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What drives online video success?

As rich media becomes more and more prevalent, marketers are applying traditional tactics to convert viewers into sellers. Our experts debated which is more crucial: form or targeting.

Rick Martin
President & CEO, SellPoint Inc.
More than 25 years in consumer product marketing

If your advertising goals include communicating product benefits and features to online shoppers at the exact time and place they’re actively considering a purchase, video product tours are not only the most effective, but the most cost-effective media buy a marketer can make.

According to the National Retail Fed­eration, more than 90% of consumers research products online prior to pur­chasing them. The online retail product page is the key point of influence in purchase decisions, and by using video to elevate it beyond a static “picture and a paragraph,” marketers can sway con­sumers when it matters most — in the act of shopping.

Video product tours can be syndicated to every online merchant carrying a product; marketers can buy placement with a video product syndication service much like it would on an ad network. For about the same price as a banner ad, marketers can secure video product placement on highly trafficked sites such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

Unlike other online advertising platforms such as pre-roll and post-roll, video product tours are effective because they’re opt-in, relevant to the viewers, and usually positioned beside the “buy” button. The resulting uplift in sales con­versions is impressive. Studies show a 12% to 30% increase in online purchase conversion rates among shoppers who view a video product tour compared with those who don’t.

Rob Friedman
EVP, Digital Element
More than 10 years experience in online advertising and online video advertising

In order to monetize online video, marketers need to make it more rel­evant. That means localizing your mes­sage. Online users expect high-quality, relevant and engaging online interac­tions. If they don’t find what they need — and quick — then they’ll move elsewhere. A one-size-fits-all mentality simply doesn’t work for online video.

If the video ad isn’t instantly relevant, users will quickly click away and go somewhere else to get the content they’re looking for. Marketers must understand their online users from every angle possible. Some demograph­ics are already determined based on the type of video content offered. Having the ability to accurately and non-invasively identify a viewers’ location down to the city level worldwide gives marketers the newfound knowledge needed to understand the makeup of their online audiences and know where they come from – literally.

Once marketers more fully under­stand where their audience comes from, they can determine which segments are most useful, viable and profitable. They can then start “localizing” their messages accordingly. Geo-targeted ads get a 50% higher click-through rate. With comprehensive information about online users, marketers can use relevant online ads to promote a sale at a local retailer that carries the company brand, deliver a coupon to a certain demographic or advertise a current sale at a retailer in their region.


Martin argues that a product tour only attracts the ready-to-buy researchers and thus is an effective way to make that last pull towards finalizing a sale online. However, Friedman’s approach of localizing a message may draw in a broader range of prospects in a relevant way. It’s a hard tactic to ignore when using a medium that has so much branding potential.

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