Online Video and Website Engagement

Website engagement is critical in ecommerce, particularly on key landing pages like the homepage, important category pages, and popular products. We say engagement is critical because:

  1. There’s a nearly direct correlation between landing page engagement and conversion rates. If you can make your landing pages more engaging, your conversion rates are going to go up.
  2. Search engines are measuring engagement, and using these measurements to determine organic rankings.*

In this article, we’ll show how online video can help boost engagement and go over some best practices.

*NOTE: There is some argument in the search engine optimization (SEO) community about whether or not Google is actually measuring engagement. Arguments aside, there’s a very strong correlation between engagement rates and rankings that has been observed numerous times…it stands to reason that Google is measuring something that’s a good proxy for engagement, if not engagement itself.

First, What is Engagement?

Engagement metrics

There are three key metrics for measuring engagement.

Engagement metrics are nice and simple:

  • Time on site: How long visitors spend looking at your site before they leave. Longer is better.
  • Pages per visit: How many pages that a visitor will look at before they leave. More is generally better.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors that leave your site after less than 30 seconds. Lower bounce rates are good.

If you’re wondering what “good” bounce rates are, or pages per visit, or time on site, we don’t have any answers for you. The best advice is to either contact us and ask us to take a look at your analytics, or to check out Google Analytics benchmarking data, which you can learn more about here.

Also, make sure to look at these engagement metrics by traffic source. Each traffic source – organic search, paid search, social media, website referrals – has different engagement metrics.

How Does Video Help With Engagement?

Website Users Content Preferences On A Spectrum

The content preferences of website users fall somewhere on a spectrum between a strong preference for text and a strong preference for video.

There are a lot of theories about website users, but at Spork we tend to believe that website users fall somewhere on a spectrum. Still, we identify four basic types of website users:

  1. Users who are focused on numbers, stats, and text. These users tend to read a page from top to bottom, study any resources provided (like instruction manuals, links to other pages), and they tend to ignore a lot of “flowery” web content like irrelevant images or videos.
  2. Users who are focused on imagery. These users are the polar opposite of #1 – they often don’t read any text, don’t review whatever resources or documentation your page has, and they tend to focus intently on video content and imagery.
  3. Users who prefer to focus on text, but who also review imagery. Think of them as “reader light” – they’re going to skim your content and resources, and pay only a little attention to videos.
  4. Users who prefer to focus on imagery, but who also read some text. Think of them as “imagery light” – they will study the images and video pretty closely, but might not read more than a few sentences.

Most users are closer to types #3 and #4 than they are to types #1 or #2.

But whatever the mix of users, some significant percentage of them is focused on imagery and video. When you add video to a web page, you’re more likely to “grab” users who respond to video.

Best Practices For Adding A Video To A Landing Page

When you add a video to a landing page, make sure you follow some best practices.

  • Give page visitors multiple methods for finding key information. Make sure any key information that is in your video is also in the text of the page.
  • Video is not a substitute for good imagery. In a perfect world, a product page (for example) would have both good product images and some sort of product demo or review video.
  • Start your video with a “signpost” segment. Signposting is the act of telling people what to expect. The first 5-10 seconds of your video should be a quick rundown of what’s in the video. It should not be your fancy branded video intro animation.
  • Use a representative image/thumbnail from the video for the player. The image that people see before they click the play button on your video should be representative of the content. If you’re using YouTube to host your videos (and that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do), consider setting a custom thumbnail.
  • Make your videos just barely long enough. There is no “right” answer when it comes to video length, but there’s a lot of data to show that viewers don’t retain much more than half of the information they learn in a 2 minute video. So, if you want viewers to remember what they learn, you need to keep your video short.
  • Invest in video production. DIY video production is easier – and better – than ever before, but it’s still no substitute for professional video production.

Conclusion

A good percentage of website visitors prefer to watch video rather than read text. If you want to give your website the highest possible engagement rate, considering adding videos to key pages. Just make sure the videos don’t take anything away from the existing content…you can not assume that everyone will watch your video.

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