As the country continues to battle a recession, marketers increasingly feel the pressure to make search marketing campaigns perform at higher levels. One of the best options available is landing page testing, and one of the best landing page elements to test may just be video.
Video has become increasingly inexpensive to create, making it attractive to even small businesses that may lack extensive marketing budgets. Couple that with the fact that video also continues to increase in user popularity. In January 2009, Comscore reported that online video viewing had increased by 195 minutes on average year over year – a three hour per month increase. So if users are willing to watch so much video online, would they also be receptive to video on landing pages? For a low cost of entry, video provides a new option for landing page testing.
Company A is a leading software company wanted to increase its leads from paid search campaigns. The company had been running a successful whitepaper offer, featuring independent research on the software. The company also had several video assets available that it was currently using on its website.
Company A set up a landing page test with two types of pages. Page A was a well-performing whitepaper offer. Page A had long been the campaign’s best performing landing page. The company decided to run a landing page test that replaced the whitepaper offer with an offer to watch a free video about the company’s software. Which would be the more compelling offer? A video or a whitepaper?
During a head-to-head test, the video version of the landing page (Page B) outperformed the whitepaper offer page (Page A) by over 400% and the cost per conversion was nearly 35% less for the video download offer versus the whitepaper download offer.
The Challenge with Testing Video
While the video test was highly successful for the software company, for another, it was less productive. Company B, also a software company, implemented its product overview video on the initial landing page rather than as a download offer. However, this approach did not seem to work as well for Company B. The company found that the video version of the landing page performed nearly equally to the non-video version of the same page.
What was the difference? What made one video more successful than another? The answer could be in a number of variations between the videos:
· Was it the length of the video?
· Was it the message of each video?
· Was it video load time?
· Was downloading the video a more attractive offer versus presenting the video up front?
The challenge with testing video on a landing page is similar to the challenge of testing elements on a landing page: there are many elements to test and tweak to find the right combination. But with video, testing is often more difficult. For instance, while it may be fairly simple to try different copy length on a landing page using Google Website Optimizer, editing a video for length may be much more time consuming.
Tips for Successful Video Landing Pages
Video is simply another form of content – content in a different medium. With that, just as you would apply certain best practices to your landing page written content, there are several key best practices to consider when using video on landing pages:
· Don’t set the video to “auto-play.” Imagine the frustration you would feel if you were working in a cubicle, hit a landing page, and all of your co-workers suddenly began to hear the video play! Auto-play can be a negative feature to many visitors.
· Use the video as your “hero shot.” Just as you would give central visibility to a product image, be sure to place the video high on the page (above “the fold”).
· Use video that delivers on your promise. It’s important to use a video that elaborates on the promise of the message from your search ad. Just as irrelevant text on a landing page might reduce conversions, so too will video that does not deliver on the promise of the search ad.
· Ensure optimal load times. Longer videos may take longer to load. Be sure that your video loads quickly. Remember that, on average, landing page visitors scan your landing page in approximately eight seconds. Ensure that your video is visible quickly to reduce landing page abandonment.
· Test various elements of the video where possible. As demonstrated in our test for Company A versus Company B, a sign up for a video download may be more effective than simply showing the video itself.
· Use Google Website Optimizer to measure. Google Website Optimizer is simple to set up and can help you quickly and effectively track results.
So should you test video on your landing pages? Absolutely yes. But know that, like most A/B testing elements, video isn’t necessarily the magic bullet. The only way you’ll know is if you test!