Using Google research on the ‘messy middle’ between intention and purchase, Rohit Arora delves into six ways to use video media to pull through the complexity.

Google’s insight team and the Behavioral Architects recently released new research exploring the ‘messy middle’, a space of abundant information and unlimited choice (depicted with the infinite sign in the image below) that shoppers have learned to manage using a range of cognitive shortcuts.”

Image: Google

That’s true, if we think about it, between the linear “path to purchase” or “purchase funnel”, there’s lot more going on between triggers/awareness and purchase – limited offers, unused/expiring loyalty points, discount codes, credit card promos, push notifications from ecommerce sites, aggregator sites, review sites, comparison sites, group-buying sites, interest groups on social media, moving in and out of multiple e-commerce channels, going back for a second, and then a third look, and so on.

In the Google study, there are 6 cognitive biases that charges people with an unprecedented speed and scale in decision making:

  1. Category heuristics – key product specs that simplify decisions
  2. Power of now – the longer you wait, the weaker the proposition becomes
  3. Social proof – the power of others’ recommendations
  4. Scarcity bias – as availability decreases, desire increases
  5. Authority bias – trust and expertise can sway decisions
  6. Power of free – a free, even unrelated, gift with a purchase is a motivator

Video marketing

Video conveys information fast. As per the dual coding principle, audio cues help users to retain information of about 10%, on the other hand, with both audio and video cues, users retain as much as 68% of the information. No surprise, 92% of marketers say that video is an integral part of their marketing strategy in 2020. It has grown from 78% in 2015 (HubSpot).

Here are few video-marketing strategies that can help navigate the messy middle:

Product demos

These tend to be more functional, highlighting product features, benefits and uses – more effective to close a sale in the journey of exploration and evaluation.

According to Amazon, having a product video is one of the best possible ways to optimize the listing. It’s best to frontload your USP and keep it succinct especially in an e-commerce listing scenario, e.g.

That said, product videos can be long too, especially in a high-involvement category, e.g.

And, making them interesting improves likeability, e.g.

Product demo videos statistics:

  • 97% of global online retail sessions end without a purchase (Statista)
  • 96% find videos helpful when making purchase decisions online (Animoto)
  • 73% are more likely to purchase after watching videos explaining a product or service (Animoto)
  • 71% say watching video left them with a positive impression of the brand (Animoto)

Explainer videos

At times a new business idea/concept, its features and benefits need a better explanation to comprehend and appreciate the potential. They’re informative if a little direct, but are effective at an early conversion stage. It’s mostly placed on the website / landing page; and more interesting, the better, e.g.

Explainer videos statistics:

  • A video on landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80% (Eyeviewdigital)
  • People spent on average 2.6x more time on pages with video (Wistia)
  • 4x as many people would rather watch a video about a product than read about it (Animoto)
  • Video drives an 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs (Wordstream)

Consumer testimonial videos

These act as a social proof reinforcing the claims made by the brand, adding a layer of reassurance. A testimonial optimizes digital marketing efforts by giving that extra push for conversion on your website, social channels and especially on the landing page. Since it’s human-to-human, authenticity is key, e.g.

Testimonial videos statistics:

  • 92% hesitate to hit the buy button if the product lacks reviews entirely (FanandFuel)
  • 92% trust a recommendation from a peer and 70% trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know (Nielsen)
  • 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as friends and family (BrightLocal)
  • 79% of people have watched a video testimonial to find out more (Wyzowl)

Case study videos 

Used to demonstrate how a product or service helps their customers. It also helps to show how their product/service can be used. Peppered with storytelling, they can bring the business proposition to life, establishing credibility and supporting SEO.

E.g.: Aggreko has a dedicated page for case-studies for the main verticals, each supported by videos:

Yes, there’s an element of customer testimonials if the client is featured within the narrative, however case study videos tend to be more data-driven, following the problem-solution-result format, as Hubspot has done.

Case study videos statistic:

89% of B2B marketers consider customer testimonials and case studies to be the most effective kinds of content in converting buyers (Fronetics)

Retargeting ads 

Video remarketing is not just impactful, but also a cost-effective way to remind your prospects, who have already interacted with your website and YouTube videos. This is how it works:

While the bounce rates vary from the type of website or industry, as a thumb rule, 26-40% is considered as excellent, 41-55% average and 56-70% above average. Doesn’t mean that they are not interested, it’s just the messy middle.

Banners are the most used format. However, YouTube outperforms on greater engagement and visits frequency and works well coupled with display networks that support video banners.

Video remarketing ads can be of any duration and any of the video types discussed above can be served as YouTube ads, but my personal favorites are the shorter 5-10 seconds ads – as the intent is just a nudge. You’ll note that these are not the cutdowns, but designed to fit the format, e.g.

Retargeting statistics:

  • Website visitors who are retargeted are 43% more likely to convert (Criteo)
  • 3 out of 5 notice and consider ads showing products they viewed from another page (eMarketer)
  • CTR of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad (Wishpond)

Videos in email marketing

Embedding video to your email marketing is like adding rocket fuel to email opens, CTR and conversions.

With reducing attention spans and impatience to read, it’s often seen to be used either as a feature on top or part-way through the message, e.g.

Video email marketing statistics:

  • Video in emails can improve CTR by up to 300% (Biteable)
  • Interactive email letters improve click-to-open rate by 73% (GetResponse)
  • Adding video content to emails can potentially reduce opt-outs by 75%. (Backlinko)