Should Shoppable Video Be a Part of Your Digital Strategy?

For the past couple of years, marketing blogs have hailed shoppable video content as the “the next step in video marketing,” and “the future of e-commerce.” Indeed, many big-name brands have used them to great success, including Puma, JC Penney and Target. But do they make sense for your brand?

Before delving into the trend, consider the benefits and drawbacks of this type of content.

Shoppable video is a type of content that connects consumers more closely to the items being advertised. It literally adds a whole new layer to video content because it adds interactive elements on top of a pre-produced video creative that can be clicked or tapped for further information or for an access point to purchase. By including these interactive checkpoints or ‘hotspots’ in a video, a brand can provide its consumers with additional context about the product or service featured, along with a direct link to the purchase funnel for a shop-as-you-watch experience.

As a result, shoppable videos have, on average, a 16 percent click through rate, and an engagement rate that’s twice as long as a regular video.

According to Fashion&Mash: Puma’s shoppable video featuring Liverpool footballer Adam Lallana garnered conversion rates of 6.9%, and earnings per click that were 24 times higher than the e-commerce industry standard.

Shoppable video not only helps consumers with brand recall through longer exposure due to increased engagement. It also encourages the consumer to take a more active role in the brand experience. Rather than just being a passive viewer of the content, in an interactive video, a consumer of interactive video is in control over decisions that affect they way they view and consume the content. In a study by Exponential, video ads with high interactivity reported increases in audience attention, awareness and ad delivery preference.

Finally, shoppable video allows for increased insight into consumer behavior patterns. Many interactive video vendors include analytics tools that measure the length of time a consumer engages with any one point of interactivity in a piece of shoppable content.

For all of its pros, there are several reasons why a brand may not want to use shoppable video in their content strategy. Consider, for instance, the challenge of mobile optimization. To reach a predominantly mobile audience, a shoppable video needs to work in several OS platforms, and be compatible with numerous device models.

Not only that, it must also be designed in a way that translates well from a desktop screen onto the smaller mobile platform. A hotspot that’s easy to click on a desktop computer, for instance, must also be large enough for a consumer to tap on their phone screen. Other design flaws can further impact the effectiveness of shoppable video.

A couple of questions to consider:

  1. Is it obvious to consumers that the video contains clickable content? Are the hotspots clearly indicated?
  2. How many is the right amount of hotspots for the video? Too many may make the video clunky and cluttered, or feel too “sales-sy”, but too few may not fully engage consumers. In your planning, try to determine the right number for your brand.

Because shoppable videos are usually linked to available products, brands also need to consider the time factor of doing regular quality assurance checks. Shoppable videos can be buggy, and if a hotspot product doesn’t load correctly on the page, or goes out of stock, or is discontinued, someone will need to update the information accordingly or risk losing potential consumers.

If you’re wondering whether shoppable video is right for you, the following steps can help you in your decision.

First, map out the video you want to make. Think through its structure and design how it will play out, e.g. What makes sense as a hotspot? How will you feature the products creatively, ensuring they have enough time on screen to allow consumers to click through?

Next, conduct A/B tests. A/B testing allows you to compare two or more types of strategic content variations to see which one resonates more with consumers. Editors, for example, may use A/B tests to see which headline they should use for a story. Art directors may use A/B tests to see which website banner draws the most clicks.

If you’re still on the fence about whether you should opt for shoppable video, first try structuring your video so that it can work in both a shoppable format and a non-shoppable format. Test both versions with your consumers to see which one elicits higher engagement.

L2 insights reports that while “ As the technology behind it continues to be refined, it’s apparent that shoppable video content is still an emerging trend in content marketing. Executed with poor thought toward design or user experience, shoppable video can result in turning away potential consumers. If done well, however, it can greatly contribute to higher conversion rates for your content.

Written by Alex Herring

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