Video, well that’s easy isn’t it?

In short, no! As someone who has a significant background in video, both educationally and professionally, this is an attitude that I encounter a lot. The thing about video is that everyone thinks they are an expert and in reality most people have very little idea what they are talking about.

But that isn’t important really is it? Everyone watches video so they must know what a good video is. The problem is that knowing what a good video is when you are watching it is not the same as knowing how to create a good video. It is a skill, an art form that requires discipline and understanding in the same way that creating a good UX is.

Video is going to be increasingly important for digital. We are already in a world where video is becoming the preferred way to deliver interesting content on a website (and a lot of not very interesting content as well). With 4G fast approaching the UK market, and already being prolific elsewhere in the world, rich media content like video will become more accessible and the technical limitations on experience will reduce. This will no doubt open the floodgates for companies to commission video content and there is no doubt that video content is a powerful and persuasive way to talk to your customers online. Indeed, it was quoted in an article recently that ‘2 minutes of video is worth 2 million words of text’. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the underlying point is a valid one, video is one of the best ways to grab attention, create very sticky experiences and ultimately keep people on your site for longer.

But I would advise caution. One of the quickest ways to get a user to leave your site is to give them a bad video to watch. It is no longer acceptable to have the CEO delivering a boring speech in a badly lit room, people expect more. Over the last couple of years I have had the good fortune to work on a number of video projects for a major global bank. These videos have been created specifically to talk about Tax or to promote a part of the proposition. On the face of things this content is not particularly interesting, but by approaching the video from a different angle, thinking about interesting ways to introduce what is a very important concept and varying the delivery, the final piece is one that is engaging (view the video here).

Another video I worked on for the same client was at the other end of the spectrum; a piece of interactive video that allows users to pick what they want to see explained (view the video here).

What you can learn from these videos is that no matter how apparently dull the content is, there is no excuse for not making the video interesting, engaging and ultimately something that will pull the user into the site. These videos were not expensive in the grand scheme of things and the effect on the site was noticeable. The reason they are so good is that the planning process was taken very seriously. There was a lot of time in scripting and storyboarding to make sure that the brand was consistent, the message was balanced and that there were not long periods of time with just talking. This is a skill that requires the discipline I mentioned earlier and this is the sort of thing that a video agency brings to the project.

If you take one key thing away from this post, it is ‘don’t underestimate the skill needed to produce a good video’. The results of creating a bad one can be catastrophic for your website traffic. But as well all know, a good video can go viral and make your brand a household name in days.

More on video in the future…

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