Juli Greenwood
Juli Greenwood 2 July 2024

Five Ways to Gain Maximum Return on Your Videos

Without question, our collective appetite for video is fuelling more video-centric experiences online. Video’s ability to impart both emotional and practical information makes it a win-win for brands and consumers alike.

Earlier this year, my team and I at Cloudinary sought to better understand current video-related trends by surveying more than 300 web developers, marketers, and other business leaders in 15 different countries at organisations whose websites host a minimum of 10 videos.

Not surprising, more than half  (54%) of respondents see video as key to driving purchase and conversions. Considerably more, 65%, say video is critical for brand awareness. 

Looking at scale, nearly two thirds (64%) of those surveyed deploy between 10-99 videos annually on their website and apps. Almost a quarter (23%) use between 100-499. And 8% of respondents - mainly the largest brands - publish a whopping 500-999 videos through their online channels

Product Videos to Educate, Entertain and Inform

As brands continue to evolve their commerce strategies to deliver more “in-store” experiences  online, sophisticated product videos are playing a critical role in helping consumers evaluate, use and even repair items.

Sixty-seven percent of those we surveyed said they publish videos that help shoppers evaluate their products. Just over half (52%) said they offer ‘how-to-videos like those we turn to when we need to decipher our washing machine’s error code, learn how to cook artichokes, or get to grips with that new air fryer.

User-generated content (UGC) videos are also growing in popularity (69% of our respondents publish UGC), especially as younger generations rely on them to assess a brand’s authenticity, trust and social proof. Crucially, UGC content can significantly boost return on video by improving SEO, driving site traffic and enhancing relevance in search results.

It can feel overwhelming to some marketers as working with video is way more technically complex than, say, working with written content. By addressing the five areas below, brands of all sizes have equal opportunities to gain maximum ‘return on video’.

  1. Engagement. Whatever category of video you’re producing, your top priority should be to make it engaging. If it doesn’t grab and hold your viewer’s attention, nothing else matters. A good place for many to start is deciding where to display product videos - not only which page on your site but also where on the page. 

The initial frame, such as a thumbnail, is essential—especially if the video does not auto-play. Without an appealing preview or thumbnail, users may not bother to open it. 

  1. Education. As entertaining as a product video should be, its main job is to showcase your products and their unique merits. When people invest in the time to watch your video on the hottest new travel backpack, they expect to gain information on practical details like availability, colours, sizes, price, and technical specifications like weight and capacity. If you’re a sustainable company, then by all means summarise your commitments and the actions you take day-to-day to meet them.

  1. Quality. You can boost the user experience not only with high-quality visuals and sound but also how videos are edited, graphics are placed, and a compelling script. High-quality videos flow smoothly, have natural speech patterns and clear, incisive text and graphics. You can widen your reach by making video accessible to people living with limiting conditions, like dyslexia or colour-blindness.

  1. Activation or CTA (call to action) is just as essential for product video as it is for written content. The CTA you want your audience to move to next, be that to complete a purchase or just learn more, via links or directions on how to see more. 

Scaling Post-Production with Automation and AI

Though 81% of those surveyed plan to expand their use of video, it’s not always smooth sailing to deliver it at scale. Specifically, brands are struggling with time-consuming, repetitive video post-production processes such as cropping, resizing, applying watermarks, and re-encoding video.

Fifty-eight percent said their top obstacle was gaining the time and skills needed to edit and prepare videos for the many different channels and devices that their audiences use. That’s substantially higher than the percentage that said they were challenged by creating videos in the first place (46%).

This brings me to my fifth and final area:

  1. Automating post production. This is one to raise with your IT team. Automation and AI tools can accelerate all stages of the video lifecycle and help companies get their assets live in a timely manner. This is especially important because the longer it takes to get a video online, the more expensive it becomes.  

Video has proven its worth in enhancing customer experience, while growing engagement and conversion rates. Building strength in all these areas will undoubtedly improve your ‘return on video’. 

There’s much more to learn in our guide to Product Videos here. Good luck and let me know what tips you’d add to this list. 

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