3D vs Video: An Honest Comparison

Using video to increase conversions and improve customer experience online has long been considered a standard best practice. The reasons behind this have been studied extensively, and there are thousands of available case studies outlining the benefits of using video to support any online efforts. 

However, the benefits of using videos have been further extended by the relatively recent advent of 3D. 3D models allow webmasters to leverage a number of the existing advantages of video, while also creating a more immersive, engaging, and holistic experience for visitors. 

In this article, I will outline the top benefits of using video, and how 3D improves upon these to help enrich the customer experience, increase conversions, and ultimately, revenue.

Engage visitors: a picture is worth a thousand words

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is like a book and a 3D embed is a whole trilogy. 

Online businesses are always looking for ways to make their customer experience more engaging. Although video provides customers with something they can watch, which is more engaging than using product images, this in itself may not be enough to engage and retain visitors. 

Customers are essentially just scrolling through all these content passively.

3D, on the other hand, passes the driving wheel to the customers and allows them to actively engage with the products

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3D increases time spent on a site compared to videos

According to Wistia, a popular video hosting platform, websites saw an average 2.6x increase of time spent on site when embedding video. Based on tests run by Sketchfab clients, embedding a 3D model lead to an average increase of 5x-10x time spent on site due to 3D’s engaging nature.

3D models play rate are higher than videos

According to another study, video play rates range from 10-35%, whereas, according to our data, 3D embed play rates range from 45-75%. 

Using 3D, businesses can create extremely immersive and engaging experiences that will capture customers’ attention and increase the average time spent on site, decrease bounce rates, and improve conversion rates.

This is really important when you want to capture and engage a large audience for a product launch for example. Fnatic, a leading global esports organization, recently leveraged Sketchfab’s 3D configurator technology to launch their latest line of apparel. 

By embedding a 3D model into their landing page, and leveraging the 3D experience to hide “easter eggs” within the 3D models of their apparel, they managed to attract a significant amount of social media attention and generate over 30,000 signups to their product launch waitlist.

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Further boost conversion rates

It’s a well known fact that using videos improves conversion rates by making web pages more engaging. According to a study by Unbounce, a leading landing page builder, embedding videos in landing pages can improve conversion by up to 20%.

The great news is that using 3D embeds on your landing pages can further boost conversions and increase bottom line revenue

Our client MADE.COM has implemented 3D models across more than 1,000 product pages and seen a 25% conversion increase.  Here is an example of one of their products, displayed using our unbranded player. You can also see it in action on its product page (click the 360 view button).

Corin Pull Out Sofa Bed  | Customers who viewed a 3D model on MADE.COM are 25% more likely to buy 

Showcase multi-dimensional objects

Businesses with complicated or multi-part products sometimes have difficulties and delays during their sales cycle due to the complex nature of their offering. Potential customers have difficulties understanding the different accessories and characteristics simply by scrolling through different images. 

Using videos, companies are able to demonstrate the benefits of their products while providing visual references for potential customers to watch. According to Business Insider, Zappos saw between 6%-30% increase in sales when they added videos to their product pages. 

Leveraging a 3D configurator can help further simplify these concepts, educate potential customers on how the product works and give shoppers the ability to:

  • actively engage with products: inspect and observe them from every angle in real time 
  • leverage features like annotations to highlight specific important parts 
  • customize products to their exact needs and tastes

Increase in lead conversion

F.Domes, a world-class tent manufacturer, implemented a Sketchfab-powered 3D configurator on their website. 

Their online customers can now configure the perfect customized solution in a few minutes directly from F.Domes’ website. They can choose from seemingly infinite options to create a truly unique product: equipment, accessories, size, color, doors, windows, curtains…

They learn a lot about the product and its specific characteristics during the configuration process.

Prospects are now product-educated and know the ins and outs of the product, and the sales team does not have to answer basic questions about products anymore.

“It’s a completely different world, a huge time saver. We just need to finalize the order coming out of the 3D Configurator”

—Adam Lyczakowski, FreeDomes Co Founder

F.Domes managed to increase their lead pipeline by 30%-40% by leveraging our 3D configurator technology on their website, while also improving the quality of their leads. This is a perfect example of 3D configurators improving the customer experience, shortening the sales cycle, and increasing bottom line revenue.

Create the best possible online experience

In today’s competitive and saturated online landscape, it is important to captivate potential customers in every way possible, including using emerging technologies to improve the customer experience

Video has long been a solid foundation for any company selling their products online, but now, with the advent of 3D embeds and configurators, there are many major opportunities to further help customers understand your products, engage with them, and ultimately make their purchase decision. 

Both 3D and Video are complementary technologies and are mandatory for any company selling products online to stay relevant and provide the best possible experience for their customers.