Interactive video holds a lot of promise for video commerce. Whether it’s text overlays in YouTube promoted videos, hotspots and “clickable video,” in-video shopping, integrated product thumbnails, descriptions, ratings, reviews, sharing, and beyond, the potential for interactive video in e-commerce is almost limitless. I’ve spoken at length about interactive video in previous posts, but in this post I wanted to share some high level ideas and examples of ways retailers drive shopping behavior using interactive techniques. Before we get to the good stuff, a word of warning is needed: Interactive video is not a panacea that by itself magically makes e-commerce video “work” – it’s only a technology, and like any other technology, its ultimate success depends on how well people use it. With that in mind, remember to apply interactive video according to the following best practices:
- Use interactive video only when you have confidence the viewer wants to engage. Note I didn’t say when *you* want the viewer to engage. Shoppers don’t care about what you want. Your job is to use video to motivate the shopper. Interactivity can drive the action.
- Use interactive video only when it adds value to the shopping experience and moves a shopper closer to the transaction. Ignore the marketing hype around interactive video and instead focus on how you can use video interaction to create sales. Interactivity doesn’t always make sense. For example, you may want to limit interactive video on product detail pages unless you’re triggering the shopper to add the product in the video to his or her shopping cart.
- Make interactive video brain-dead easy for the shopper. We’ve all grown up passively consuming video content, so simply expecting shoppers to engage just because you’re using interactive video technology may not be realistic. You have make it easy. Consider telling the shopper (in-video) that links can be clicked in the player, if there are other options available to click in the player they might find useful, such as related products, reviews and ratings, etc. Also, be careful with “hotspots” (hotspots are also commonly referred to as “clickable video.”) Strong visual cues, text calls-to-action, or spoken prompts may be needed to maximize the use of hotspot technology.
- Measure, measure, measure. Some retailers make excuses by saying interactive video is too “new” to warrant measurement. Such attitudes not only work against a video commerce program – they’re downright dangerous. It’s only through the process of experimenting and measuring that retailers will learn how to effectively employ interactive video. In addition to measuring video CTR (clickthrough rate), CVR (conversion rate) of those that click, engagement, and other standard video metrics, retailers need to test interactive video elements. When is a “Buy” prompt most effective? Does a thumbnail of a product convert as effectively as a text call to action? Do most people click a minute into the video or ten seconds in? Do certain types of feature callouts in video drive higher interactivity than others? How do different players impact interaction, conversion, and sales? Do the presence of ratings or reviews in the video improve interactivity? Do callouts create high levels of interactivity, only to kill conversion rate? Do people respond well to related videos or playlists? Do people interact more with a video when the default thumbnail in the player shows a certain part of the video content? How does the callout “Add to Cart” perform relative to “Buy Now?” Etc. etc. While the number of things to measure might seem daunting, a good video platform will help automate much of the testing and optimization.
Example from Zappos.com / Overlay.TV includes highlighted hotspot over the shoes, clickable share and info tabs, and a hotspot that pulls up an in-player product description. Also prominently featured is a list of products showcased in the video.
Example from eBags / Liveclicker shows highlighted hotspot, clickable in-video text.
Example from Mattel / ConciseClick shows multiple products featured in the video player, highlighted share options (embed/Facebook). Hovering the mouse over a product reveals its name and current price.
Example from Costco / Liveclicker with standard lower 1/3 text overlay directing shoppers to product detail page on Costco.com
Example from Zappos / Overlay.TV shows in-player thumbnail, product description, “Get It!” button, interactive timeline.
Example of clickable related products in-player from eBags / Liveclicker w/rating stars. Product recommendations served contextually.
Example of REI player with clickable Facebook Share.
Example of clickable related videos / playlists featured in-player
Do you have an example you would like to have featured in this post? Email me at justin [at] video [dash] commerce [dot] org and I’ll post your example – or include it in the comments below. Until next time…