You're already spending part of your budget on Search Engine Marketing. You've done your research into the most effective keywords for your product and you spend some time every day looking at incoming traffic numbers and the traffic sources. We know that traffic is important in helping you achieve the goals you have set for your site, but what else should you be concentrating on?
What does your landing/homepage look like? When all that traffic appears at your door, what are you doing to make it feel welcome? How effective is your landing page at turning those visitors into paying customers?
Today, when so many sites are turning to video to make a great first impression on their visitors, they need to find a way to determine how effective that video is. It's not even that video costs more money than anything else. You can produce a homegrown video with a little planning and imagination using your own camera, spokesperson, lighting and editing software. You can find a free hosting solution if you're prepared for your video to contain links to another site when it finishes playing. In short, the actual video may cost you nothing… and yet I still believe you have to prove ROI. The reason for this is that while the investment in the video may be zero, the placement of that video on your homepage takes up valuable real estate that could be used for something else.
Every element of your page should be aimed at driving your site visitors towards your commercial goal, whether that is subscription, download or purchase. This herding of visitors towards your goal represents your conversion funnel.
When you turn to video as one of your homepage attractions you need to be sure that it will be more effective than the alternatives at driving conversion for your site. Even if the investment in the video is minimal you are making an investment just by hosting a video where you could be running some other kind of messaging.
Once you determine that every element of your page needs to defend its value against alternatives you need to come up with a strategy for establishing that value. The question of how to judge the value of your video has a number of different answers. Take a look at this list of metrics and try to decide which is the best one for determining the effectiveness of your video when it is placed on your homepage:
- The number of people that start watching your video
- The number of people that watch more than half of your video
- The number of people that watch your entire video
- The number of people that engage with your video by selecting additional chapters, changing the language option or sending a link to the video to a friend
While these kinds of one-dimensional video metrics may be the only ones available from any free-hosting solution they severely limit your ability to see the big picture. It is not enough to simply collect statistics on video usage. The number of people watching your video represents the number of people watching your video and nothing more.
The solution is to add an additional comparative dimension to your measurements:
- The number of people who continue down the conversion funnel on a page showing the video relative to the number of people who continue down the conversion funnel on the same page without the video
There are two things going on in this test scenario that are worth mentioning. The first is that the effectiveness of your video should be tied directly to the number of people that achieve the conversion goal you have established. In other words, video is not only about moving images and engaged viewers sticking around for longer, instead video is now a key driver of traffic down the conversion funnel. The second takeaway from here is that the only true way to measure any homepage element's effectiveness is comparative, split or A/B testing. This has long been accepted for static elements like banners, pictures and text, but it needs to become part of your strategy too for video.
For too long, video has received a free pass from websites just happy to have a little excitement on their homepage. The added complexities involved in A/B testing video has left it outside the bank of page elements with measurable ROI. Only by treating online video as you would every other aspect of your homepage will it become a mainstream part of your conversion strategy demanding more of your online budget as it drives bigger increases in your online revenue.