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Improving View Through Rate for Product Video: 4 Hypotheses Tested

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3 minute read

There is no lack of case studies that demonstrate video has a positive impact on conversion rates, sometimes a very dramatic improvement. (The most dramatic I’ve seen is eBags, claiming 138% increase in conversion. There’s also evidence that the mere presence of video can improve conversion, whether the video actually is viewed or not.

While conversion is often the de facto KPI to measure, because the customer cannot reap the benefits of a product video without interacting with it, a video’s “view through rate” (VTR) should not be overlooked. VTR is the number of videos watched divided by the number of impressions (number of times a page loaded with a video.) If you can optimize for VTR, you’ll likely improve your conversion rate as well.

To answer the question “How can an online retailer maximize View Through Rate?”, the folks at Invodo, a video ecommerce platform, conducted a study across 53 of its own customers. With an average of 138 product videos per site, the study tested 7,413 product pages. (Invodo has granted us permission to share the study results on Get Elastic. You can download the full report from Invodo’s web site).

To answer the research question, 4 hypotheses were tested:

Hypothesis 1: Placing video above the fold results in a greater View Through Rate than video below the fold

Hypothesis 2: View Through Rate declines with an increasing number of elements competing for clicks on the page

Hypothesis 3: Adding a video with a text call to action increases View Through Rate

Hypothesis 4: Increasing the size of the video player increases View Through Rate

Results

Hypothesis 1: Placing video above the fold

Though usability pundits profess that you don’t need to worry about the fold, (the fold refers to the bottom of a user’s computer screen, whatever portion is visible without scrolling down), video players above the fold achieved an average 25.7% VTR versus 15.1% VTR for players below the fold. That’s a 70% increase!

Hypothesis 2: View Through Rate declines with an increasing number of elements competing for clicks on the page

This test had mixed results – while videos on pages with only 1-5 and 6-10 clickable elements outperformed pages 11-15 and 15-20 competing calls to action, the surprise was that pages with over 21 clickable items had the highest view throughs, an average of 26.4%.

Why might this be? It could be that the more cluttered a page is, the more the prominent elements (like a shiny video player) stand out.

Hypothesis 3: Adding a video with a text call to action increases View Through Rate

Though most folks understand you can click a Play button to get a video started, showing a text call-to-action (think “click to play” or similar) achieved a 23.9% VTR versus 21.4% without.

Hypothesis 4: Increasing the size of the video player increases View Through Rate

Pages with full-sized video players outperformed those with smaller players 22.5% to 19.0%. Not surprising, since larger product images and add to cart buttons also have a reputation for converting better.

Other testing ideas

It’s not just the presence of video that influences shoppers, it’s also the presentation of it. If you’ve only tested conversion rates for the presence of video against the absence of video – you’re not done testing. View Through Rate is a metric you measure when comparing design element against design element, and there are an infinite number of elements you can test for continual improvement.

Other elements you could test to improve VTR include:

  • Video thumbnail images
  • Show video play length
  • Autoplay the video on mute (with option to turn restart and turn on sound)
  • Show video headline
  • Video headline copy tests
  • Show caption below video
  • Caption copy tests
  • YouTube player vs. other embedded player/custom (YouTube advantage is views on your website count toward the plays/popularity on your YouTube channel)
  • Test alignment (left, center, right) of player

I’d love to hear your testing ideas (and case studies) in the comments!

Linda Bustos
Linda Bustoshttp://www.elasticpath.com
Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst she specializes in conversion optimization for enterprise digital goods and media companies.
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