Despite humorous stereotypes, recent increases in online video usage aren’t just driven by hoards of Internet users uploading cat videos. Statistics show that videos can be influential in purchasing products and building brand recognition. One retailer increased their online conversion rate by 174% among users who watched newly uploaded product videos. Videos aren’t just important for retailers though. Video content is easy to watch on mobile devices, and builds attention for blogs, news websites, and many other online presences. Here are some tips for integrating videos on your website:
Years ago, incredibly limited storage space and bandwidth slowed the progress of online video. Hosting videos was expensive and bulky, and they took too a long time to load. Popular video sharing websites, especially YouTube, were instrumental in solving the problem of hosting space. By offering to host videos themselves, users were able to easily upload videos without charge. This lead to what would eventually become a drastic rise in online video viewership. YouTube and some other sites allow videos to be embedded on other websites, meaning that they will host a video, but it can be played on another website. This is a great way to reduce hosting expenses, but hosting is so cheap that only very large companies usually have problems with that. The greatest advantage comes simply in having an automatic, easy to use, and universally available video player.
High speed Internet connections now allow users to stream high definition videos, but bandwidth caps on mobile connections limit the total amount of data that can be transferred, so users may be more hesitant to watch videos from these devices. Optimizing video for mobile devices can help. Using a site like YouTube will automatically give users a way to adjust video resolution. Slow connection speeds may also be a deterent to watching online videos, but this is a hard problem for online publishers to solve.
Autoplay and Default Settings
Some content creators choose to have videos automatically begin playing when a user visits the site. This can save an extra click when a site visitor has specifically clicked a link for the video, but other times it can be extremely annoying. Suddenly starting audio can sometimes surprise users (double check to make sure you have the right WordPress theme as well), and can be rude if the user is in a public space, like a library. Some videos, often in ads, begin playing automatically, but stay silent and only take up a tiny corner of a web page unless the visitor chooses to interact with it. This makes the video effective and eye catching without being obtrusive.
The Draft Pick: Choosing a Player
Choosing a video player is an important decision. Adobe’s Flash Player is one of the most popular video players. It is a great choice because it is available for almost all devices, but recent versions of the popular mobile operating system Android don’t support Flash, limiting Flash videos from play on millions of mobile devices. HTML5, the basic computer language of the web, supports video playback by default, but this latest version of the language isn’t yet supported by all browsers, desktop or mobile. This is a great solution for many mobile users, but you may still need an alternative for some desktop viewers.
There are many important decisions to be made when it comes to using online video. As with all things in design, there is not one correct answer or one perfect way to please everyone. Making the best possible decisions ensures that as many users as possible will be able to access video content, which can help a company keep current, and participate in the 55% growth in online video. Online video is a powerful way to market your brand online. Adventures Cross Country has been advertising their ARCC teen travel trips online for years with tremendous results.