Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Adding Youtube Videos To Your eBay Auctions

In an earlier article I wrote about adding audio messages to your eBay auctions. During this article I'll assume you read that article so I don't have to go over the same material twice.

Adding Youtube videos to your auctions is actually easier than adding audio, and works better.

The first consideration is deciding if it's even worth the time and effort. Basically sometimes videos add to the selling price, sometimes they don't.

Here's a list of the uses for video I have found that increase eBay bids:

  1. If you are selling something that has movement. For example I've been selling old windup toys and putting Youtube videos in my auctions of the toys in action. In some cases I am getting prices 3 times higher than other sellers.
  2. If you are selling a car or motorcycle. Especially if the car has a great sounding exhaust system. A video of you walking around the car then starting it up and revving the engine gets bidders excited.
  3. If you are selling something that is hard to explain or requires a long sales letter using a video summary to explain the auction increases sales. This is especially true with multiple items sold with buy it now. A video summary allows people who are in a hurry to get the information they need quickly without reading the sales letter.
  4. You can also use videos for testimonials, but you'd have to figure out how to get your buyers to record and then send you a video.

No matter what you sell, any time you can use a video to illustrate features or emphasize condition, you should get higher prices.

Here's a 5 second Youtube video of a Climbing Fireman in action:

The toy above usually sells for between 45 and 75 dollars on eBay. My auction with the video ended at $152.50. That's a hefty boost for a few minutes of extra work during the listing process.

The question is will the 10 minutes spent making a short video result in enough extra profit? In the cases I mentioned above the answer will usually be yes.

One other thing I will try in the future is laying all my sales items out and doing a short video with me explaining each item. Then I'll put this video in all my auctions with a link below the player to my other auctions.

I always lay out everything I sell before I start listing items so this would be pretty easy to test. (This didn't work better than just showing a picture of everything I'm listing that day. It's also much quicker to shoot a single picture and add it to my template.)

Let's talk about shooting the Youtube videos.

Recording and Editing Your Youtube Video

I've been using my cheap Nikon Coolpix camera. I have a removable card for it so I can shoot a video and then upload it to Youtube right from my card reader.

The Nikon records in a Quicktime .MOV format, which I cannot edit with any of my programs. I spent an hour looking for a program so I could convert the MOV files to MPEG files, and found nothing that worked.

I did find lots of promises. Empty promises.

Based on this if you do NOT already have a camera that shoots video, don't buy one that uses MOV files.

Anyway, because I cannot edit my files, I just shoot simple videos and use them without editing. If I were able to edit them, I'd probably spend more time on them, and I don't know if that's really needed.

During the editing process, I'd delete my mistakes like I do in my audios, and probably add a title frame and an ending frame.

For the title frame I'd use a title like this:

"Click on this image to see this item in action"

For the ending screen, I'd put a message telling the person to bid now, and mentioning my other auctions.

Something like:

"After you bid on this item, see my other auctions"

Youtube will allow you to do basic editing of your videos after you upload them, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. I looked at it, and decided it wasn't worth the effort of learning how to use their system.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am looking for benefits with as little work or effort spent learning how to do it.

I usually shoot two or three videos and then select the best one to move up to Youtube. I can do this because they are short. My shortest was 5 seconds, and my longest video was 150 seconds.

When you are shooting videos LIGHTING is important. I added a small fluorescent tube to the back of picture table to get better light.

Another tip is to set the compression level very high. In some of my videos I used lower compression ratios and ended up with jerky videos because Youtube compresses them again.

Here's a video with the compression set too low. It makes the Ferris Wheel jerk.

By recording in a higher compression, Youtube won't compress them as much and they look better.

The best way to learn how to do better videos is to just do it. Right now so few people are adding videos to their eBay auctions, that you can get away with being amateurish.

Uploading Your Video To Youtube

Once you've recorded a video you like, you need to upload it to Youtube You'll need a Youtube account. That's free.

On the Youtube main page, (Link opens in a new window so you can continue reading this page.) there is a link on the upper right that says sign up. Click on that and create an account.

Once you've signed up, the sign up button is not shown, instead the site shows you a welcome message.

After creating a Youtube account, go to the site, and click on UPLOAD. This is also in the upper right corner.

On the upload page, fill in a title, a simple description some keyword tags, and select a category. Then click on upload a video.

HINT - In the tags category put your eBay user name or another long string of unique letters as the first tag. This will cause Youtube to put your other videos at the bottom of the screen after your video plays. This may help you move visitors between your auctions.

On the upload page, select browse and then select the video on your computer. If you are using a video capture card and a card reader, you can point Youtube right at the file on the card. If you are using another method of getting your files from your camera to your computer, the video file will be on your hard drive.

Once you've selected your video, click on the UPLOAD VIDEO button. Youtube will take the video file right off your computer and put it online. This may take a few minutes if the file is large.

Using The Youtube Video In Your eBay Auction

Once the video has been moved up, Youtube will provide the code you need to put the video in your auction.

Note Added Jan 2012 - Youtube has changed the default embed option to iframes based. eBay will not show framed content. To get an eBay freindly version of the embed code, go to your video's page. Directly under the video, is a line of buttons - "Like," "+ Add to," and "Share." Click on the share button, then click on Options, then on the embed button - wait we're not done yet! - then select "use old embed code." After doing all that, Youtube will give you the right style of code to paste the video into your eBay auctions

Just copy and paste the code into the HTML view of your auction. It has to be in the HTML view or it won't work in your auction.

Now you have a video in your auction.

A few hours after your videos are moved up to Youtube, you can select which still shot Youtube uses when the player loads. This is done by going into the my videos list, and clicking on the Edit Video Info button.

Select the still shot that shows an overall view or if you are doing titles select the title.

One thing I didn't cover is where to put the videos in your description. I've been putting them at the bottom of the auctions. I think that's the best place for them except if the video is a testimonial or used as a summary of a long sales letter.

Testimonials should go into the sales letter wherever need to make the points, and the summary should go at the top of the description.

Adding short videos to your auctions isn't that hard and can have dramatic results.

Don't aim for perfection. Don't try to entertain. Just use videos that build interest in your items, and you'll do well.


PS After I wrote this Tony Blake told me about a cheap program for editing MOV files. He says Sony Creative Platinum Edition does a great job and is cheap. He also says you can get the software at local stores like Best Buy and Frys Electronics for much less than the online price. I haven't tried it yet, but when I do, I'll let you know what I think.

PPS. Since I wrote this article, one of my eBay videos went viral and has been watched over 100,000 times. That's for a 5 second long video of a toy in action. I don't delete the videos from youtube after the auction ends. In August 2012, Google sent me an email offering to put ads on the videos and to pay me a commission when people click on them. I ignored it, but I signed up for the program in November. In December 2011, I got a check from Google. It wasn't a big check, but it was free money to me. So if Google offers you revenue sharing, sign up for it.

PPPS. You can also host the videos on your own site and then link to a page on your site with the video. That's more involved as you'll need some flash code to display the video, but you can also put a subscription form on the page with the video. I don;'t think the benefit for me is worth testing this option.

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