Low video engagement – why people aren’t watching your videos

Are you struggling to get people on your landing pages to watch your videos? This post explains why people might not be watching and the potential solutions.

We’ve had a few clients ask us about how they can get more people to watch the videos on their website. In this post we’ll share what we’ve observed from an optimiser’s perspective, and how you can test and better utilise video content on your website.

Most businesses produce video content to do some of the legwork to convince potential customers to buy from them. When you have spent time and money creating video content for your website audience, only to see it sit on the website gathering dust, you start to ask ‘why aren’t people watching our videos?”

If you actually look into the analytics of your videos within the context of your landing page(s), many people are disappointed by the number of people who watch some or all of their videos. Even though the video content is well-produced and engaging, interactions are often low.

Below are some stats we’ve taken from some anonymised clients’ landing pages:

  • Ecommerce clients: Less than 1% of users on a main landing page clicked ‘Play’ on the video just below the fold
  • Financial services clients: 1.6% of users on a main landing page clicked ‘Play’ on the video above the fold

Even though the numbers are low, the people watching these videos converted much better than average.

So if you’ve got a video which communicates your value proposition and/or product offering but 98% of users don’t watch it, then you’re not going to see the return on investment you were hoping for.

If the content within the video isn’t also communicated in your website copy, then the problem is even bigger. .

So why aren’t people watching your videos, and what you can do about it? Here are the main 4 reasons we’ve encountered:

1. Lack of context or relevance

It’s not clear to your visitors what the video is about, why they should watch it, or what relevance it has to them at this point in their journey. If you’re not giving some context to the video, what motivation do they have to start watching it? This can happen when you’ve got an embedded youtube video sat in a block on your page, and no other text about what the video is about, it may also seem unlinked to the other copy/content on your page.

Changes to test:

Add that missing context and relevance around your video by

  • Adding a short sentence above or underneath your video and tell your visitors what you’re trying to show them and why they should invest some time
  • Choosing an appropriate thumbnail that might help to visually represent what your video is about.

2. Lack of prominence

Your video is either hidden away, doesn’t stand out in the visual hierarchy, or is at a point where people don’t spend much time on the page (i.e. it’s in your hero space, but your screen recordings tell you that people are instantly scrolling down to read the copy below the fold)

In user testing, around half of users didn’t even notice this was a video as the white CTA clashes with the mostly white thumbnail

Changes to test:

Take a good look at your visual hierarchy and design ways to make your video stand out more – change the thumbnail, put it on a different background colour, change the play icon, change the tool/widget you’re using if one looks more interactive, or place the video in an area that receives more attention.


3. Perceived effort

It may feel like effort to watch your video, the person has to grab their headphones, or may not have the time for a video of an unknown duration. They also may be at work trying to research something on the down-low during work hours.

Changes to test:

Tell people how long the video is, make it watchable if the audio was on mute, hardcode subtitles rather than relying on youtube’s auto-transcribe (trust me, it’s no good). Can you show the same thing in a GIF? Dropbox (the file sharing tool) gives a walkthrough via GIF on its homepage. It can be super useful in the right context e.g. selling software, it doesn’t require audio, and it’s not going to potentially annoy like autoplaying a video might do (The NN Group found that autoplay annoyed 75% of people)

4. Lack of motivation to watch a video

Sometimes, your audience just isn’t motivated enough to watch a video on your website, which could indicate either you’ve got some poorly targeted traffic arriving to your website (fix it!), or they’re just busy and looking for some quick information in text format.

Changes to test: If you think it could be lack of motivation, and you’ve experimented with your video content to no avail, then you could A/B test your page without the video but with the content from the video brought out into digestible and scannable copy like bullet points. In a recent leak found by GoodUI, Airbnb tested 3 variations of a host landing page, 2 with video and 1 without, and the 1 without was deemed to be the winner.


5. Your video doesn’t appeal to your audience

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this might be the case. Despite your best efforts to create video content, it just doesn’t appeal. You are not your customer, and sometimes marketers can make the mistake of thinking they know what their customer wants. Instead you need to research, and get into the mindset of your audience to understand what they are thinking at this point in their journey, on this part of your landing page. Maybe you’re giving them something too high-level, or something too technical, or maybe the quirky animated video style you saw elsewhere just doesn’t appeal to your B2B customers.

Changes to test: Do some research and find out what people need to know in the context of your landing page, or find ways how your videos can be more appealing to your audience



So we’ve given you a few things to play around with. If you’ve got the traffic and resource then you could A/B test some of the larger changes, if you don’t have the traffic, make some changes and keep an eye on your analytics to track impact. Make sure you are tracking your video plays in your Analytics tool.

Video can help to explain, and we all know the old adage ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words’, well a video is worth 1.8 million words according to a Forrester report – so you need to make sure people are watching yours.


If you’ve found today’s content useful, you might want to subscribe to our newsletter for blog updates. Worship can also help you to optimise your landing pages for more conversions through research driven insights, get in touch on 0161 713 2434 or [email protected] for more details.

Lee Preston

13th August 2019

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