Using Web Stories to promote products

A recent project I saw was a brand trying to improve the profile of one of their products. They had created a video ad, but were interested in other ways to get increased engagement. One approach they tried, with positive results, was to create a web story.

Web stories are a visually engaging format that consists of a single web page (HTML document) with multiple screens of content that a user can tap through. Content can include images, video clips, text overlays, and simple animations. Using a static image that is animated on the page, for example, allows visual movement without the same network bandwidth overheads of a full video, which can be useful on mobile.

In this case, because they had existing video content, it was relatively easy to get a creative team to turn the video ad into a web story. A side benefit that emerged is this turned out to be quite cost effective. Making a more engaging product page on an ecommerce site can be expensive as it often requires developers to be involved. For web stories, there are SaaS offerings like makestories.io that allow non-developers to create engaging content. The story includes a call-to-action link that links to the ecommerce site product page.

In the final solution the existing ecommerce product pages did not need to be modified – the web story was an additional page for Google Search to index with links to the existing product page. This also simplified Google Merchant Center and other similar integrations which continued to point to the standard product page.

The following is an example of a product specific web story similar to the recent study.

You are not, of course, limited to writing web stories for specific products. You could write a story on how to bake and decorate a cake, with links to products you used at different steps in the story. Here is an example of a recipe story.

Another fun thing is if you overlay text in the story, you can get it translated by Chrome for you (which is harder in a video file).

Translated to English…

So back to the recent project, what were the results? Sorry, I do not have permission to publish the exact numbers plus the test was for a single page so I don’t want to read too much into the data. However the overall findings were 

  • users who viewed the story had a significantly reduced bounce rate (close to half!), 
  • a high proportion of users viewed the whole story, and
  • the web story enjoyed a noticeably higher click through rate on the “buy” button.

While not enough data to recommend major investments, the results were interesting enough for me to share in case others were interested in trying a similar experiment on their own site. There are some ecommerce platform extensions already available for putting a story on an ecommerce site. If not available for your platform, a web story is a single HTML page with links to media assets, so they are relatively easy to host as static assets.

Have you tried creating web stories for your own products? I would love to hear your experiences and results!

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