Press Play: 4 Ways to Engage Your Shoppers with Video

When you scroll through your social feed, check the news or visit your favorite website, what do you see? Before you tell us your answer, let us take a guess – video. Whether it’s two pandas play fighting or one person’s inspirational story, video has become the go-to platform for highly engaging storytelling. Video content is so popular that, in the next several years, it is estimated to account for 74 percent of all web traffic. As content creators, it’s our job to stay ahead of the curve on what’s new and trending, so we can always develop the most impactful messaging to reach shoppers. Video is a huge piece of this puzzle as it has the power to captivate and communicate at the same time. If you are interested in taking your video strategy to new heights, consider the best practices below.

1. First and foremost, you are a storyteller.

Can a bottle of water have a compelling story? Well, when put in the right context, absolutely. Effective video comes prepared with a story to tell and that story holds the entire project together. Consider what you want your end user to walk away with after viewing your video. Sure, the immediate goal may be to drive sales, but video does so much more than that. Video has the power to contribute to an overall brand experience by evoking particular emotions. Coming up with a script and atmosphere for your video will add depth and value to your content library while painting a rich picture for your prospective customers.

2. Time is relative.

In the past, you may have heard that, when it comes to video, shorter is always better. That’s not necessarily true. The length of your video should depend on the platform. For example, videos posted on YouTube that garner hundreds of thousands of clicks average around 90-120 seconds in length. A case study or a more informative video featured on a homepage or landing page should require more time – preferably around the 2 to 5-minute mark. Looking at social media, specifically, average video engagement on Facebook is more than three minutes per session, so longer videos tend to perform better on that platform. Instagram’s average video engagement time is much smaller – under thirty seconds – making it a better platform for shorter videos. Understanding that the average shopper has a shorter attention span than a goldfish, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your audience is always looking for its next media fix. No matter the given platform, ensuring your video succinctly and creatively communicates a message in the time allotted will help your retail brand standout among the competition.

3. Be consistent.

Content creation isn’t a “one and done” endeavor. Even if you publish a video that gets thousands of shares, there’s no way it can sustain you for the long haul. Developing a steady stream of on-brand content is an effective way to stay fresh and relevant. Maintain a monthly or weekly calendar to monitor what’s in the queue and be sure to schedule reoccurring brainstorms for new content. When coming up with ideas, keep your brand identity in mind – Does this video demonstrate a consistent brand voice? Is the color palette and overall story on-brand? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, your body of work will continue to accurately represent your retail brand in the long-run.

4. Consider shareability.

A few years ago, “shareability” had no place in the Oxford English Dictionary. Now, it has an official definition: “The quality of being shareable or the likelihood of being shared, especially on a social media website or application.” With the rise of social media, everything is about creating an immediate reaction that convinces a user to share content. Shareability can be broken down into a few different components, most notably: emotion, perceived usefulness and entertainment. According to a study published by the Association of Psychological Science, emotion plays a major role in when, where and why content is shared. Evocative content wakes up the autonomous nervous system, which, in turn, triggers the desire to be social. Content that elicits strong feelings, like amusement, fear or anger, were linked with higher levels of shareability, most likely because the end user was in a state of “high arousal.”

A study performed by researchers at UCLA found that when people consume content, they almost immediately wonder how the content might prove useful, entertaining or interesting to those around them. This indicates that products deemed useful and relevant by the public are more likely to be shared in social circles. Stacks and Stacks, a home organization ecommerce site, found that customers who viewed one of their product videos was 144 percent more likely to add the product to their cart. The company now has a video library of approximately 500 videos, each demonstrating the featured product’s convenience and ease-of-use. DollarShaveClub is another prime example of a retail brand that is cornering the market with engaging video content. With one viral video, the company was able to accrue 12,000 new customers in just two days.

In 2016, politics, personality quizzes and scientific studies dominated the most shared content lists. Well, that and products like this giant inflatable Irish pub, which leads us to the next point of consideration – entertainment. Ultimately, people are searching for content that will make them smile. Take, “Happy Chewbacca,” for example. A woman in a Star Wars Chewbacca mask in the throes of a highly contagious fit of laughter has been shared over 136 million times on Facebook. Now if that’s not entertaining, we don’t know what is!

There’s no magic recipe for the perfect retail video – but there are some best practices that will make it more powerful and engaging than ever before. From video length to maintaining a branded look and feel, there are a multitude of factors to consider when developing your next video. Observing the average person’s behavior, shoppers are captivated by emotionally evocative content – videos that make them feel something and, in turn, prompt them to respond and share. Creating videos that encapsulate the benefits of using a product while staying true to your brand’s identity and purpose will help your videos make a lasting impact.

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