Can More Engaging Videos Actually Harm Sales?

Slightly expanded with the author’s permission from The Conversion Scientist.

We did some very interesting research at Conversion Sciences labs, and we love it when our deeply held beliefs get blown out of the water.

It’s happened again.

Most of us assume that if our pages are “engaging” to visitors, that they are more likely to convert to leads or sales. If they are engaged, they have more time to take action. If they are engaged, they will truly understand our value and become a lead or a customer.

Look at the following graph of three videos. These three different videos appeared on three otherwise identical landing pages. The graph is “Viewer Attention” as is recorded by YouTube. Basically, these graphs tell us how many visitors were still watching at any point in the video. It tells us how engaging a video is.

Clearly, we would expect whiteboard style video to be the highest converting video, since viewers are more engaged for the entire length of the video. We expect slides to be almost as successful. However, we expect plain old talking head videos to perform poorly.

Now take a look at the following graph. This is a graph of the conversion rates of the same videos.

This graph tells us that plain old talking head video is getting more visitors to click than our webinar-style slide-based video, even though it has significantly worse engagement.

Clearly, engagement doesn’t predict conversion in this case. Here, engagement is actually distraction. We did eye-tracking studies, and it turns out that too much motion and too many scene changes in a video—as you get with slides—draw the viewer’s attention away from the call to action on the page.

These findings lead to a few recommendations on how to use video for maximum effect:

  1. Use less motion if you use video on landing pages, and repeat your call to action in the video.
  2. Use more engaging styles of video—types with more motion, like whiteboards—to keep viewers’ attention long enough to explain complicated concepts.
  3. Place your calls to action near moving components on the page.
  4. Test your good, engaging videos to make sure that they actually increase your conversion rate.

Visit SearchEngineLand for a fuller summary of the results. (You’ll notice a slightly different graph. The one here represents our most recent findings.)

Brian Massey calls himself a Conversion Scientist and he has the lab coat to prove it. Follow him on Twitter @bmassey.

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One Comment

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