As we mentioned in a previous post, it is more important that your videos engage your audience than trying to make them go viral. But understanding how people view videos online is vital to engaging the right audiences. Just as our viewing habits of Film and TV are evolving in the age of online streaming, its fair to say the way we consume natively online video is shifting too. Where online videos were once confined to the computer screen, they can now be viewed on our phones and tablets, while waiting for a bus or sat on top of a mountain. Once the only way to upload video also involved a computer, now people can capture a moment on their phones and share it in seconds.
There has never been a better time to use video to engage people. But to figure out how to retain the attention of your intended audience, we first need to learn and understand the ways they consume their online media.
One of the first things to think about is the ideal length. For example, if your primary focus is young people aged 16-25, would they want to sit through a 10-minute online video? Possibly, if the subject matter really appeals to them and you can hold their attention for long enough. But in the immediate world of Twitter, people are becoming increasingly impatient and precious with their time. Same if you want the video to target business owners. How long can you expect them to watch your video during a busy work schedule? It’s worth bearing in mind that some viewers can be easily put off by a video’s length before they even start.
Maybe you think the subject or story of your video is simply too broad to condense into a short video. Thats fine but again, ask yourself how your audience is most likely to view it. Will they have the time to sit through it all? If not, is there a way to break it into more manageable chunks? Or maybe release an abridged version, which points to a longer in-depth video for those that are interested.
Its not only video length that is being affected by the changing viewing habits; video style and formats are evolving too. Younger audiences are growing up with online video being part and parcel with their everyday life. In addition to consuming video content on YouTube, they are increasingly looking to social platforms like Instagram and Vine. Here the videos that get posted are limited to just a few seconds and the usual confines of a mobile device, leading creators to adopt quick and very abrupt styles. Styles that are unlikely to be deemed acceptable in conventional media, but are increasingly being embraced by certain online audiences. Being short and snappy makes them a perfect fit for the sharable bite-sized nature of Twitter and Facebook. But the awkwardly rough jump cuts and straight-to-the-point nature of these videos have become a visual language in itself. It’s a very distinct rhythm that is resonating with some viewers, and something to consider if you want to engage with similar audiences.
Now producing a video in the style of a snappy Vine video is probably not the best idea if you want it to appeal to business partners. Short and to-the-point would still be ideal, but corporate circles would still be looking for confidence and professionalism. But neither is a slick corporate video going to appeal to many outside the business world. Again, it all comes down to knowing your intended audience, and understanding the best way to engage them. And being aware that viewing habits evolve over time. For us at Like an Egg, we make a point of keeping up to date with current trends and always try to inform clients of potential new directions for their video content.