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A manual for effective online video placement

A manual for effective online video placement Amit Levran

Today there are more than 300 million websites on the internet fighting for consumers' attention. Driving customers to your site with online ads, email, and social media is one thing; keeping them there is another, and generating multiple visits is the ultimate challenge of a customer-focused strategy. So, how do you drive a visitor to your site and keep him loyal to your brand? Create content that is relevant, informative, and strategically placed.

After you attract visitors to your site, you need to grab their attention -- quickly. Visitors have short attention spans, so relevant, real-time content makes the difference between a consumer leaving within seconds and staying on your site to place a purchase. Video is a great way to provide consumers with the content they demand. With smart video technology, online brands can create engaging videos that provide each consumer with a personalized experience. Videos maximize the experience with your brand, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty. However, in order to take full advantage of videos, consumers need the ability to see information with little effort. Placement of a video is just as critical as its content.

Following are video placement best practices:

On-page video placement

Front and center: Video can be the most engaging online asset you have, so make sure consumers see it and view it. The video should be visible when the page loads. Placing videos below the fold and requiring consumers to scroll down will not offer any benefits to your brand or to the consumer. In addition, the call-to-action should be prominent, such as "Click here to view a video about..." or a "Play" button displayed. Below is an example of above-the-fold video placement on Coca-Cola's homepage.


To auto-play or not to auto-play: This depends on the page on which you are placing the video. If you place video on a dedicated landing page where the consumer expects to see a video, we recommend auto-play. Otherwise, let the viewer choose when to start. Apple's iPad landing page is a prime example of both options at work. The viewer automatically views a 30-second preview of the product and then has the option to view three other product-related videos.

Maximize the play experience: Videos should play embedded on the web page or in a lightbox player. The method that you choose depends on the type of video, target audience, and desired action. A lightbox approach guarantees that viewers are focused only on the video by opening a layer on top of the page that plays the video, such as the Tiger Direct product video featured below. That said, the layer will block access to everything else on the page, so multitaskers may not appreciate this approach.


Email and landing page placement

When incorporating video into email, it is a best practice to have a play button automatically direct consumers to a landing page to view the entire video.

Subject line lifts open rates: It's critical to leverage the subject line accordingly, letting the consumer know that the email includes a link to a video. When the subject line sets the right expectation, we've seen open rates double, between 30 and 60 percent depending on the use case.

Placement above the email fold: The link to the video should be visible when the email opens. Again, do not place the link below the fold, which requires consumers to scroll down.

Thumbnail preview is key: Use a thumbnail for the video link. Better yet, use a thumbnail that is showing a part of the video. This works well with personalized videos. In the example below, the company sends an email to encourage customers to view video content with a thumbnail that includes a scene from the video itself. Some organizations take this approach a step further by showing a personalized preview, such as a screenshot of a scene that includes the customer's name.

To auto-play or not to auto-play: If the consumer clicks a link to see a video and reaches a landing or a product page, auto-play is the way to go, as this expectation was set by the company in the email by presenting a clickable thumbnail to view the video (similar to the strategy for effective on-page placement).

Video is one of the best customer-engagement tools, so make sure your customers see what you have to offer. Whether you are using video in email campaigns or on a web page, ensure your video is highly visible so that your customers can take advantage of it.

Amit Levran is the solution architect at SundaySky.

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"Conceptual image of a generic smartphone" image via Shutterstock.

With more than 15 years of experience, Amit is a web veteran and a SaaS enthusiast. At SundaySky, he spends his days (and nights) working with customers and prospects on developing and optimizing approaches for SmartVideo implementations. Prior to...

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