So you’ve added a few product videos on your ecommerce store. You made sure to have a big play button so that visitors can’t miss on the great content. Everything looks good and ready to work. You can set videos aside for a while now and focus on more important issues on your site. Right? Wrong. Just because you’ve added videos to your ecommerce store, doesn’t mean you’ve enabled conversions. Video content is there to help shoppers decide if the product is right for them, but if it’s not optimized for conversions it will add little value to your efforts. You might feel pretty good about your work, but do your visitors feel the same? The only way to find out is to run a few AB tests with various video elements until you get to a winning combination that brings in the most conversions.
“Since producing many versions of the video can be expensive, most of the focus should go on getting more people to play the video.”
In this post, we’ll talk about AB tests you can run with the videos on your ecommerce site to make sure you’re maximizing the potential of converting visitors into customers.
AB Tests You Can Run with Videos
1. Page with Video vs. No Video
Let’s start with the obvious. The goal of this test is to understand whether introducing videos affects the conversion rate on your pages. It simply tests how visitors behave on the page enhanced with video versus on the same page but without video.
Product pages are ideal for this kind of AB tests, as they have clear call-to-action (e.g. “buy now”, “add-to-basket”) and visitors are already deep in the shopping journey.
From our own experience at Goodvidio, product pages with videos see up to 74% increase in the “add-to-cart” click-through rate than same pages without videos. Talk about the power of video!
Of course, this is not the limit. Ariat reported 160% increase in conversion rate for pages with videos, while Zappos saw an increase of 6-30% when videos were added on the site, so the context of the store plays a role as well.
2. Video Placement
Do visitors convert more when the video is placed at the top of the page or when it’s positioned below the page fold? That’s a good thing to check with AB tests.
You can follow this mini-guide on video placement for ecommerce. A general advice is that the easier it is for visitors to spot the video, the more likely they are to engage with it and subsequently convert. The closer the video is to the “hot” areas of the page (e.g. above the fold, close to photos and CTA button), the more effective it is at influencing users to convert.
The logic is simple – you’re adding video as a powerful visual aid to help shoppers decide to purchase the item, so if it’s hidden at the bottom of the page or behind odd tabs it’s less likely to be noticed.
But don’t take our word on that. Test different video placements on your pages to understand what resonates the best with your visitors. Run AB tests with video placed above the fold (e.g. next to product photos), below the fold (e.g. in the detailed product description section), aligned to the left, to the right and in the middle to see which placement gets the most clicks from your visitors.
3. Video Thumbnails
Now we’re putting the creativity to the test. Your video might be the most informative and thoughtful presentation ever, but if the visitor sees an unattractive or non-descript thumbnail they won’t be interested to click and discover the magic behind it.
Test different thumbnails for the same video. You might discover that the video you’ve invested time and resources in gets a low click-through rate because visitors don’t find the preview attractive. If you can change it, test it.
The thumbnail should be good looking and invite shoppers to engage with the content. Keep your mobile visitors in mind as well, as they are more likely to get “hooked” and click to watch the video if the thumbnail looks interesting.
4. Color of the Video Player & Play Button
It might seem like a minor detail, but the color of the video player or even the play button on your pages might play a role as to how visitors engage with the content. Test different versions of the color against each other. Experiment with your brand’s colors to see whether this influences visitors to behave differently.
5. Video Size
We’re talking here about the space that video occupies on your page. The most popular choice is typically 400 – 600 pixels in width. It allows visitors to easily spot the video on the page and leaves enough space for other content. This is especially important for your product pages, as you want to have enough space for additional information like product description, customer reviews, delivery options, recommended products etc.
Test different video sizes on your pages to determine what engages visitors more. Larger videos are easier to spot and invite users to interact, but smaller size might be more in harmony with your theme (after all, you don’t want it to look like you just crammed video on the page). Run experiments to understand which option works better for conversions.
6. Video Length
Do 30 second product videos convert your visitors better than 3 min detailed reviews and how-to tutorials? Do shoppers stick around to watch 30 sec video more than a 2 min presentation? You don’t know ‘till you run some AB tests!
Sure, you often read that product videos should be kept up to 1-3 min in length in order not to overwhelm shoppers with too many details. But not all products are created equal. While a 30-second product video might be sufficient for a kitchen knife or a wallet, complex products such as power tools or Lego kits might need longer videos to get viewers familiar with all the key features.
If you produce your own product videos, make sure to have enough footage so that you can test whether a shorter version of the video performs better or worse than longer one. If you’re using product videos from social media you won’t be able to run perfect AB tests, since each video is unique and can’t be replicated with different lengths. In such cases observe visitor behavior to spot any drastic differences in engagement and conversions when visitors have the option to watch shorter or longer videos.
7. Test Call-to-Action
It might seem like a redundant thing to mention since the play button is a pretty self-explanatory call-to-action in itself. However, a clever copy might make a difference in encouraging visitors to click on the video.
AB test videos with CTA and variants without any specific message about the video. Test different messages (e.g. “play video” vs “watch videos”), the placement of the text in relation to the video, the color of the message etc.
8. Single Video vs Multiple Videos
Is watching one video going to bring your visitors closer to placing an order than having the two or more videos on the page? Run AB tests. Experiment with placing a single video versus having a video gallery with two, three or more product videos.
From our experience at Goodvidio, it’s a good practice to give visitors a choice of multiple videos about the same product whenever possible. This allows them to see the product from multiple perspectives (esp. if you combine review, tutorial and/or unboxing videos) and form a complete idea whether the product is right for them.
9. Video Grid vs Video Carousel
Speaking of having multiple videos. There are various ways you can place them on your pages. You can stack them in a grid or use a video carousel to display the content.
While carousel might save some precious space on your pages, not all users might be fond of it. You also run the risk that not all visitors who land on your pages will scroll the carousel to see more videos. Test different display options to discover what your customers more.
10. Different Types of Videos
Having multiple videos on your pages raises one more question. Should you include a variety of videos, each with a different theme (e.g. unboxing, review, tutorial), or should you focus on a single type of video but with multiple variations that complement each other?
For example, if you’re selling food processors, you might want to feature videos that show main product functions as well as unboxing and recipe videos. Alternatively, you might want to have only videos demonstrating how your processor performs with different types of foods. This is another idea worth A/B testing, as shoppers can behave differently with different breadth and depth of content.
According to insights by Phil Nottingham from this article on ConversionXL, you can expect explainer videos to convert better than videos about company culture, customer testimonials or animated explainers. Of course, some of these videos are not that common in ecommerce (you’re more likely to have product review videos than animation videos), so test what works best in your case.
11. Brand Videos vs UGC
Once you figure out what types of videos work the best on your site you can also experiment with how visitors respond to content produced by different creators. Your own videos might outperform videos made by a manufacturer, but they might just as well fall short in comparison to videos made by real-life consumers who have actually bought and used the product.
User-generated videos can be a very powerful persuasion tool in ecommerce. Shoppers act differently when they see a person just like them using the product and talking about its benefits, as opposed to watching a branded video full of special effects. The impact on the conversion rate from watching videos made by different creators can be significant, so test not only different types of videos on your pages but also different video sources.
12. Watching Videos on Page vs in an Overlay
What happens once visitors actually click on the play button? Does video start to play right there on the page or does an overlay appear with a video player, giving them an option to watch the video full-size?
The experience plays a big role in whether visitors decide to place an order from your site. Test whether changes in video playing options affect shopper’s post-watching behavior and a decision to buy.
Things to remember
These are just some ideas of the AB tests you can run with videos on your ecommerce site. This list is not conclusive, and you can add your own experiments (e.g. test silent auto-play versus click-to-play options).
Remember that conversion optimization is not a one-off activity but a continuous process towards improvement. As Sujan Patel puts it: “For best results, you’ll always want to have at least one test running on your website.”
Sometimes small changes can make drastic differences in your conversion rate, so monitor your data and analyze visitors’ behavior and reactions. Give your experiments enough time to generate meaningful and reliable results. And don’t get too attached to either variation in the experiment – you never know which one might win!