Thoughts on Spokespeople Videos

Recently I read an interesting post by Hi Jennifer Meacham on PracticalEcommerce.com titled “Innovative Video Use Increases Conversions for Merchants.” The post’s main theme is that using spokespeople videos on your site can be very effective.

Don’t mind me,
I’m just walking back and forth on your screen…

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Don't mind me, I'm just walking back and forth on your screen...


Although many of us find these types of solutions highly annoying (especially when they’re set as autoplay), online spokespeople are actually an interesting solution to the whole ecommerce-video paradigm. Their effectiveness builds on our brain’s predilection to trust human figures, and especially faces that talk to us.

Problems of Scale

There is a catch however: to maximize effectiveness you need to invest in creating a unique video of your model walking and talking while demoing EVERY item in your catalog. This is fine if you have a store that only sells a few items, but becomes highly impractical for any store that sells tens, hundreds, or thousands of items. The solution isn’t “scalable”.

Another scale related issue is the ratio between your model’s size and your product’s size. If your selling handheld items which are significantly smaller than a human being, your product would show up near invisible in comparison to your model’s body. Definitely a case in favor of having a talking head instead of a full body.

What to do? What to do?

I recently heard a pod cast by Jennifer’s PracticalEcommerce.com associate Kerry Murdock, who conducted with Faculte.com’s CEO Maher Hakim.

Maher advocates approaches that I tend to believe are more effective than the spokesperson model:

“Don’t spend a lot of money on producing the video… you can create really nice video by stitching together some photos & then putting in some music and audio and narration on top of that. It looks and feels like a video to the end user”

This is precisely what our ecommerce video solution does in an entirely automated fashion: In a nutshell we create product videos directly from an etailer’s XML, with little or no human involvement at all (narration still requires it). The automation of the process enables us to cover/handle an ecommerce’s entire catalog with video within 24 hours. Our low production costs also mean we can offer our solution on a Pay-Per-View basis that guarantees vendors see ROI for their videos.

Furthermore, we don’t simply create a single video for each product, but a few, for which we then run automated A/B testing for to measure optimal conversions – perpetually dropping the less effective versions.

We’ve learned with our own clients, that boosting product listings with video this way increases conversion rates by anything from 35% (for eyebuydirect.com) to over 300% (for certain product pages within Forzieri.com‘s site).

  • Katie Wilson

    I don’t usually like spokespeople videos. They often pop-up unexpectedly, and much too loudly. I prefer the music + pictures approach…its cleaner, quieter, and nicer!