(2 Parts: Split Testing and Examples. Taken from client case studies and included in Optimize Your Video 2.0)
Split Testing: If you are curious to see which display image of your video gets the most plays, use a video player that has the option of using a hosted image as your first frame.
The reason why is because you can switch out this image at anytime to do new tests.
I have clients that do this during campaigns to see which ones get the most plays.
There are different ways to track this because it all depends on how your videos are being hosted, so the easiest way that I have seen clients do it is just by seeing how many times that video was called up.
You should be able to see that in your web stats/awstats where it shows what files were called and just switch out the image every week and see which week has the most clicks/views = click rate.
Another way is to just have the same video, but copied somewhere else (i.e-Video1.mp4 and Video1Copy.mp4). Then, you would publish each video to separate pages that would get rotated when you are split testing.
In each video that you publish, have a different first frame. Then, you could see your results by tracking the following:
Targeted campaign 1: clicks/visitors tracked = click rate % campaign 1
Targeted campaign 2: clicks/visitors tracked = click rate % campaign 2
Then, whichever % is higher would be the video first frame that gets the most clicks.
First Frame Video Player Image Strategies
You can add a first frame depending on what your web video player allows, as not all players are equal. Some can add the first frame in ONLY by having it as the first frame of the actual video. Others will allow you to insert first frames as .jpg files.
Strategy 1: Hand-Written Teaser
What you see below is a screenshot of a video player I used on a site for a few campaigns.The only thing someone sees is the handwritten font and once they see that, the arrow leads their eyes (and mouse) to the play button to click play…..
Strategy 2: Complimentary Copy Teaser
This is where you have a play button in between the words “Click Play” or “Press Play” and the words and play logo blend in so people naturally press play.
This gives a clean look and feel to your video. Here is an example below where people naturally click play when it is woven into website copy. In other words, not so much the example you want to use by itself, but with a “lead-in” to the video where you’re explaining your product or service while leading into phrases like….
“Now that you’ve read about what it does, watch the video below to see exactly how it works.”
To really make it compelling, there should be an image of what is inside the video rather than a white or black background.
Strategy 3: “Press Play” Overview Teaser
Below is an example on how you can add a call to action to press play or “reason why”. Several marketers want a first frame like this because they know it works.
I often do this style for clients (like I did below with this client a few years ago).
You can see the how the frame below integrates with the video at www.patenteducationseries.com/video
Strategy 4: Call-To-Action Text Teaser
This can be applied with a combination of branding your product with text and visual, then adding your biggest benefit immediately followed by the “Click PLAY…” that will show them exactly how to obtain that benefit.
Notice how the word “PLAY” is in red BOLD. The font used for this is “Lucida Grande Bold” and the aspect ratio has been tweeked to -12.5
Here is another client example of a very similar concept where I added an image of the product and text together. This way, viewers can connect the dots to click play.
Strategy 5: Image Teasers
This “image teaser” type below is one of my favorites. This is where you add a first frame from within the video so those who see it get a “visual taste” of what’s to come.
There are many ways to integrate this.
When viewers click on the video, something else will pop-up that gives a call to action such as “Fill out the form below to get INSTANT access to the video.” From what different clients have told me, these are most effective directly ABOVE the email opt-in on landing pages.
If I could only choose to get ONE item of value from this post, I would recommend it be the above in red bold 😉
Alternatively, if an image like this is on a site, multiple things can happen.
When clicked on, the image:
1. Sends viewers to another page where they can either watch the video on auto-play or opt-in.
2. Have a light-box modal pop-up so the rest of the site gets darkened/greyed out and the video is the main focal point.
Strategy 6: Snapshot Teaser (updated 2013 sample)
If it’s a talking head promo video, I recommend using an image of someone talking in the video as the first frame.
Here is the first frame I used of a promo video I did for a landing page where I used an image from within the video. When website viewers see this video embedded, here is what they would see as the first frame.
With the clients I work with when doing promo or talking head videos, this tends to be the most versatile and widely used methods to use as a display and to get viewers to click on videos.