If you’ve invested in an Explainer Video for your website’s homepage, then the video itself is just the start of the story. In order to maximise its effectiveness, there are a few key things to consider when embedding it on your website.
Unfortunately, simple mistakes can ruin the success of your video, so I’ve outlined the 8 most common problems below. The good news is that most of them are very simple to spot and fix.
Here we go:
1. People Can’t See Your Video Unless They Scroll Down
When someone lands on your homepage, the area they immediately see before they scroll down is prime real estate. It’s known as the area ‘above the fold’.
This is where the visitor should immediately know that they’ve come to the right place. It should also clearly show that you can give them what they’re looking for (i.e. solve their problem).
Not everyone coming to your website will scroll down to see more of the homepage. You can analyse this by installing heat map software such as Crazy Egg or Hotjar. The area at the top of your homepage will show more traffic than when someone scrolls down.
Here’s an example of a heatmap produced by Hotjar:
This image shows that more people are looking above the fold (the red/orange area) rather than below it. This is a standard occurrence for most websites.
If you’ve invested in an Explainer Video which tells visitors how great you are and why they should buy from you, that video needs to be displayed above the fold to maximise views.
2. The Explainer Video Window is Too Small
We’ve seen websites where the Explainer Video is the size of a small matchbox when viewed on a 15″ laptop. Plus they’re often surrounded by masses of text, much of which replicates what’s being said in the video.
Whether your video is an animation, live ad or face-to-camera presentation, you’ve invested time and money in creating it, so don’t be afraid to show it off.
Not sure which size to use? Here is a list of the best video frame sizes based on both 4:3 and 16:9 ratios.
3. It Looks Like a Picture, not a Video
Make sure that your video window shows the ‘play’ triangle icon to make it look like a video. Most video hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia show the play icon as a default, but this can be removed in the settings (though not recommended).
You can also show a call to action above, below or beside the video. Something like: ‘Watch our video to find out how we can help you’ works well. You can even add an arrow pointing to the video to make it ultra-clear.
4. YouTube ‘Suggested Videos’ is Activated
YouTube’s main function is to try to keep you watching YouTube videos for as long as possible. It does this very successfully.
One of its functions that exacerbates this problem is the ‘Suggested Videos’ option. This is where, as soon as your video has finished playing, the window displays a host of similar videos.
The problem is, some or all of these videos could be by your competitors.
If you’re using YouTube to stream your videos through your website, make sure that you untick the ‘Show suggested videos when the video finishes’ option before copying and pasting the embed code into your site.
Or you can just add ?rel=0 onto the end of the YouTube video link within the embed code (e.g. src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ensABCZj3Dg?rel=0″)
Here’s a screenshot of how the option looks in YouTube:
5. Video not Optimised for Mobile
As more and more people surf the web on their phones and tablets, and Google increases the importance of mobile in its ranking factors, you need to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile. This isn’t just for video, but all types of content that you produce.
If an Explainer Video window is too large for someone’s phone without them having to click the Full Screen icon to make it fit the screen, this reduces the chance that they will watch it.
We use Wistia for embedding our videos, and it comes with a ‘Responsive’ option so that the video will fit its container, whether that is on PC, laptop, tablet or phone. NOTE – if you use this option, you might need your web designer to ensure that the container size (i.e. the screen window setting) isn’t too large.
6. No Call to Action
When producing Explainer Videos for our clients, we always start by defining the call to action and ensure that the video will meet its objectives. However, some clients just want a general brand builder with their web address and/or contact details on the final slide.
Some videos have a more direct call to action like ‘Complete the form below to book your free consultation’ or ‘Enter your email to download a free chapter of our book’.
You can also display different calls to action during your video or at the very end, which are controlled by your video player (YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia etc.).
If you view the video at the top of our homepage, you’ll see that it displays a clickable call to action at the very end. This is controlled by the Wistia embed code, and is not part of the video itself.
If you’ve got a very long tutorial video, you can also stop the video half-way through and ask people to enter their email addresses to be able to view the rest of the video.
By adding calls to action, you’re ensuring that viewers are staying longer on your website, getting to know your brand. By capturing their details either in the video window or in a form beside or below it, you can keep in contact with them in the future.
7. Not Tracking its Effectiveness
There are a number of ways to track the effectiveness of a new Explainer Video on your homepage. The most important is to have Google Analytics installed on your site. This is a simple case of pasting some code from Google Analytics into the header of your website. Your web designer can help you with this if required.
Google Analytics will enable you to track the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who just view one page on your site before leaving), the average number of pages viewed, and the length of time visitors remain in your site before leaving.
You can track the stats daily, see which pages are the most effective, and visitors’ journeys through your website.
When you embed a video in your homepage, you should see an instant decrease in the bounce rate, and an increase in the amount of time visitors remain on your site. The number of pages viewed might also increase, especially if the video ends with a link to another page.
All of these are used by Google in its ranking factors. Therefore, simply adding an engaging video to your homepage will help your website’s Google ranking.
You might also decide to test different sizes of video window, or where it is positioned on your site. Then check Google Analytics after a few days to see whether those changes had a positive or negative effect.
Your video player software will also have some way of recording viewing statistics. For example, Wistia records the average engagement, the total number of plays, the play rate (a percentage of the number of people viewing the page who also watch the video) and how many people took the call to action (if you have added one).
Wistia also shows where each person viewing the Explainer Video was located in the world, how long they watched, and whether they skipped any parts or watched a section more than once.
8. Video Takes Too Long to Load
As you probably know, our attention spans are reducing over time as the information that we are bombarded with grows. Site loading speed is important both for keeping viewers on your site, and because it’s also a Google ranking factor.
It’s therefore a good idea to continually monitor your site speed in Google Analytics or on a web speed service like GT Metrix, to regularly check that any images are optimised for fast loading, and that you invest in the best hosting you can afford. We’ve noticed our site loading speed get worse recently, so we’re looking into higher-spec hosting services.
If you’ve outgrown a shared hosting service, then try a virtual server. Some hosting companies offer managed virtual servers, rather than ones you have to manage yourself. This can be a pain if you’re not technical.
It also goes without saying that you should be streaming a high-quality compressed .mp4 version of the video rather than an uncompressed .MOV version, for example, that could stutter when streamed through a low-speed connection.
I hope you found this article helpful. If so, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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Phil Hampton – Managing Director, Cartoon Media