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Viewing on a Prayer

May 1, 2019
We're half way there

Most promotional videos are over in 60 seconds, but most often viewers are done much sooner. The majority of web video users will only watch the first 5 seconds of a clip before scrolling it off screen, pausing it, or just (x) terminating it. Among those persistent viewers who make it past the first half, less than 20% will play the media with sound on.

Now… think about all the resources, money and time you invested in producing those videos. Isn’t that depressing? You may ask yourself: what am I supposed to do to get through to those users? Is there a plan, a trick that I am missing? Am I wasting all that energy on media that’s not doing anything for anyone?

To answer these questions, you could do worse than to read through 10 Tips for Convincing Testimonial Videos, an excellent post that covers the essentials of web video user retention. Here’s a few of the points that the article points to:

  • Showcase the real product
  • Tell the whole story
  • Stay authentic
  • Address the cost of ownership
  • Make sure it’s a solution to your viewer’s problem
  • Be concise and to-the-point.
  • Show the differences
  • Target a specific user
  • Ensure there is continuity

I highlighted two points that I found are cornerstones and the reasons why there’s significant drop-offs on your web video viewing stats: the lack of authenticity and too little research on the target audience’s specific needs.

Authenticity is what puts things in motion and ensures continuity between frames and other elements of the video. It turns out that users are much more likely to engage with videos that tell real stories of real people, even if those stories are on the surface, mundane and trivial. Most people live a life that’s just a string of mundane events: all they are looking for is an attitude, a slightly different point of view on events that closely resemble what they go through themselves. Corporate (stock) and overly polished media often misses the point and prevents a true connection with the viewer’s real concern.

The requirement for authenticity also means that in some ways, you need to reflect your users. Your content — in this case, the video -- has to mirror what your viewer’s practices, demeanor and lifestyle are. Do you know what those are? Targeting the right users typically involves a significant investment in research, or at least some familiarity with your targeted user base. The video — it’s imagery, it’s story, the way the problem is presented, etc. — should be anchored in authentic life situation that the viewer can recognize and associate with his or her own experience.

These two factors — authenticity and user targeting — are critical to ensuring that you are publishing useful and valuable videos.

 

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