Online video has been the Next Big Thing for a few years now, and the growth has been undeniable:
Internet video to television traffic is forecast to increase nearly five times between 2012 and 2017, by which time over 60% of online video is expected to be in high definition.
But this is not yet another article about why video is a must-have.
This is about how to format your video content so it builds engagement and delivers results everytime – not by accident or coincidence, but by design. So how do you it?
How can you attract the attention of an audience that doesn’t seem to have an attention span?
As the world of online video develops and grows one thing is becoming very clear – audiences are attracted to shorter and shorter videos. This statistic speaks volumes:
Only 20% of viewers make it past the 2 minute mark on Youtube, not matter how good it looks.
Do online audiences really only have the attention span of a one year old? Or worse, is online video a fad that everyone’s grown tired of?
The reality is this – ‘short form’ is even shorter than it used to be once upon a time. Finally the penny has dropped at Twitter with the much-anticipated release of Vine; an app that allows users to upload six seconds of video. Tiny but true.
There’s been a lot of talk about Digital Dementia and how we expect more from technology and less from each other. Personally,
I find these ideas very interesting and I agree with some of the arguments, but ultimately I don’t think we’re getting stupid.
Being a professional violinist or an accomplished Nobel prize winner isn’t easier now compared to 30 years ago. It still takes ten thousands of hours of dogged application and there’s no shortage of violinists last time I checked.
The internet is not a small version of TV; it’s an inquisitive medium and as a result we have access to more information than ever before. So what does this create? Different pathways of learning. These are exciting times.
So it doesn’t mean we’re becoming stupid; it just means we refuse to sit through large chunks of information that lack relevance, engagement – or both! Although the online audience can be fickle, it can also be quite discerning – so content makers, beware!
When we’re surfing, we’re literally building our own pathway of storytelling and learning by picking and choosing. Think of your content as a page in a book that has different content for different users.
We used to want to write the whole book, now we write part of the book.
But what on earth can you do with just 6 seconds of video? Turns out; a lot.
If you remain unconvinced by the power and possibility of six small seconds, cast your mind back to the early days of Twitter.
Remember when everyone agreed that 140 characters was simply too short form to be meaningful? Well you know how this story ended don’t you?
Vine is a video app that was bought by Twitter in October 2012 and has since been released under the Twitter banner.
Instagram has built a huge following with their snappy photo app, and has recently added video functionality.
Vine and Instagram allow users to share short form video update on social media. And in case you’re wondering whether anyone really wants something like this…
Vine picked up 10 million users in three months. And Instagram got 5 million uploads in the first 24 hours when they added a video feature that allows 15 seconds of video.
Clearly, people want short form video.
Vine and Instagram are pretty awesome as tools; free, easy to integrate into social media and widely accepted as standards in a very short time.
I won’t go into a lengthy comparison of features since this seems to change daily. Suffice to say that Uncle Google knows best (!).
In lieu of an in-depth analysis, here’s a snapshot of the most fundamental similarities and differences.
Both platforms allow quick video updates and instant sharing using a smartphone.
Both start and stop recording when you push down a bar, allowing you to change shots and combine a number of clips into one; that’s where the cool stuff happens.
Vine allows you to record 6 seconds, Instagram 15.
All in all, Instagram offers more features like great looking filters which will ultimately deliver the better looking videos.
Integration into various platforms is pretty seamless but both will try to entice you to their sites; but you can relax, there are always workarounds for this.
Things we’d like to see for business video
As great as they may appear on the surface both Vine and Instagram don’t allow you to use a remote control like the internal video app of the iPhone for instance.
This means that you can’t film yourself with the phone on a stand so you’ll need to actually hold your phone while you film yourself. The result? Shaky footage and unflattering angles. Not nice.
This isn’t ideal for video bloggers who run a business so hopefully this bugbear will be fixed sooner rather than later.
Another feature that I miss is the ability to upload your own video so you have a bit more control over what the video looks like.
It would be awesome to create something where you have a bit of control over the branding and look and feel.
Youtube will continue to be the go-to place for video, with no limitations on video length. No change there. However, we need to keep looking at how we can engage with short form content to keep our audience interested – and eager to come back for more.
With more short form content being used, we need to rethink how we communicate.
Considering the staggering 2 minute statistic I mentioned earlier, our audience seems to be ahead of us. Businesses simply aren’t providing the short form content that suits or even complements the learning and research style of our audience.
Using short form video isn’t that common yet in the business community but it’ll become part of our brand identity sooner than you think.
Short form video offers amazing opportunities for –
Instead of a standard Facebook update or Tweet, you can broadcast a short video about what you’re up to.
That’s a lot more interesting than sending another link to another article – and ultimately creates a stronger connection between you and your audience.
Video also adds a warm, personal touch to your updates. It’s a very quick way to connect.
However, customer service is where we see the real opportunity. Producing short form videos will allow you to do business in a far more personal, engaging way and connect faster to your existing customers. These connections will last.
In order to make the revolution in short form videos work for you and your business, you need to build a brand. Get your message out there quickly, regularly and with creative flair.
It’s not impossible. Just remember, ignoring this trend won’t make it go away.
Video is quickly becoming part of how businesses interact and engage. So if you want to be ahead of the curve, start planning how you’re going to engage with video.
Consider making video part of your comms strategy and train up your team. Being able to create compelling content will be an essential business skill. So you can start by seeking out people who are genuinely interested and passionate about driving this side of your identity; it’s a worthwhile investment in your brand and your business.
…because that’s what your competitors are doing.
Question is, are you ready to beat them to it?
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