Every website has a purpose. Some sell. Some offer valuable information. In either case, adding a well-produced video can supercharge the desired outcome. As recently as a few years ago, widespread use of video was a frowned-upon practice due to bandwidth and browser limitations. But lucky for us who happen to be designing for the web in 2015, the road to web videos is wide open for us to proceed.
Of course, the pure ability and lack of road blocks is never a good enough reason to utilize any technology as a design choice. After all, video production can be pricey, as well as challenging to pull off. But ultimately, videos are worth the trouble for one very important reason.
Video is so powerful because we can use it to tell a story.
Text (or even images) on a web page can tell a story, sure. But they can only go so far in capturing the tone and believability of the story you have to tell. In other words, a standard web page can give the facts, but if you want to convey the raw emotion, video is your most powerful asset. For instance, do you want your potential clients to feel a personal connection to you when they watch your “about me” video? Do you want customers to get excited about an upcoming product launch? These are different emotions, but both work toward the same goal, which is conversion.
I can’t think of too many businesses that don’t have some kind of story to tell. Here the two most common goals of a video story:
To Show Character:
2015 is a great time to be in business, because business is becoming more and more personal. Think about it… even Fortune 500 companies employ large social media teams to make their multi-national conglomerate appear more human. Video is an excellent way to humanize a company, large or small. You can get to know the people behind it, as well as the company culture as a whole.
Let’s say you run a freelance web design studio. Wouldn’t it be great if you could add a short video to your homepage that was there to greet your potential clients? You could talk directly to them, show some of your best work, (even show your workflow process,) and finally direct them to where they can go to find out more information. This is brilliant, because potential clients not only see what you can do for them, but they will feel as if they have actually met you once the video has ended. Its a personal connection that you could not have made with text and photos alone.
People are becoming more and more accustomed to wanting to “try before they buy,” even if it is only in a virtual sense. YouTube is filled with tutorials, product reviews and “unboxings,” in which a customer literally opens the package of a purchase in front of the camera to show exactly what you can expect when you buy the same item. Since this is rapidly becoming the norm, videos can be utilized with great success by any company wishing to show exactly what they do if they offer a service, or what their product does if it is a tangible item.
Kickstarter is a website which connects startups with investors, and it is full of amazing product demo videos. These startups know that while they could simply tell their story and what their new product does, it wouldn’t hold a candle to the impact a video could make. According to Kickstarter “projects with videos succeed at a much higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%)” and they’re “by far the best way to get a feel for the emotions, motivations, and character of a project”.
Video is one of the most powerful tools we as web designers can include in a website. The way it can tell a story start to finish, establish a tone, and clearly convey an idea or process makes it pivotal toward making a positive impression.
I strongly suggest thinking of using video on your own portfolio site. You can make an “about me” video for the homepage, use a few video case studies highlighting past projects, and even use video testimonials from previous clients.
Its a good idea to form a partnership with a video producer in your area whom you can refer your web clients, so that they can reap the benefits of video as well. It would benefit them, and the finished site will look more polished and up-to-date for your own portfolio.
No matter the purpose of a website, a good web video can enhance the overall experience, and ultimately help achieve the conversion goals of the site.