3 Tips for Increasing Site Engagement and Conversion
1. Accelerate the experience; consumers won’t wait. Even if the stats didn't bear it out — which, in fact, they do — our own personal experiences tell us that we, as consumers, are highly impatient when it comes to accessing information online. Balanced against demand for richer experiences on the web, this creates a potential problem for companies looking to drive greater value from their online properties. For retailers, web acceleration hasn't traditionally appeared at the top of the priority list, but recently it's become a key factor in the performance of online assets. If a site doesn't load quickly or a video spends too long buffering, visitors move on.
Web acceleration is new territory for many retailers. How can you approach the challenge of achieving a cost-effective, yet high-performance result? Start by considering three technology factors: reach, scale and the ability to customize an acceleration solution to your specific needs.
- Reach: This determines how far and how well you can spread your message online. If your audience is global, or if you're targeting consumers in specific geographic regions, you need to know that your infrastructure supports the best possible website experience for your entire audience, no matter where in the world they're located.
- Scale: You want as many people as possible to engage with your site, but traffic is rarely predictable. You need the ability to turn up capacity quickly and cost effectively in the event of unexpected traffic spikes. If popularity downgrades your visitors’ experience, you risk undermining your own success.
- Flexibility: Web acceleration services have traditionally been the domain of IT departments. However, as technology becomes increasingly crucial to retailers’ marketing strategies, web acceleration services start to fall within the marketing realm. A new, more flexible payment model is needed to support the aggressive objectives and often uneven time lines of marketing campaigns.
Discuss your site needs with potential web acceleration partners to determine if it's possible to increase online performance and weed out inefficiencies that may be driving up costs.
2. Manage your rich media assets more efficiently. Retailers need to systemize the process of adding new rich media assets, fine-tuning media format and presentation, and supporting delivery to multiple devices. For video specifically, an online video platform provides a way to simplify the publishing process and create the richest possible content for online consumers. There are three different video platform choices to consider: build versus buy, free versus premium and simple versus complex.
- Build or buy? The choice to build your own video platform or outsource video publishing depends, in part, on your ability to make educated decisions about video player technology, transcoding needs and device support. It also depends on the internal resources you can allocate to maintenance and troubleshooting.
- Free or premium? There's always the option to choose a free video platform such as YouTube, but with it comes a slew of limitations. Consider how much control you need over branding, ad placement and visual style.
- Simple or complex? As your content library grows, the ability to publish video efficiently becomes more and more important. If you’re updating content frequently, consider a video platform with a drag-and-drop interface that lets you not only add content, but customize it quickly and easily.
Run a cost-and-benefit analysis of different video management scenarios for your business. Include time and labor investments, as well as the potential for driving business growth with an enhanced video platform on your site.
Related story: A Marketer's Guide to Building an Online Community