iHeart Studios

Is the video the new photo?

Posted by Sjors Bos | 26th FEB 2015

This question is one of the most asked questions in the last year!

Without a doubt there is a clear increase in the usage of video across the fashion industry e-commerce, brand and blog environments globally. From social media usage – to shoppable video – to brand promotion – to online stores selling pages – video is now everywhere.

But is video the new photo? The answer is neither yes or no. Video is a great addition to digital (creative) content in the e-commerce world.

Online businesses such as ASOS adopted catwalk videos at an early stage and have become leaders in their category. Brands like J Crew, New Look, Mango, Zegna and others are continuously experimenting with video content and the impact it has on their web stores.

A couple of years ago shoppable video was the buzz word in e-commerce, we saw Oki-ni, Net-a-Porter, Ben Sherman and Zegna executing this in various formats from a simple catwalk video all the way to a full digital representation of an actual store including various floor levels and departments. But until today this medium has not become a mainstream feature as it has challenges with the various platforms and devices and its reasonably high investment requirement.

So, retailers have continued to look at how video can support, stimulate and articulate their brand and products online in order to either increase conversion and/or reduce returns. We have seen an interesting development in product video executions over the last year ranging from walk-on-walk-off videos, catwalk video, static model on 360 rotating platforms and more free-form to allow for more expression.

We see videos in various formats nowadays, from animated gifs and small movement videos on category landing pages, to full flash catwalks on product pages and more look book/brand video inspired lifestyle videos on product pages to just simple classic static product videos with detailed zoom.

Video provides greater opportunity to differentiate and emphasize the brand/retailer spirit/values and generate greater consumer connectivity, which in return will lead to greater conversion rates.

In July 2014 the Guardian wrote an article concerning the role of video in content marketing. They showed some great stats showing the importance of video:

"by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco. Video-on-demand traffic alone will have almost trebled".

"Nielsen claims 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future.”

"If a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million, so say Forrester's researchers.”

We agree with the writer of the article that there are risks with videos too, he stated:

"Always consider the audience you are trying to reach and ensure the video is relevant to them. If it's not the most appropriate means of getting your message across, you are probably wasting your time."

This is so true in today's environment, video can be a great addition but it needs to add value to the consumer and connect with their aspirations and interests.

It has become clear that video is an addition to the photo and it allows a brand or retailer to put more tone and texture into their products, provide more feel on their product pages and show product in a more dynamic environment.

Selecting the right combination of photos and videos has become an art. Body models, invisible mannequins, detail shots, flat/table top and other images can provide a great product representation adding a more dynamic video that inspires the consumer will stimulate consumer purchase behaviour.

We would like to provide you with some useful tips when you start looking at adding videos to your website. There are a number of things that need to be watched when creating (product) videos for online web shop purposes:

  1. Video Optimization Videos need to be optimised correctly to maintain quality whilst not slowing down the whole ecommerce platform and the various devices it would be accessed with.
    The optimisation is a balance between size of the video and quality of the output. This is device dependent and needs to optimised and generated for the targeted devices by a website.
  2. Duration of the video Around 15 seconds for product keeps the viewer interested while still doing the product justice.
    Consumer engagement ratios are normally 30 seconds to a minute so we would say that this is the max.  To go longer than that you will need to have some really engaging content.
  3. Keep product central The video is to enhance conversion, brand awareness, drive traffic and/or reduce returns, so product is king.
  4. Ensure it's consistent With all other visual executions - Consumers look for a consistent brand execution across the various communication platforms
  5. Utilise cross selling & outfit opportunity Video shows a holistic brand view and display a top to toe offer.