Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

A full 80%. That, according to EyeView, is how much a webpage's conversion rate can increase by if it has a tailored video. And yet, for all the growth we have seen in online video, very few SA companies are using it effectively.

Online video is booming – Cisco predicts that 82% of all IP traffic will be video related in 2021. True, video-streaming services such as Netflix make up a fair percentage of this, but it’s very difficult to look past the profound influence of YouTube.

Ignore at your own peril

Ranked as the second-largest search engine, YouTube accounts for a considerable 1-billion hours of content watched per day. And it’s changing the way we consume the internet. Looking to buy a smartwatch? Check the reviews on YouTube. Want to see how it’s packaged? Watch the unboxing. Trying to fix a syncing problem? Well, there’s more than a few videos for that.

In a relatively short time, YouTube has created a space where consumers are increasingly unhappy reading text but more than willing to watch and share a video.

Yet the regular South African company, whether it is in the B2B space or a mid-tier brand, is simply not doing enough with this medium. Big brands locally, on the other hand, are getting it right; consider the viral success of KFC’s Neymar campaign during the football World Cup. But that’s not to say that all content needs to be high-production TVC-style ads, or has to go viral. 

These days a videographer with a camera, a gimbal and some smart editing skills can produce content that’s more than sufficient to carry online.

The big take-out

A tailored video on a website landing page translates to an 80% higher customer conversion rate, yet few local brands are using video content effectively either to differentiate themselves from their competitors or to drive sales.

Video: What’s needed throughout?

So, with HubSpot noting that 54% of people prefer video content from brands they support above any other marketing tactics, how can video be used during the buying cycle?

Starting at the top of the funnel, an easy way to get going would be to offer explainer videos on landing pages. For companies introducing new products or services this is a great way to run through a brief overview and explain the key benefits. Traffic to these videos can be channelled through other digital tactics such as newsletters and social media, while tagging the video with the correct keywords also counts.

In the middle of the funnel, explainer videos that provide a deeper look at product features are key, especially for B2B companies with complex sales cycles. Typically, Q&A videos work well here, as do customer-testimonial inserts – both of which are low-cost video assets. While white papers and product collateral need not disappear, using video will make it easy for clients to explore your products without considerable reading effort.

By the time a potential customer reaches the bottom of the funnel they are ready to purchase and all that’s needed is an extra nudge to cross the buying line. One final signal that you're trustworthy or credible is required – a talking-heads video from the company CEO should instil the type of confidence that sways a decision. In addition, video can play an important role when running promotions on certain products. It drives conversion and creates stickiness, especially when all the competition is offering is image and text.

The distinguishing factor

Video is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and effort needs to be put into the planning and effective execution of it. As with most of the internet, it’s protean in nature and what works today might not work tomorrow. But local business and brands must realise that video need not be costly, and could well provide the differentiating factor many companies need to set themselves apart.

Charlie Stewart is CEO of Rogerwilco