Do videos influence purchase behavior? There is research out there suggesting that is the case, but not all videos seem to be equally effective. It looks like product videos are the best at converting consumers into customers, even though most online videos by brands are still traditional TV ads.
A recent study by Invodo and e-Tailing Group found that the majority of consumers gain confidence during the purchase process from watching product videos. Videos also made them spend more time on the retailer’s website and they felt more engaged with the brand.
Moreover, the study concluded that shoppers prefer product videos that are informative and demonstrate the product features in a simple, non-distracting environment. Product videos that were more of a branding exercise with less information, the preferred style in most TV ads, were not found as appealing.
It is safe to say that product videos are more important in certain categories than others. Consumer electronics is at the top of Invodo’s list with computer hardware and software in second place, and automotive in third. All the categories represent complex, high value purchases. And it makes sense: consumers want technical features translated to an easy-to-understand language and user benefits communicated through concrete examples.
Consistent with the Invodo findings, Google and Compete also made a similar study in 2011 that looks at the role of video in the smartphone purchase process. The research found that 39% of smartphone shoppers watched product videos while researching and shopping, and 77% of those watched for more than 10 minutes. And more importantly, viewers take action: 61% visited a store and 53% a website that sells smartphones after viewing videos.
Google suggests product videos are consumed throughout the consumer journey. Buyers first watch it to learn more about the product, and then narrow down their choices watching more videos and reading reviews. They even go back to the video after buying the item. Therefore, product videos are a successful format for getting a message across, building up consumer confidence pre-purchase and even reducing dissonance post-purchase.
IKEA Uppleva: a product video with Swedish flair and humor
Apple iPad mini: a longer product video that manages to sustain audience interest by continuously changing things up with new music and speakers
Ipsy: a beauty subscription service product video that explains the idea behind the new service in an inspiring way