Tag Archives: video

Why You Should Care About Website Architecture When it Comes to Your SEO

website seo and architecture

Moz’s Whiteboard Friday on IA and SEO I’ve always had a thing for site architecture and designing sites that are both user AND search engine friendly. However, it can be a bit challenging. Especially for those who have been doing SEO for a while. We all want to over-optimize every web page as much as possible. Well, stop doing that! In this video, Rand does a great job of explaining what you need to keep in mind when you’re designing a website that has both a good user experience and SEO. A Few Key Takeaways From The Video: Good information…

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Why You Should Care About Website Architecture When it Comes to Your SEO

Master Your Next Feature Launch: How Vimeo Uses Unbounce Landing Pages to Go to Market Faster

You’re a product marketer and it’s five weeks away from a major launch.

The office is buzzing with excitement and tensions are rising by the day. Your marketing team is busy prepping all the essential pieces in your marketing launch toolkit, from email communications to paid advertising to PR initiatives and beyond.

But something’s missing.

Your website needs updating to reflect the launch of your new feature or product… and then you need somewhere to send your paid campaign traffic.

If you’re relying on your developers to build a new page for you, it could take weeks (or longer). Besides, shifting your devs’ focus away from the product launch probably isn’t the best use of their time. Adding work to their plates could mean having to delay going to market (and miss your launch deadlines) — and that could be deadly for business.

The marketing team at Vimeo has experienced this stress first-hand. Garrett Bugbee, Manager of Search and International Marketing, recently described to me how product launches have put a strain on his team in the past:

We had a huge creative backlog, especially during product launches. We relied on our devs to build our pages for us. It was a slow and painful process, from design to the kick-off meetings and then actually waiting for it to be built and QA’d… It was a massive issue.

Fast forward to today, Garrett and his team have removed many of these pre-launch bottlenecks. When it came time to launch their new product, Vimeo 360, they’d mastered the art of going to market with new products on time and on budget.

So what’s Vimeo’s secret recipe to making every product launch a smash hit?

Garrett teases at it in the video below. Have a look, or read on for the blueprint to their success.

Make every product a smash hit: Watch this video to learn how Vimeo removed bottlenecks from their launches so they could go to market faster.

Meet Vimeo and their latest product, Vimeo 360

As one of the internet’s most popular video sharing websites, Vimeo attracts more than 100 million unique visitors per month and is home to over 50 million creators worldwide (and counting).

As their popularity increases so too does the competition.

In order to stay on top, Vimeo has to evolve and innovate. With at least four new video products or features being introduced to the platform each year, a failed launch for Vimeo could mean a loss of thousands (dare we say millions) in company dollars, so there’s infinite pressure to get it right — every time.

You can imagine then, the pressure that Garrett (the hero from our intro) must have felt when he and his team set out to launch Vimeo 360, a new product that allows users to upload 360-degree videos in stunning high quality:

Because some of Vimeo’s competitors were already dabbling in 360-degree video, Garrett knew they had to launch quickly — and with a splash:

It’s a tool that other platforms have already, and it’s something that we wanted to give our creators so they have a new venue for expression and a new way to produce, make and showcase content.

Removing bottlenecks from the campaign launch

Vimeo’s main goal for the 360 launch was to drive engagement, measured by new subscribers and 360 video uploads.

While part of their homepage was to briefly feature Vimeo 360, Garrett and his team wanted to build out a page to better explain the product and all the amazing things it could do, including:

  • An example of a 360 video for prospects who were not yet familiar with the technology (shown above)
  • A showcase of 360 video content created by some of Vimeo’s power users
  • A detailed breakdown of features that make Vimeo 360 stand a cut above the rest (high-quality resolution, intuitive controls, powerful integrations)
  • A promo for their 360 video school, which teaches creators of all stripes to make better videos

That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a website that is also serving a general audience, so Garrett and his team turned to Unbounce to create a click-through landing page for their campaign:

Garrett’s team used Unbounce design features like parallax scroll to appeal to his visually-inclined user base. Click to view full-length landing page.

Beautiful isn’t it?

Garrett explained why empowering his marketing team to build this page themselves was key:

The big benefit here is the flexibility we have to produce a marketing-specific landing page without the help of our engineering team.

Our devs get to focus on building a great product, and we can focus on designing a page built specifically for marketing purposes without pulling our front-end devs away from their work. We can go to market a lot faster by parallel-pathing both the product build and the page build.


Don’t pull devs away from work – your marketing team can build launch landing pages themselves.
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The best part? The campaign landing page that the Vimeo marketing team created drove engagement, which was the campaign goal.

Garrett explains:

[Using scroll mapping,] we saw people scrolling all the way down the page, interacting with the content throughout. It really achieved the goal which was to drive engagement, not just with our paid subscribers but with everybody on the platform.

Better performing paid and social advertising campaigns

A beautiful, engaging landing page is well and good, but at the end of the day, your boss wants hard numbers that show that your campaigns performed.

Since adding dedicated campaign landing pages to their marketing launch toolkit, Vimeo has also seen better results for their paid and social advertising campaigns.

Some paid ads created by Vimeo for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

Before Unbounce, Garrett humbly admits that they were letting their website get in the way of their campaign success:

Before Unbounce, we simply directed prospects to a page [on our website] with a pricing grid, and that’s pretty extreme to just throw that in someone’s face right away.

But now that Vimeo is sending paid traffic to product launch-specific landing pages like the one above (as opposed to generic pages like their /upload/ page and homepage), their campaigns are kicking serious butt. Check out these impressive results:

  • 730% increase in subscribers from 360-related paid keywords
  • 4529% increase in total video uploads from 360-related paid keywords

Bonus: Dedicated landing pages aren’t only bringing Vimeo better campaign results — Garrett explained that they’re also improving user experience and Google’s relevance score:

Unbounce has allowed us to target specific landing pages for top keywords, which is a huge win. I think that this one of the best use cases for Unbounce.

You can use Dynamic Text Replacement or make specific pages, and you just target your top terms, it’s highly relevant… I have complete control of that experience and that’s the marketer’s dream.

Unbounce’s Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) feature gives Garrett and his team the capability to swap out text on their landing page — so that their ads and landing pages present exactly what visitors searched for.

Unbounce’s Ryan Engley explains how Dynamic Text Replacement works. See DTR in action here.

That level of message match across the entire buyer journey is key to strong PPC performance.

When prospects click on an ad and see a landing page with a headline that matches exactly what they searched for, they’re reassured that they’ve made a “good click” and are more likely to stick around (and even convert) — and that in turn positively impacts Quality Score in AdWords.

What you can learn from Vimeo’s success

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Vimeo’s 360 campaign, it’s this:

Yes, product launches are a lot a pressure, but they don’t have to be painfulnot when marketing teams are empowered to move nimbly without bottlenecks.

According to Garrett, it’s all about focusing on your core competencies:

With Unbounce, we can now generate marketing-specific landing pages quickly and easily and translate those across different languages.

It takes the pressure off our devs and engineers, and lets them focus on what’s core — what’s vital to the business — which is building video tools for creators. We handle the marketing side.

By making Unbounce landing pages an essential part of your marketing launch toolkit, not only can you gain the competitive edge by going to market faster, you’ll also:

  • Free up dev resources so they can focus on building and innovating your product
  • Convert more prospects by sending paid traffic to relevant, high-converting pages
  • Create beautifully designed pages that showcase your product in the best light possible
  • Make your boss really happy by saving the company precious time and money

And that folks, is why you should NSAPLCWADLP… Never Start A Product Launch Campaign Without A Dedicated Landing Page. ;)

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Master Your Next Feature Launch: How Vimeo Uses Unbounce Landing Pages to Go to Market Faster

How Crazy Egg’s Heatmap Report Discovers Hotspots of High Click Activity on Quicksprout.com

At The Daily Egg, we publish a lot of content on how you can improve your online business. Today we’re going to show you what our product actually does for a change. The video above shows you our Heatmap Report and how it can be used to improve a web page. In this case, we used the Heatmap Report on a popular Quicksprout.com blog post. Like the narrator in the video says, “The Heatmap Report is all about clicks.” The “hotter” the heatmap appears, the more clicks that region on your web page is getting. This indicates what regions visitors…

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How Crazy Egg’s Heatmap Report Discovers Hotspots of High Click Activity on Quicksprout.com

How To Turn Your iPhone Into A Video Marketing Machine

These days, being able to produce video is becoming more of a necessity than a “nice-to-have” for online marketers. Check out these stats: Creating a video of a product increases the likelihood of a purchase by 144% Having a video on your homepage can increase conversion rates by 64-85%. 100 million hours of video was watched on Facebook just over a year ago. Guess what that number is now? As the figures show, video is the future, and video marketing is the key to the right promotion of your product or service. Lucky for us, the iPhone shoots beautiful video…

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How To Turn Your iPhone Into A Video Marketing Machine

The Part-Time Nihilist’s Guide to Marketing Terms You Hate, But Need

shutterstock_548874589
It’s about time that we take a step back and have a little chuckle at ourselves. Image via Shutterstock.

Plenty of products and services help people, making them healthier and happier. For those things, marketing is great — but sometimes, the way we talk about ourselves is absurd. Yeah, I said it, it’s absurd, but it’s all right because this post has a happy ending (stay tuned).

If you work in any sort of marketing role, you might have noticed that as a collective, we’ve done something incredible:

We’ve turned buzzwords into real, salaried jobs.  

You can be a Growth Hacker these days, or a Content Marketer. If you work somewhere really cool, you might even be a Conversion Ninja. Plenty of people do these jobs (myself included) and one day we’ll have the awkward pleasure of explaining to our grandchildren what it was like being paid to be a Solutions Architect, or a Dev Mogul.

“Neat, grandpa! Did you invent a new form of calculus?”

“No, son. But I had over 25,000 Twitter followers. I was an influencer.”

This is the part-time nihilist’s guide to all those marketing terms you hate (but need). It might also clarify why your parents will never understand what the heck your job is.

Homer gets back to basics with marketing. Video: Fox.
Disclaimer: This post tears down marketing terms and the idea of becoming an influencer. We hope that it is popular and that you share it. We see the irony, and we’re disgusted by it, so just move on, okay?

Being considered an “expert” or a “genius”

To be considered an expert in most other professions, you need to have studied and practiced for years and years and years. You study, you’re tested, you pass, you advance. After what feels like a lifetime of this, people trust you as a voice of authority, as an expert.

Pro tip: Inclusion in a listicle or roundup guarantees automatic employment — should you want it — with some of the most prestigious companies in Silicon Valley.

There are expert marketers, of course: people who have been to school, who dedicate their lives to the craft of combining insight and communication into the most irresistible calls to action. But if you’ve got a profile photo, maybe a Linkedin Premium account, and a byline on somewhere like Unbounce (Hey, that’s me!), you might be considered an expert.

This will do one of two things to you:

  1. It’ll make you lazy, because you’ll think that you’ve reached the top of the mountain. (By the way, there’s no top. There’s no mountain either.)
  2. It’ll scare the crap out of you, and you’ll work your ass off to become a genuine expert, or at least, someone with useful insights.

I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s the second one.

Bonus option: You’ll develop a nasty case of Imposter Syndrome, where you’ll live in constant fear of being called out. It’ll make you triple your efforts, but it’ll never be enough.

Pursuing “thought leadership”

As a marketer, when you have a good idea, you call it a thought leadership piece and you milk it until it’s red and sore. Never mind the idea that “thought leadership” sounds like some sort of mind control, it’s just damned impressive that we managed to turn the act of having ideas into a tool for marketing.

In a way, being considered a thought leader is a lot like being considered an expert. Not so long ago there were real thought leaders, people like Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.. Now, all you need to do is tip that scale from 9,999 followers to 10,000 and praise, be! You’re a thought leader.

“One of us, one of us, one of us.” Video: Fox

Free infographics and ebooks

The only real way to tell whether a post is legitimate — whether the author’s really serious about the information they’re giving you — is to check for an associated infographic or ebook. At Unbounce, they call these in-post giveaways Conversion Carrots. Some other places call them Lead Magnets. I call them necessary evil.

nihilist-marketer-graph

“Can we make it go viral?”

I once worked at a place where a department, armed with five grand, asked us if we could make them a viral video. In their defense, they didn’t understand the process of how something becomes viral (another gross marketing term), so points at least for the thought. But directly asking for a viral video, or setting out with the intention of making a viral video, is like marrying a stranger for the tax benefits, and not because you love them.

Influencer marketing

Hey bud, if you RT me, I’ll RT you.

As a marketer, you want eyeballs. You’re hungry for eyeballs, you want to pour them all over your website. Some people have lots of eyeballs looking at them; those people are called influencers, and if you’re kind to them, sometimes they’ll let you borrow their eyeball collections.

People with a lot of eyeballs in their collection tend to be good at making things go viral. They often make infographics and eBooks, as well. They are the Aaron Orendorffs of the world (Hey, man!), and they are all-powerful.

“We simply could not function without his tireless efforts.” Video: Fox

“Epic,” “unicorn,” “guru,” etc.

No, it’s not. No, they’re not. No, you’re not.

“That’s hilaaaaaarious.”

“We need more user-generated content.”

The idea behind user-generated content is sound; it’s word-of-mouth for a digital age. Having a strategy to develop user-generated content, though?

Do you ever watch those videos publications like Gothamist do on some donut shop in Brooklyn that’s been around for 140 years? You think, “Wow, they must have a lot of user-generated content!” No, they just make great donuts. If you want your users to generate more content, just make stuff they like.

“Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp!” Video: Fox

Time to follow in mommy and daddy’s footsteps?

For over 20 years my dad spent most of his days with his hands plunged into ice water, gutting and slicing one fish at a time. I spend my days trying to get prospects to type their names into a CTA form field. In those final years before the sun explodes and we’re all plunged into an every-man-for-himself scenario, who’s going to be more useful? My money’s on the old man.

I told you that there was a happy ending, and in a way, the sun exploding and annihilating everything from Mercury out past Pluto is a happy ending. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, from your parents and their grinding manual labor jobs, to us word-pickers and graph-checkers who moan when we can’t find the right long-tail keywords to optimize conversion rates. One day everyone that’s left will go together, burning up with all the finest email lists, and all the leads. It’s all going to be fine.

People make some great stuff, and for the short time we’re here, it’s up to us to help get it in front of as many of the right people as possible. That’s your job, and it’s a fun one.

What are some of the marketing terms you hate to need? Drop them in the comments below, then download this free infographic. Jokes, there’s no infographic.

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The Part-Time Nihilist’s Guide to Marketing Terms You Hate, But Need

The Small Business Guide on How to Create Simple Branded Videos

the small business guide on how to create simple branded videos

2015 may have been touted as the year of the video in the marketing world, but despite that, branded videos have continued earning their space within every marketer’s toolkit throughout the entirety of 2016. While it may seem that only big companies have the resources at hand to create extraordinarily well made branded videos, you should not let the highly visual, artistically edited elements convince you that you cannot replicate a similar video for your business. You do not have to be a world-class creative mind with a massive budget to produce viable video content that people actually want to…

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How to Create a Killer Live Video Strategy

live video strategy

Let’s face it: video marketing is getting harder. And social media platforms like Facebook are making it even more complex. From evergreen content to “disappearing” videos, there’s a lot of content out there and you need to cut through the noise. But there’s still plenty of opportunity. According to Vibhi Kant, Product Manager at Jie Xu: people spend more than 3 times watching Facebook Live video when they’re actually live. That’s a lot of attention waiting to be tapped into. Twitter first opened the doors for live video with Periscope. But according to our own stats from within the Unmetric…

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How to Create a Killer Live Video Strategy

How to Make Your Own Explainer Video

You can pound your keyboard for months – trying to craft perfect copy that succinctly explains your product or service, but sometimes all you really need is a great explainer video. Something that sits front and center on your home page and delivers your message perfectly. Something like this: You can go to one of the many explainer video companies, you can hire a freelancer, or you can try to make one yourself. Each of those options has its pros and cons. A company might be expensive, but you’ll get a quality video. Freelancers are cheaper, but it’s hard to…

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How to Make Your Own Explainer Video

I feel, therefore I buy: How your users make buying decisions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

On Sunday, June 19, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The franchise, founded in 1970, had never won an NBA championship.

A few weeks after the Cavs’ victory, Nike released a spot called “Worth the Wait”.

As of this article being published, the video on YouTube has over 5.6 million views.

Every time I watch this video, my throat tightens and I tear up a little. I’m not from Ohio (in fact, I’m from a notorious rival state), the Cavs are not my team, I’m not even a huge basketball fan. But this ad makes me feel. It taps into something deeply human, feelings of community and triumph.

Nike is incredible at this. From their 2012 “Find Your Greatness” campaign to their 2014 ad for the World Cup “Winner Stays” (which has more than 40 million views on YouTube), Nike knows how to elicit emotion.

And it’s clear they spend big bucks to do it. Why?

Because Nike knows that we — consumers, people, humans — don’t buy products or services…we buy feelings.

Chris Goward

Comfort. Acceptance. Power. Freedom. Control. Love. We are all longing to find satisfaction for our intangible desires. If you can provide a payoff for your prospects’ unspoken needs, you will find yourself handsomely rewarded.

Chris Goward, Author, You Should Test That!

The old brain, the middle brain and the new brain

If you’re a marketer, chances are you’ve heard about the ‘old’, ‘middle’ and ‘new’ brains in relation to how we make (buying) decisions. The 3 brains refer to the structure of the brain in relation to its evolutionary history. Here’s a brief overview.

In the 1940’s, Paul MacLean popularized the triune brain theory, where he categorized the brain into 3 parts: Reptilian (old, sensory), Limbic (middle, emotional) and Neocortex (new, rational).

BuyingDecisions_3Brains
Our 3 brains.
  1. The reptilian brain evolved first and controls the body’s core functions from heart rate to breathing to balance. It’s called the reptilian brain because it includes the brainstem and cerebellum (the main structures found in a reptile’s brain).
  2. The limbic brain came next and includes the hippocampus, the amygdala and the hypothalamus. This is the part of your brain that records memories of behaviors that produced pleasant or unpleasant experiences: it’s responsible for your emotions and value judgements.
  3. The last to evolve, the neocortex is credited with the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination and consciousness. It includes the two large cerebral hemispheres and has almost infinite learning abilities.

So, which of the 3 brains buys?

In classic economic theory, consumers are rational economic actors who make choices after considering all relevant information, using the new brain. While this may well hold true for large purchases, like insurance or a house, recent research has pointed to the power of our older brains in everyday purchase decisions (like buying that pair of Nikes).

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux explained “…the wiring of the brain at this point in our evolutionary history is such that connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive systems are stronger than connections from the cognitive systems to the emotional systems.”

LeDoux is suggesting that our brain waves flow from old brain to new brain, meaning our decision-making processes are much less rational than we’d all like to believe.

Moreover, feelings happen before thought and they happen far faster.

We have gut reactions in three seconds or less. In fact, emotions process sensory input in only one-fifth the time our conscious, cognitive brain takes to assimilate that same input. Quick emotional processing also happens with cascading impact. Our emotional reaction to a stimulus resounds more loudly in our brain than does our rational response, triggering the action to follow.

Emotions are powerful.

Neuroscience + Marketing

In recent years, the science dubbed neuromarketing has begun to emerge; it “bridges the study of consumer behavior with neuroscience”. The first piece of neuromarketing research was published in Neuron in 2004 by Read Montagne, Professor of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

BuyingDecisions_Brand
What part of the brain does the “CocaCola” brand trigger?

Dr. Montague studied a group of people as they drank either a Pepsi or Coca Cola while their brains were scanned with an fMRI machine. The results suggested that a strong brand (like Coca Cola) could “own” a piece of a person’s frontal cortex.

This foray into the brain has opened new doors for marketers. In his essay “Neuromarketing: The New Science of Consumer Behavior”, Christophe Morin describes the model behind this new science:

The brain is responsible for all consumer behaviors…we only use about 20% of our brains consciously. Worse, we do not control the bulk of our attention since we are too busy scanning the environment for potential threats. Because nothing matters more than survival, we are in fact largely controlled by the ancient part of our brain know as the R-complex or the reptilian brain.

Morin goes on to quote neuroscientist Antonio Damasio who said, “We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.” We are proud of our thinking abilities, but the fact of the matter is, our brains have relied on instinct for millions of years.

Research would suggest that we can optimize our marketing messaging by speaking to consumers’ reptilian brains.

ConversionXL published a great post on “6 neuromarketing stimuli that speak to the old brain” including:

  • The old brain’s self-centered nature
  • The old brain’s sensitivity to clear contrast
  • The old brain’s love of the familiar
  • The old brain’s responsiveness to openings and finales
  • The old brain’s affinity for visuals
  • The old brain’s responsiveness to emotional persuasion

And we’re back to emotions. To that Nike ad that makes me cry. And then really want some Nikes.

Note: Neuromarketing is not without its critics who voice ethical concerns akin to those that arose in the days of subliminal messaging. There are concerns that this research could lead to manipulation of consumers. It’s up to the marketing community to use this know-how to benefit the consumer first. With great knowledge, comes great responsibility.

System 1 and System 2

Dual-process theory is another cognitive theory about how we make decisions; it originated in the 1970’s and 1980’s and has been developed in more recent years.

The “dual” refers to the 2 cognitive systems we use everyday. In 1999, Professor of Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto, Keith E. Stanovich dubbed the two systems (rather generically) System 1 and System 2 in order to label the 2 different sets of properties. The terminology stuck.

This table showcases clusters of attributes frequently associated with the dual-process theory of higher cognition.

DualProcessTheory
Source: Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition.

Characteristics to note within the intuitive process are fast, nonconscious, automatic, and experience-based decision making. In other words, our intuitive cognitive system is easier, requiring less focus and energy.

It follows that, if you can tap into your customers’ natural affinity for old brain, system 1 decision making, you’ll most likely see an uptick in conversions.

The level of dominance of each process at a particular time is the key determinant of purchasing decisions. Visitors are more likely to add a product to their cart when the emotional process takes control as they are directed by ‘how it feels’ and not ‘is it worth it.’…Advertising is above all a way to groom the emotional state.

– Liraz Margalit, Ph. D., “The Role of Emotions in Our Purchase Decisions

What users want, what they really, really want

It happens often: during our Explore phase, a client’s users will tell us (via surveys and other forms of qualitative feedback) that they want more information to…well…inform their purchase. Users often vocalize a desire for more description, more specs, presumably so that they can make a rational, thoughtful decision.

BuyingDecisions_RationalvsIntuitive
Rational versus intuitive: How do you make decisions?

We also often have clients who come to us, assuming that their users need more information to make a purchase decision, particularly if their product is technically complex. And yet, time and time again, we test more information against a Control and more information looses.

Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.

Of course, you must take this suggestion with a grain of salt. Your users may, in fact, respond to more information versus less (we’ve seen that too!) but given all of the research that points toward “we buy feelings and rationalize our decisions later” it’s certainly worth testing more concise product descriptions, information hidden behind tabs, etc.

We can’t all be Nike, and Nike’s tactics certainly wouldn’t work for all of us. But when you’re considering your customers’ decision-making, be sure to take into account how you can up the feels.

In his book, You Should Test That!, Chris Goward discusses the “Intangible Benefits” of your Value Proposition. This is where the feelings associated with your brand sit. The question is, how can you highlight these intangibles?

Test video case studies and testimonials against written ones (visuals appeal to the old brain). Test copy that emphasizes your credibility and trustworthiness (alleviate consumer anxiety), test copy that emphasizes social proof (tap into consumer FOMO and yearning for community). Make your users feel: happy, sad, afraid, connected, angry.

Because we don’t buy things. We buy feelings.

How do you make your users feel? How do you emphasize the intangible benefits of your offering? Let us know in the comments!

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I feel, therefore I buy: How your users make buying decisions

Do Video Backgrounds Help or Hurt Conversions?

gold bars
Not everything that glitters is gold. Only by testing can you know for sure if you’ve hit the jackpot. Image via Shutterstock.

So far, video backgrounds have been implemented fairly successfully on websites (they add a certain cool-factor, right?), but there is some debate over whether or not they should be used on landing pages. While video backgrounds may look beautiful, initial research reveals that they could prove too distracting for some landing pages, and could contribute to lower conversion rates.

As is the case with most new innovations in web design, it can be tempting to use this new technology without a clear understanding on how it affects conversion.

Nonetheless, marketers love video backgrounds: they are modern, appeal to the inner design ego in all of us and have already been hailed as one of the biggest design trends of 2016. Trendy marketers have made it clear that they definitely want to use them on landing pages.

In fact, when Unbounce released video backgrounds as a built in feature, it become one of the most popular discussions in our community. Ever. And, when we opened it up for beta testing, we got some pretty enthusiastic responses.

Like Jon here…

jon

And David…

david

And, of course, Gary…

gary

And, Dave…?

dave t

So, video backgrounds on a website? Go for it. But video backgrounds on a landing page? Not so fast.

Not so fast
Image via Giphy.

Here’s why: Video backgrounds can make pages load slower and distract visitors from your Call to Action (CTA). And since every great landing page has only one end goal (conversions), it begs the question: Should we nix the idea of using video background altogether?

Well, not entirely.

Like anything else you implement on a landing page, you’re going to want to test that puppy out thoroughly to see what effect (if any) it has on conversion rates.

Here at Unbounce, we’ve been testing out the use of video backgrounds on landing pages. Based on our results, we’ve come up with some guidelines outlining when to use a video background versus a static hero image and best practices for applying a video background.

When should you use a video background on a landing page?

I looped in Unbounce’s senior conversion expert, Michael Aagaard, to explain how using a video background on landing pages has worked for us:

We’ve been experimenting with video backgrounds for a while now. What we see is a tendency for video backgrounds to work well on landing pages where the goal is to communicate a certain “vibe” or “feeling.

In other words, video backgrounds could work well on landing pages that promote a unique atmosphere, like a conference, performing arts event or restaurant.

Video backgrounds can help demonstrate a hard-to-describe experience or atmosphere.

When shouldn’t you use a video background on a landing page?

Aagaard explains that video backgrounds could have an adverse effect on landing pages when there’s a complex sales offer at stake. When that’s the case, he recommends concentrating on the landing page copy to convince users to convert:

With more complex offers where you need to read a lot of copy in the first screenful, video backgrounds can be a bit distracting.

Copy has a direct and measurable effect on landing page conversions. If your offer requires a lot of explaining, use your words rather than running the risk of distracting visitors with video.

The Unbounce house rules for using video backgrounds

Landing pages are different from websites, and thus deserve their own set of laws for applying video backgrounds. Here’s our (not-yet-foolproof) list of ground rules for using video backgrounds on a landing page. Is this a comprehensive, complete, end-all, be-all list? Of course not! Join the dialogue and add your own rules and/or lessons learned in the comments below.

1. Avoid major distractions

Keep the conversion goal front and center. The video background content should always support the overall goal of the page. ConversionXL founder Peep Laja has a similar opinion:

Video that doesn’t add value works against the conversion goal.

Essentially, video backgrounds shouldn’t distract visitors from the primary goal of the page — rather, they should supplement or enhance the CTA.

The video background on this landing page enhances the CTA without distracting visitors.

2. Contrast is essential

In most cases, you’ll want to have some text layered on top of the video background — make sure it’s legible and easy to read throughout the entire video loop. Generally, aim for a strong light/dark contrast between the video background and the copy.

One way to ensure full, legible contrast is by applying a solid, monochromatic filter on top of the video. Not only does this look super professional, but also the color contrast makes the text, form and CTA on the landing page really pop.

The monochromatic filter applied on top of this video background makes the text and CTA really pop. BTW, like this ^? Log into Unbounce to use this brand spankin’ new template.

3. Short loop

A 5-10 second video loop should be enough time to get the point across without sacrificing quick load time.

Keep in mind that a background video will be playing on a constant loop. If the video is too short, the loop will appear disjointed or incomplete. On the other hand, if the video is too long, the viewer may click away from the website, or onto another page before the video has had a chance to work its magic in eliciting the desired emotional response.

Look for (or produce) a simple looping background that is relevant to the content of your landing page.
There are many libraries of stock video clips online (here’s a pretty good roundup). If you can’t produce your own footage, make sure to double-check the copyrights associated with any video before you use it.

4. Mute the audio

One of the biggest pet peeves of net users everywhere is unsolicited audio when landing on a page. Don’t let your landing page be that landing page.

The general rule of thumb is that sound should always be muted (on all Unbounce pages, audio is turned off by default). If, for some reason, you need to add sound to your video background, don’t autoplay the video with sound — let viewers press play when they’re ready.

5. Remove visual controls

As long as the video content is relevant and the quality sufficient, there should be no reason for landing page visitors to press play or pause.

#alwaysbetesting

So, if you follow all of our House Rules, placing a video in the background of your landing page should increase conversion, right? Or, at the very least, it won’t actually hurt conversion… right?

Well, maybe.

Video backgrounds are still in the early days of their inception and, like any good data-driven marketer, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive before committing fully.

A/B testing is both an art and a science. It’s also very unpredictable. Most marketing departments, usability specialists, designers and management rely on a mixture of experience, gut instinct and personal opinion when it comes to deciding what makes a delightful marketing experience for their customers.

We recommend running an A/B test to compare how your page performs with a video background compared to a static image. Start by segmenting a small portion of traffic towards the page — just to be safe.

At the end of the day, it’s your customers and your brand that will decide what converts best.

See the original post: 

Do Video Backgrounds Help or Hurt Conversions?