On the one hand we are told videos are getting shorter. Viewers want us to get to the point. On the other hand people want to be entertained and informed.
So it’s no surprise companies are confused about what is right. How long should your next video be?
Yep, you guessed it. It depends.
We are told they have to be shorter because attention spans are shrinking. That sounds a tad nebulous to me and I don’t think this should define a video duration.
Very Short form video is gaining prominence because companies are starting to understand what does and doesn’t work and are learning how to deliver key information succinctly but short form videos are not a suitable solution for every business objective. Sure, if you want to grab interest then something short and punchy will work just like a tv advert will but when you want to explain something in more detail it just won’t work.
I hear too many companies trying to shoe horn videos in to a 60 or 90 second time frame as that is what they hear is the perfect duration and invariably it doesn’t work. My personal view is that video should be kept as short as it can be but that doesn’t have to be limited to 90 seconds. It should be as long as it takes to deliver your message to your intended audience. There is no ‘right’ answer because it depends on the context of the video but here are a few thoughts to consider.
What viewers don’t like is waffle. Don’t try to embellish your message. One of the best ways to do this is to employ the help of a script writer as they know how to create a story without fluffing it up.
Keep the video quality high
I remain confident that a large percentage of viewer drop out is down to the quality and content of the video not being good enough in the 1st place. Make sure you can see and more importantly hear what is being said. If you cant see the detail of the product or a persons face it is very distracting. If you cant easily hear what is being said then your not going to engage anyone.
Play to your audience
People will watch your video to the end if the content is relevant. I recently watched a 5 min tutorial video on YouTube and I didn’t turn off after 60 to 90 seconds. I watched it through to the end because it contained information I found informative.
I have also seen other videos on the same topic which were shorter but were badly filmed and full of waffle and I turned off. (See above two tips)
It’s not about you!
A lot of corporate videos created today are basically companies talking about themselves. That’s where your problems can start because nobody is really interested enough about your company specifically to sit through a video for very long if it is just about you, your products and services.
Be audience centric
Your audiences care mostly about their own problems and who can solve them. They want you to provide valuable information that will address their problem. Dont worry this still gets you business. By being the solution you gain credibility and trust which is an excellent starting point in establishing trust in your brand. An example of a twist on the popular testimonial format would be to base the video around your client not your own company. Let the client talk about the problem they experienced and how the solution (that you provided) has made life so much better for them. It doesn’t have to be a long video but if the content is compelling enough to the right audience then they wont be rushing to hit the stop button.
Offer some value
How-to’s, tips and tricks, industry updates, research… anything that provides value and helps the viewer in some way is what works but it might sometimes require a longer duration video content.
Make it modular
One way in which companies are addressing the attention span issue is to develop the content to fit a modular format and break down what would have been a 5 min or longer video in to a number of 1 min modules that your audience can dip in and out of at their availability allows. This is particularly helpful when you have a 60 min presentation. On seeing the duration of that long for a video, audiences will either not even try to watch or will certainly skip through. Break it down in to a number of shorter modules will get you much better viewing results.
If you are producing content that your audience have specifically signed up to view then given that they already trust you then you will have more time for whatever it is you have to say.
It’s not easy for some companies to make their products interesting. Some companies, Harley Davidson for example kind of have it easy (by the way, they have made some fantastic videos) because their brand is so strong but if you don’t have that product pull then you might consider developing content that leans more towards compelling, or inspiring, or thought provoking. Maybe talk about your support in the community, involvement in charity activity or investment in innovative technology. If you can achieve that then I think people will watch it, regardless of its length.
- No video that is poor quality is going to get great viewing. Poor sound quality is the worst.
- Make as short as you can but dont shoe horn content in to a predefined time frame.
- Engaging a script writer might help avoid waffle.
- Be clear about the video you want to make – What, why and who for etc.
- Consider talking about solutions to problems rather than about your company specifically.
- If videos need to be long how about re-structuring in to a number of short modules?
- Help content like “How to” videos can usually get away with being a little longer (subject to waffle).
- Do you have a compelling, inspiring or thought provoking story to tell?
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