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I see a lot of startups using product videos as the primary focus on their home page, with cheeky animated characters explaining whatever their product might be. But is there any data showing whether or not people actually watch these videos, or whether users engage better with written content instead?

My guess is that well worded explanations with supporting imagery that a user can scroll or engage through would perform better (especially on things like mobile...) than a video would, but I don't have any hard evidence to support this. It's just sort of my gut feeling.

What do you guys think?

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I think you should conduct an A/B test and report back with the results. :) –  nadyne Mar 14 at 18:08
    
Any suggestion for a tool to use for that? –  Ryan Mar 14 at 18:26
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As a user, I normally read the text below the video and if it interests me enough then I'll watch the video. For example Kickstarter does it great. They show a video of a product and then details under it. So I would suggest both. –  John Riselvato Mar 14 at 18:35
    
You should offer both. For the reasons @mtsyganov gives, but also because people differ in the way they like to ingest information. Some prefer watching a video, others prefer reading. If you pick just one, you stand to lose a significant part of your potential public. –  Marjan Venema Mar 14 at 19:44
    
Personally, I hate videos that do not have a detailed summary of the content or story below or at least linked –  SSumner Mar 14 at 22:39

2 Answers 2

You should offer both. For people who dont have patience to watch 60 sec long movie, will simply scroll the page down and look at screenshots with feature visualization. If that persons get interest in your project, they will take time to watch the movie to get the full explanation of you product. On the other side there are people who are typical TV watchers. Those people will click on play button and watch your movie directly. Perfect solution in my eyes is apple.com

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Downvoted because the original poster asked for hard evidence. –  nadyne Mar 15 at 5:00
    
"I don't have any hard evidence...What do you guys think?" –  kcdwayne Mar 15 at 13:14

As mtsyganov suggested offering both can help users in making an informed decision, studies have shown that product videos do help in conversion.I recommend looking at this article which talks about a number of case studies of how product videos have increased conversion greatly. To quote part of the article

Zappos

Zappos uses videos on a huge number of its product pages, and was one of the original success stories in this area.

It found that sales increased by between 6% and 30% for items that included product demos.

enter image description here

Simply Piste

Ski equipment retailer Simply Piste used videos to demonstrate products to shoppers. This video showed how much the backpack can carry, the number of pockets, zips, etc.

As a result Simply Piste saw conversion rates increase by 25% on pages that included video.

enter image description here

I also recommend looking at this post Videos for Landing Pages 101 which talks about how videos can assist in conversion and which type of videos convert best. To quote the article

A recent research report by Invodo said that 52% of consumers say that watching a product video makes them more confident in online purchase decisions, and another 52% said they are less likely to return a product they have purchased after watching a video. Treepodia says that video increases conversion rates, from 14% increase for electronics to 113% for gifts.

The article also has to say about the type of video which converts best

How do you know which video format is best for you? Brian Massey, the Conversion Scientist, has the answer. In a study conducted to measure the conversion results of different video formats, Massey found that talking head videos drove conversion rates of 3.2% vs. screen capture of slides at a measly 1.6% conversion.

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