Video Optimization AB Test

Share this post

Video is a great way to promote your business or services. There are numerous places on the web to share your video, but where do you place it on your site?

Well, that depends upon what your goal is.

We recently ran a video optimization AB test for video placement for Canadian marketing firm The Mezzanine Group (TMG). In October of 2013 we launched a website redesign for TMG which included a large fullwidth slider featuring a picture of the firms employees. Although the site only included one slide the client wanted the future option to easily add additional slides, plus the same option for every page on the site. The slider we chose was LayerSlider which has a host of options and is a pretty slick slider.

Fast forward six months and TMG asked us to test placement of their new B2B marketing video in the slider area and in the home page side bar.

Test Design
The design for this test was a simple AB split traffic test. Once launched 50% of site visitors would see the original home page with the video in the home page sidebar, and 50% would see a version with the video in the slider position. For testing purposes we used Visual Website Optimizer to control the traffic.

Tracking Video
The largest hurdle in the test was determining the best option to track video results. Our initial options included:

  1. Wistia embedded video in LayerSlider with Google Analytics Event tracking
  2. YouTube embedded video in LayerSlider with Google Analytics Event tracking
  3. Vimeo embedded video in LayerSlider with Google Analytics Event tracking

Each of these options had pros and cons, as well as some technical hurdles implementing the solution in the existing LayerSlider.

Our first choice was to use Wisteria as they have a great set of tracking metrics including loads, play rate, # of plays, video engagement, average engagement. Unfortunately LayerSlider doesn’t work well with Wistia and we had trouble with getting the video to be mobile responsive.

Next we moved on to YouTube. With YouTube you are limited to three options for your static image pulled from 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 of your video. There is an option for a custom image if your account qualifies (you have to have 15 videos in your account), but the TMG account did not qualify.

We also tried an option where we would display a static image to mimic the video that would open into a pop up box that auto played. With this option we ran into an issue where the site audio would immediately start playing on any page load in the site.

Finally, we briefly looked at Vimeo but for business use you have to have a paid account. For this project we did not want our client to have to pay for an additional video account simply to conduct the test.

Back to the Drawing Board

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.”

– Thomas Edison

Like Edison we treated our failures as simply learning exercises and decided it was time to eliminate obstacles. Wistia, which was our first choice to embed the video, was not responsive in LayerSlider, so we took LayerSlider out of the equation. We created a new page template that mimicked the TMG home page and a new header file that replaced the slider with a background image.

The end result was that we were able to use Wistia and its reporting features, create a responsive home page alternative featuring the video in the slider area, and move forward with the test.

The Results

Video in Sidebar

Play Rate: 5%
# of Plays: 27
Engagement Rate: 76%

Video in Banner

Play Rate: 12%
# of Plays: 38
Engagement Rate: 81%

Its clear from this test that a larger video in a prominent position outperforms a smaller video in a sidebar. Its exactly the results we expected, but now we have numbers that prove the concept verses simply making an educated guess.

So was the test successful? Yes. Even if the results were reversed the test would be a success. Like Edison, every test is a learning experience and learning what doesn’t work has value. More importantly is that if your marketing relies on educated guesses, best practices, or what you’ve seen work for someone else or some other industry, you really don’t know if your efforts are successful. Or at least as successful as they could be.

Testing provides the opportunity to optimize your marketing results, driving more sales, more conversions, and higher ROI.

Surge Labs is a conversion optimization company helping companies improve conversions by 20% or more. Our latest video optimization AB test is an example of how we help our client’s increase conversions. If you have questions or need help contact us at 678-951-9506, via email at info at, or complete our FastForm.

Initiate Contact

Only complete this form if you want us to call you.  We do not quote a project until we first have a conversation. We will reach out to set up a time to chat.