Over at Get Elastic, they had an interesting post about research from Invodo (a company focused on using videos for product marketing, not coincidentally) regarding improving conversion rates using videos. I think when mainstream marketing get around to seeing the benefits of product simulation marketing, many of these same observations will be relevant.
In my mind, product videos share some effects with simulations, except that videos are fixed and uninteractive (is that a word?). Videos illustrate points, they try to get the viewers involved in the product, but there’s no flexibility, or really “owning” the product. I believe that the more diverse product videos a manufacturer produces, the better the results will be, because it is almost like making the marketing interactive — the viewer chooses which aspect of the product or message to observe. This will bring the retailer or manufacturer closer to the point of realizing that product simulation will take the positive effects of videos to the next level — truly engaging the prospect or customer.
Back to the points. Linda Bustos summarizes the report finding in 4 hypotheses tested, and specifically calls attention to improving a metric called “View Through Rate” (VTR), or how many videos are watched per impression with a video. She comes up with a nice list of interesting questions one might ask in testing to improve VTR, such as thumbnail images, showing video length, captions, text, headlines, etc. Each of these sounds like they would call attention to why the viewer should be interested. In the comments, I added something about looking at how long a person watches the video, to see about correlation with conversion. My thinking is that the video is a crude way of seeing how much it takes before the viewer has satisfied himself or herself that the product has the elements they want — something I think could be done more effectively if the options are laid out for them (such as through a simulation, or interactive product demo).