In a chaotic world where everything from technology and fashion to weather patterns seems to be in a constant state of rapid change, one statement will always be true: You need product videos for your online store.
Producing videos is easier now than it’s ever been, but production is just one step in the process. If you want more people to watch your videos, share them, and buy what they’re seeing, there are a few more steps you’ll need to take.
Know Your Numbers
Start by knowing how many views your product videos get now in a typical day, week, or month. It’s one thing to say you want more views, but your efforts will be more effective if you set a goal based on your current views in a set time period.
Also, think about where people are seeing your product videos. If the only place they’re available is on your site, it’s easy to track view counts, but your potential audience is limited. Add your product videos to your social media marketing mix if you haven’t already – just make sure you track views on each platform as well as on your site.
Be Your Own Toughest Video Critic
Set aside some time to re-watch your product videos and see how they perform on this checklist.
1. First impression
Does your adorable video of a puppy playing with your custom chew toys have an adorable thumbnail image, or is it just a blurred frame?
Most platforms will automatically pick a thumbnail image for you, but you can usually change it if you need a clearer shot of your product. After you’ve uploaded your video, go into the editing tools for your post and you should find an option to choose a new thumbnail image. People are much more likely to click on a puppy than a blur.
Is the background for your product videos a neutral color and free of clutter? This can be as simple as a white wall, to keep viewers’ focus on your goods and not the stuff around them, especially if your products are small items or highly detailed. If there are hands in the video modeling jewelry or showing how something works, are they clean and well-manicured? This bag demo video shows how to keep the focus on the features, without distractions.
Background aside, is your product easy to see, with proper focus, steady camera work, and good lighting? Remember that your video has to stand in for customers getting to touch the product before they buy, so make sure there are close-ups and lots of angles.
Most people won’t watch more than 60 seconds of a video, and that’s Instagram’s video limit anyway, so don’t go over the minute mark unless you have a very good reason. Also, don’t feel like you need to fill 60 seconds just because.
This video for an eyeshadow palette runs 17 seconds and does what it needs to do by showing off the colors.
Does your product video display in portrait (vertical) format on phones? While most platforms, like YouTube, still favor landscape orientation, vertical is becoming the preferred format for mobile users.
Mobile is now where most videos get watched, so go ahead and cater to that preference on your site and on platforms that favor vertical video, like Instagram. In fact, IGTV is building its brand on the fact that all its video content is vertical, so this trend seems durable.
Once your videos get two thumbs up on this checklist for watchability, it’s time to check some technical things that can affect your videos’ searchability and reach.
Make Your Videos Easy to Watch and Find
Use the right video format. There are so many video file formats out there, but the only one you need to concern yourself with for product videos is MP4. That’s the preferred format for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and pretty much every other social media platform.
If your current videos aren’t in MP4 format, there’s a whole slew of free online video conversion tools you can use to convert them to MP4 for easier social sharing. Many of them also allow you to add watermarks and compress your videos to upload faster and start playing for viewers as quickly as possible.
Mark up your videos for SEO. You already know to tag your videos in your social media posts so people can find them, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re using the meta tags on your site to tell search engine crawlers what your videos are about.
Meta tags are important for SEO, and so is schema markup, which is a library of user-friendly code snippets that categorize content for Google. Kristen Hicks has covered everything you need to know about getting started with schema markup for better video results in Google searches, like featured videos and video thumbnails.
Once your videos are critiqued, improved, tagged, and formatted, it’s time to start sharing them more widely. Again, make note of your views, click-throughs, and conversions now so you can track your improvement over time.
Where and How to Share Your Product Videos
Besides your store’s product pages and blog posts, there are lots of places to share your videos. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all let you upload video directly, and you can pin YouTube videos on Pinterest.
That doesn’t mean you need to post on all of these sites, though. Focus on the platforms where your customers and people like them spend their time, and don’t worry about the rest.
You can also include product videos in your marketing emails. If you do this, it’s important to make sure that you code those emails correctly. That way, if the recipient’s email client doesn’t automatically load the video, they’ll see something other than blank space.
If you sell or cross-list on a marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, you can upload your product videos there as well.
More Video Views, More Sales
Over time, you’ll get a clearer picture of which videos do best and which channels deliver the most views, click-throughs, and conversions. You can use that data to keep improving your videos, delivering videos that your customers like, and making more sales.