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Rethinking Video SEO and the Video Review: How ‘Lifestyle’ Content Influences Consumers

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Online videos are a growing part of how consumers make buying decisions, according to recent commentary from Reel SEO. Video plays a far bigger role than most people think, in fact—Reel SEO pointed to a Walker Sands Communications survey that showed more than half of all U.S. consumers have used YouTube to make at least one purchase decision.

That number is nothing short of astounding, Reel SEO says. But if you think these videos are simple product reviews, you’re missing a big part of the story.

Video SEO: How Unboxing, Torture Tests, and More Have Become a Part of Marketing Vocabulary

Reel SEO highlighted 12 types of videos currently influencing purchasing behavior. These included parodies, unboxing (taking a product out of its original packaging), favorites (lists of top products in a certain category), and even versus tests (showing the advantages and disadvantages of two different products) and torture tests (putting various products through a set of durability trials).

The common thread between all these videos is they showcase products in the context of how they fit into a lifestyle, instead of doing a simple review of the product information. For instance, while a review of a new type of smartphone can tell viewers all about the phone’s new features, design, and user interface, it doesn’t give them a way to visualize themselves using the product. However, “lifestyle videos” can show a new smartphone taking a 20-foot drop better than a competitor’s. Or maybe it shows an online personality ranking that phone on a list of top smartphones, and giving users data points that drive online engagement. And, these videos are much easier to share.

The ‘Viral’ Factor

These types of videos not only spark conversations about online products (leading to better brand engagement), but they also have a high “share” factor, which can lead to the holy grail of video content: the viral video. While there’s no set formula for making a video go viral, videos that showcase the lifestyle side of product ownership have a much bigger chance of making that leap into the popular lexicon than just a simple review.

For example, an early viral hit was the “Will It Blend?” series of tech videos. This Web series, which basically invented the torture test subgenre in 2006, featured a variety of electronics—including an iPhone and a camcorder—going through a blender. Though the subject of the video series was always the item being blended, the series was actually designed to sell the blender. While the electronic subjects may have gotten users to initially check out the series, the demonstrations of the blender’s power ended up being a topic of conversation, ultimately driving sales.

Using Videos to Drive Users toward Content

Though these methods have been widely used to drive engagement with brands and increase sales, they can also be used to drive users toward content. Though you would be hard-pressed to find a way to torture test a blog entry, you can use these methods to demonstrate the themes your content explores. For instance, if you are creating content about how packaging affects purchasing, making a few unboxing videos to demonstrate the main points of your content can go a long way in drumming up interest in your content. And, this makes for a sharable video that can promote your content in a natural, social media-friendly way.

Common sense indicates that users who are looking to buy something will search for reviews and informational videos. But today’s consumers are looking for more than just a list of features. They want to know what it’s like to have the product in question, and they want easily sharable videos that are conversation-starters. While the intent behind video content is ultimately to inform consumers—the same as it’s always been—the video SEO trend now is to find ways to branch out and reach an audience that craves sharable content. Content marketers have to think outside of the box in order to create videos that cater to this evolving audience.

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