It seems like there are countless studies and articles about online video increasing conversion rates, but what contributes to this measure of success? I can tell you: video placement, for one. As your online video content library grows, it’s important to deliver the right video to the right person and in the right spot. With that in mind, here are five tips and best practices to follow when placing video on your company website and associated pages.
1) Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Before we get into specific placement tips, let’s start with the basics. Video players come in all shapes and sizes, but marketers should keep their designs simple. It sounds obvious, but you really need to use familiar icons like the play button. It should be in a prominent spot as it is one of the most recognized symbols across the web. This lets your audience know that your media is a video and not a photo.
If your company is displaying videos in a portal or library format, then you should follow a similar presentation to the YouTube watch page. I say this because it’s a widely recognized and understood player. Place related or episodic video content on the right hand side of the player, as your viewers are used to this type of navigation.
Using custom thumbnails instead of generic ones is also a great way to encourage customers to watch more of your content. Create vibrant visual thumbnails that act as teasers and mini-billboards. Your thumbnails will also show up in the video results of popular search engines. Sites like Bing place even more emphasis on thumbnails and have increased the display size to enrich their video search experience.
2) Place Videos Above the Fold: Placing online videos in a spot that minimizes scrolling helps search engines understand their value. Take a bold approach and place your videos high on a page instead of burying them at the bottom. Placing relevant metadata like titles, descriptions, and transcriptions beneath the video further enhances search engine optimization.
Placing videos at the top of a page makes for a better mobile viewing experience, too. According to Ooyala’s Q1 2015 index, video plays on tablets and smartphones together increased a stunning 100 percent since Q1 2014. That growth suggests more than 50 percent of all online video plays will be on mobile devices before the end of the year.
Think about the small screen and remember that mobile webpages require more scrolling to display correctly. Test and preview how your videos look on mobile devices and make sure that they are optimized for proper playback.
3) Give Video Good Real Estate: Not only should marketers place their videos above the fold, they should also give the videos a prominent size. An average based on YouTube, Vimeo, and other popular online video platforms suggests that video player size should be around 576×320 for 16×9 aspect ratios. According to Brightcove, video codecs perform better when the width and height in pixels are multiples of 16. Otherwise, you run the risk of compressed video and poor quality during playback.
Companies should also place videos directly onto a webpage rather than using a light box or something that requires the video to launch in a separate application. Limelight Networks recently shared a study that reported audience abandonment rates increasing with buffering, and that viewers start to disappear after a two-second delay. While these applications can present videos in appealing displays, they can also cause delays and bugs upon launch.
Avoid these issues by embedding videos directly into product and landing pages. The goal is to make the video part of the overall strategy for a webpage. Not only should marketers carve out real estate for the video, but they should also consider including complementary information like whitepapers, photos, and blog links. Think about how a custom video can enrich the complete audience experience versus including one-size-fits-all or one-off videos.
4) Autoplay or No Autoplay?: This is one topic that marketers seem to go back and forth on. The general rule is to avoid videos with autoplay. There are several reasons why: It interrupts your customer’s viewing experience, eats up bandwidth, and potentially freezes your viewer’s browser.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has also published standards on autoplaying both audio and video. In a nutshell, these standards state that autoplay can interfere with user navigation and can cause severe distractions for some people. Let your viewer drive the action by clicking the play button. This will make them feel like they’re in control rather than being bombarded by your marketing pieces.
Autoplay is also a concern when it comes to mobile viewing. Vimeo’s support page states that autoplay will not work on most mobile devices. It’s best to research your own platform and determine how autoplay features may or may not work.
There are some instances where autoplay is acceptable. Email marketing, whitepapers, or PDFs that link to videos on webpages are suitable for autoplay. At that point, the viewer has already clicked on the video and wants to be shown that media. Understanding where your audience is coming from is key.
5) Length of Video Content Matters: Figuring out how people are accessing your website is also critical in determining where to place your videos. Ooyala recently reported that PCs had the highest percentage (65 percent) of viewing time spent in Q1 for content over 10 minutes in length. On the other side, publishers saw a third (31 percent) of their video plays come from mobile devices. This research suggests that viewers are likely watching short-form content on their mobile devices and long-form videos on desktops.
Publishers should apply these findings to their own video strategies. For example, make sure to use your short-form video content across pages if you serve up a mobile version of your site. Brands could also try creating short-form versions or teasers of their long-form content for their mobile sites. This will help with engagement rates and time spent on your website for mobile viewers. If your audience predominately accesses your site from a PC, then long-form video content is perfectly fine.
All marketers and video publishers will need to look at their own customized metrics to determine how some of these tips can be applied to their strategy. One last tip is to compare your website analytics with your video platform metrics and draw parallels between the two. This will ensure that you get the full scope of your viewers experience with video on your site.