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January 4, 2012

Longer Online Videos: How to Get Viewers to Stay to the End

There has been a lot written about how long a marketing video should run, but the truth is, your online video should be as long as it takes to get your message across.  Now, having said that, it’s important to keep in mind some statistics that show just how consumers react to video times, and then look at what you can do to beat those odds.  First, let’s take a look at the latest numbers about consumer behavior.

Wistia recently published the results of a study they did that show how long consumers will watch a video.  The results are fascinating:  it seems that consumers will watch a 30 second video 85 percent of the way, while they’ll watch a 2 minute video only a measly 50 percent of the way through.  That’s great news for those who plan on a short video 30 seconds or less—that means that most people will watch it almost through its entirety.  But what if you can’t get your message across in 30 seconds—are you doomed to only having 50 percent of your video seen?

Not necessarily.

Here are some things you can do to increase the chances that your viewers won’t drop off before your important message is heard.

  • Front-load your message.  Newspaper stories are written in a reverse pyramid technique—all of the new and useful information is presented at the top of the story, then the back story and other minor details are given at the end.  The same should be true for your online video.  Present the important facts up front, and then explain them and offer the supporting evidence later on.  This will ensure that, if they do drop off, viewers will have heard the most important part of the message.
  • Make them a promise. Everyone wants to be rewarded for their efforts, and your viewers are no different.  By making them a promise at the beginning of the video, such as a way to sign up for a free e-book, newsletter or other goodie, you’ll give them a reason to stick around till the end.
  • Keep it snappy.  No one wants to listen to someone who loves the sound of their own voice, and no matter how insightful you think you are, you should keep your presentation short, snappy and relevant.  Compare it to a face-to-face conversation—would you rather listen to someone who keeps you on your toes with useful and pertinent information, or someone who presents themselves as a long-winded expert?
  •  Don’t waste their time.  If you can get your message across in 45 seconds, there’s no reason to stretch out the video to a full minute.  Respect your viewer’s time, and they will respect your effort.  For instance, don’t repeat yourself or put in unnecessary images and information, but instead, present the facts as succinctly as possible.

While it’s true that the odds are in your favor if you present a shorter video, it’s important to remember that there are always exceptions.  If you need more time to get your message across, and want to beat the odds, you’ll need to work harder on your presentation and offer consumers something worth their time. Remember, marketing techniques should be at the core of every video, and if they’re done correctly, consumers won’t mind giving you their time.