Youtube on Product Pages: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

I’m spotting more and more video on ecommerce sites – and many of these are YouTube videos. For example, Ideal Case:

Shoeline.com:

And one of the funniest, Vat19 (yes they sell the 5 lb gummy bear):

Vat19 actually added a video gallery category, you can explore only items with videos.

But have you noticed anything about the above examples?

How about the glaring ad overlay that in some cases links to other retail sites? How about the related videos that distract your customer? Don’t underestimate the power of Youtube to activate CADD (Customer Attention Deficit Disorder)!

Though Youtube is quick and cheap way to include video content on your site, you run the risk of irritating customer with annoying ads, distracting suggested videos and performance issues if Youtube goes down for maintenance. All of this cheapens your brand image and may work against your conversion goals.

Ideal Case and Vat 19 appear to have produced their videos themselves (judging by the video titles and product exclusivity), so my question is why they aren’t using the original, clean videos on their site?

Dylan’s Candy Bar uses another user’s video on its product page for its Time Capsule collection.

In this case, the Youtube video adds whimsical charm to a whimsically charming product that stirs up the feeling of nostalgia. I don’t know how they did it, but somehow Dylan’s Candy Bar managed to embed this Archie comic video without ad overlay and related videos.

Lush leverages its biggest fan, “Allthatglitters21,” on its product pages. Though the video drags on a bit (almost 15 minutes!), you can tell this is an authentic Lush evangelist as she reviews her latest haul.

Though this video originally comes from Allthatglitters21’s Youtube channel, Lush has stripped it of its Youtube skin, making it more clean and professional, avoiding the “cheap” look that a straight embed would. Lush may have reached out to her and obtained the original video file in exchange for free product. Some sites like Blip.tv allow you to download video files directly to your computer.

The takeaway

Youtube carries risks – namely making your site look cheap, annoying or distracting customers. You can mitigate those risks by using your original videos on your site, or asking for the Youtube user’s permission to embed their original video on your site.

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