Best practices for creating an interactive, mobile-optimized shoppable video

by Jen Bergen |

As we predicted at the start of the year, shoppable video (an online video that allows viewers to buy products while watching the video, similar to the one we did with Kara Ross) will be used more frequently for mobile sales in 2014 and beyond – and especially on tablets. During last year's Cyber Monday, 17 percent of  sales came from mobile devices, and that number will continue to grow each year. For forward-thinking brands interested in shoppable video, there are a few things to know before diving right in – especially for those interested in reaching audiences on mobile devices.

Below, we cover the basics of mobile-optimized shoppable video, from pacing and structure to technical and SEO best practices.

Introducing interactivity

Early is better

Generally, it is best to introduce interactivity within the first five to 15 seconds of the video and make the choice obvious. Getting viewers to interact at that first opportunity is critical to creating stickiness and engagement. In our studies, the vast majority of viewers who interact at least once go on to spend significant time with the content, interacting multiple times and returning to view the videos more than once. So that first interactive hook is important. You can read more about where to put your first choice point here.

Create a look or theme for the interactivity

By creating a look or visual theme for every interactive opportunity (from video choice points to link-outs), you will help your viewer more easily spot interactive moments and will increase the time they spend exploring your content. This is especially important if you will not be relying on audio to cue your viewers.

Pacing and structure of an Interactive Video

Length of each video segment

Successful Interactive Videos hinge first and foremost on great content. The length of the video clips matter less, but generally, most successful Interactive Videos take the viewer through a one- to five-minute-long journey, which includes a total of three to five choice points or interactive opportunities peppered throughout the video. As with traditional video, pacing is important to consider. Since interactivity is a lean forward experience, it often works well to keep individual video segments on the shorter side – anywhere from seven to 30 seconds.

Number of nodes and interactive structure

The story you are telling should guide the specifics here, but we’ve included two examples of interactive structures that have worked for Interactive Videos designed to drive sales for retailers. For a more detailed breakdown of how to think through building videos for commerce, visit our blog.

Showcasing by product category

Showcasing by product category or designer

Optimizing for mobile experience

If good performance on smartphones is a priority, there are a few additional things you should consider because you are designing for a tiny computer with much less processing than a desktop, slower bandwidth, and a 4-inch viewing area.

    • Force landscape orientation for viewing.
    • Make any calls-to-action or clickable buttons large – think small screen, big thumbs.
    • Minimize on-screen choices as they take up real estate – no more than three choices at a time is a good guideline.
    • Make any copy larger than you think is “normal” and use it as a design style.
    • Use the touchscreen medium by making clickable areas obvious and inviting.
    • Shoot for mobile: Less movement, close-ups, clear images, well lit.
    • Plan for poor WiFi and poor cellular data environments by keeping the entire page light and easy to load. Limit plug-ins, add-ons, extra javascript, and heavy images.
    • Take advantage of our social tendencies on mobile by including social sharing buttons within the video.

Technical best practices

Video source files

We recommend uploading at 720p resolution. Almost any format will work, but choose a low compression or lossless codec because our transcoder will optimize and compress those files for cross-screen compatibility, and it is preferable to start with a high-quality source file.

Still image source files

Rapt Media’s platform can accept still images. Make sure to format the images into the appropriate aspect ratio first. The aspect ratio should match the intended final aspect ratio for your video. As with video files, it's helpful to start with a high-quality original, but there is no need to upload an enormous still with a very high DPI. Dimensions and resolution that are slightly better than your video files should suffice.

SEO best practices

Here are a few tips for optimizing your video for search:

  • Integrate high-value keywords, key phrases, and long-tail keywords into video titles.
  • Choose your thumbnail wisely as it will automatically catalog into Google image search based on the video title.
  • Naming video posts consistently with video titles allows for multiple rankings in the same search for video, blog, and image.
  • Invest in individual Google+ pages with website integration to optimize for local search and paid search.

These are a few quick, high-level pointers, but each shoppable video is different, so feel free to shoot us some questions below, and we'll be happy to answer them. Ready to start making your own video? Click here to sign up for free.

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