What Does Video Marketing for Your Online Store Actually Cost?

January 19, 2021

Brick-and-mortar retail continues to hold a significant advantage over ecommerce stores: the personal touch.

The biggest reason why many consumers prefer brick-and-mortar retail is they like to be able to see and touch items in the store. They want to know exactly what they’re getting before they commit to a purchase. With ecommerce, there’s always a chance the item that arrives at your doorstep doesn’t match up with how it was presented online.

Another reason why some consumers prefer brick-and-mortar retail is they simply enjoy the experience of shopping in a store. It may take longer than ordering something from their computer, but it gives them a chance to socialize, and over time, the face-to-face interactions that take place in-store can develop into a strong connection with a company’s brand.

This is why even small ecommerce businesses should be investing in video marketing. Videos allow you to compensate for the fact that people can’t see or touch your products, and you can also use them to personalize your brand and improve customer loyalty.

illustration of a video camera with a white background and a boot on a computer screen

Once you decide to produce videos for your online store, there’s one question that naturally follows: How much is this going to cost you?

Unfortunately, the most accurate answer to this question isn’t very satisfying: It depends. 

If you’ve already done some research into third-party video production services, you’ll notice that many companies require you to contact them for a custom quote. There’s a good reason for this — every project has different needs and costs.

That said, there are ways to determine a high-level estimate of these costs. Below, we’ll break down all the different factors involved with the cost of video production, and then we’ll show you how much you can expect to pay for the most common types of ecommerce marketing videos.

illustration of a video camera with purple and teal lines

In-House vs. Outsourcing Your Store Videos

First, we need to address the two ways to produce videos for your company:

  1. You can do this in-house, or
  2. You can outsource the task to a service that specializes in video production. 

The process of hiring a third party can be quite difficult and time-consuming. You’ll need to research your options (many production companies will collaborate with you remotely, so you’re not limited to services that are based in your local area) and go over the project with your top choices to obtain quotes. And after you pick a company, you’ll then need to negotiate the budget, milestones and deadlines for the project.

There’s much more involved here than just shooting a video. For example, the production company VeracityColab breaks down its process into the following steps:

  • Discovery meeting: The agency meets with the client to establish what they’re trying to achieve with their video, decide on a creative direction and determine the scope of the project.
  • Creative brief: The agency writes a report summarizing the decisions made during the discovery meeting and shares it with the client to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Script: The agency writes a script for the video in a cloud-based word processor such as Google Docs, allowing the client to make comments and request edits in real time.
  • Storyboard: To make the most of the time they’ll be using their expensive film equipment, every shot is planned in advance and shared with the client for feedback.
  • Rough cut: Once the client approves the storyboard, the video is shot according to plan. Then, the agency edits the video and adds the necessary post-production elements, such as transitions and sound effects. When the video is around 90% complete, the agency shares it with the client for feedback while there is still some room for changes.
  • Final delivery: The feedback from the rough cut is incorporated into the final version of the video, and the agency can help the client place the finished video into a specific marketing channel as well.

With all the work described above, it’s no surprise that the cost of hiring an agency is often substantial.

Video Marketing Costs

The final price will depend on the specs of your project, of course. But the minimum project size data provided by Clutch’s video production agency listings show that you can expect to pay at least $5,000 for any kind of video. Some agency’s minimum price is as high as $25,000.

Smaller stores may balk at those high prices. And indeed, some stores have found success while spending much less money with a DIY approach. For example, the budget for the first few videos in Blendtec’s popular “Will It Blend?” series was just $50. Soon after those videos went viral, Blendtec’s sales growth increased by a whopping 700%.

But unless you already have the equipment, in-house video production is going to cost you a good bit more than $50. To shoot a professional video, you’ll need the following:

  • Video camera
  • Tripod
  • Microphone
  • Backdrop
  • Three-point lighting
  • Editing software (Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, etc.) 

Altogether, this will cost you between $1,000 and $15,000. Most of these expenses are a few hundred dollars or less — the video camera is what’s responsible for the wide range in cost, as you can use anything from a smartphone you already own to a new DSLR camera.  

example of smartphone video quality: iphone xs versus canon 5d mkiv
Image source: DIY Photography

In addition to the equipment, you’ll need people who know how to use it. You'll want to budget for an experienced video producer, and you may need to hire extra crew members as well.

Considering these upfront costs, it makes more financial sense to hire an agency if you’re only interested in producing one or two videos at the moment. But if you want to produce an ongoing series of videos, setting up your own in-house studio would be a smart investment in the long run.

3 Different Types of Marketing Videos

Now that we’ve reviewed the cost of in-house vs. outsourcing production, let’s take a look at the expenses associated with different types of marketing videos to give you some context from that perspective.

1. Explainer Videos

This type of video is short (generally around a minute) and tells the story of your brand in a particularly compelling or entertaining way.

While these videos are short, they don’t tend to be cheap — they can serve as the cornerstone of your website and a way to introduce your brand to new customers, which makes them especially valuable.

In a study conducted by Wyzowl, 70 video production agencies sent quotes for the same 60-second explainer video. The average price was $7,972, with a low end of $700 and a high of $72,000.

Cost: Moderate

2. Product Videos 

Product videos are more utilitarian and even shorter (closer to 30 seconds) than explainer videos.

There’s no storytelling involved here — you’re just showing the customer your product from all angles so that they can feel confident they’re making an informed decision when they click “Add to Cart.” As such, these are relatively easy to shoot yourself with minimal equipment.

Cost: Low

3. Social Video Ads 

The top social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have billions of active users, making them an ideal place to advertise your online store. And video ads allow you to catch people’s attention and generate a lot of interest compared to static image ads.

But unlike videos that are hosted on your site, you’ll need to pay for their placement. To ensure your content is noticed and make that investment worthwhile, these videos must have top-shelf production value.

Cost: High

That’s just the tip of the iceberg: The other types of videos you can produce for your store include how-to guides, product reviews, interviews, announcements and much more.

illustration of a video camera with purple and teal lines

Consider Video Marketing for Your Online Store

Video marketing, when done well, can be a good tool to grow your online store, serve your customers and build your community. And with the pandemic, it's a good way to reach users who aren't ready (or able) to step into strictly brick-and-mortar retail locations.

With the information covered in this article, you’ll have a better idea of where to set your budget whether you’re negotiating with an outside agency or setting up an in-house production.

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Adam Ritchie

Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.