Premium video content with a focus on a brand story rather than a hard sell is best for driving engagement and purchase intention on social and other online platforms, according to a new study by MediaCityUK that looks at how different run times and editorial styles impact on the customer journey.
In total, 2800 people were polled for their views and reactions to visual content after watching a series of test videos. Before the study took place, 29 per cent of the respondents had completed a purchase through an online clip, while 30 per cent had clicked on a clip to find out more information. Half of those surveyed said that they typically have the sound on when perusing products online.
The main takeaway from the tests is that shorter forms of video content are more engaging, as clips that lasted 15 seconds were considered a much better shoppable video length than those with a run time of 40 seconds or more. Perhaps surprisingly, no detrimental impact was observed when muted content was viewed rather than voiced content.
Branded content was deemed best for pushing consumers along the buying cycle, and from a viewer’s perspective, it was also more palatable and enjoyable to watch compared to a more direct selling approach. This again highlights the importance of creative content that can elicit a positive reaction from end users.
“It was interesting that putting price in the video made people LESS likely to buy,” Alex Connock of EndemolShine North at MediaCityUK said. “That again is really useful. Combine that with how relatively badly the hard-sell approach worked, and it is clear that there is a time and a place for a hard sell, and it is not e-commerce video.”
The study also found that user-generated content ranked “badly” as a means to driving a purchase, and Cannock noted that it is best to “avoid” it entirely, as it often fails to meet the high standards expected by today’s tech-savvy viewers. Finally, any click-to-buy mechanisms should be placed at the end of a video, as users want to view an entire clip before being prompted to act and don’t like interruptions.
Cannock concluded: “Teenagers today have a facility with photo and video editing that was the preserve of a small creative elite only a generation earlier. That means that to reach that audience credibly, you have to display a similar level of creativity and taste – which is why the better-edited, shorter, more filmic, more branded-content, less hard-sell videos perform better.”