The Top 10 Reasons your Home Page Video fails at Converting Customers

How much money did you drop on your latest home page video? How long did it take to produce? If you consider the total time and energy you put into creating your video (from the original scripting sessions to the final tweaks), videos can be quite a resource draining endeavor. And if after all the hard work – it’s still not converting visitors for you – well then that’s a serious let down!

In today’s post, we are going to look at 10 reasons why your video is not converting visitors and how you can fix it…

1: Your splash screen sucks

You’ve created what you believe to be a great video; however, you’ve neglected to promote that to your audience. The first thing your audience sees, even before the video, is the splash screen. Your splash screen doesn’t look interesting, so they think your video probably isn’t interesting either.

What kind of splash screen should you use? A splash screen should be intriguing, and it should elicit interest. If you’ve accomplished both, your viewers are going to want to click the play button. The splash screen below does neither, so what is wrong with it? First, clouds do not say anything about the video content (which was about marketing strategies); it is simply an image used to fill space that otherwise would have been a black screen. Second, the splash screen doesn’t create a “hook.” I’m not interested in watching the video because there is nothing telling me that it might be of use to me.

splash screen home page video

So what makes a great splash screen? A splash screen that DOES elicit interest from your audience. How do you do this with one image? Ask a question that’s relevant to your audience’s needs. This one from HubSpot does just that. The question is “What is HubSpot?” The video was placed on their “About Us” page. Just like that, they’ve created a splash screen that targets their audience’s need (to know more about HubSpot).

Hubspot Home Page Video

What are some other features that make for an excellent splash screen?

A screen shot of the video. Not at any random point in the video, but just before something is about to happen. This is where you generate a “hook” so your audience is intrigued to learn more. Example: Person about to jump out of a plane.

A tagline. Stick to one sentence. Say something that will make people laugh or ask “Why?” or “What?” In a recently uploaded HubSpot video, they included the tagline “I’m tired of marketing teams” on a video entitled “Baby got leads.” HubSpot develops and executes marketing strategies for other companies, yet they’re “tired” of marketing teams. After reading this, I’m wondering WHY would they say that about marketing? The next thing I do is click the play button to find out.

2: You’re missing a play button

The play button will be one of the strongest Calls-to-Action in your video. Without any written content, you are telling your audience exactly what you want them to do. Luckily, the play button is not culturally or nationally based; and therefore, you won’t be losing out on potential viewers. Unbounce does a great job of utilizing the play button to tell their audience exactly what they want them to do, putting it front and center.

landing page video

3: You’re content is out dated and no longer solves a problem

Your splash screen looks great and you have a very visible play button, so why isn’t your video converting visitors into customers? The answer could be your content. Ask yourself: Does my solution solve a current problem?

Remember when Research in Motion decided to launch the playbook months (and months) after the iPad came out? They missed their window, their marketing failed; and as a result, they lost a lot of their customers to Apple, who filled the need when the need was still alive.

If you’re afraid your content is outdated, take a look at what your competitors are doing and what they have done as it pertains to the solution you’re providing. Bringing up an old problem with a new solution is a great way to grab customer attention; however, make sure you avoid re-gifting a solution (i.e., same product, different wrapper).

4: Your Call-to-Action isn’t working – or you’re not using it!

One of the advantages of video is that you can communicate with people by tapping into 2 of their senses: sight and hearing. So you may be asking yourself, why didn’t anyone visit my landing page when I told them to? Unfortunately, many people will not do something unless it is laid out in front of them; they’ll be even less likely to go out of their way if it’s to spend their own money.

You need to include a written Call-to-Action in your video that emphasizes point(s) in the video and provides a direct link to the next step in the buying cycle (i.e., landing page). Here is an example of a Call-to-Action that tells viewers exactly what to do next and provides them with the way to do it:

call to action

5: No one can see your video! (Placement on page)

Have you taken a look at your website’s analytics lately? Do you know where people go when they’re on your home page? Your analytics will be able to tell you where your visitors are clicking, and whether or not they are going below the second fold of your website. Let’s say 18% of all people who visit your home page go below the first fold. But you’ve placed your video at the bottom of the page – the same video you are using to convert visitors to customers. So don’t be alarmed when you notice that the video isn’t working. Instead, place your video right in front of your visitors in order to start seeing conversions.

Here is an example of placing a video where your customers will see it:

unbounce home page

6: You’re content is boring – or there is too much selling in it

Let’s face it; people don’t want to be subjected to a sales pitch. In order to generate interest, you need to establish a need and then provide the solution to satisfy that need. If your video looks like an infomercial, then your content is not going to convert visitors into customers. Tell a story, show a case study, use humor or any other method to grab and hold attention and interest. Don’t sell like a used car salesman. The new commercial for the Samsung Galaxy S3 is an example of a video with engaging, humorous content; it sells the product without selling it.

Often, it is hard to try to understand why your content is boring or when it becomes boring to your audience. There are many variables to think about in terms of your audience’s attention span, including:

  • People switching between webpage tabs at the same time they are watching your video
  • The time periods in which people move back and forth throughout the video
  • Drop offs may not result from invalid content, but language barriers. If you’re video is reaching people in other languages – or those who need closed captions – and your video is not equipped for these groups, then you will experience drop offs

However, there is something to be said for understanding high-level drop offs. By studying trends, we can better determine how to enhance our own videos where others fell short. Based on data from Vidyard users, we’ve created this graph to showcase, at a high level, the drop off trends that have been occurring:

vidyard graph

7: Your video tries to explain too much

You’ve decided that in order to convert your visitors into customers, you want to tell them a story; your story is about how your product came to be. Instead of sharing the highlights of your journey, you’ve outlined everything – from the phone you used at the same time you created the product to the clothes you were wearing when you created the video. People want facts and proof, not your day-to-day activities. Don’t try to explain every step; explain only what directly relates to your product and affects the consumer.

8: The loading time is far too long (initial load/buffering time)

video buffering

Are your viewers waiting and waiting (and waiting) for your video to load? According to a study done by TubeMogul, http://mashable.com/2009/12/11/online-video-buffering/

4 out of 5 people will leave a video if it pauses to buffer

TubeMogul looked at “192 million online streams over the course of 2 weeks” to understand audience attention spans among videos that pause to buffer (even once). What does this mean for your video? You’re losing valuable face time with a large portion of your audience base.

9: Your video doesn’t trigger next steps

According to the analytics outlined in #6 above, there was an average of 11-23% of viewers still watching the video at the end. What does this mean for your end-of-video Call-to-Actions? They’re useless. You not only need to make your content interesting, informative and up-to-date, you also need to make your next step explicitly visible right from the start! Don’t wait until the end to tell your viewers where to go (so you can convert them). Reiterate this next step right off the top. Adding in a Call-to-Action within the first 10-15 seconds of your video will get the message across before your viewers start dropping off.

10: The quality of your animation or live personality in your video is very low

What you say in your video is just as important as how you say it. Choose your animator wisely. If you’re creating a live video, don’t pick any random person in your office; ensure the person you pick has a personality that can hold viewer attention. Also, make sure that your animations and live personality can relate to your product, company or service. Remember when Vanilla Ice decided to host his own Home Renovation Show? This is a perfect example of matching the wrong host with the wrong product:

Do you have any suggestions on improving home page videos? If so, please leave your feedback in the comment section below!

About the Author: Michael Litt is the co-founder of Vidyard – a platform designed to solve the problem of implementing Video into your landing pages. This is done by leveraging video analytics, video SEO and call-to-action integration in order to enable and improve conversion. What’s his favorite Call-to-Action (https://secure.vidyard.com/cta_demo)? Directing people over to Vidyard’s blog to receive more awesome resources on video, content and overall marketing strategies, as well as some killer contributions from the Vidyard development team.

  1. Thank you for the post Michael. With video, as with all other marketing tactics, it’s all about engagement. One of my colleagues recently posted a few questions to consider when evaluating your video’s ability to engage audiences, or lack thereof. I hope you’ll find them interesting: http://blog.brighttalk.com/home/2012/6/27/you-were-wondering-why-your-web-video-isnt-creating-any-enga.html#.UGyiXb-oVVE

  2. your videos don’t work but I love your posts!

    • Samantha – the first two images…well they are images :) They are just examples of splash screens… sorry for the confusion!

  3. But why isn’t their solutions or “how to” create an effective splash screen.

    • There is a lot of creativity involved in creating the perfect splash screen.

      Web design and audience will have a big impact on how it looks. The goal here is to give you the tools to customize the image and then test the results.

  4. Using video as a marketing tool is a tricky one. Only a small step aside and your whole campaign can go wrong. However, with just one good idea, your video can go viral and it will boost your popularity and sales immediately. It’s all about that one idea…

    • Not necessarily!

      Video should be treated like social or standard marketing content. You need to analyze and re-iterate. Use analytics to refine your message and you can algorithmically knock it out of the park!

      Keep creating and refining. Don’t rely on the one-hit-wonder model.

  5. this a good web design

  6. Very Awesome Article Ya Quite Useful For Small business

  7. 6. We see this all the time – Poor quality scripts. Even with great visuals a poor script is going to loose you viewers. Our advice – Write like a newspaper journalist – plenty of articales out there but in short your key info needs to be up early with slow filling in as you get further into the script

    10. It is easier than ever to awesome animations done at affordable prices. Plenty of sites out there to help you (interest declared) – We are forever arguing – poor quality screen captures are going to do nothing for you in your customers eyes

    Nice article

  8. Placing a PLAY button sounds so obvious. But unsurprisingly many do such mistakes of not placing one at their videos. Further the videos that autoplay are so annoying especially when you are in your office and all of a sudden the sound pops out! After that, you can easily guess how embarrassed one will be.

    Got a Question,
    Now since you have said the video quality should matter and also it should not take a lot of time, my question is “Will it better to use HD Videos?”

    Thanks!

    • The quality of the video can be a very important consideration. Fortunately for you, video platforms often take care of this by encoding your video into different formats and quality levels. Start by uploading a high quality video file (MP4 H264 is common). They will then do two things to help your audience’s streaming experience:
      1. Automatic adjustments called ‘adaptive streaming’ based on user device and connection speed.
      2. User selection to toggle the video quality.

      As a general rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong with 720p for a computer based audience. It will also look ok on the big screen.

    • The resolution of your video is semi-unrelated to the “quality”. Quality refers to lighting, characters, animation, sound, script, story, etc., etc.

      HD is always best. The image and sound will be cleanest.

  9. Our videos have lowish click rates. Maybe there’s something to learn here. Thanks!

    • The next step is thinking beyond your site. Use your video in your:

      1. Websites (as discussed in this blog – good content and good placement is key)
      2. News Releases
      3. Email campaigns
      4. Social Media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter)
      5. Promoted social media (ads.YouTube.com?)
      6. Events
      7. Blogs

    • Don’t forget to split test thumbnails!

  10. The play button is a big one! Great article.

  11. Hi Michael,

    Great article – thanks. I keep reading how we should use content to tell a story. We’re about to complete a great, “blind” customer story in a video, but it’s 10 minutes long! I’m creating a 90 second teaser to drive people to the master story, but given the drop-off rates you’ve referenced, I’m afraid I’ll never get anyone to view the entire video. We did break it up into 8 parts, and folks will be able to jump from one to another should they so choose. What are your thoughts? Any hope in viewers hanging on until the end. Note this is B2B and will address a need/solution for a particular target audience.

    • Hey Mary Lou!

      It’s always hard to have this discussion without having the content in hand (can you send me a link via Twitter?). My high-level position is as follows:

      - The teaser should be 30-45 seconds at most
      - The other 10 minutes could likely be broken into 5-10 sub-topics or videos that can be padded out into additional blog-posts, product pages, testimonials, etc., etc.

      You can get tonnes of mileage out of video – it sounds like you have some amazing content to play with!

      Benefits driven content/discussions/videos always have better traction. What platform are you using to allow jumping? Always consider breaking the content into additional posts to get more mileage!

  12. Hi

    I love your post this is a good web design. Keep on sharing.

    Thanks

  13. Hy,

    Excellent work man! nicely written,its really to understand the post,keep on writing :)

    Thanks

  14. best blog
    great tanx

  15. Nice post man!
    I really like this post,thanks for sharing.

  16. I always use YouTube because it’s loading time is very short and video plays very smooth. :D

  17. Hi Michael,

    I am new in blogging and now a days i am reading on how to use content to tell a story and where the suitable images or videos use in the content.and here i get all the things what i want for using the right way of content.
    Thanks!

  18. Hey Michael !
    Really great and important points you have shared with us. really glad to read this post.
    and the idea of solving the old problem with new and fresh solution is simply awesome.
    Thanks.
    Matt

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