Video Strategy This Holiday? Yes

'Tis the season when consumers are about to hit the Web in record numbers for holiday shopping. As the Web evolves beyond static text- and image-filled pages, the right content to inform and convert those shoppers is often video. According to Cisco, more than 50% of current consumer Internet traffic is dedicated to video delivery, and that number is forecasted to climb to 86% within the next three years. So, the question facing retailers this holiday season is, what should I be doing with video?
Knowing what to focus on and where to start is the hard part. With snackable video like Vine and Instagram, YouTube's shoppable channel, interactive video, mobile video, traditional product video and – you get the idea – it is no wonder that video is starting to dominate the Web as the primary visual medium. There are many recent trends that you need to be aware of, some of them in this article. But if you're asking "where should I start with video", the simple answer is "yes – and start now." 
The explosion of bite-sized video, and fierce competition between Instagram and Vine to own the "video tweet," has many retailers wondering if a short, 15-second video is the best option to increase their online sales this holiday. While this kind of social, short form video may be ideal for companies seeking to engage certain types of consumers, Invodo's research with the e-tailing group shows that across the board, quality of video is more important to consumers than length. The study also found that three out of five consumers will spend at least two minutes watching a video related to a purchase decision, particularly if it gives them pertinent information. Know your customer. Know what their information needs are. Use video to meet those needs in an engaging way. If your audience shares video content, create short social edits designed to encourage that behavior.
Beyond video length and quality, another important factor for many brands this holiday season will be mobile video. Because consumers are often on the move when using a mobile device, they are much more likely to watch video than read text associated with still images – three times more likely, in fact. Retailers and brands understand the importance of capturing the connected consumer's attention with mobile video, but are wary of having to create completely new content and launch yet more technology platforms in order to do so. So don't start a mobile video initiative from scratch. Instead, ensure that you have an intelligent video platform that serves the right content to the right visitors. Then ensure that your video content is optimized to deliver information in a way that captures the attention of this often-multitasking audience.
The Web is at a tipping point, and video is primed to continue growing its dominance over all other content. With that in mind, my main piece of video-related advice for retailers this coming holiday season is quite simple – start creating more video content to assist shoppers with every step of the customer journey.
  • Don't just think homepage, video should assist shoppers at the product and category level, as well as post-sale.
  • Videos should be concise, but still deliver all the necessary information.
  • Lead with high production quality videos that elevate brand image.
    • Multiple studies have found that consumers prefer videos with professional image quality, sound and lighting over user-generated videos.
  • Get your video content out into the marketplace through all appropriate channels, be it your homepage, YouTube or other social channels.
  • Retailers should also encourage video interaction via comments and social sharing.
Consumers seek out video as part of their buying journey. It's no longer something to consider in the future; it's here now, and will become increasingly prevalent and influential in coming months and years. Many retailers and brands are already bolstering their online video strategies in preparation for the fast-approaching holiday shopping season, and for those who are not, the time to enact a well thought out and targeted video strategy is right now.
Russ Somers is VP of Marketing for Invodo, a video platform for e-commerce that helps measure the ability to engage and convert shoppers using data and analytics.
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