I have been noticing that more sites have started to use an interesting form of online video known utilizing a “video host” or “video spokesperson.” This type of video is often presented as an overlay on a web site that appears when when you first enter a site or hit a landing page. When implemented well, a video spokesperson does not interfere with the normal operation or navigation of a site. Typical applications for a video host are site advertising and promotions, how-to or training videos, issue management or recruitment over the web.
The site is hosted by baseball pro LeBron James who helps the first-time user to quickly find out about the main content and services by directing the user to the principal sections of the page. His intro ends with a call-to-action: “Join now, it’s free.”
The University of Dalhousie in Canada uses a host to promote the services of the institute’s career center to future students and alumni.
And at Barnes & Noble’s online shop, new releases are brought to the user’s attention using a short overlay promo video featuring the book author.
There is no doubt that this kind of dynamic video application can help to drive conversion rate of website or landing page. But in order to guarantee a good user experience it must be used at the right time, in the right place and above all give the user control over the video. The user must be able to stop and click away at any time while navigating the site.
So I think that a video spokesperson is only useful if …
1. …it helps the user to find his way around the site. Avoid simple welcome messages that don’t deliver any additional value for the user experience.
2. …it uses a person that relates naturally with your brand or product.
3. …the clip is related to a call-to-action or promotion that justifies the presence of an extra layer of navigation.