9 E-commerce Video Pitfalls to Avoid

Video is becoming ever more important to online business. In the few minutes it takes to read this post, at least 200 hours of video will be uploaded to the Internet and 8 million or so videos will be watched. And these stats are for YouTube alone.

With so much video about, you’d think every mid-to-large-sized e-commerce site would be running a well-oiled, high impact video program by now, but you’d be wrong.

Many e-commerce merchants are still learning the hard way that producing and incorporating video that boosts traffic, conversion and brand value isn’t as easy as it seems.

Before launching or expanding your online video program, here’s a roundup of common pitfalls to avoid:

9 pitfalls for e-commerce video

1.  Don’t have an end goal in mind

Why are you adding video to your site? Do you want to raise conversions by demonstrating unique aspects of your products or services? How will your videos build your brand? Before jumping in head first, commit your strategy and financials goals (e.g. revenue, conversions) to paper, and think through how video will enhance the shopping experience for your customers and support your brand values.

2.  Don’t be authentic or interesting

People buy from people, not websites. To set the right tone and presentation, imagine you’re talking to viewers face-to-face, and keep your message helpful yet concise. Think about how to pique interest at the start and limit each video to 1-3 concepts you want to convey.

This Taiwanese ad for the Action Pad Android tablet, featuring a fake Steve Jobs sporting a halo and wings, is getting attention for all the wrong reasons.


3.  Don’t bother with a call to action

What do you want viewers to do during – or after watching – each video? Guide them towards your desired outcome, or risk racking up video views instead of sales. Interactive video can be used on product detail pages to trigger the shopper to add the product in the video to their shopping cart.

Here is a good example of using interactive calls to action by shoe retailer, Shoes.com.  They are using the interactive video capabilities of video commerce solutions provider, Liveclicker.

4.  Don’t listen to yours customers

Are you creating e-commerce videos without soliciting feedback? Ask for comments and suggestions on your site to see what your customers are interested in seeing more of, or less of. Then listen to what your viewers tell you. You’ll get some great content suggestions for your video program.

5. Don’t optimize your videos for SEO

Adding video to product pages provides opportunities to leverage video SEO to drive traffic directly to your site. To maximize the value of video in the search engine results pages, consider these video SEO tips.

6. Don’t embed video in product pages

Linking to videos hosted on YouTube takes users away from your product pages and is poor practice from an SEO perspective. Embedding your video in a pop-up window isn’t much better for either SEO or user experience. For optimal video page placement, embed the video directly as an object in the web page. That way, if customers like what they see, the Add to Bag button is right in front of them.

LUSH Cosmetics website embeds YouTube video in a pop-up window – both no-no’s from a user experience and SEO point of view.

7.  Don’t assume your in-house team can produce usable footage

Viewers don’t necessarily expect or want broadcast-quality e-commerce video, especially if the content is highly useful to them. Still, your videos represent your brand and should have an element of consistency. Think carefully about the effect production quality will have on customer perceptions and, if necessary, outsource to a team that can get quality usable footage quickly.

How not to sell a house:

8.  Don’t measure results

Identify your best performing content by periodically reviewing your video metrics. You may find that some products don’t sell better with video, although given the right content, most will. A video commerce platform that includes video conversion reports or works with your analytics package can be helpful in measuring conversion improvements, and lead you to produce better performing content over time.

9.  Don’t blindly follow “best practices”

The term “best practices” implies that we actually know the best way of doing something when a lot of times we really don’t. Often we’ve just copied what our competitors have done, which might work for them, but not for us. Test, test, test to come up with the right format, tone, content and placement for your target audience and their stage in the buying process.