Driving conversion through compelling video is a common goal in social media video marketing. Thanks to the OG TikTok, social media algorithms have prioritized video, especially short-form vertical video, like Reels and YouTube Shorts. Video content is a must for brand awareness and reach, but to continue justifying investments, teams need strong video conversion rates too.

According to Sprout Social’s Q2 2023 Pulse Survey, static images and short-form video reign supreme over other social content. Along with static posts, brands have increased their focus on 5-15 second video, a 51% increase compared to 2022. Our survey also revealed marketers are prioritizing short-form vertical video across TikTok (60%), Instagram (53%) and YouTube Shorts (52%).

Sprout Social Q2 2023 Pulse Survey infographic reflecting brands content focus in 2023 compared to 2022. 53% of marketers are focusing on five to 15 second videos.

In this article, we’ll highlight tips and strategies for improving your video conversion rate so you can make a case for more resources and investment.

Bonus resource: We created a guide and worksheet to help you extend the life and value of a branded video by turning it into a suite of teasers, clips, GIFs and more. Download it today to ensure you’re getting the most out of your video assets.

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Why social video conversion rate matters

Social media conversion rates help demonstrate the return of investment (ROI) of social media by connecting your team’s efforts to larger business initiatives like purchases, product launches, partnerships and customer acquisition.

According to the Wistia 2023 State of Video Report, 42% of companies said increasing conversions in the sales cycle is a key indicator of video success. A strong conversion rate is a quantifiable way to make a case for more video resources.

8 tips to boost your social video conversion rate

Here are eight tips to help you increase your social media conversion rate:

1. Tell a compelling story

Focus on showing the value of your product or service. Consumers can spot a sales pitch from a mile away. A crash course in the features your app offers may not resonate as well as a customer-focused video that illustrates the value of your product. A tutorial video demonstrating a new hair styling tool or makeup brush may convert someone faster than a product photo. Use the power of storytelling to convert consumers into customers.

For example, in the Tweet below, Solo Stove shares a tutorial for strawberry shortcakes using their Pi Pizza Oven. Even though the product was designed to bake pizzas, a video like this illustrates an alternative use case that might grab the eye of consumers with a sweet tooth.

Solo Stove Tweet featuring a tutorial video for strawberry shortcakes.

2. Record in high resolution

TikTok data shows that videos shot at 720p resolution or higher saw a massive 312% lift in conversion compared to lower resolution videos. Most smartphones can shoot at 720p or higher, but quality can get distorted when editing or sending files. Always follow best practices for file management and exporting, including:

  • Share large video files via a cloud-sharing service like Dropbox or WeTransfer.
  • Adjust export settings (or, better yet use a editing preset) to maintain quality before uploading to your platform of choice.
  • For faster exporting and file sharing, avoid using or opening other applications/windows.
  • Always back up your video files using a cloud-sharing service and/or external hard drive.
  • Always conduct a quality check after exporting by watching the video in full after upload.

3. Cross promote and optimize distribution placement

Get the most out of your YouTube and short-form videos by distributing them to other channels. For example, with email marketing campaigns, instead of reading about how to sign up for an event or new product updates, brands can share a video in their newsletter.

Experiment with embedding videos on your brand’s homepage, landing pages, product pages and blog articles. Embedded videos will increase your view count, which sends a positive signal to the YouTube algorithm, extending your reach further and ultimately increasing your conversion rate.

This is an effective strategy we’ve used to grow and promote our YouTube channel and Insights blog. Some of our highest performing videos are embedded in blog articles.

4. Take advantage of network-specific functionality

When in Rome, do as the Romans do—the same goes for social media networks. Take full advantage of each network’s specific functionality. For example, along with Facebook Ads, add links to sign-ups and landing pages on your Instagram Stories to help drive conversions.

Funnel your audience to other content on your channel or your website with YouTube info cards. Using YouTube info cards to link to another video, playlist, website or brand channel is common, but you can also use cards to add a poll as an interactive element. Beware: you’re limited to five cards per video, so use them wisely.

If you use Sprout, view YouTube card clicks to see if people are clicking on your link or poll.

Sprout Social YouTube video dashboard. A mouse overlay shows menu options for YouTube cards clicks.

Another YouTube specific hack: select relevant videos for autoplay. Even if you don’t convert a viewer on one video, another video may add more value and convert them. The goal is to continue guiding people along the buyer journey.

As for TikTok, lean on b-roll or transitions. TikTok data also shows videos with a variety of scenes led to a 38% lift in conversion over videos featuring one person selling a product in a continuous shot.

5. Experiment with A/B testing

Running a social media experiment, especially A/B testing, is a great way to optimize for conversion because you can pinpoint improvements to iterate on your video content and strategy. Multivariable tests will also help you identify opportunities, but don’t get too in the weeds by considering too many variables.

Leverage native YouTube analytics to help you analyze your tests. Or, take your social media analytics reporting a step further with a tool like Sprout. Sprout enables you to run your social tests for all of your YouTube videos in one platform. Along with being able to schedule and publish videos to YouTube, use Sprout to measure, compare and review analytics so you can conduct tests efficiently.

A screenshot of Sprout's YouTube Post Performance Report. The image shows metrics including video views, time watched and engagements.

6. Sharpen your CTAs

It’s common to place a call to action at the end of videos, but sharpen your CTAs with some tweaks. Consider placing your CTAs at a strategic time in the video, such as the intro or middle of the video right after you share a nugget of gold, and analyze how your audience responds.

It’s a good practice to give a verbal CTAs on videos, (e.g. “Click the link in the description”), but strengthen your ask by pairing it with a directional cue such as an on-screen animation/text or a sound effect. For example, the glasses brand Warby Parker include a verbal, on-screen and description link to boost their CTA:

Warby Parker YouTube video screen capture featuring an on-screen CTA.

This is also an opportunity to use an info card or call-to-action overlay via YouTube ads where you can add a link for the viewer to click on. Make it easy for the viewer while guiding them to where you want them to go.

7. Experiment with length and content type

Short-form vertical video is a top priority for brands, but that doesn’t mean you should completely abandon longer formats. Challenge your assumptions by playing around with different video lengths and content types.

The Wistia 2023 State of Video Report found that videos longer than 30 minutes had lower video engagement (26% average engagement) but higher quality leads than other videos. Although short videos are engagement drivers, longer ones can increase your video conversion rate.

Along with length, experiment with different content types (tutorials, product-focused, educational, customer testimonials, webinars, company culture videos, promos etc.). Your target audience may resonate with customer testimonials more than product tutorials. Use your data and analytics as your north star.

8. Host more livestreams and webinars

Livestream e-commerce is entertaining, educational and immersive–all ingredients for boosting video conversion rate. Live commerce opens up opportunities for real-time conversion thanks to limited-time deals and other exclusive offers. According to McKinsey, companies who used time-limited tactics like one-off coupons, report a 30% conversion rate—up to ten times higher than conventional e-commerce.

Take advantage of platform streaming options like Instagram Live, but know webinars are also effective. In 2022, webinars were the most popular live event for businesses and one of the top three video types with the highest return on investment, based on the Wistia report.

Webinars generate high quality leads and open doors for gaining more information about prospects, such as their pain points and stage in the buyer’s journey. With each webinar registrant, you collect lead and engagement data your sales team will use to initiate personalized outreach. Plus, if you record the webinar, you can offer the video as gated content to collect even more leads.

Create content that amplifies your social media conversion rate

These tips are just a piece of improving your video conversion rate. Whether it’s a large production or a lo-fi Reel, producing video requires a balance of creativity and strategic planning.

Get inspired and create ways to extend the life and value of your work with our social media video content workbook.