By any standard, your marketing video is a masterpiece of persuasion.

Well, by any standard except one – it doesn’t convert well. Or at all.

It doesn’t make any sense! Everything about your video grabs people by the brain and hooks them instantly. Customers should be coming to you in droves – instead, there’s barely a trickle of new business.

This whole situation is frustrating and unfair. It’s also too familiar to many business owners and marketers.

So why do bad things happen to good marketing videos? This is exactly what today’s post is about. And we’ll start by addressing the most important question. You know, the one you’ve asked yourself a thousand times…

There’s nothing wrong with your video

Admit it, you’ve been wondering about that!

Let us reassure you: your video is great. It’s persuasive. It’s engaging. Most people who press “Play” watch it all the way through. In other words, it’s a solid marketing piece.

The problem is the context: everything that leads up to your video, surrounds your video, and follows your video. That context could be riddled with problems that are undermining your conversions. And today we’ll discuss how you can identify those issues and fix them.

We’ll start with a short troubleshooting session…

Uncovering what drags your video down – 5 questions to ask

Here are some questions you need to ask so you can uncover the real reason your conversions aren’t high enough. As you’ve probably guessed, they have nothing to do with the video – and everything to do with its context.

Here they are:

  1. Are you putting your video in front of the right viewership?

With most marketing funnels, problems start right at the front end, with the kind of traffic you are attracting. Out of everyone in the world, you only need your ideal customers to see your offer.

Even if you manage to do just that and nothing else, you’d be surprised how quickly your conversion problem will go away! Seriously, we can’t stress enough how important this is.

  1. Are those ideal customers actually ready for your offer?

Your viewers should be at a point in their customer journey where it would make sense for them to consider what you have to say. Otherwise they won’t pay attention.

Even if your video isn’t asking them to buy your product or service, it still holds true – “free” doesn’t hold the same appeal it used to have. This brings us back to the topic of customer awareness – check out last week’s post to learn more about it.

  1. Are they watching your video in a focused, distraction-free environment?

Achieving freedom from all distractions is hard, almost unrealistic. So maybe we need to rephrase this question a bit, so it goes like this:

“Are they watching your video in an environment free from competing offers?”

And we don’t mean literal offers from your competitors. We’re talking about things like “Recommended videos” on YouTube, other calls to action, or additional content on the same page. In short, anything that demands your customers to shift their attention and lead them down a completely different path.

  1. After watching your video, is it crystal-clear what to do next?

Sometimes – for example, if your goal is to boost brand awareness – it’s OK not to have a call to action. But if the success of your marketing efforts hinges on people doing something after they watch your video, you can’t afford to be vague or low-key about it.

If you want to boost conversions, the second-best way to do that (after getting the right viewers) is by designing your environment with the call to action in mind. Your customers should see a big and obvious path to follow the moment they finish watching your video. Instead of a “breadcrumb trail” , think more along the lines of “giant neon arrows pointing where to go”.

Note: Neil Patel has a great example of a marketing video where the next step is so obvious it’s impossible to miss… but you’ll notice that he violates question #3 with multiple distractions.

  1. Is it as easy as possible for the viewers to take said action?

Finally, once your viewers know exactly what to do… how easy is it for them to actually do it?

The number of steps they need to go through to complete the action will affect your conversions – especially if those steps are confusing, redundant, or lengthy. In customer psychology, these complications are known as “points of friction”, and in most cases you want to have as few of them as possible.

Note: Sometimes it makes sense to keep the barrier to entry deliberately high – for example, when you are qualifying leads for a high-value sale. But in most cases, lowering them leads to higher conversions.

Granted, the five questions above are not the easiest ones to answer – but they are essential to understanding why your marketing video is under-performing. If you didn’t manage to answer all of them with a definitive yes or no, don’t worry.

For now, let’s move on to the next stage, and you will get your answers in the process…

Solving your context problem in 4 simple (but not easy) steps

Now, we can’t possibly know your answers to the five “troubleshooting” questions above. And we can’t speculate to what might be causing your marketing video to convert poorly. But here’s something we can do…

Below, we’ll give you a 4-step framework to identify and fix anything that might be hurting your conversion rates. If you’ve ever done a split-test, or had to do CRO, you will be very familiar with these steps. If not, we’ll give you a brief overview of how they work.

Let’s dig in!

Step 1. Formulate your hypothesis

First and foremost, you want to ask yourself, “What is the likeliest reason for my low conversions?” Revisit those five questions we talked about earlier. The problem you’re facing is probably connected to one or more of them.

Usually, the first question you answered with a “no” is the one you should start with. Let’s say that your video is getting the right viewers (question #1), at the right level of awareness (question #2)…

…but the landing page with your video is lousy with distractions (question #3). Eureca! You have found where to focus your efforts, at least at the beginning.

Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out if you picked the right hypothesis. That’s what Step Two is all about…

Step 2. Check if the data supports it

You need to see if your initial assumptions are validated by data. Or, at the very least, you need to check that your data doesn’t disprove them. To find out one way or the other, you need to observe and listen, a.k.a. use the most criminally underrated skills in any marketer’s arsenal.

Let’s stay with our example. Your working hypothesis is that people are getting distracted from your awesome video. You need to confirm or disprove it with data. Here’s how you might do it:

  1. Run a heatmap campaign to see where the viewers are looking, and where they are clicking – or not clicking.
  2. Check supporting metrics, like the percentage of people who press “Play” versus people who close the tab and navigate away from the page.
  3. If you’re using a third-party platform to host your video (e.g. YouTube), you should dig into the metrics available to you and see your viewer retention numbers and engagement stats.

Note: If you aren’t getting enough traffic to test your assumptions, then conversions are not the problem. Focus on getting at least a thousand unique visits to your video, then come back to troubleshooting.

On the other hand, if your long-term traffic is substantial, but your daily visits and views aren’t that big, you can still test your hypothesis in other ways. For example, you could record a user test of the page, or use software that records on-screen activity of your website visitors. This will give you more data to work with, even if your traffic is modest.

Step 3. Implement the fix

If the data you’ve analyzed doesn’t support your assumption, please come back to Step One. And if it does, that’s great! Now you need to formulate the optimal solution to the problem.

Once again, let’s circle back to our earlier example. Let’s say that your heatmap analysis has demonstrated that people aren’t paying attention to the main elements of the page.

A lot of them aren’t watching the video – and the ones who do are ignoring the action we want them to take. At the same time, a lot of visitors get distracted and click on other, pointless elements of the landing page – other menus, sidebars, the logo, etc.

The good news is, now that you know what the problem looks like, it can be solved with a simple re-design of the page where the video is hosted. Here are just a few of the possible tweaks:

  • Removing all the elements hoarding people’s attention.
  • Emphasizing the stuff on the page you want viewers to interact with.
  • Stripping the entire design down to just the headline, the video, and the call to action.


Finally, no solution would be complete without testing if it actually had any effect, right? And this brings us to Step Four…

Step 4. Test if the problem is solved

The last step is very straightforward. All you need to do is gather more data and confirm if your solution is working. Is there a lift in conversions? Are people behaving differently on the page?

If you’re getting the results you wanted, good job – you’ve defeated the Big Bad Wolf of “no conversions”! But if you’re not, that’s OK too. You just eliminated one of the potential reasons behind this problem. Now you can rinse and repeat the process until you get to the real culprit!

Context is everything – don’t neglect it!

Just like nobody would notice a diamond in a glass of water, your videos need appropriate context to get noticed and really shine. Ignoring that fact is by far the most common mistake we see with video marketing – and we hope that today’s post will help you avoid it in your business!

Next week, we are tackling another big and pervasive marketing problem – underwhelming calls to action. Stay tuned!