link to purchase. You can drive viewers to learn more about your offerings after watching a company story video, or encourage them to subscribe to a newsletter for more tips after clicking on a how-to video.

As always, remember to keep your CTA short, clear, and concise. Keeping your target audience in mind — as well as their current position in the sales funnel — can also be a big help in determining the best CTA for any particular message.

3. Establish Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Great video campaigns are often driven by a fair amount of trial and error. To guide your productions and improve your return on investment (ROI) over time, it’s important to establish benchmark KPIs — along with less tangible goals, such as messaging and tone alignment. A number of free tools, like Google or YouTube analytics, can provide you with actionable metrics such as views, shares, and conversions.

However, it’s important to note that not all benchmarks are created equal — what might be a key metric for one project or company simply wouldn’t make sense for another.

For example, if you aim to convert 5% of your users, your conversion rate will be worth keeping an eye on. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, click-through rates (CTRs) and impressions will give you a better idea of success than total views.

With a clearly defined purpose and target audience, your relevant metrics will be easier to uncover and identify.

4. Incorporate SEO Best Practices

Believe it or not, the second largest search engine in the world isn’t Bing, DuckDuckGo, or even Facebook — it’s YouTube. The platform handles billions of searches a month, according to Global Reach.

That means all the best practices you use to get your product pages, website, and blog posts to the top of Google search results can also improve the reach of your videos and overall search ranking.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure that your titles are short (under 60 characters), informative, and eye-catching;
  • Include important elements like keywords, a link to your website, and a short breakdown of your company and its mission in the description; and
  • Make sure your thumbnail offers the right amount of intrigue or clarity so it stands out in your shopper’s search results.

5. Go Beyond Selling

Oftentimes, the ultimate goal of a video is to reach new potential customers and boost sales. However, this type of content can also provide a tremendous opportunity for your brand to showcase its values and mission — all while achieving an even higher-minded connection with your audience.

Nike, one of the biggest brands in the world, is well-known for employing this approach in its TV advertising, with its YouTube channel bearing similarities. Consider this recent short featuring South African medium-distance runner and Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya:

Video Source: Nike YouTube

Notably, there are no close-up product shots, storefronts, or even visible logos (at least not until the very end).

The spot does, however, neatly encapsulate Nike’s brand mission of supporting and inspiring athletes all over the world, leaving the viewer with an emotional brand association. It’s also easy to see how this content would have broader interest and appeal beyond someone simply looking for shoes online.

When planning your video project, consider the ways your brand’s values, story, or mission statement can be employed to build emotional resonance with your shoppers.

Lights, Camera, (Call To) Action!

As customers continue to expect more video content from their trusted brands, don’t let barriers to entry like cost, time, or even expertise stop you from breaking ground on a video campaign.

With these video tips and best practices in mind, you don’t need to break the bank to create compelling pieces of content that will impress and engage your customers.

While successful ecommerce brands must measure and monitor multiple KPIs at all times, some are more crucial than others. Check out Salsify’s guide, “Essential Ecommerce KPIs for the Digital Shelf,” for expert insights on the most essential metrics to chase for a successful ecommerce campaign.

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