3 Ways to Leverage Context and Create Impactful Video Experiences

October 20, 2016

Andrew Capland


If you’re using video strategically, chances are you’re considering the bigger picture.

You’re setting specific goals to make sure your video helps you achieve them. You’re customizing your player color and choosing enticing thumbnails to increase your play rates. You’re adding specific CTAs to your videos to help direct your viewers to the next relevant page or step. And maybe you’re even considering the context your video’s in.

But have you ever made explicit connections between your video and its environment?

Have you ever set out to produce a video with a specific page design in mind? Through a lot of trial and error, we’ve learned that you can leverage the relationship between a video and its context to make seamless experiences and compel viewers to take action.

Once you realize how important your video’s environment is, you’ll change the way you approach using videos to drive action.

You’ll start creating web pages, emails, and user onboarding flows with specific videos in mind. You’ll shoot videos that work incredibly well in specific locations – videos that complement their context.

Contextual video. It’s the future, and it’s pretty awesome.

In this article, you’ll learn about 3 different ways you can leverage context to make more impactful video experiences for your viewers.

Tip 1: Reference something “right over there”

One of the easiest ways you can leverage context is to call attention to something you want viewers to notice outside of your video player. The subject of the video can point it out verbally, or gesture toward it.

This seems incredibly easy, right? It is! You can encourage your viewers to take action by letting them know exactly what to do next. It boggles my mind that more people don’t do this.

You’re probably already brainstorming a million examples, like referencing:

  • Important CTAs on the page (e.g. “sign up,” “try now,” or “buy”)
  • Forms on a landing page
  • Relevant text they should read
  • Valuable areas of your tool a user might miss

Adding some pointing into a video isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little bit of planning in pre-production. It’s something we do all the time here at Wistia.

We also love to use this strategy to give product tours and call out our main features. This is perfect when using video for new user onboarding.

As part of our new user onboarding flow, we automatically load a video that plays on the media page for new Wistia accounts. The video gives people a tour of the page, calls out key features, and explains why people should be excited to use them – all on one page!

Once you begin considering context, page tours in important locations of your website become no-brainers.

Simple context hacks like this can help you improve your user experience by adding clarity and removing indecision from onboarding processes.

Tip 2: Blend your design

Many data-driven marketers forget to balance the art with the science of marketing (myself included). It’s easy to underestimate the value of designing a really exceptional site experience when your primary focus is increasing your conversion rate. Often the things that convert best aren’t the most beautiful.

Integrating your video into the design on the page will not only make your site look sleek, it’ll further encourage your viewers to engage with the content.

In this holiday example from Unbounce, they designed the page with the video player in mind. This winter wonderland complete with a snowy border makes the video content pop on the page. Rather than just including the video as another asset, Unbounce created a video-centric design that incorporated the video content into a larger experience. It’s nearly a year later, and this page still stands out in my memory.

Tip 3: Don’t forget about your funnel

Understanding your website visitors, product users, and customers is the key to delivering the right content to the right audience. The context behind why someone is viewing a particular piece of content is really important.

If you’re looking to leverage the context of your viewers, you should be looking at which stage of the funnel your page is in. By aligning the context of your buyers with the context of your video, you’ll be supercharging your videos, and your sales funnel.

On many of Modcloth’s merchandise pages, they include videos along with the images to help people better assess the garments they’re interested in. The small thumbnails for these popover videos fit nicely into the design of the page, and the videos themselves cut straight to the chase. At the bottom of the funnel, there’s no need (or time) for fluff or additional information.

The visuals combined with the simple narration help encourage people at the consideration stage and decision stage to purchase.

So what are you waiting for?

Next time you’re setting out to make a video, consider how your video content will interact with its environment. Video in isolation can only take you so far. It’s time we think beyond the player.

October 20, 2016

Andrew Capland


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