How to turn browsers into shoppers with digital video

Brenna Washington August 2019 Video, Retail

At any given time, 84% of Americans are shopping for something. And whether they’re just discovering a product or making a purchase, people are increasingly turning to digital platforms like YouTube to help them along the way. In fact, 90% of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube,1 and over 40% of global shoppers say they’ve purchased products they found on YouTube.2

Icon of an online video window showing a scooter. Stat: 90% of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube.

What are some ways brands can appeal to shoppers on YouTube during every part of the purchase journey? To find out, I spoke with the experts at capturing attention and producing engaging content: YouTube creators. Here are three tips to help brands turn browsers into shoppers.

Showcase your products in a unique way

Every minute, 500 hours of video is uploaded onto YouTube. In other words, there’s a lot of content competing for people’s attention. To break through the noise and raise awareness for a product, it’s important to do something unique.

“Find a way to make it fun and different, and you’ll attract more viewers,” says Sylvia Gani. As a creator focusing on beauty tutorials — an already crowded space — she’s been able to stand out using quirky formats, such as the video where she let her puppy pick her makeup. Fellow beauty creator Desi Perkins agrees. “Consumers are more likely to click on a video with a unique title or cool concept, as long as the video doesn’t seem like clickbait,” she says.

That’s what the team at Liquid-Plumr, a drain cleaner, discovered in a recent collaboration with Vat19, a popular YouTube channel. The videos showed its product going up against everything from the world’s largest gummy worm to a Thanksgiving turkey, and helped the brand increase awareness and favorability by 38% and 40%, respectively.

Show viewers how to use your products

Whether you’re splurging on a big-ticket item like a car or just buying some noise-canceling headphones for your commute, chances are you’ll do some research first. People want to get a sense of why, when, and how to use the product, and to hear what others have to say about it. And that’s the behavior we see playing out in the data. For example, 55% of people say they search for a product on Google and then learn more by going to YouTube before they buy it.3

Icon of search return window with images of scooters. Stat: 55% of people say they search for a product on Google and then learn more by going to YouTube before they buy it.

If people are heading to YouTube before they buy, it’s because it’s the perfect way to see how a product will work in real life. “People are very visual,” says YouTube creator Jackie Aina. That’s why, in her video reviews, she takes the time to talk viewers through how a product looks, feels, and smells. Perkins agrees and points out that “online video is similar to a virtual showroom for products.”

Another creator, Jose Zuniga of the Teaching Men’s Fashion channel, has found the same. “It’s easier to communicate the value of a product through video. And seeing a product’s value helps people envision themselves using it, which makes them more likely to buy it.”

The automotive industry is already applying these lessons by allowing consumers to virtually test drive cars, an approach that could provide inspiration for other brands looking to help potential customers try before they buy.

Make it easy for people to buy

You’ve captured people’s attention by showcasing your product. You’ve shown them how (and why) they should use it. The last thing that remains to be done is to persuade them to actually buy it.

The barriers to shopping while watching online video have become virtually nonexistent.

The trick here is to make the experience as frictionless as possible, which, as Gani points out, has gotten a whole lot easier thanks to new shopping-related features. “The barriers to shopping while watching online video have become virtually nonexistent,” she says. “It’s never been easier for viewers to go from watching a video to purchasing the product featured in it.”

It could be as simple as creating a shopping list in the video’s description, a technique Aina says she uses. “I’ve heard from video viewers that they go to a store and want to be able to get everything I recommended,” she says. “So to make that convenient for them, I create shopping lists in the description of a video. If they use the affiliate links, great, but some people really like the in-store experience, so it’s handy for them to have that shopping list.”

And for viewers who prefer shopping from the comfort of their own home, there are ways to serve them too. For example, consider using clickable invitations to “Shop Now,” like Yoox Net-A-Porter did in an innovative campaign that drove thousands of conversions and six-digit sales results.

Converting viewers to shoppers

With over 70% of all shoppers saying they’re open to learning about products on YouTube from brands,4 now is the perfect time for brands to capitalize on these creator insights.

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