It seems clear that 2012 will be the year of video commerce. Every day, we meet with retailers who are planning to launch or develop their product video program next year. In many cases, they have anecdotal evidence that videos will improve user experience and conversion rates, but they want to make a case to their senior leadership team to prove their theory.
At Liveclicker, we have been surrounded by convincing video data for the past four years. We know, without a doubt, that a video program will catalyze increases in site traffic, elevated conversion rates, improvements in average order size and boosts in revenue for a wide spectrum of retailers. We have found that video is, hands-down, one of the most powerful developments in ecommerce history. Unfortunately, most retailers don’t have the necessary tracking capabilities to prove what is working or to hone the things that aren’t working. They measure their program by the number of video views they accumulate or by conducting a rudimentary before-and-after A/B test of their website’s productivity. Although both of those metrics are interesting, they provide indirect evidence, at best. Below are five reports that every retailer needs to properly track and optimize their video program over time.
1) Video-to-Conversion Analysis
With the exception of branding videos, educational videos and others, the lion’s share of a retailer’s video library will be about the products they sell. Thus, the best way to measure the effectiveness of these types of videos would be to track the impact that they have on revenue acquisition. Try conducting an A/B test where the control group is a static image (or nothing at all) and the variable is a product video. Then, performance indicators like conversion rate, units per order, cross sells or average order size can be used to ascertain the value of the video program.
Liveclicker provides revenue tracking on each video as well as integration with Omniture, Coremetrics and Google Analytics. This type of reporting provides valuable context to the measurement of the video program as well as justification for the expansion of video production and distribution. The report below shows actual data from a Liveclicker customer (with video titles blurred for anonymity). If you knew you could produce a video that would generate more than $1,000,000 in three months, would that become your highest ecommere priority?
2) Video Distribution Report
One of the biggest benefits that can be derived from a video program is the uptick in site traffic that results from distributing videos across the Internet. Of course, as with any acquisition initiative, it is important to measure which video distribution channel is driving the most traffic. Furthermore, it is helpful to understand the differences in behavior (visit duration, visit frequency, conversion rate, average order size) which can be predicted based on the referring site. For example, do you know if YouTube is actually driving traffic or conversions on your website? Do you know if your Facebook referrals behave any differently from your Commission Junction referrals? These nuances which affect the future strategy of your program are found in the Video Distribution Report:
3) Video Engagement and Fallout Analysis
Video production, no matter how efficient, can be both time and resource intensive. However, nothing is more costly than producing videos that don’t work. How are you measuring the engagement of your viewers? Do you know when they are dropping off? More importantly, do you know why they are dropping off? Simply knowing how many seconds into a video viewers progress doesn’t tell the whole story. Are they leaving because of disinterest or are they proceeding to place an item in their shopping cart?
Also, context is important when it comes to engagement analysis. The results of one particular video’s performance might be interesting, but it needs to be compared against other videos before a conclusion can be made about its effectiveness.
Overall, engagement analysis produces valuable e-commerce metrics which can be used in the optimization of existing videos and the development of new ones.
4) Video SEO Reporting
Do you know which search engines and phrases are driving traffic to your videos? Are you optimizing your videos for search engines like Google and YouTube? Are your video thumbnails showing up in Google’s blended search results?
Video can be a powerful tool in your SEO arsenal, but you have to be able to measure its effectiveness. Reports that show the number of visitors driven to your video library from each search engine and keyword/keyphrase are extremely helpful. Being able to follow the clickstream of those visits to prove the impact of video SEO on revenue is also an important measure of your program’s effectiveness.
5) Content Detail Reporting
The fifth video commerce report which will help you dissect the performance of your program involves multi-dimensional content detail. What does that mean? It is the ability to pivot your analysis by any customizable dimension. For example, would you like to know which brand’s videos are the most effective? What about the videos hosted by men versus women? Longer videos versus shorter videos? Educational videos versus product demonstrations? Children’s apparel versus toys?
Having the ability to pivot your content detail reporting by any parameter is a crucial part of your web analytics solution. Shouldn’t your video commerce metrics be just as easy to use?
Take your video commerce reports seriously
The rudimentary metrics which are found in free solutions (like YouTube) or basic video hosting solutions are interesting, but not actionable. In order to truly gauge the effectiveness of your program and to make changes that translate into conversions, keep your eye on reports like the ones described above.