Video's Influence on Online Conversions

I’ve been in Las Vegas this week at the Electronic Retailer’s Association’s annual conference. One of the sessions I attended called, “Increase your ROI with New Technologies” took at look at emerging (or already emerged, depending on your perspective) technologies that can driving business for retailers.

One of the presenters, Todd Narwid from Narrowstep, brought up some interesting points about how the retail industry is changing:

Marketers are not keeping up with shifting changes. He sees marketers as slow adopters of social networking and online video as marketing solutions. As I see it, there are two reasons for this: 1. It’s easy to stick with what’s worked; 2. Metrics are in place for older marketing strategies; 3. Companies billing based on a percentage of ad spend have no interest in advertising strategies that are more labor than cost intensive.

Todd Narwid

Narwid suggests that first mover advantages are huge in areas like online video, which makes sense since any new marketing strategy will reward first movers.

Broadband penetration and online video continue to grow. Is this still an effective marketing talking point? Are businesses really clueless enough to think, “I suppose people aren’t dialing-up that much anymore?”

Anecdotal data can win over empirical data in many cases when it comes to justifying ad spends. In no way unique to this discussion, but clearly an interesting point. I could see pitches being developed around the concept of, “Your kids are on YouTube all night, right? So why aren’t you advertising there and creating company videos for YouTube?” A compelling, but not necessarily rational, argument.

Narwid’s most interesting nugget came when he mentioned this:

Online conversions increased 5x for a client among people who watched a video associated with the product.

Video is powerful stuff. Having a video that helps explain the features and benefits of a product is clearly going to help close more business than a web page without video. In a sense, we’re seeing the creating of an entirely new division of the infomercial industry around on-demand web-based infomercials.

Narwid built upon that by explaining the relationship between online and offline advertising, explaining that advertisers should, “Drive people to a more compelling argument.”

And that’s really the point. The web allows people to go deep in their research of products and services that interest them. Their interest may not have started online, but that’s where the research is done. Effective use of advertising – online or off – drives people to a website where people can hear your most compelling arguments on why they should buy from you or work with you.

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